We had free images since years ago. That’s not so very new. But what really is new is the growing professionalisation of these services and their offered material. Was professional photography the domain of commercial stock photo providers for ages, these days the lines start to blur. I personally have turned to looking through the free offers first, and only if I cannot find suitable imagery there, turn back to paid services. This is not only because I don’t have to or want to pay, it’s more because of my experience that the better pictures are with the free providers. Pictures taken with heart-blood, with a fire only an amateur can develop, not the boring standard interpretations of generic topics, photographed in generic ways. Today I want to introduce you to Raumrot and KaboomPics, both of which are brilliant examples of what I just said. If you are looking for high-grade and free stock photos for commercial use, covering a range of popular topics, a visit there is strongly recommended…
Raumrot offers 216 Photos in High Resolutions
Raumrot is a service created and maintained by German photographer and media designer Markus Spiske. On his website Raumrot he offers a collection of 216 photos in high resolutions, covering a diversity of popular topics such as Business, Transport, Urban, and also Food & Drink or Nature. All the photos have one thing in common: they are perfectly crafted, following a high creative standard. The usual snapshots are not what you can find here.
Raumrot is more like window shopping. The photos themselves are not actually delivered from Raumrot but are stored over at Yahoo’s Flickr. This has several advantages, the biggest being the fact, that Flickr takes care of offering a variety of available resolutions and download files accordingly. At Raumrot all the available photos are presented on a seamless grid which you can filter down dynamically by choosing topics from the top of the grid. Hovering an image shows two icons. Click on the left one and the image will open in a lightbox overlay, showing a 1024 pixels wide version of the photo. Click on the right icon and you are taken to the Flickr detail page of the chosen image. Markus also sorted his photos into several sets, which you can download as is. If you want to go for that, visit this page over at Flickr.
You are entitled to use all of the photos in all available resolutions for absolutely free, even for commercial projects. The only precondition is that you attribute the creator correctly. All the photos are provided under the terms of CC-BY 2.0. An appropriate attribution backlink would e.g. look like this:
Some examples of what to expect:
KaboomPics: Round About 500 Free Hi-res Photos for Commercial Use
KaboomPics is a service provided by designer Karolina Grabowska from Poland. She runs a small design business under the name Staffage to make a living. All of the photos on KaboomPics have been shot by Karolina personally, while her friend Bartek Chmiello takes care of the technical side of the project. All in all topics cover a wide range, while not every topic is as well equipped as others. Anyone keen on wedding photos? Yup, they are there, too.
Downloads are served directly from the website in a very straight forward way. You simply click the large button "Free Download" from under each photo and the download will start without further ado.
All the photos, at least that’s true for the half-dozen I tested, come in 20MP resolution. A little patience is needed while downloading them. You’ll receive photos around 10 megabytes large each. All the EXIF data is kept intact, so that you can easily get informed about the technical conditions of each given picture.
There are several ways to get to the right photo. Browsing the categories is one such way, using a free text search field is another. This search function works tag-based and Karolina added tags sensibly and not too few. Another way of finding what you are looking for is directly clicking the tags below each image. If you do you’ll get a list of all photos with the chosen tag.
All the photos on KaboomPics are free to use for private and commercial projects alike. The only restriction is that you are not allowed to sell the photos or to claim they were taken by you. You are allowed to use them in products, e.g. websites, shirts whatever, you sell, though. Building a premium WordPress theme is perfectly okay, simply don’t sell the photos themselves.
Karolina Grabowska would appreciate a backlink, but doesn’t demand it. If you want to, use them without attribution. If you want to stay on track with the latest new additions to the service, consider subscribing to Karolina’s newsletter as an RSS feed is not delivered.
You might have guessed it: all the pictures shown alongside this part of the article have been taken from KaboomPics.
To the Point
Raumrot and KaboomPics extend your designer’s toolbox by more than 700 professional photos at no cost. What’s there to think about? I recommend you bookmark both and check them often.
Dieter Petereit is 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 web design and has carried on ever since. Two decades ago he started writing for several online publications, some well, some lesser known. You can meet him over on Google+.