Blog posts and websites without photos sometimes look drab. I admit, there are times when I don't even read the whole post. I just look at the pictures.
That is why blogs and sites which have photos usually have an edge over those that only have text in them.
But what if you suck at taking pictures? Or if your pictures aren't appropriate for your particular post? Or if you don't have a camera at all?
No problem. There are thousands of photos over the web.
However, you can't just copy a picture from a website and simply put it in yours.You'd have to contend with copyright infringement and royalties. In a worst case scennario, you can even be subjected to civil or criminal sanctions.
Good thing there are websites that offer free use of photos at no charge.
My favorite is Flickr Creative Commons.
It has a huge collection of great pics, that is why I go to this site very often if I need a picture for my blogs.
Another website that I usually use for my pic needs is Photobucket. Its terms of service provide:
By displaying or publishing ("posting") any Content on or through the Photobucket Services, you hereby grant to Photobucket and other users a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels, except Content marked "private" will not be distributed outside the Photobucket Services. Photobucket and/or other Users may copy, print or display publicly available Content outside of the Photobucket Services, including without limitation, via the Site or third party websites or applications (for example, services allowing Users to order prints of Content or t-shirts and similar items containing Content).
In short, the publisher of the photo has virtually relinquished his copyright. So anyone can use it for whatever purpose. But I tend to be wary of using Photobucket pics because some photos are obviously taken from other sites as well (presumably without permission).
My third favorite source is openphoto.net. It has a collection of amazing pics, but the selection is limited. Here is a sample.
Another one is Stock.XCHNG. It claims to be the leading FREE stock photo site. However, you must sign up in order to use the photos in the site. But the sign up is worth it.
Just a quick note: When using photos from the sites I've mentioned, please take note of the terms for their usage. It's only but proper. And hey, you're using their photos in the first place.