20-Plus Legal Sources of Free Images

Updated on January 1, 2018
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Marilyn is a freelance writer who focuses on SEO article writing, content writing, and academic papers.

1. FreeFoto

FreeFoto has the biggest collection of free photos on the internet. It is made up of 132,549 images with 3,640 categories and 183 sections. Other than providing free images, they also offer high quality versions that are for sale.

2. Stockvault

Since 2004, Stockvault has been providing more than 34,000 images for designers and students who want to use images for personal and non-commercial purposes. Keep in mind that non-commercial images can not be used on a blog or website that you earn money from.

3.Cepolina

Cepolina hosts more than 20,000 images from distributors across the globe and has photos taken in different places such as Europe, China, India, and America. If you need images of a foreign country and are not able to go there, this site may be an excellent resource. Photos are classified into 1,400 categories and can be used for personal or commercial purposes as long as you credit the source.

4. Visipix

Visipix is considered the largest fine art and photo museum with around 1.3 Million exhibits. Started in 1999, the main purpose of Visipix is to provide users with an unlimited number of images, whether for personal or commercial use. However, the site needs financial support to stay in business, so they accept donations.

5. Free Range Photos

Free images on this site can be used either for commercial or non-commercial purposes. Downloading their photos requires registering for an account. This site can also serve as a revenue source of photographers even though they give away photos for free. When someone clicks ads on their photo display, the photographer will be paid.

6. NOAA Photo Library

This library is created to showcase the work, observations, and studies of scientists, commissioned officers, engineers and administrative personnel that work with the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. This is a good place to go for photos having to do with the ocean.

7. Deviant Art

DeviantArt, as the name suggests, focuses on not just photography but original works of art like paintings and drawings. They offer images that are not typically seen in most free images sources like FreeDigitalPhotos or FontPlay since artists and photographers produced them. They have over 238 millions photos, vectors, and other illustrations from 24 million registered artists.

8. Creative Commons

Creative Commons is not a website for hosting free images, but instead, it serves as a search engine access to free images provided by independent entities.

9. and 10. FreeImages and FreeImagesLive

Both FreeImages and FreeImagesLive are owned by the same entity, which explains why I have placed them both in one section. FreeImages is the original site that contains the main library of images, with more than 6,000, plus free stock photos, while FreeImagesLive is a source of free images that users have taken themselves.

11. Public Domain Photos

Public Domain Photos is a site that provides 5,000+ free pictures and 6,000+ free clip art images for personal and commercial use.

12. Freepixels

Images on this site range from abstract, concept, architecture, nature, objects, food and drinks, travel, and people. The site has a very broad range of types of images.

13. Photogen

Photos can be downloaded free, without restrictions, meaning you are free to use them on commercial blogs and websites, or anywhere else you would like.

14. New York Public Library

You may browse thousands of images using this site. It provides digital copies of the New York Public Library's archives and collections including historic photos and documents.

15. Ancestry Images

If your website focuses on history, then you'll want to check out this source to acquire relevant images for you articles. It is a great source for historic maps, blueprints, and other documents

16. Flickr

This site also offers thousands of free images, but you need to use the advanced search to find the free ones. Advanced Search only becomes visible after starting a search for photos. First, type keywords for the image you're looking for. Once results came up, proceed to Advanced Search which is on the right side of the website's search feature (besides the blue search button where you typed your keyword). Click "Advanced Search" and take a look at the options. The ones you'll use most will probably be:

  • Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content
  • Find content to use commercially
  • Find content to modify, adapt, or build upon

17. Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is a database of around 17,477,534 freely usable media files that anyone can contribute to. These files include videos, sounds, and images. The following licenses are available: Creative Commons licenses, GFDL, and Public Domain.

18. Pixabay

Pixabay offers a wide variety of images, and almost all of them are public domain photos, which means you can use them freely for commercial enterprises or any other desired use.

19. Pachd.com

This site offers free images, but all images require attribution.

20. Dreamstime

Dreamstime offers both free and paid images. Search for free images that can be used for commercial purposes, if you need ones you can use on your for-profit blog or website.

21. Kozzi

This site also offers both free and paid images. It specializes in travel photography and can be a great option if you need photos of a place you can't easily visit to photograph.

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