Where to Find Free Images Online {for Personal & Commercial use}

Home/Where to Find Free Images Online {for Personal & Commercial use}

Best Places to Get Free Images Online

For an online business to thrive it needs a blog to drive traffic to it and keep the readers engaged.  And one of the essential parts of a blog post is a relevant image that captures the reader’s attention.  Bloggers are constantly on the lookout for royalty free images online.  This blog post aims to give you the full rundown on why you need to use a royalty free image and the various sources that provide you free images online for commercial and personal use.

Why you can’t just Google an image

A mistake that most amateurs make is using a generic search engine to find a good image.  While this may be a time-saver, it will cost you in the long run.  Not all images found online are free for use!  Most of these images have been copyrighted by the creators and need their explicit permission before they can be used.  Violating an image copyright is illegal and you are likely to be faced with fines.  And that is why it is absolutely essential that you use only images that have their copyrights waived off and free for use.

So, where do you get them from?

You can always pay for your images through websites such as iStock Photo and Big Stock Photo that sell high quality photos online.  But for those who prefer to go the frugal route, there are dozens of websites that provide free pictures that you can use.  There are different types of free images available online – they are listed below with links to websites where you can find them.

Public Domain Images

Works in the public domain are those whose intellectual property rights have expired, have been forfeited, or are inapplicable. (Source: Wikipedia)  A public domain image, therefore, is usually a copyright free image that can be used for commercial and personal purposes.

Here are a few websites that offer free public domain images.

1. Pixabay

Free Images Pixabay

Pixabay is a good source for high quality public domain photos as evidenced by the screenshot above – I download a lot of images from here.  Most of the pictures available are free for use and do not require an attribution or link back to the website.  There are however, links to paid photos also displayed on the site – just make sure that the picture you are downloading is not marked premium.  Registered users can download images straightaway, unregistered users have to perform an additional step of entering a captcha code before they can download the image onto their computer.

2. Public Domain Pictures

Public Domain Pictures

Public Domain Pictures is yet another good source for good quality images.  They offer a simple download procedure – Click on the image to enlarge it, right-click and select “Save Picture As…” to download the image onto your computer.  You don’t have to register/login to the website to download images.  As with most image websites, be on the lookout for paid photos – they are usually interspersed among the free ones.

3. Public Domain Image

Public Domain Image is yet another free image website, but it has way too many advertisements that hinder the user’s experience.  If you can look past all the ads staring you in the face, they do have some decent images.

4. Image * After

Image after

Image*After is a website that offers tons of free images and textures that can be modified and used for personal and commercial purposes.  While the images can be sold for printing on physical products, they may not be redistributed on similar image resource sites.

5. Public Domain Photos

Public Domain Photos

Public Domain Photos has a large collection of about 5000 free photos and 8000 clip art images (more on clip art in the section below).  These images are free for use, but the user has to be careful not to use images that contain a company’s copyrighted logo.

Clip Art

The term clip art is credited to images that illustrate a particular medium or concept.  They are usually non-photographic illustrations.  Some clip art images come under the public domain category and are free for personal and commercial use.  Here are a few websites that offer free clip art images.

1. Open Clip Art

Open Clip Art

Open Clip Art is a reliable website that has thousands of images that have absolutely no usage restrictions.  You can check out the many purposes clip art images are used for, here.

2. Microsoft Office Imagery

Microsoft Clip Art has been used for documents, websites, presentations and templates worldwide – they are very popular.  In addition to clip art and illustrations, the website also has high quality photos that can be used for varied purposes.  This website is always my first stop when I search for an image online.

3. Clker

Clker

Clker is slightly different from other clip art websites because they allow users to draw and upload their own images for public domain usage across the world wide web.  Users can also upload photographs and use an inbuilt functionality to turn them into vector images.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that helps expand the growing database of creative work that can be used and shared legally across the world.  Most photographs that are available for public use have a creative commons license associated with them.  Most of them require at least an attribution citing the creator of the image and a link back to the original source.  Some are more restrictive in nature and cannot be used for commercial purposes.  Check out this link for more details on image attribution corresponding to the different creative commons licenses.

There are way too many websites that offer images with a creative commons license.  We’ve attempted to list a few that are more commonly used.  Please be sure to check out each image’s license before downloading.

1. Stock.Xchng

stock.xchng

Stock.Xchng is a leading free stock photo site that has boatloads of images contributed by photographers worldwide.  Most images found here are free for personal and commercial use.  In some cases, the individual photographer may require an attribution when the image is used for commercial purposes.

2. Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr is widely known as a photo sharing website, but they also have a section where photographers upload their images for use under a Creative Commons license.  It is essential to verify each image’s license to ensure that the photo can be adapted or used for commercial purposes.

3. Morgue File

Morgue File free stock photos

Morgue File is touted to be a free photo archive compiled by creatives for creatives.  The website has thousands of high resolution digital stock photographs that are free for personal and commercial use.  You are free to alter an image for commercial purpose without attribution, but you cannot distribute the image in its original form or claim ownership over it.

4. Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is an online collection of images, audio and media files that are available free for use.  Each image has a license associated with it though, that has to be examined before it can be downloaded.

Additional Resources

In addition to the different categories listed above, there are a few websites that act as free image search engines.  Here are a few of them.

1. Freepik

FreePik

Freepik is a search engine that helps graphic and web designers locate free, high quality photos, vectors, illustrations and PSD files for their creative projects.  It uses the APIs of various free image sources to find images that match your criteria.  When you sift through the search results and find a relevant image, you are redirected to the site hosting the original file.  Please ensure that you view the particular image’s license before downloading as it may require attribution.

2. Photo Pin

PhotoPin

Photo Pin is a search engine that helps bloggers search millions of Creative Commons photos within Flickr for use in their blog posts.  You get to preview each photo and download it along with the appropriate attribution link.

3. Foter

Foter

Foter allows you to search, manage and add free stock photos to blogs, forums, websites and other online media.  It hosts millions of free Creative Commons images from many online sources and the entire system is also available as a WordPress plugin for seamless use within the WordPress platform.  Each image’s embed code contains all necessary attribution, so you only need to adjust the image parameters, copy the code and paste it in your site.

These are just a few of the most popular websites that offer free high quality images for use on your website.  As mentioned earlier, unless an image is certified as public domain, you will have to verify it’s license before you download it.

Have we missed any good free stock image websites?  Where do you get images for your website from?

About the Author:

Sheena is a lover of Christ, content homemaker and mother of 6-year old triplet boys. She enjoys reading, writing and figuring out new ways to be more efficient and organized. She shares life lessons inspired by God’s word at her blog, An Imperfect Life.

27 Comments

  1. A Little R & R May 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    Great post!!!!! I am so glad you wrote this! I can’t wait to check out these free sites.

    • Sheena May 23, 2013 at 3:30 am - Reply

      Thank you Rosilind! There are millions of free images out there, if we only know where to look.

  2. ~blckrose~ May 22, 2013 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    Awesome information! Thank you SO much! I only knew about 2 of these. I am really looking forward to checking out all the rest!~

    ~rose~

    • Sheena May 23, 2013 at 3:34 am - Reply

      Thank you, Rose! Glad it’s of help to you.

  3. Lisa Maria May 23, 2013 at 11:40 am - Reply

    Sheena thank you so much for this information. I haven’t written in a while but I have spent far too much time in the past trying to get images that are free to be used. I will definitely be checking these sites out for future posts.

    God bless!

    • Sheena May 23, 2013 at 2:57 pm - Reply

      I’m totally with you, Lisa. I feel the right image sets the tone for the entire blog post. Glad you find this useful! God bless you!

  4. Leena May 23, 2013 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Great info Sheena ! Thanks a ton ! I had this question on my mind for a long while but never got down to asking anybody about it.. This Blog is turning into a mind reader 🙂

    • Sheena May 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm - Reply

      Thank you Leena! Glad you found an answer to your unasked question! 🙂

  5. Stacey Mcknight June 6, 2013 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    I’ve learn several good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how so much attempt you put to create such a excellent informative site.

  6. The information provided through this article is very informative and helpful.

  7. Martha June 27, 2013 at 9:46 am - Reply

    Ooooh Looking forward to checking out these sites! Thank you!!!

    • Sheena June 28, 2013 at 4:27 am - Reply

      You’re welcome, Martha! I hope you find some good images you can use.

  8. birthday gifts July 9, 2013 at 3:36 am - Reply

    Thanks for another wonderful post. Where else could anybody get that type of information in such an ideal way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I’m on the look for such information.

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  13. Michael October 19, 2013 at 10:45 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the awesome list, didn’t know about Pixabay. Here is another great alternative

    http://StockPhotos.io

    • Sunu Philip October 22, 2013 at 6:34 pm - Reply

      Thank you Michael for pointing out that one. I will surely check it out!

  14. Nitesh Nagar November 2, 2013 at 2:18 am - Reply

    really best information who search free photos for websites. I also make start a blog i use public domain pictures in my blog. great info…….thanks

    • Sunu Philip November 6, 2013 at 11:10 am - Reply

      Thank you Nitesh. Public domain sources are an easy way to get free commercial use images!

  15. Kaylee Tedrow May 18, 2014 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    Definitely, what a great website and illuminating posts.Best Regards!

  16. Martin Vorel November 18, 2014 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Hi, you can try my website freepix.eu with free photos in high resolution. All are licensed with Creative Commons. Martin

  17. Stuart Miles March 19, 2016 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    My internet site provides 30,000 images, totally free for any kind of use. You can visit here – http://BusinessImagesFree.com

  18. Nica September 9, 2016 at 8:38 am - Reply

    Hey Sheena! Thanks for sharing this information – appreciate the effort you put in.

    I just wanted to run something by you; Have you heard about Rawpixel?

    You’ve probably seen our images all over the place. We’re the leading stock photo contributor in the world. We’ve just launched our website where we give away the best free design resources out there.

    We’d be stoked if you could add us to this list. Check us out onwww.rawpixel.com.

    Looking forward to you joining our community of creatives.

    BE INSPIRED. BE RAW. Nica

  19. Stuart Miles January 11, 2017 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    Hi there,

    I have just introduced my catalogue of 30,000 images into the community! The stock images are free to use for private and commercial use without any inbound link required – http://Blogpiks.com

    Excellent if you can combine it with your report!

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