Do you still have any doubt about the importance of including images in your posts? Then take a look at this great infographic from MDGadvertising
Now that you have clear that you need images for your blog or your Company website, if you are thinking that, ok but I can’t afford (or don’t want to afford) to pay for them, you should continue Reading this post.
There are plenty of places that supply images for free. But, before going further, what does really mean for free? What kind of licenses are available? and, how do you correctly attribute the images under these licenses?
Types of Free Licenses
To most people, creative commons is synonymous with free media like photos, sound, and video. However Creative Commons is actually a non-profit organization based in California, and there are varying levels of freedom associated with media submitted under Creative Commons.
Foter Blog has recently published this great infographic about how to correctly attribute Creative Commons Photos:
As you can see in the previous infographic, there are two attributions one must look out for if using images for business needs. These include Non-Commercial (NC), meaning not used for business intentions, and No Derivative Works (ND), which only allows the original work to be used without modifications. To ensure 100% that media you wish to use is not restricted in any way, confirm the license is a CC0, which waves all rights of the creator in the public domain. Another license with limited requirements is CC BY, which means users can edit the work and use it for commercial benefit, as long as attribution to the original work is followed.
Royalty-free, or RF, refers to the right to use copyrighted material or intellectual property without the need to pay royalties or license fees for each use or per volume sold, or some time period of use or sales. Please note that with royalty free images “the owner still has copyright, they just grant you a license to use it without having to pay any ongoing royalties”.
With that in mind, I’ll list different image suppliers that do not demand any money for their files and that support Creative Commons or Royalty Free licenses:
Public Domain Images and Pictures
Note that the following list is in alphabetical order, and some of the image suppliers include both free as well as paid images. So first of all, check the provided license before taking any picture from them.
The author of this blog is the original creator of all of the photos on this site and has released them all into public domain. Please note that no releases have been obtained for the images that contain people, works of art, property, or trademarks.
As the name indicates, if you are looking for pictures of animals under creative commons license, this is a great website.
Bigfoto is a royalty-free agency. Most of bigfoto’s pictures have been contributed by amateur photographers who want nothing more than to see their images on the internet. They are happy for you to use their work on your own website, as wallpaper on your computer desktop, or to print off and hang on your wall. You can even use the photos free of charge for commercial purposes.
Car Pictures CC provides you images of cars that can be used freely under CC.
Clker.com is owned by Rolera LLC from Illinois. It’s an online sharing service where users share free public domain vector cliparts, or share public domain photos and derive vector cliparts from those photos using clker’s online tracer. Users who upload shared cliparts and photos on Clker.com shall certify they are in public domain, as it is shown on the upload page.
Compfight is an image search engine tailored to efficiently locate images for blogs, comps, inspiration, and research. They make good use of the flickr™ API, but aren’t affiliated with flickr.
A simple way to search for creative commons art in Creative Commons Deviant Art is to use Google advance search. Put it in you google.com search: “This work is licensed under a Creative Commons” site:deviantart.com and you’ll have access to their great work.
Every month a photo pack of 10 photos within a certain category will be delivered to your inbox. The goal of Death to Stock Photos is to bring you a variety of options to use for your mockups, blog posts or social media. Death to stock photo uses their own license which you can read on their webpage.
Free Hi-Res photos for your personal & commercial use. Attribution not required.
Millions of hight-quality royalty-free stock images and high-definition footage at the best prices to fill all your creative needs. They also include free images.
DotGovWatch is a website created and maintained by Coby Logen with the goal of advertising government website sucessess and failures to force government to make changes that will impact lives across america. The website includes thousands of photos taken by U.S. Government employees as part of their official duty and are free of copyrights and free to use.
They are a search engine for free photos. These come from many sources and are license-specific. You can view a photo’s license by clicking on the license icon next to the image. Membership is free and allows you to rate, tag, collect, and comment on photos.
Europeana.eu is an internet portal that acts as an interface to millions of books, paintings, films, museum objects, and archival records that have been digitalized throughout Europe.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) imagery, video and audio materials are not copyrighted within the United States and are available for use. For international use, please contact them to request permission. You may use FEMA audio, video, or photographs for educational or informational purposes, including photo collections, textbooks, public exhibits, and Internet web pages.
Flickr doesn’t just host millions and millions of protected images. It is also a great source for finding Creative Commons-licensed material and some that has made its way into the public domain spectrum, as well. The site features a wide array of images and their comprehensive search function allows you to navigate through images much quicker.
16. Flickr Commons
This is the result of the partnership between Flickr and The Library of Congress, with two main objectives: to increase access to publicity-held photography collections, and to provide a way for the general public to contribute with information and knowledge.
As the previous one, this is the result of the partnership between Flickr and The British Library and contains more than 1 million illustrations from the collections of the library.
FoodiesFeed is a resource of free realistic food images in high resolution and free digital goods related to food. These all are fully available to download for your blog posts, articles, websites, templates, mobile apps, backgrounds or just any kind of design.
Foter.com allows you to search, manage and add free stock photos to blogs, forums, websites and other online media. They host over 190 million free Creative Commons images from many online sources and the entire system is also available as a WordPress plugin for seamless use within the WordPress platform.
Download free and premium stock photos and illustrations for websites, advertising materials, newspapers, magazines, ebooks, book covers and pages, music artwork, software applications, and much more. All their free images are of high quality, produced by our community of professional stock photographers and digital illustrators.
FreeImages offers free and premium photos and illustrations. You do not need to include a photo credit for commercial use, but if you are using content for editorial purpose, you must include the credit.
22. Freerange Stock
Great database of free images for commercial (or not) use. The only limitation is that you cannot redistribute them.
FreeStockPhotos.biz collection contains 14,889 free images available in a variety of commercial and editorial licenses, including public domain, creative commons, and custom agreements. All images on their site are completely free to download and use. No payment or registration is required, although you must abide by the Image License and Usage Terms listed on the photo download page.
Freetems is a source of public domain/cc0 content – images, graphics, music, videos, ebooks, audiobooks, software, and everything else. All presented files are absolutely free for any kind of use – including commercial usage. You can use them freely without attribution, and you can create derivative work of any kind. There will never be any unnecessary restriction on that files, as the idea behind all of this is the freedom of using and creating.
This site is run by Liam, a Canadian citizen that has scanned a lot of images from old and antiquarian books. These pictures are generally for non-commercial or educational use. The ones for commercial use, they are not free and the price depends on its commercial license.
26. Google Images
To look for Royalty free images using the Google Images.
- Enter a search term in Google Images search.
- Click the Gear icon, then select Advanced search.
- Scroll down and use the usage rights drop down menu to select free to use or share, even commercially.
- Click the Advanced Search button
Note that just to be safe, you want to double check that the image is really “free” to use. There are tools, many free, to check usage rights, like the TinEye reverse image search, that can help you locate additional information or creative commons usage. This step is highly recommend as other webmasters and bloggers could have removed the copyright and metadata from the image and re-uploaded without the owner’s permission.
Free high-resolution pictures you can use on your personal and commercial projects. New awesome pictures are added weekly and all pictures were photographed by Ryan McGuire and free of copyright restrictions.
Image*After is a large online free photo collection. You can download and use any image or texture from their site and use it in your own work, either personal or commercial.
iStock offers millions of royalty-free images, illustrations, videos and music clips at differents prices, and even some for free.
30. Jay Mantri
Jay Mantri offers 7 new photos every Thursday with CC0.
This is a web to search for, and stamp with attribution, Flickr images that you can use. It is designed with school pupils and mobile in mind. You can use the images in blog posts, presentations etc and not worry about attribution. You can also generate an html embed code with attribution and link to the source Flickr page. This can be pasted into an html/text blog editor.
32. Life of Pix
Free high-resolution photos. No copyright restrictions. Images for personal commercial use. All images are donated to the public domain. They are hand-made with love by Leeroy Advertising Agency in Montreal and its network of photographers.
33. Little Visuals
Little Visuals was created by a young man, Nic, who died suddenly in Nov 2013 of S.A.D.S (Sudden Adult Death Syndrome). Since then, no further uploads have been made. You can download Nic’s pictures for free or consider a small donation towards the Hand of Heart Charity in the hope to provide a number of schools or sports areas with portable defibrillators in Nic’s memory.
Magdeleine is a website that publishes a free hi-resolution every day that has been hand-picked for your inspiration.
35. Microsoft Images
If you go to Bing.com and tap the Images tab, you can filter the search by its license. You can select the Free to modify, share, and use commercially.
My Public Domain Pictures is a collection of public domain pictures. Feel free to use their picture for any lawful purpose.
A morgueFile is a place to keep post production materials for use or reference. This morgueFile contains free high resolution digital stock photography for either corporate or public use.
The term “morgueFile” is popular in the newspaper business to describe the file that holds past issues flats. Although the term has been used by illustrators,comic book artist, designers and teachers as well. The purpose of their site is to provide free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits.
38. New Old Stock
New Old Stock offers vitage photos from the public archives. Free of known copyright restrictions.
Each artist at Openclipart releases all rights to the images they share at Openclipart. The reason to this is that there is no friction in using and sharing images authors make available at their website so that each artist might also receive the same benefit in using other artists clipart for any possible reason.
You can download thousands of historic media files for your creative projects. Completely free.
They offer a large collections of images and textual content from old books. The content that do no belong to the Public Domain are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
More than 25,000 Public Domain Clip Art available for free.
PDPics.com is a repository of free public domain pictures. All images have been clicked by their in-house photographers. You can use their stock photos freely in any project.
PDposter contains a large catalog of public domain and vintage art poster. Their site contains a large variety of public domain art Which is free to download and reuse including commercial use. They daily update their blog with at least 10 Public domain images.
PDPhoto.org is a repository for free public domain photos. Unless something is clearly marked as being copyrighted, you can assume it is free to use. But if you intend to use an image you find here for commercial use, please be aware that standards for such use are higher.
Pexels includes a collection of over 2,000 free high-resolution stock photos. They add every week at least 70 new high resolution photos. All photos are hand-picked from free image sources. They make sure all published pictures are high-quality and licensed under CC0. Only creative commons photos from reliable sources like Unsplash, Gratisography, Little Visuals, and many more are added to their photo database.
47. Photo Everywhere
If you are looking for high resolution travel stock photos, Photo Everywhere can be the right place to find them. All their pictures are free to use and ready for instant download.
PhotoPin uses the Flickr API to search creative commons photos. They are not associated with Flickr in any way, other than powering their search results using their API.
This site includes royalty free stock photographs, images, pictures, and clipart for any use including commercial.
Picdrome.com is a growing Public Domain digital photography collection, free of copyright, and licensed under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication. All images are free to download for personal, educational, and commercial use, without restriction.
Picjumbo offers totally free photos for your commercial and personal works.
Pickup image is one of the largest collections of free photographies. Feel free to download high quality premium stock images and public domain photos. You can copy, modify, distribute, and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, without asking permission.
Collection of free hi-resolution photos with the Creative Commons Public Domain CC0 license and provided by Hidden Depth.
Over 420,000 free photos, vectors and art illustrations. You can use any image without attribution in digital and printed form, even for commercial applications.
PublicDomainPictures.net is a repository for free public domain images. You can download high quality HD photos or upload your own.
This websites includes 5,000 free photos and 8,000 free cliparts
This is a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation. The majority of the digital copies featured are in the public domain or under an open license all over the world. On each Collections post they’ve done their best to indicate which rights they think apply, so please do check and look into more detail where necessary, before reusing. If you wish to reuse their material please refer to their attribution policy.
search.creativecommons.org is not a search engine, but rather offers convenient access to search services provided by other independent organizations: Europeana, Flickr, Google, Jamendo, Open Clip Art Library, SpinXPress, Wikimedia Commons, YouTube, Pixabay, ccMixter, and SoundCloud.
59. Split Shire
Split Shire is a website created by Daniel Nanescu, a photographer that likes to share all his personal shots to the public for free. The goal of Daniel is to help his fellow designers out and spread his photography around as well. He also offers a larger selection of shots by $20/year.
StockPhotosforFree.com is owned and paid by the stock video company, Video Blocks. Video Blocks has no interest in selling stock photos, since its core business revolves around selling footage, motion backgrounds and production music. So StockPhotosforFree.com was launched as a completely free resource, with the hopes of building awareness for VideoBlocks.com.
StockSnap has been created by Marc Chouinard and Christopher Gimmer. They select a number of the highest quality, highest resolution pictures and add them to their databases on a daily basis. All photos uploaded to the site are released under Creative Commons – CC0 and do not require attribution.
Stockvault’s sole purpose is to collect and archive medium and high resolution photographs that designers and students can share and use for their personal and non-commercial design work. The photographs and images are submitted by photographers and artists from around the globe.
All high-resolution photos published on Unsplash are licensed under CC0. They upload 10 new photos every 10 days.
Wikimedia commons is a database of about 27 millions of freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute.
65. World Images
The internationally recognized WorldImages database provides access to the California State University IMAGE Project. It has just been selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in its historic collection of Internet materials. It contains approximately 100,000 images, is global in coverage, and includes all areas of visual imagery. The images can be located using many search techniques on the left hand toolbar, from QuickSearch to Advanced and ADA Searches. For convenience, the images are organized into over 900 portfolios that appear alphabetically in the Portfolio List.
66. Good Free Photos
A large free stock photo site with thousands of public domain photos including landscapes, objects, animals, plants, textures, and many other free photos. It has over 6000 photo categorized mainly by location. It
specializes in photos of state parks, national parks, national landmarks, and historical sites. All photos are free to use for any purpose.
And remember to let us know if we missed some other resource or website that should also be included in the list. Use the comments!