As designers we are always on the hunt for good pictures. Noupe certainly needs fitting imagery now and then and even more often. That’s where photo-services, stock image providers and the like come into play. There are big marketplaces, offering you high-grade imagery at more or less affordable rates. Then we find repositories with free usage policies but varying licenses, which at times are not easily comprehensible. I have certainly been in trouble with this kind of mine-seeking. Pixabay, a fresh repository with a quickly growing selection of excellent imagery, is different, dead-simple. All the pictures are free, no license conditions apply. Pixabay delivers pure public domain photos.
Image Providers: A Potential Money-Pit
Four years ago, I started the picture service Lebensmittelfotos.com. Here you find food imagery, totally free of charge and usable for every legal purpose. I wanted to react to the strategies of a single photographer. He did extensive food photography, very professionally shot, and equally professionally presented. His goal was to have the ordinary web surfer “steal” the images and use it inside forums, personal blogs and the like. Then he would spot the unlicensed usage and send a cease-and-desist order combined with a more or less high invoice. Lebensmittelfotos.com was supposed to become a safe harbour, where people would find public domain imagery. Only images in the public domain are totally risk-free. Every other license out there provides risks to the legally untrained, while even experienced users find it hard to understand what is allowed or not at times. Take a free photo platform with varying licenses for example. Who guarantees that the licenses stated are not subject to changes tomorrow. While your usage applied to the license today it might not be true for tomorrow. Who wants to establish a proper monitoring just to make sure no-one shouts cease and desist?
Pixabay: Comfortable, High-Grade, Free
Simon Steinberger and Hans Braxmeier, founders of the Pixabay, must have had the same or similar experiences. With the creation of Pixabay they established a much bigger, broader and much more professionally designed equivalent to Lebensmittelfotos.com. They have just about started and already gathered far more than 40,000 photos and illustrations. Resembling Microsoft’s Bing, but with much better imagery, the service offers an intuitive access to its contents. Each and every picture is in the public domain. You can use it free of charge for every legal purpose. You do not have to give credits to the original artist. You do not have to provide backlinks to Pixabay. They are always appreciated of course…
Pixabay is available in 20 different languages. A preliminary registration on the website is not mandatory, but advisable. Without registration you are in no way limited as far as downloading of the provided content is concerned. But as each download has to be initiated through the confirmation via a sometimes more, sometimes less readable captcha, Pixabay convinced me to register quite quickly. Logged in you won’t see captchas again…
Registered users are able to upload their own photos to the service. They are not immediately visible to the public though, as an editorial team first checks all the submissions for their appliance to Pixabay’s ToS. This step can take from a few minutes to a few days. For a first impression of Pixabay’s quality I advise you to visit the section Editor´s Choice. This is where you find the hand-picked favourites of the editorial team.
If you do not want to leave Noupe, just have a look at these images that I picked objectively according to my own taste (Click on the image to open it inside the service):
Dieter Petereit is Noupe's Editor-In-Chief and a veteran of the web with over 25 years of experience in the world of IT. As soon as Netscape became available he started to do what already at that time was called webdesign and has carried on ever since. Almost a decade ago he started writing for several online publications, some well, some lesser known. Dieter is a heavy G-Plusser, so why not meet him over there?