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.

Yes, 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 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!

1. Every Stock Photo

Get access to over 16 million free photos, coming from places like NASA and the Library of Congress. If you need a photo, try this place first. There are different license options so pay attention to the one you end up with.

2. Stock.xchng

Stock Exchange is one of the most popular places on the internet to download royalty-free images. There are almost 400,000 images to choose from. Pay close attention when you surf for pictures, as some of the results may come from other sites where you have to pay for the images. If you want to pay for a photo, go ahead! Just don’t accidentally steal one.

3. Historical Stock Photos

If you need a historical picture for your personal website or an email, this is the place to find everything from Rosie the Riveter to war-time posters of Uncle Sam. If you write historical fiction, especially American-centric historical fiction, this site can be an excellent resource in your search for appropriate images.

Tweetables –

  • 11 places to get a free and legal photo for your blog. – Click to tweet.
  • I’ll have to check these out! // 11 places to get a free + legal photo for your blog. – Click to tweet.
  • There’s no excuse to steal photos for your website. – Click to tweet.
  • Stealing photos? Time to come clean and get legal ones.  – Click to tweet.
  • Quit googling images and stealing them for your blog. – Click to tweet.

4. Free Pixels

This isn’t a large site, not by a long shot, but it does have quality images that you can use. If you need a legal photo of nature, there are over 1,000 beautiful shots waiting to be discovered. Don’t get fined for stealing a photo of Yosemite when you can get a legal one easily.

5. Public Domain Photos

With 5,000 free photos, this site has a nice selection to choose from. The nature section is worth checking out as it has many images of the National Parks and other places around the world. Again, make sure you stay on the site as some links lead to images you must pay for.

6. Morgue File

This site is billed as “public images for creatives by creatives.” The tagline does not disappoint or oversell. There are some incredibly beautiful photos on this site, most of them nature-themed. Download and credit them accordingly.

7. Stock Vault

If you want an aesthetically-pleasing legal photo, the chances are you will be able to find one that suits your purpose on this site. This is another site that does advertise content that you must pay for, so click carefully!

8. Image * After

Unlike other sites, this image site focuses on textures and images of common household items. If you have any sort of photo editing skills, or are simply looking for a background for your website, this site will not disappoint. Browse through thousands of images and then download the one (or ten) you love, for free!

9. Ancestry Images

This site is full of old maps, images, and prints waiting to be rediscovered by the world. If you write anything with a historical base, you will want to browse the maps to add a sense of authenticity to your work. Instead of just describing a country in the 1800s, show your readers what it looked like with a map.

10. Free Digital Photos

If you are looking for legal photos of people, this site is an excellent resource. There are thousands of high-quality photos of people in settings ranging from weddings to business situations.

11. Photo Pin

Have you struggled to find the right picture on Creative Commons? Your search is almost over. Photo Pin acts like a search engine for Creative Commons, harvesting the best shots available.

Where do you go to get legal photos? Share the link with us and tell us why you love the site!

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