Searching for the right photo for your blog post or website can be a pain. A legal photo can be hard to find. After writing a post, the last thing any of us wants to do is flip through endless pages of expensive stock photos.
It’s so much easier to Google the term and “borrow” one of the images that comes up as a search result. Too bad that’s illegal.
As in, you will face serious fines for “borrowing” images.
The bottom line is if you can’t afford a stock photo, you certainly can’t afford the fine that comes from stealing one. – click to tweet.
You need to get a legal photo.
For the writer on a budget, there are plenty of other options that will provide you with a legal photo without breaking the bank. Here are 11 sites that I’ve found. If you know of any others, please share them in the comment section!
Great quality and great selection! Unsplash is the best source of free stock photos on the internet.
2. Stock Exchange
Of all of the stock photo sites on the web sxc.hu is the second 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.
3. 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.
Every Stock Photo searches several other stock image sites for you. It does not filter offensive images, so use with caution.
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.
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.
NounProject has the best selection of free icons (over 2 million!). The goal of this site is to have an icon for every noun in every language.
If you need biblical photos BiblePlaces.com is a great place to start.
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.
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.
If you want vintage photos Historical Stock Photos is the site for you. Don’t expect much color here.
Great links here. Thanks!
Dreamstime.com sells stock photos, but also has a free images page with a good selection:
When I purchase images, I use both dreamstime.com and istockphoto.com
Wow! This is quite the list. I guess I’ll be digging through them sometime soon.
Best of luck!
Wonderful! I was just searching for photos yesterday. This list is a time management saver~
I’m really glad it could help!
Creative Commons (http://search.creativecommons.org/) is really the best resource that I’ve seeen.
Creative Commons is a great resource!
Great list. Thanks. Another source is http://Compfight.com. It’s a search function for Flickr. You can specify Creative Commons commercial (or not) and then search on keywords. Great stuff, but the resources you give here will be terrific new resources.
I’ll have to check that out. Thanks for sharing!
I agree, I came across compfight earlier this year and I use it all the time. Plus, if you use WordPress, they have plug in you can use that makes it easier.
http://foter.com also is a Flickr search function and has a WordPress plugin.
thanks a lot. i go nuts trying to find photos for free. usually end up buying them:(
Not a problem! Glad you could do it!
What about Wikimedia too?
Just make sure you pay attention to the licenses.
This is a fantastic find. Thank you!
You are welcome!
Thank you! This is an excellent list.
Let me know which site you end up using the most!
wylio.com is also free. Their search function isn’t the best, and you do have to pick through to find what you want, but I’ve gotten quite a few from that site.
Great to know!
This is brilliant, Caitlin. Thanks from Downunder!
This reminds me of something I’ve been wondering about.
I write a lot of book reviews on my site, and I often show book covers in my reviews. Most of the time, I’ll get a copy of the book cover image from a site like Goodreads.
Does using a book cover image like this (in conjunction with a review of the same book) fall under laws regarding “fair dealing”? I’m in Canada, so US provisions regarding “fair use” don’t match up.
Most publishing houses provide different sized book cover images for book review bloggers to use on their websites. So you can use the images but make sure you aren’t claiming them as your own.
Here’s a link to the US Copywrite laws. I’m not sure about Canadian ones. http://www.copyrightlaws.com/us/legally-using-images/
WANACommons on Flickr is another resource. 🙂
We’ve used 123rf.com. They have a large collection of free photos and images as well as low cost royalty free pictures.
And also check out http://www.ImageFree.com !
This is a good list to know about! I get my pictures from http://www.creationswap.com. They have a lot of great quality free pics that fit with the look/style of my website.
This article went into my favorites list. Thank you for the great information!
This is very informative. I was using images from google search and It was my biggest mistake. Thanks for sharing.
In google’s defense:
Yes, you can filter by usage rights.
I use FreeDigitalPhotos.net and find they have a good selection of professional looking images for a wide variety of uses. Thanks for making me double check their TOS to make sure I’m in compliance, though, being as I often change a photo to black and white then add my post title so it’s an easy pin on Pinterest.
Their TOS state:
Manipulations, deviations and modifications of FreeDigitalPhotos.net images are allowed as well as including images in composites to achieve a desired effect.
Doesn’t Office.com have “free” photos? I read their policy and you can use their pictures for pretty much anything, from what I understand. http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/?CTT=97
Awesome photos. This was exactly what I needed to read! Thank you.
There are plenty of CC licensed photos on Flickr if you know how to find them.
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/ has a good collection of public domain photos, as well as links to stock photos for a small fee.
This site works too for finding good photos
just make sure link back
Wonderful resource! Thanks for sharing. I’ve shied away from using any images except for my own book covers and banners custom-made for me, but I’d like to include more images. This is a great way to be able to do that. Thanks!
A good alternative to sxc is http://www.rgbstock.com/
Just bookmarked this! Thanks for sharing this awesome list.
Thanks! Very helpful 🙂
If you are a website designer, blogger http://pickupimage.com you can download high resolution Free stock images for free.
Hi, I have a portal with a gallery with my own photos. Every day I upload more photos and everybody can use it for free in any blog, epub or web.
Just check it! Clic in the menu in pictures. The watermark is removed if you download the photo with the button download from the site.
Great !!! An exhaustive list for free quality images. Thank you very Much…
For more public domain photos, especially of landscapes, check out http://www.goodfreephotos.com
Thank you so much, Caitlin Muir.
Photopin is perfect for me.Even I am planning to run such website project that can collect photos from more than one location and then display through my website. Thanks for posting this wonderful idea for us.
I typically snap my own photos. In the distant past I purchased CDs with all kinds of photos and graphics on them. I also have a collection of stock art that I downloaded over time when a former employer bought me a subscription.
I like http://www.photopin.com for stock photos, http://www.unsplash.com for hi-res, and http://www.curatedquotes.com for picture quotes.
It’s always good to cite where you get your photos from regardless of the copyright restrictions. At the very least, you’ll be letting your readers know where you found it.
Thanks for the post. Gogobot (www.gogobot.com) just launched a feature to allow bloggers to use their collection of 4MM travel related photos to enhance their blog. Just search for a destination or a point of interest (e.g. the Eiffel Tower), and click on the share icon in the lower right corner of any photo. It gives you blog-friendly embed code and includes proper attribution for creative commons so you don’t have to worry about running afoul of the law. Nice feature
Fantastic list, thank you.
Another two websites with CC and free images: http://www.4freephotos.com and http://www.alegriphotos.com
I needed this…thanks for sharing…
Hi Friends, i also recommend http://en.freejpg.com.ar
Exclusive and totally free photos for your commercial & personal works
One more source for creative commons licensed Photos and Public Domain Photos with cc0 Licence are http://creativecommons.photos
Thanks for a great article. Despite the time when it was posted, it’s still useful.
A collection from “not stock library” photos for free commercial use : http://www.themusicase.com/blog/photography/free-stock-photos-for-commercial-use/
Hi, thanks for this great list. I use one more source for my creative commons CC0 photos. Maybe you can add this source to your list. http://creativecommons.photos
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Hi, Maybe one more source for your great list. I search Photos always on http://creativecommons.photos they have many high quality public domain images.