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Where To Find Free & Legal Stock Photos Online

Stop using Google image search. Using those images is often illegal and they are not the best images anyway.

Here are a dozen sites that are better and legal.

1. Stock Exchange

Of all of the stock photo sites on the web sxc.hu is the best. It has high quality free stock photos. But be careful. The first row of photos cost money. Clicking on them will take you to a different site where you have to pay. Most of the photos we use here at AuthorTechTips.com come from sxc.hu.

2. Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr has a huge selection of photos many of which are protected under the Creative Commons which means you can use them legally as long as you attribute the photographer.

3. EveryStockPhoto.com

Every Stock Photo searches several other stock image sites for you. It does not filter offensive images, so use with caution.

4. MorgueFile.com

Morgue File has many photos that you are free to use commercially without attributing the photographer. The photos are mostly snapshots and not true stock photos.

5. FreeStockPhotos.com

Not only does Free Stock Photos have some great nature photos it also has a list of over a dozen other free stock photo sources.

6. IconsPedia.com

IconsPedia has the best selection of free icons. If you want to add a cool Twitter Bird to your website this is the first place to look.

7. BiblePlaces.com

If you need biblical photos BiblePlaces.com is a great place to start.

8. NASA

I’m not sure how this happened but if the U.S. government takes a photo they often release it into the public domain. If you want high quality technology or space photos you can’t do much better than NASA.  

9. StockVault.net

StockVault has 13,000+ high quality stock photos. The photos are high quality but low selection. The site does not offer safe search so use at your own risk.

10. FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Freedigitalphotos.net has high quality photos but the selection is not great and the terms of use require a link back to use the photo for free.

11. FreePhotosBank.com

FreePhotosbank has a lame selection of mediocre photos.

12. HistoricalStockPhotos.com

If you want vintage photos Historical Stock Photos is the site for you. Don’t expect much color here.

About Thomas Umstattd

Thomas Umstattd Jr. is the CEO of Castle Media Group the parent company of Author Media. You can follow him on Twitter @ThomasUmstattd. and on Google+ He loves helping people use technology to change the world.

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17 Responses to Where To Find Free & Legal Stock Photos Online

  1. Hey Thomas,

    Google just came out with a “Creative Commons” search:

    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/find-creative-commons-images-with-image.html

    But, with my limited experience, it’s really bad.

    Oh, what is the licensing like for Microsoft’s clip art? Can I get my pictures in windows and switch over to linux and use them there. :evil grin:

    > Brian

  2. Hey Thomas,

    Where did you get all your research from? Did you test all these sites? Which ones were your favorites in terms of quality and search? That is a big list and tough to go through it all. Have you heard about Cutcaster which also offers free images as well as RF images. Find royalty free images, stock photos, vectors, illustrations and premium clipart at Cutcaster that can be immediately downloaded for use in your advertisement, brochure design, web design, newsletter design, textbooks or any publication where you need great photography and illustrations. Cutcaster also offers publishers, advertisers and web designers free stock photos and images. Hope that info helps.
    My recent post Why buying Cutcaster credits is an easy payment option?

  3. sanja #

    I think that http://www.rgbstock.com has a place on this list. It offers more than 60.000 high quality images in high resolution, completly free for personal or commercial use.. It is a relatively new site with powerful search function along with a quickly growing community of photographers

    • picdrome #

      Hi and thank you for the list!
      I can also add http://www.picdrome.com, a growing Public Domain picture collection, free of copyright and licensed under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication. All items are free to download for personal and commercial use, without restriction and are available in high definition. New photos are added on a daily basis.

  4. Savannah #

    Yey! thanks for the share. You can also use the free quality photos and images of http://www.kozzi.com. Go over to their site and find out. I’ve been using their stock photos for my blog pretty much. ^^,)

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  6. Malcolm #

    I recommend http://www.myfreedigitalphotos.com They may not feature as many images as the popular big sites out there but the images they do have are high quality and royalty free and can be used personally or commerically.

  7. Brish #

    Definitely, Kozzi.com can provide a high resolution image that can be downloaded easily. I can use the list of vector that they have..

  8. We’d like to have http://www.SchoolPhotoProject.com included in this list as well. We are a free stock photo site that make good quality photos available, esp. for students and non-profit entities. Big photo files, up to 4000 pixels in size are available to download. New free photos are uploaded daily. Thank you!

  9. Thanks Thomas for sharing the sites for stock photos.

  10. After hours of frantic searching, I struck gold. Thanks for this list, I’m going to be using a lot of these sites :)

  11. Bob #

    I’d like to add http://www.goodfreephotos.com to the list please. Has thousands of photos classified by location and category.

  12. HistoricalStockPhotos.com is only for e-mails and personal websites.

    Here’s another free photo site: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/

    Thanks for sharing, Thomas. I do all my own covers, and I’m always looking for free sources of high quality graphics.

  13. James Casdunar #

    We also use a website called http://pickupimage.com.
    If you are a website designer, blogger here you can download high resolution Free stock images for free.
    Thanks.

  14. John #

    Also you can try here:
    http://inboxphoto.com/

  15. This is a good article but there are very few websites that offer REALLY FREE PHOTOS (no attribution, no registration, no adverts) which are high quality and easily accessible.

    Check out PUBLIC DOMAIN photographs at http://www.trulyfree.eu

    I hope this helps you, guys!

  16. Erwin #

    REALLY FREE PHOTOS: http://kaboompics.com/

    No attribution, no registration, no adverts – just click and download full resolution photos (high quality pics 300dpi).

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