One of the challenges of working as a freelance instructional designer is the high expectation put upon you by your clients to deliver amazing looking eLearning for as little money as possible. I’ve also experienced this when working in an organisation also had similar expectations but no budget for stock photography, background music, or video. I wanted my eLearning to be rich in multimedia, but I didn’t want to break the rules when it came to sourcing this material. I had to be resourceful.
Music can be a challenge, but many sites offer free music under a creative commons license. You must attribute the original artist somewhere in your eLearning in the manner in which they require but otherwise, the music can be free to use. Here are some links to such resources:
If you own an iOS device such as an iPad or iPhone, you can download Garageband and compose your own music. You can select music clips that you can combine to create music that truly fits. I have used several compositions that I created on my iPad. I may not have played the actual instruments in the piece, but it is entirely my music that I’m free to use time and time again.
For photography, I was fortunate to be a pretty good photographer. I own a pretty good DSLR digital camera so I could go to the locations in question and photograph objects that were required as a visual reference in my eLearning. For example, a piece of equipment is more natural to show a picture of instead of trying to describe it to learners.
I’ve found some significant resources for stock photography. Recently I’ve been made aware of a new site that offers excellent free stock photography for even commercial reuse. The site is https://pikwizard.com/ and what makes them unique is they have lots of pictures of people, which tend to be rare in free stock photo sites. Here’s a tip; try searching for “office” or “meeting” to get an idea of the quality of the pics on the site. They have over 100,000 completely free images which you can use without attribution.
I also use https://www.storyblocks.com as well. They offer an annual subscription to their service which works out to about $100 a year or so. With Storyblocks, I don’t need to worry about all the attribution rules that many creative commons sites require. Remember that many of the free sites require that you attribute the original artist in a particular way.