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List of Public Domain and Free Images for Articles and eBooks

Updated on April 9, 2017

Not only do images make websites, eBooks, or articles look better, they're also beneficial from an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) standpoint. Image captions can be a great way to sneak in some keywords (be careful to avoid spamming). Images also get picked up by search engines and you may get traffic through Google Images.

Finding images can be a bit of a challenge. Images legally belong to their creators. You will violate copyright laws if you randomly pull images off the web. If you have Google Adsense ads on your website or blog, they are considered to be commercial. If you plan to sell an eBook that is also a commercial use. Many images available on the web either can't legally be used or they can't be used for commercial purposes. The following is a list of some ways to find images for legal use.

What is Public Domain?

Public domain images no longer have any copyright or legal restrictions, so they can be used freely for any purpose, including commercial. Images are either in the public domain because their copyright has expired or because the creator chose to give up their intellectual property rights to the image.

Create a collection of personal photos for use in articles or eBooks
Create a collection of personal photos for use in articles or eBooks

Take Your Own Pictures

This is one option many people don't consider. I regularly take pictures that I think might be useful at some point. If you write on a limited number of topics you will have a good idea of what images may be useful to you.

Open Clip Art Library

The Open Clip Art Library openclipart.org is a great source for quality public domain clip art and vector graphics. The website says that all clip art can be used in any project for free. But it also says:

"Unless noted, content on this site is waived of all copyright."

So, you should double check and make sure the image can be used.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons has permission information for each image. It will tell you if images are in the public domain and why.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

Pixabay

Pixabay.com has user submitted public domain images. The website already has over 20,000 images and clipart. Most of the images are high quality. This is a great starting point for eBook authors and article writers. According to the website:

"You can freely use any image from this website in digital and printed format for personal and commercial use without attribution to the original author."

Flickr

Flickr is a photo sharing community that is "home to over five billion of the world’s photos." The nice thing about Flickr is the advanced search feature. You can limit your search to only images that can be used for commercial purposes. A lot of images on Flickr come with restrictions. You may have to credit your source to use them.

Free Digital Photos

Free Digital Photos has a large number of high quality images. You will have to give credit to use these pictures. You will see Attribution Required next to each picture. You should use both the credit and a url to the picture.

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Wpclipart

Wpclipart.com has both images and clipart. All are in the public domain.

"WPClipart is an ever-growing collection of artwork for schoolkids and others that is free of copyright concerns as well as safe from inappropriate images. Use in school research and reports is my main focus when creating, or finding and editing -- but there are photos and clips here that work great for commercial uses, book illustrations, office presentations, and some just for fun."

Public Domain Pictures

Public Domain Pictures is a good source of both free and paid images. When you do a search the public domain images come up on top. Before downloading you can check the licensing information that comes with each picture to ensure that the image is public domain.

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/

Government Agencies

Most images taken by public employees are in the public domain. There are some restrictions however when an image has a picture of a person who is not a public figure. Some options are NASA, the CIA Factbook, the Library of Congress, the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior. You have to be cautious with these websites. Photos taken by public employees are usually public domain. However, that does not mean that all images used on government websites are public domain. They may be stock photos purchased for use on the website.

Do you have any recommendations for finding free images?

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    • RobertDCrandell profile image

      RobertDCrandell 5 years ago

      Great hub!

    • profile image

      icountthetimes 5 years ago

      What in invaluable post. I'm new here and it really helps to know that there are places I can find public domain images. Thanks.

    • remaniki profile image

      Rema T V 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      Hi LTW,

      Great hub. The images for my hubs have always been the most difficult part, now I have a fair idea as to where I can get them from. Thanks very much for sharing.

      Cheers

      Rema

    • profile image

      Levertis Steele 5 years ago

      This information is so helpful!

      Thanks for sharing.

    • ssteinberger profile image

      ssteinberger 5 years ago

      Great collection - thanks! My recommendation: Pixabay.com - it's another resource for public domain images. My personal favorite.

    • JaneA profile image

      JaneA 5 years ago from California

      Great hub - glad I found it!

    • collegedad profile image

      collegedad 4 years ago from The Upper Peninsula

      Just what I've been looking for!

    • profile image

      Ronald 4 years ago

      nice list , i also suggest http://www.deffe.com , you can share them on custom domain name like, username.deffe.com

    • macteacher profile image

      Wendy Golden 4 years ago from New York

      This is very helpful, thank you. I take a lot of my own pictures and draw some very bad cartoons, but there are times when I need a photo or clip art that I can't create myself. This hub is a great resource and I am bookmarking it for future reference. Thumbs up!

    • Learn Things Web profile image
      Author

      Learn Things Web 4 years ago from California

      macteacher,

      I take a lot of images too but I never seem to have what I really want. So, these sites are very helpful.

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

      Thanks for these excellent sites! I'm using stockfreeimages and 123rf. I prefer the first one. Will check out your sites, too. Thanks!! Sharing this one.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      This is valuable information for me. Finding free images for my hubs has always been one of my main problems. Voted up and sharing.

    • joanwz profile image

      Joan Whetzel 4 years ago from Katy, Texas

      YEs!!! THanks for this. I'm saving it on my favorites. Good to have this information.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Great information. Thanks for pulling it all together.

    • Learn Things Web profile image
      Author

      Learn Things Web 4 years ago from California

      beingwell,

      I hadn't heard of stockfreeimages before. It looks really good.

    • Learn Things Web profile image
      Author

      Learn Things Web 4 years ago from California

      Thanks Paul Kuehn, phdast7 and joanwz. I'm glad to help.

    • CZCZCZ profile image

      CZCZCZ 4 years ago from Oregon

      Thanks for the excellent resource to use. voted up.

    • Learn Things Web profile image
      Author

      Learn Things Web 4 years ago from California

      Thanks CZCZCZ.

    • easylearningweb profile image

      Amelia Griggs 3 years ago

      Thanks for this list and sharing, Learn Things Web!

    • Learn Things Web profile image
      Author

      Learn Things Web 3 years ago from California

      Your welcome easylearningweb.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I always check to see if a site has image usage information specified, or copyright mentioned, before I use an image from another site. However, I always thought that government sites were public domain since tax payers paid for photographers to take those pictures. But you corrected my understanding. I never knew that they may purchase photos for use on a government website, and those pictures may be protected by copyright. Thanks for a well-written article with lots of useful information.

    • Learn Things Web profile image
      Author

      Learn Things Web 3 years ago from California

      Glenn,

      There are a lot of stock photos used on government sites. These sites will often have credit info for pictures they've taken, so those should be ok to use.

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 3 years ago from United States

      Will bookmark this and share this here and on my Facebook feed to my friends. Thanks for the wonderful info! :)

    • Learn Things Web profile image
      Author

      Learn Things Web 3 years ago from California

      Thanks FullOfLoveSites

    • LCDWriter profile image

      L C David 3 years ago from Florida

      Still my favorite list of safe and public domain graphics.

    • Learn Things Web profile image
      Author

      Learn Things Web 3 years ago from California

      Thanks LCDWriter.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      Some great free photo websites listed here. I always like to expand my list of possible free photo sites and I appreciate the time and work you went to here to put this together. Thank you!

    • Learn Things Web profile image
      Author

      Learn Things Web 3 years ago from California

      Thanks Au fait.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 2 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Thank you very much for these awesome resources.

    • Learn Things Web profile image
      Author

      Learn Things Web 2 years ago from California

      You're welcome ItayaLightbourne.

    • Easy Exercise profile image

      Kelly A Burnett 2 years ago from United States

      Learn Things Web,

      Excellent view of free images and very much needed for Hubbers and fellow bloggers. Thank you very much! Voted up!

    • Learn Things Web profile image
      Author

      Learn Things Web 2 years ago from California

      Thanks Easy Exercise

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