Sources for Royalty Free Stock photos and Public Domain Images.
Those who write a blog, know that post with images get a lot more traction that those that do not use them. But where do you find images that you can legally use in your blog without worrying about copyright infringement? I decided to put together a post that will tell you just that! Here is my list of 20 websites that offer free public domain photos and free stock photos.
For those that do not know, Public Domain refers to material that is ‘publicly available’ and not covered by the term intellectual property or protected by copyright. In today’s blogging world, where visual art is a necessity, there is a very high demand for images that you can legally use in your projects without getting nasty emails from other bloggers saying that you stole their photos, or DMCA takedown notices from the owners of the original copyright.
Disclaimer: When you’re using images in your posts, you need to be extremely vigilant about double and triple checking that they really are in the public domain and can be commercially used. The laws regarding public domain images are different in every country, so before using any public domain images, check that it’s defined as a public domain image in both your country and the country that your client is a citizen of.
Images described as royalty free means that the owner of the copy right has allowed them to be used at no charge. Some require attribution and others do not. Be sure to check the websites carefully before you use images.
A few of my favorite places to get free public domain images are:
2. MorgueFile – The site offers 1000’s of Free Vector Images, Backgrounds, Logos & Design Elements. All very high quality, and easy to download. If you are looking for high resolution stock photos for your illustration, comp or design needs MorgueFile is one of the best. The images are all completely free and do not require attribution links. The images on the site are intended to be altered the images but cannot claim ownership of them. (this goes for any of the sites that I recommend.) If you use the images on this site in a stand alone manner, Morgue File suggests linking to them or contacting the owner of the photo.
3. Free Stock Photos – a great source for free stock photos and clip art. Their collection contains over 14,000 free images available in a variety of commercial and editorial licenses, including public domain, creative commons, and custom agreements. Licenses are shown under the photo. Their food photos are wonderful!
4. Wikipedia Commons – This is a free media repository. Attribution is required for most of the images on Wikipedia Commons, although there are a few that are pure public domain photos which do not require any attribution. Each image will have the attribution requirements shown on the page where it is located. When I use Wiki photos, I also cite the creative commons license for the photo as well as a link to the original image.
5. Flickr Creative Commons – These images come from Flickr users who have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license. The licenses vary greatly, so be sure to check on the image you wish to use to see how you need to link to it.
6. Stock Photos for Free – This site has 100,000 images, all free to use. Most of the original photos on the website were pulled as still frames out of the HD videos on VideoBlocks.com. You are free to use the photos in all types of projects (commercial or non-commercial), for worldwide distribution, forever. They do not charge licensing fees. Literally the only thing you can’t do with their photos is redistribute them or sell them as stand alone stock photos. Their royalty free license is shown here.
8. Image Base – The images are totally free to use in any way that you wish, including commercial sites. The images cannot be resold in a stand alone manner. Attribution to the original photo is not required.
9. Unprofound – Interesting site with free images which can be searched by color. Great if you are doing a blog post that is being done around a particular theme. Attribution is appreciated but not required.
10. Every Stock Photo – This is a compilation of free photo which come from many sources and are license-specific. You can view a photo’s license by clicking on the license icon, below and left of the individual photos. Most of the photos require an attribution link back to the original photo.
11. Photo Pin – This site is described as a site to get free photos for bloggers & creatives. Most of the images come from Flickr creative commons, so they require attribution back to the original photo. They provide the html for the link to make it easy to link to the source.
12. Free Images – The site features 350.000 quality stock photos by more than 30.000 photographers! Each image has a license attached to it, and the site requires an attribution link to most of the images you use.
13. Free Pixels – This site appeals to me since it has a large amount of food pictures. The watermark of the site is included on the image download but it can be cropped out as long as the name of the site is included in readable type near each photograph, group of photographs, in the text, or in the credits.
14. Pic Jumbo – totally free photos for your commercial and personal works. Downloads require their installer. Attribution is not required but is appreciated.
15 Wylio – Creative Commons picture finder. All images require an attribution link.
16. GL Stock Images – Large repository of both paid and free images. The free images can be used on a website but they are a maximum of 10,000 copies using a single image.
17. Dreamstime – This site has both paid stock footage and free images. Attribution is required to use the images.
18. Public Domain Pictures – this is a repository for free public domain images. Images are free to use as they are or can be modified, even for commercial purposes.
19. Image After – This is a large online free photo collection. You can download and use any image or texture from the site and use it in your own work, either personal or commercial.
20. Public Domain Photos – all of the photos and clip art are in the public domain and can be used for any purpose, including commercial. Note that some photos contain logos and products, so you need to be careful. Using someone else’s trademark commercially can get you sued.
21. Good Free Photos – nice collection of photons on a variety of subjects that are all labeled public domain images. Good source of travel images. Attribution is not required. They ask that you might consider linking to the main page of their site but this is not required.
And for the record, just because you can right click on Google images, and save it to your computer does not mean that you can legitimately use the photos! Can you use Google images to find public domain photos? Sure. Here is a screen shot that shows how:
2. Next, I clicked on “images” then on the words “search tools” shown above in the gray rectangular box.
3. This dropped down the menu that gave me the words “Usage Rights” (shown in bold above)
4. Finally, to find image that you can legally used, choose “labeled for reuse with modification”
This will give you images that are not copyright protected. However, this still does not mean you can just use them, copyright them, or claim them as your own. Check the individual site that the image comes from to see whether they require attribution or a link to them.
If you are searching for very specific public domain images, you should check out the public domain image resources listed on Wikipedia. The site features historical images, visual arts, logos, books, and much more.