Freerange Stock: Commercial Use Photos Completely Free Of Charge
Freerange Stock, relatively new to the market, is a stock photo provider sporting a different approach. All their images are freely usable for private and commercial use alike. They don't even force you to backlink or attribute in any other way. Money isn't requested, either. Photographers receive a share of the Adsense revenue of the site. There is only one precondition: you need to open a member account...
Freerange Stock: Professional Photos, Almost 400,000 Members
Freerange's member count is rising quickly and has almost approached the 400,000 mark. This is not too surprising as an account is the only precondition for downloading and using their photos. Besides being able to download, members receive a comfortable lightbox to easily collect their images. If you'd want to, you could even start a blog over at Freerange. The community features are a core of the service.
Freerange Stock is open to contributions from external photographers, though until now in-house photographers took care of the basic stock. If you want to contribute, registration is open to anybody. Which photos make it into the catalogue is subject to an editorial decision. These conditions are common standard and do not differ from other similar services.
The user can rest assured that there will be no images in a lesser than 2,600 x 1,400 pixels resolution. With almost 4 megapixel at hand, there's little you cannot do. Restrictions are scarce. You are not allowed to redistribute or similarly use the photos, e.g. not print them on shirts, mugs, posters for sale.
Browsing the catalogue is less comfortable than in other services. There are no categories, the whole process works solely using search terms. The hundred latest as well as the hundred most popular images can be browsed easily, the rest is subject to searching. This way, you need to use your brain to imagine the best search terms possible. If yu manage you will be rewarded with appealing results. Freerange and their photographers do really care for tagging their material sensibly.
Just as others do, Freerange also shows Shutterstock material above their own photos, Shutterstock seems to be commercially interesting for services of that kind. What Freerange does better than others is the visually easily distinguishable divider between Shutterstock imagery and their own. You will never go wrong accidentally and find your self surprised with prices.
Freerange Stock: Carefully Maintained, Lots of Exclusive Material
What actually surprised me was the fact that lots of the photos on offer work extremely well as abstracts alongside editorial content. Writers know the problem well. Each post needs one or more images. Yet, there are topics that actually don't offer or even imply proper imagery. In these cases photo material is hard to find. Freerange Stock will make your life a whole lot easier as they actually got loads of images potentially fitting in these cases. In my personal workflow Freerange Stock has established itself already.
The fact that Freerange has their own photographers leads to thousands of exclusive photos not available elsewhere. Up to now 2,000 of these pics have been made available, Freerange claims to have a larger archive still not completely online. Loads of fresh exclusive material should follow soon.
I couldn't determine the total number of pictures available, both in-house and external, but this number cannot be too small. Each of the search terms I tried always brought up a minimum of 300 results.
If you dislike mandatory memberships, consider a few things. The more members, the more photographers, the more pictures there will be. Also, the data you have to reveal is limited to a name and a mail address. They'll not get to know you much this way.
Photographers are attracted in a variety of ways. First, it's the plus of attention they get the more members the site gathers. Feedback and discussions happen often already, and surely will increase further. Second, photographers get a share of the Adsense revenue. Adsense clicks on the detail page of a given photo lead to a 100% share, while the rest of the site has a revenue share key in place.
Conclusion: Free (as in free beer), commercial use, no attribution, high resolutions, thousands of exclusive photos. What else could we want?