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10 Royalty-Free Image Sources You Haven't Heard Of

Updated on August 1, 2014

We've all heard of Flickr Advanced Search, Publicdomainpictures, and the Wikimedia Commons. We've all used them, and they're all great. But have you ever found yourself asking whether there's more out there available to the blogging/writing community? Of course there is, silly! I've collected ten of my favorite sources for images that I use for a myriad of purposes, from article writing to graphic design and everything in between.

All of these websites give some indication in the way of usage rights for the images they offer, and I've tried to include that in this list so you can be sure they'll have what you're looking for.


Feed-style Sources

These sources are set up a bit like a tumblr blog. The pictures appear in a feed on the home page when they're uploaded to the web site, and they may or may not be searchable. If you see something you like go ahead and bookmark it while you can in case you need it later.

1. Gratisography

No attribution required.

Some really nice high resolution photos here, all taken by Ryan McGuire. Some are just downright beautiful! I highly recommend you keep a close eye on Gratisography. I can see all sorts of potential uses for so many of the photos just by scrolling past the jump.

2. New Old Stock

No attribution required.

Vintage photos! All of the photos on New Old Stock are out of copyright, and would be perfect for a historical fiction book cover or a historical article.

3. Superfamous

Attribution required.

Folkert Gorter's photography. Mostly nature, but all high quality and beautiful. Be sure to leave credit if you use them.

4. Unsplash

No attribution required.

This one's an actual tumblr blog! Some beautiful nature scenes as well as some urban ones. This blog puts ten new photos up every month. The tagline says, "do whatever you want", but since they inform you of who the photographer is it would be nice to at least mention his or her name.

5. picjumbo

No attribution required.

Not only is picjumbo easily searchable, but they also have a photoshop plugin so you can easily get images to use in your graphic design projects while you're working on them. There's a very wide variety of photos available. Once again, the photographer's name is available. it doesn't say you have to, but it would be a good idea to drop their name.


Aggregation-style Sources

These sources are a lot like stock photo websites, and are in many cases put together by user submissions. They're searchable, and the license will vary from photo to photo. Make sure you check it first!


Attribution required

All photos are either public domain or creative commons, and there's a very wide variety available. The site operates quite a bit like Pinterest.


Attribution requirements vary. has an amazing catalog of photos. I haven't used it that much, but I used to search it at least once a day for articles I was working on as well as possible ideas for future book covers.


Newsletter-style Sources

Sources like these are my favorites because they usually contain a higher quality of photos. I'd say that's probably because each one is only available for a small amount of time, but I don't know much about the business. In newsletter-style photo sources an email is sent out either weekly or monthly with a collection of high quality photos that are free to use. I save every single one because I never know when I'll need it.

8. Dreamstime Weekly Free Image

Attribution and licensing varies by image.

Dreamstime sends out a newsletter every week with one free image. I've gotten hold of a couple of my favorites for design projects this way. I highly recommend that you sign up.

9. Death to the Stock Photo

No attribution required.

High quality images free for commercial and personal use delivered to your inbox monthly!

10. Little Visuals

No attribution required.

With Little Visuals, a .zip file containing seven free images is sent to your inbox once a week. That's an image for every day!

So there you have it! Ten incredible image sources you can use for blog posts, articles, web design, book cover design, and more! Now there's no excuse to have crappy cell-phone pics on your posts anymore--unless your article is about finding the Jersey Devil or something and the only pictures you could take of him were crappy and on your cell phone which usually seems to be the case.

Do you have any more amazing photo royalty free photo sources that you like to use that I didn't mention on the list? Maybe I haven't heard of them! Share them with us in the comments below. After all, this is an article for image sources you haven't heard of.

Do you make regular use of any of the sources mentioned above?

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