Find Totally Free Photos, Pictures and Clipart: List of Over 60 Sites, Rated
It can be frustrating finding the perfect picture to use for your website, article or blog. You're tempted just to search google images and take what you find there. But, beware!! Most images you'll find just doing a web search have a copyright, and you CAN'T USE THEM! You may say, well what are the chances the photographer or artist is going to see it on my website? Well, in case you didn't know, there are programs now where you can scan a picture (to check your own photo, for example, if you're a photographer) and then do a check on the internet to see if it is being used anywhere. If an artist finds you using their copy protected work without permission, they can sue you, and more and more are doing so. The fines can be well over $1000 per use, so let's not go there.
Better to be safe than sorry, so you want to find a royalty free picture to use that is free to download. Note that "royalty free" is not the same as free! That just means that you don't have to pay to use it multiple times or over a period of time. But, never fear! There are dozens of sites where you can find royalty free pics that you can download for free to use for personal or commercial purposes!! In my travels around the net, I have come across over 50 such sites, and here I will share them with you.
When visiting these free photos sites, be aware that most of them host another photos site or two that DOES require payment for their pictures. It is a way for the site to make some money by featuring the paying site's photos along with their own. This means that there will often be a row of pictures above or below the free photos (or both) that are NOT free, but will send you to a for profit site when you click on their photo. You have to look at your page carefully to determine which photos are from the free site.
Also, watch out for pictures with logos or identifiable companies in them. Even a photo with a Coke can could cause an issue. Try to avoid using photos that represent companies, such as a photo of a brand name running shoe, for example, or the store front of a business where you can see the sign, etc. These names and logos are copyrighted and you should not use them without permission.
All the photos I am using on this article are from the sources given here. I will credit photographer (when possible) and site, for illustration. You can see what cool photos you can find for free!
One little tip:
When I download a photo to my computer, I usually change the name of the photo to whatever I want it to be. When I do that, I also add a little code to the end of the photo title. For example, if it comes from stockxchng I'll put stx at the end of the name. If it's from morguefile, I'll put mf, etc. That way, if you are ever questioned on a photo that you've used, you will know where you got it.
I will list all of the photo sites that I am aware of where you can download and use the photos, free of charge. I will state under the link if you have to cite the artist or website, but still check, as they may change the rules in the future. I will also rate each site on quantity of photos and ease of use. The factors going into the ease of use score will be searchability and ease of download. Both ratings will be 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. (this is just meant to be a rough guide, my opinions are subjecetive!) If you visit these sites and find that the link doesn't work, or the information I've given is in error or has changed, please let me know so I can fix it. I want this list to be useful to hubbers and anyone else who uses it.
Remember, you are responsible to check for yourself that the art is free to download and use, as I could have overlooked something, or the rules can change. This happened to one site I had used in the past (photos8.com) where the photos were free. Then the owner decided to put banners in the corner of every photo, and you have to pay to get them without the mark now. (nice photos there, if you don't mind the water mark, though)
Hopefully this list will enable you to find the perfect picture for your hub, website or project without getting into any trouble! If you know of or come across a good site not listed here with free, royalty-free photos, let me know and I will add it in!
- Free Clip Art Sourcebook
Great resource for free vintage clipart, with hundreds of links to explore. No attribution required, expired copyrights. Quantity Score:3 Ease of Use:4
- Library of Congress
Public domain photos. No attribution required. Good for historical photos and art. Quantity Score: 5 Ease of Use: 4
Public domain photos. You can use for anything with no attribution. Quantity Score: 2 Ease of Use: 3
Public domain photos and clip art. By clicking on your picture, you can edit it there on the site. Attribution not required. Quantity Score: 3 Ease of Use: 4
Public domain photos and clipart. Attribution not required. Quantity Score: 4 Ease of Use: 5
- All Free Clipart
Does not guarantee that you can use for commercial (business/profit) use. Free to download clipart images, organized by category. Attribution not required. Quantity Score: 3 Ease of Use: 3
Free to download and use, 30,000 clipart pictures and graphics. Don't get confused, this site sponsors iClipart, which is not free! Attribution not requred. Quantity Score: 4 Ease of Use: 4
Lots and lots of free pictures! Check upper right of photo under "Photo details". Some artists ask that you credit them. Otherwise, no attribution required, but names of artists are there under photo details. Quantity Score: 5 Ease of Use: 5 .
Wonderful site with tons of photos, that don't require attribution. Names of photographers are there, however. Quantity Score: 4 Ease of Use: 5
- Wikimedia Commons
This is a great resource, with thousands searchable photos and graphics. For this site, many pictures are in the public domain, and do not require attribution, but check each photo to be sure. Quantity Score: 5 Ease of Use: 4
- Photo Rack
Lots of pictures, in categories and subcategories. You have to search through those to find what you want. Click the very tiny link below the picture to download. Free to use, without attribution as far as I can tell. Quantity Score: 4 Ease of Use: 2
Loads of photos here. Each photo has its own license status. You have to check to the right of the picture for information on how it can be used, but I notice that a lot of them are public domain. Quantity Score: 5 Ease of Use: 5
- Free Images
Not a lot here, but nice photos. Also, the categories are a little restrictive. You're required to link to the site on your photo. Quantity Score: 1 Ease of Use: 5
- Free Stock Photography
Not a big selection, but good quality and totally free. Attribution not required. Quantity Score: 2 Ease of Use: 4
- Free Nature Photos
Nice collection of photos of trees, birds and water/ocean. Image attribution beneath each photo. Quantity Score:2 Ease of Use:5
- Karen's Whimsy
A site mostly with images from old books whose copyright has expired. Old-fashioned images, fairies and fantasy, children's and whimsical type images. No attribution required, but she would appreciate a link. Quantity Score: 2 Ease of Use: 4
- Public Domain Photos
Free to use public domain photos and clipart. No attribution needed. Quantity Score: 3 Ease of Use: 5
- Web Weaver's Free Clipart
Free to use clipart. No attribution required. Quantity Score: 3 Ease of Use: 4
- Public Domain Pictures
Free to use public domain pictures. Check each picture if you want to use commercially. Otherwise, attribution not required. Quantity Score: 5 Ease of Use: 5
- Free Digital Photos
Lets you download the smaller versions of its pictures for free, larger sizes for sale. Attribution is required (link). Click on "Acknowledgement required" link to the right of every photo. Quantity Score: 4 Ease of Use: 4
- Free Photos Web
Not so many pics, and not too easy to find. Click on search to get to a keyword directory, the search box doesn't seem to come up with many results. Quantity Score: 2 Ease of Use: 2
- Creativity 103
This is a nice collection of design elements, such as background images, textures, and shapes. They ask for a link back if you use for commercial purposes, websites or printed material. Some really cool images here! Quantity Score: 3 Ease of Use: 4
- NASA Images
Very cool pictures of space, aeronautics and astronauts. Click on the little "export" button in upper right corner to download. Free to use for any purpose for free, no attribution required. Quantity Score: 4 Ease of Use: 3
- Abstract Influence
Lots of unique shots. There is a search box, but if they don't have what you're asking for, you end up on another site where you have to pay. Doesn't say attribution required. Hard to navigate, but good photos. Quantity Score: 2 Ease of Use: 2
- Free Image Files
Free for personal and commercial use. They ask for a backlink if you use on your website. No search box, though, you have to look through them. Quantity Score: 3 Ease of Use: 2
- Free Victorian Graphics
Free Victorian graphics, top quality, of ladies, girls, angels, calling cards, animals, and more. You need to credit the website and provide a link back, but these are all free to use. Quantity Score: 2 Ease of Use: 4
Public domain clipart, no need for attribution. Quantity Score:4 Ease of Use:5
- Insect Images
Free to use for non-commercial use without attribution. If you're looking for bugs, here they are! Quantity Score: 5 Ease of Use: 5
Photos for personal, non-commercial use only. Good for photos from around the world. Doesn't say you have to give attribution, but all have the name of the photographer on them, so it would be fair to credit them. Quantity Score: 4 Ease of Use: 4
- Free Photos Bank
These are categorized, and also have an advanced search option where you can put terms to find your picture. Doesn't say you need to credit pictures, but some have the name of the photographer beneath it. Quantity Score: 4 Ease of Use: 5
- Free Nature Pictures
Not a whole lot, but beautiful nature pictures, including beaches, mountains, animals and landscapes. Free to use with a link. Quantity Score: 2 Ease of Use: 4
- Icons Etc.
Royalty free and free to use without attribution clipart. Over 128,000 images, mostly symbols and icon type. Quantity Score:5 Ease of Use:3
- White House Official Photography
Free to use without attribution. Pictures of white house, government, politicians and the presidents. There's a search box, but it seems a little awkward to use. Quantity Score:4 Ease of Use:2
- U.S. History Images
Mostly pictures and photos that are in the public domain, all having to do with United States history. Categories listed to find pictures. No search box. Quantity Score: 2 Ease of Use: 3
Fee to use photos for almost any purpose, no attribution required. Drop down box of categories seems to work better than search box, since they have good thumbnails. Good pics, though! Quantity Score: 3 Ease of Use: 3
- PD Photo
Mostly public domain photos (check each photo to be sure) to be used for commercial free purposes. No attribution required, but asks for linkback. Some nice photos here! Quantity Score: 4 Ease of Use: 5
Fourteen categories (search box doesn't seem to turn up much) of free to use photos. Must provide link to site. Quantity Score: 2 Ease of Use: 3
- Free Food Photos
Lots of food photos, nice and bright. You may use these for almost any purpose, but must provide link back to site. Quantity Score: 2 Ease of Use: 4
- National Park Service Images
Free to use without attribution, these images are organized by the national park they come from. No search box, but some terrific photos. Quantity Score: 4 Ease of Use:4
- The Vintage Moth..
Nice blog with tons of free to use clipart. No attribution required, all are vintage images. Quantity Score:4 Ease of Use:4
- Free MediaGoo
Photos in a dozen categories, free to use for personal or commercial purposes. No attribution required. Quantity Score: 2 Ease of Use: 3
- Wildlife Pictures
Some beautiful photos, mostly from Africa, of all kinds of wildlife. A section of free stock pictures that you can use for any purpse under Creative Commons license. Check the photo before use to credit properly. Quantity Score: 2 Ease of Use: 4
Photos from around the world. They are separated by category, but there's no search box, so you sort of have to sift through them. You're asked to credit the photographer and the website. Quantity Score: 2 Ease of Use: 2
- NOAA Photo Library
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration photos. Lots of nature, coastline and weather related images. Must attribute to NOAA and cite photographer, if there is one indicated on the photo. Quantity Score: 3 Ease of Use: 3
- Geograph Britain and Ireland
Photos from around Britain. Pretty good search box. Licensed under creative commons license. You have to give credit to the photographer, whose name is under each photo. Quantity Score: 3 Ease of Use: 4
- Antarctic Photo Library
Free to use photos of Antarctica, with animals, landscapes, people, etc. Must credit photographer and National Science Foundation. Quantity Score: 2 Ease of Use: 3
- Flickr: Creative Commons
Flickr lets people offer their work to the public for free. Search photos on everything imaginable. Click on "see more" under the license you wish to browse to get the search box. Most require attribution of some kind. Quantity Score: 5 Ease of Use:5
- A Digital Dreamer
Nice little collection of free stock photos, categorized, but no search feature. Free to use without attribution. Quantity Score: 3 Ease of Use: 3
- Free Vintage Images on Pinterest
This Pinterest user has a page filled with copyright expired ads, postcards and vintage ephemera. Does appear to be "free", but please take care to be sure your selection is. Ask the pinterest poster, if necessary. Quantity Score: 3 Ease of Use: 4
- Kave Wall
Nice, bright and macro pictures, organized by category, but no search box. Creative commons license, so you should credit the site or photographer, if they are listed. Lots of cool photos and backgrounds here! Quantity Score: 3 Ease of Use: 5
This site is set up to help you find a photo by its primary color, but there is a search box for terms as well. Free to use, "no strings attached". Quantity Score: 3 Ease of Use: 5
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Photos
Fish, wildlife, coastal, people, habitats, etc. It is asked that photographers get credit, if there is one listed. Advanced search page. Quantity:5 Ease of Use:4
- Photos for Churches
Collection of photos in churches, candles, religion and education categories. Attribution underneath each photo. Quantity Score:2 Ease of Use:5
Six categories, but no search box. Photos are free to use, no attribution required. Quantity Score: 1 Ease of Use: 2
Over 19,000 photos, free to use for private or commercial use. Mostly travel and nature shots. No attribution required. Quantity Score: 3 Ease of Use: 4
Nice collection of free stock photos for any use, no attribution required. This is a good one! Quantity Score: 5 Ease of Use: 5
- Open Photo
Lots of high quality photos with search box, but licensing varies. Check license to the right of each photo. Quantity Score: 3 Ease of Use: 4
Photos with categories and a tags cloud below, and search box. Requires link to site. Quantity Score: 3 Ease of Use: 4
Travel photos from around the world. Categorized by region, but no search box. Requires link back to site. Quantity Score: 2 Ease of Use: 3
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