Where To Get Royalty-Free Images for Your Blog / Website

As much as possible, I try to use my own images on this blog, because a) it sucks when people steal my photos without even crediting where they got them from, and b) I want to avoid potential copyright infringement suits because you never know when you might get ‘unlucky’. Just because it’s rampant practice, it doesn’t mean you’re safe coz ‘everyone else is doing it’.

But there are times when I am unable to get particular photos for my posts – and that’s where free stock photo sites come in. Some of these have stunning imagery, and cover a wide variety of subjects, from food and travel to lifestyle, so they make great resources for bloggers.

Here are a few that I use: 

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PIXABAY

There are over 1.7 million images on Pixabay, including photos, illustrations, vectors and even videos and music which you can use without attribution (although it is a nice gesture to include credits and linkbacks) for personal and commercial purposes. That isn’t to say that some copyrighted images don’t find their way to the site, but the company manually checks each submission to ensure that they adhere to the requirements as much as possible. To download photos in high-res, you will need to register as a user.

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PEXELS 

Another easy to navigate stock photo site is Pexels. which also has over 1 million photos free for commercial use. It has a ‘popular collections’ page which looks similar to a Pinterest board, and allows you to easily search according to keywords. There are some rules to photo usage, especially in regards to people as subjects in photos; for example, identifiable individuals may not appear in a way that is offensive, and they may not be used as an endorsement for a product. Sale of unaltered copies is also prohibited. You can download images without signing up for an account.

*Pixabay and Pexels are both owned by Canva.

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UNSPLASH 

Unsplash’s high-quality imagery is a popular choice for editorials; we also use them for the print magazine that I work at. Images are neatly sorted according to category (architecture, food, people, etc.) to make searching easier, and there are photos of current events from around the world as well. There are also search tools to help you search by type, based on the tone of the photo, as well as orientation (portrait, landscape).

TOURISM BODIES 

For travel content, national tourism organisations are a good bet for high-quality photos, and you definitely don’t have to worry about copyright strikes if you’ve credited them properly. I use all of these regularly for work. Tourism Malaysia has an online library of photos divided according to the different states and categories such as culture, food and events. Other tourism organisations that have good resources are Australia, New Zealand, Japan, (although it is quite troublesome as you have to individually fill up a form for every photo, and you have to wait for five minutes between photos to download imagery), Singapore and South Korea. The downside is that you often have to register accounts and some have waiting times / procedures that you’ll have to follow so that they can track what you’re using the photos for.

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FOODIES FEED 

Foodies Feed is an excellent resource for food bloggers, although the number of photos is rather limited (about 2,000). The imagery is high-end and will not look out of place as a front cover of a food magazine.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS 

Photos from Wikimedia Commons are not always stunning, but they do the job of helping you to visually illustrate something on your blog posts. You are also more likely to find a photo of something more obscure (say, an off-the-beaten-path destination). Photos are easy to embed from the site itself, without having to download them. However, it can still be risky to use as I don’t think the photos are vetted properly, so there might still be copyright issues.

FREESTOCKS.ORG 

Freestocks.org is not as extensive as Pexels or Pixabay, but still offers a great selection of imagery in various categories, such as fashion, food and drinks, architecture, nature and people.

A list of some other sites, although I don’t use these very often:

Burst by Shopify 

Reshot – This site seems to have more ‘niche’ and unique images rather than generic pictures – almost like someone’s Instagram feed.

Styled Stock – If you’re looking for feminine-centric styled photos, this site offers plenty.

Life of Pix – shots by professional photographers, so you can be assured of editorial-worthy quality.

Gratisography – looking for photos that are out of the ordinary that will capture your audience’s attention? A bunny mascot dancing in the subway, for example? You can find it at this site.

 

 

What are some of the stock photo resources that you use? Share them in the comments below! 😉 

Why Sri Lanka Should Be Your Next Honeymoon Destination

Honeymoon destinations.

Top off the head, places that come to mind – the Maldives, Bali, Paris…truth is, few would think of Sri Lanka – but there’s plenty of reasons why you should book your next flight to this relatively undiscovered gem of an island, southeast of the Indian coast. With a rich history and culture spanning 3,000 years, coupled with beautiful natural sights such as tropical beaches and majestic formations, Sri Lanka makes the perfect honeymoon spot for an unforgettable time with the significant other.

Here are just some of the things you can expect to see while visiting the island:

SIGIRIYA ROCK (LION ROCK) 

Credit: Wikimedia Commons – commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sigiriya_lion_gate_04.JPG

Towering nearly 200 metres high in the northern Matale District is the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya Rock, or Lion Rock. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dubbed by locals as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, the massive rock column, formed from magma from an extinct volcano, is a prime example of nature’s wonder blended with man’s ingenuity.

The fortress was built in the 5th century during the reign of King Kasyapa, who made it his royal residence. Inside, visitors will find the ruins of an ancient palace, alongside gardens, pools, alleyways and fountains. After the king’s death, it served as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. The entrance was made to look like a grand stone lion – hence the name Lion Rock – but visitors today will only find its carved feet as the rest of the structure has been destroyed. Other points of interest include a wall covered in frescoes, and the ‘Mirror Wall’, said to have been polished so thoroughly that the king would be able to see his reflection in it. Climbing to the top, visitors will be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding jungles and valleys.

SPICE GARDENS IN MATALE 

Spices Herbs Sri Lanka

Credit: Flickr, Amilla Tennakoon

Sri Lankan cuisine is known for being robust and full of flavours – thanks to its use of exotic herbs and spices, which are found abundantly all over the island. For many of us city folk, spices are sold in ready form in supermarkets, so getting to see how they are grown and processed on the ground will be an interesting experience. Stroll through gardens filled with greenery and the fragrant scents of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and more, before indulging in a herbal brew and a hearty local lunch. Couples can unwind to relaxing Ayurvedic massages using natural products from the gardens, designed to heal with its unique properties. Visitors may also purchase traditional remedies and cosmetics, used by the locals for centuries.

COLOMBO CITY 

Credit: Wikimedia Commons – By Ocsi143

No trip to Sri Lanka would be complete without a visit to its bustling capital, Colombo. Very much like Melaka in Malaysia, the place is a natural harbour and was once colonised by the Portuguese, Dutch and English – so visitors will see an eclectic mix of modern and colonial buildings. Within the city are various attractions, including the Beira Lake at the heart of the city and the Gangaramaya Temple, which boasts Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian and Chinese architecture. Shopping precincts abound for those looking for souvenirs and gifts, many of which are located within revamped historical buildings such as the Old Dutch Hospital and the Independence Memorial Hall Square.

GALLE – BEAUTIFUL BEACHES

Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

Surrounded by the azure blue waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is fast earning a reputation as a surfer’s paradise – especially the area around Galle, where it boasts postcard-worthy tropical beaches: golden sand, clean blue water and foamy white waves. One of the best spots to take a dip or even just to suntan with a nice cocktail is at Unawatuna Beach or at the bohemian Hikkaduwa beach to catch a gorgeous, romantic sunset.

KANDY CITY – TEMPLE OF THE SACRED TOOTH RELIC

Kandy, Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Alut Maligawa

Credit: Flickr/Arian Zwegers 

One of Sri Lanka’s most popular attractions and a significant place for Buddhism (Sri Lanka’s main religion) is the Sri Dalada Maligawa Temple, or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy. A World Heritage site, the temple houses the relic of the Buddha’s tooth and was completed in the 16th century. The building boasts beautiful architecture, with golden canopies and wall paintings done by the most skilled artisans of ancient times. Every year, a grand festival and parade is held on the streets – the only time the tooth will be out of its place in the temple.

Getting Around/Tour Packages 

Sri Lanka is still recovering from the effects of a 30-year-civil war that ended in 2009, so improvements to infrastructure are still in its early stages. As such, tourists will find it difficult to get around by public transport.

The best way to experience a holiday on the island would be to go with a reputable company that offers Sri Lanka tour packages, as not only will there be a guide to ferry you around, they’ll also be able to feed you with tidbits on the island’s history. Better still, go with a tailor-made Honeymoon Package, designed to make your trip with the significant other a special and memorable one. After all, the whole point of a honeymoon is to kick back, relax, and enjoy a wonderful time with the other half.

At the end of the day, services can be bought, but memories created last forever.

Happy Travels!

 

Editorial Year End Party

So it’s December and every year, our Editorial team has a themed party at some hotel or other. This year, we were supposed to go in traditional clothes. Now I know my ethnic traditional costume is supposed to be a cheongsam, but I’ve never worn one in my life. Most Malaysian Chinese don’t bother with traditional clothes, unlike Malays and Indians who always have at least one pair of Baju Kurung or saree. I wanted to get one at a nearby shop, but the service there was SO BAD that I went and got a baju kurung instead.

To those who aren’t familiar with Malaysian local costumes, a baju kurung is a traditional Malay dress and consists of two pieces – the skirt (kain) and the long top, which usually has a small V-neck slit with a button. Fancier ones will be embroidered, like the one I got. They come in all colours and styles.

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I haven’t worn one since my high school days, where it was part of the uniform. I liked wearing the kurung at school coz the other uniform (the pinafore) was fugly as hell.

We had a buffet dinner and then exchanged gifts for our secret Santa. It was fun, most of the guys were drunk and some got really loud and rowdy. I think we got blacklisted from the hotel in future events lol. Anyway, Brenda gave me a collection of Sephora bath capsules, which came in rainbow colours and had different fragances like green tea for green and mango for yellow. Sounds yummy enuff to eat.

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The food! It was pretty good, but limited. I got some random appetisers and mains mixed together. There was seared tuna, some curried fish and mutton, sambal sotong, papadom (crunchy crackers) and taco. The right was grilled clams of some kind, which looked yucky (they resemble worms) but tasted so good. I like chewy things, so I love shellfish and things like squid. Pedro said its one of the ‘most disgusting things he’s ever seen’. lol

There was also a lucky draw, and the grand prize winner got an Ipad. Second prize got a resort getaway to Damai Laut (gasp!). Me… I got a bag of shampoo and stuff. Well, it was better than nothing.

 

 

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The December babies had a cake to cut. 🙂

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Yas and I taking a selfie before the night ended.

Well, it was fun to let our hair down outside of work. Til next post! 🙂