Where, How And Why To Find Good Copyright Free Images

These photos are free for both personal and commercial use. Though this site is called Free Photos, it does have a mix of both free and paid content. There is a great selection of high quality photos in their free section though, and you can easily search through them by category. The Commons contains images that have been contributed by more than five dozen libraries and museums around the world. The images are mostly historical in nature. Bing has an option for finding public domain images. To access this setting go to Bing Images, enter your search term, then use the 'license' menu to select public domain images.

  1. Photogen also provides free images for personal and commercial use. Photogen provides you categories of images such as animals, cultures, nature, business etc. You can select the one suits your requirement. Photogen provides very relevant search and good quality images. It is simple to use and easy to search for free images.
  2. 10 sites where you can download copyright free images for personal or commercial use. These high-res photos are good for blog articles, ebooks, logos, etc.

Finding an online library stocked with pictures that are of high quality and available to use for free can be a daunting task. All the effort you are putting in selecting your search words seem to only yield images that either vaguely agree with your needs or are completely irrelevant. This can waste a lot of your time and get you really worked up.

If your job involves finding free images online on a regular basis, then having a free image directory would be a smart move. A free image directory allows you to easily and quickly access pictures that are not just relevant and top quality but add more meaning, taste, and eloquence to your message. And saves you hours.

Let me get you started on creating your own free image library. Below is a fairly exhaustive list of the best websites to find free images online:

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1. Picjumbo.com

First, there are no restrictions – you do not need to credit the author when using images from this website. New photos are uploaded every day and organized accordingly. They have amazing pictures with a wide range e.g. roads, food, fashion, wedding, technology, business etc.

2. Pexels.com

This is one of the largest free image directories. It has collated photos from many other free image sites and put them under one roof. So if you are in a rush, then this will work very well with you.

3. Unsplash.com


A small one-column site that was built on tumblr. They post 10 fantastic images every ten days. No need to be registered. You can subscribe to receive photos directly into your inbox.

4. Flickr.com

Besides the large collection of high quality photos, Flickr gives you the option of sharing and saving your photos. With it, you can organize all of your pictures and not worry about losing them. You can also edit your pictures. One thing that is encouraged when using someone else’s photo is to ensure that you link your picture to them. You will need to register as a member to be able to gain access to the variety of options offer by Flickr.

5. FreePhotosBank.com

Easy to download photos. They focus more on abstract shots, architecture, landscape, nature, backgrounds and patterns etc. You do not any to create an account.

6. FreeMediaGoo.com

You can credit them if you want to but you don’t need to. They upload high quality illustrations of backgrounds and many other photos. They have plenty of visual mediums you can choose from. Images have no restrictions.

7. Creative Commons Search

is an online tool that allows you to find resources you can share, use, modify of remix. You can use find things to use for commercial purposes as well. No registration required. It is a convenient search engine. However you need to find out about the copyright terms of the image before using it.

8. Picsearch.com

It is great it doesn’t offer a clear division for royalty-free CC images. It is a useful search engine especially for those who don’t know exactly what they are looking for. Picsearch will help your search by indexing pages for you.

9. Pixabay

Here, photos are uploaded by users as in Creative Commons. You can search and sort your pictures. There are no image restrictions. It offers a range of high quality photos and thought to be one of the best internal search engine sites.

10. Blogphoto.tv

Plenty of free images. The disadvantage is the loose image restriction that comes with it. In Blog photo, there is more than just getting you the photo you need. They offer resources such as templates, articles planners etc. to help you grow your digital footprint. In addition to that, there are articles published weekly as well as live interactive shows with media mogul to make you outstanding at whatever it is you are trying to achieve.

11. Gratisography.com

For high quality photos with no image restrictions whatsoever, then this is the resource for you. These are high-resolution pictures taken by Ryan McGuire . You can find them on one page, not group. Just scroll down as the page loads and pick the one want. You are not required to credit the owner.

12. Sxc.hu

There is a variety of image restrictions. However, they offer a massive selection of images covering a wide spectrum including abstract, events, architecture etc. You can share photos whenever and however you want. Sorting can sometimes be a little difficult. The good news is that the search tool is straightforward and getting what you need is simple and fast.

13. DeviantArt

With over thirty million registered users, Deviant Art is the leading community in free image online communities. The work of photographers is under Creative Commons. You can use their images as long as you give them credit. There is wealth of high-resolution photos.

14. Photodune

They offer the best picture at reasonably low price. They have a collection of over four million. If you want your website to stand out then use Photodune.

15. GettyImages

This is probably the largest place to find free images online. In one month they upload up to thirty five million photos. They have a wonderful collection of people and capture different activities so perfectly. If you want to get the picture, click on the icon on it and then paste the code onto your target page.

These tools come in very handy whenever you are in need of a photo. You no longer have to hassle with Google trying a dozen keywords to find just one. These websites allow you access to a variety of relevant and high-resolution pictures.

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Quick question. What does royalty free mean? Does it mean copyright free? Nope.

Royalty free generally means that you pay a one-time fee in exchange for the right to use a photograph (or some other work protected by copyright, patent, or trademark) according to agreed upon terms, with no ongoing license fees due for further use. It does not mean that the work is copyright free. That’s a misconception.

Copyright free means just what it says — a copyright free work is not protected by copyright. While you might have to pay a fee to obtain a copy of the work, your use will not be restricted unless you’ve agreed that it will be (in an enforceable contract). The term “copyright free” is often used, mistakenly, where copyrighted works are licensed to the public for free ... but with some restrictions on use.

Free photos, not royalty free photos

Since this web site is about public domain works I don’t want to go off on a tangent. (Well, not a very big tangent, anyway.) That said, here’s a short list of 8 free photo sites. Not royalty free — free. (But not copyright free. You got that, right?)

I’ve checked out their license terms and conditions for you and summarized some of the important points here. (Which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read the license terms yourself!)

Common Content

Photo by Keith Martin (vortex.co.uk)

What’s there: An open catalog of Creative Commons licensed content (includes more than photos, by the way). Click on the Photographs category and peruse the resulting list. Then either do a keyword search or just click through to whatever looks interesting — you’ll land on a summary page that includes the applicable license terms. If they suit how you want to use the photo(s), go have a look.

Use/Restrictions: License terms will vary from creator to creator. So be sure to pay attention to the terms for any work you want to use. Creative Commons doesn’t mean public domain!

Copyright Free Photos

What’s there: This site offers “copyright free” photos in categories such as animals, technology, buildings, nature, etc.

Use/Restrictions: You may use the photos any way you wish except as part of a photo library of your own (either online or offline). Although the site states that the photos are “copyright (royalty) free” ... the use limitation shows that the owner intends to grant a license, not give up copyright. If the photos were truly free of copyright, you could do whatever you liked with them. Be careful when you read language like this.

DHD Multimedia Gallery

What’s there: Gallery of original stock photography (site also has clip-art, sounds, and video clips). Many of the photos are by amateurs, but don’t let that stop you from checking them out. As the site owners put it, “a little cropping and editing could lead to interesting results.”

Use/Restrictions: You may make personal or commercial use of the photos, provided you don’t redistribute or sell them, or pass them off as your own, and do give credit to the author (including in derivative works). Requested form of credit (with a link to the site’s home page, if possible): Author Name/DHD Multimedia Gallery. Also, you must not use the photos in any way that would harm or embarrass the authors, and you’re liable for any problems arising from your use. Last, the site’s owners ask you to contribute work of your own to the web, under similar terms, if and when you can. I hope you do.


What’s there: Large collection of high resolution photos (objects, places, animals, etc.) and textures (metals, wood, rock, etc.) for free download. Note that the images here are meant to be used as raw material for your own creative work (edited or not); they’re not meant to be standalone stock photos. One of the coolest things about the site is its abstract search function — use this when you don’t have a specific image in mind, but you know what kind of image you want.

Use/Restrictions: The photos may be used in personal and commercial works. You may also redistribute or sell their images and textures (altered or unaltered) as part of printed work. But you may not resell or redistribute the photos themselves, or use them to compete directly with Image*After. Note: The artists who donated the images to the site agreed to give up their rights to the images, implying that those rights were theirs to give away. If that turns out not to be the case in a given instance, be aware that the site’s owners and contributors have disclaimed all liability.

Morgue File

What’s there: Large collection of free high resolution stock photos and reference images contributed by many artists.

Use/Restrictions: The photos are free to use, including commercially, without permission or credit to the photographer. But note that you may not distribute or sell any photo on a standalone basis (or claim it as your own work), or use any photo in an offensive, indecent or objectionable manner (including libelous or defamatory uses). You also may not download the whole collection, or a substantial part of it, without morgueFile’s prior written consent, or use the photos to compete against morgueFile. Important: You’re responsible for the content of any photos you use — meaning that if a photo includes people or property you must get appropriate permissions.


What’s there: A growing repository of creative works from amateurs and professionals (not just photos, but video, music, audio clips, and other personal media). It’s like the Internet Archive for the general public — in fact, the Internet Archive provides free bandwidth and storage for the site.

Use/Restrictions: Creative Commons licenses prevail here, but some works are protected by traditional copyright. Your use of a particular work will depend on how it’s licensed (or not, as the case may be).


What’s there: Over 180,000 stock photos, in fifteen categories from “abstract” to “world.”

Use/Restrictions: The photos are free to use for personal or commercial work as long as you obey the restrictions for each photo you download. Specific restrictions are listed with each image. If you look directly under the photo you’ll see one of the following:

Where how and why to find good copyright free images without
  • Standard restrictions apply.
  • Standard restrictions apply and the photographer must be notified when using the photo for any public work.
  • Standard restrictions apply and the photographer must be notified and credited when using the photo for any public work.
  • Written permission is needed from the photographer before using the photo for any public work.

Note: You can use the advanced search to find unrestricted photos. Just choose No in the Restricted OK box. Although “unrestricted” seems to mean that the standard license applies.

Speaking of the standard license ... it allows you to use the photos for all sorts of purposes, from web sites and videos to magazines and books, but you must not sell or distribute the photos in any way. (In other words, don’t slap an image on a Cafepress t-shirt or coffee mug without getting written permission from the photographer.) Some other important points of the license are:

  • Don’t use the photos in trademarks, service marks, or logos.
  • You’re responsible for any copyright violations.
  • The photos are not guaranteed to be free and clear of copyright or other rights. (Some photos may need a model release or property release, for example.)

Since you assume the risk of using the photos, be sure to read the license terms yourself (ask a lawyer for help if you need it) ... and contact the photographer with any questions or concerns.