Free images, videos and sounds for online courses, websites and more
Updated: Apr 9
Lo-to-no budget resources to help your digital content come to life
One of the simplest ways to make an online project more engaging is to include relevant images and videos that break up the text. Unsurprisingly, not every organisation has the means or money to create a library of media specifically for online use and that’s where stock photo websites come into play. Again, however, many of these websites charge a subscription or price per asset, so it can become costly if all you want is a generic photo of a seagull sitting on a pier.
Many people think that downloading a relevant image from Google is the way to go - it isn’t. Images are copyrighted and using them without permission is illegal.
Quality is also an issue. Borrowing an image from somebody else’s website means you’re working with a low-quality image that is going to look rubbish if you need to make it bigger to fit a header size for your course.
So what you need is somewhere to legally download high-quality images that you can resize and edit, ideally at no cost. If you don’t know where to look, that can be a big ask, but luckily for you, you’re reading a blog post written by a skilled professional who does this day-in-day-out…
Below is a selection of websites where you can obtain professional-quality imagery, video clips, sound effects and music to make your online projects look fantastic. And best of all, they’ll cost you nothing more than a tip of the hat to the creator.
A subscription stock photo site with a free plan. You can register as a user and download up to 10 images a day but you will need to add a credit/attribution when you use the image.
This is the same company as Freepik, so again it's a subscription model but by registering as a free user, you can download 100 professionally designed icons a day, ideal for use in infographics, diagrams and buttons.
Another stock photo site but this time it's all free and no need to add a credit/attribution but you can donate to the author if you wish.
Similar to Pixabay, it's all free with no need to add a credit/attribution but it is appreciated.
Another site where it's all free and again no need to add a credit/attribution.
Did you know that YouTube has a library of free music and sound effects? You do now. Some require attribution, some don't but you can use the filters to determine this. https://studio.youtube.com/
Not just a stock photo site, Pixabay also offers music, again with no need to include attribution but you can donate to the author if you wish.
The BBC’s massive library of sound effects has recently been made free to access and use. There are various terms about crediting and copyright, which are worth a read but there are some really great and obscure sounds here that you won’t find elsewhere.
Already mentioned as a place for free photos, Pexels also provide free video clips with no need to add a credit/attribution - but it is appreciated.
Third appearance here for Pixabay who also offer video clips, again with no need to offer attribution but you can donate to the author if you wish.
Now go forth and use these resources to build great-looking online content!