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The Web is Your Oyster: Where to Find Free-to-Use Images

We’ve recently noticed a number of sites that compile great images that are free to use for your personal projects — like your blog — or commercial work. Let’s take a peek.

For many of you, images are an integral part of your site. But sometimes, you might not have the right photograph to use for a post. As we’ve mentioned before, you can use the Creative Commons to search for images you need across the web, from Flickr to Wikimedia Commons, and source and attribute images that you find.

This spring, WordPress.com announced embed support for Getty Images, which means you can also access and share photos from Getty’s extensive library for non-commercial use.

We’ve recently noticed other sites that compile great images that are free to use for your personal projects — like your blog — or commercial work. Let’s take a peek.

Unsplash

This tumblelog of gorgeous high-resolution photos shares ten new photos every ten days. I’ve tapped into this site for many panoramic and establishing shots that have worked well for custom headers and featured images, as well as timeless images of cities, people, and moments. The abstract shots are also fitting for patterns and backgrounds.

Little Visuals

At Little Visuals, you can sign up to receive seven new high-res images in a zip file, each week. Click the green icon at the top left to search for specific images — for example, type “door” to see available photos of doors.

door

Death to the Stock Photo

A lot of stock photos out there are uninspiring, and this site wants to change that. A project by Allison Lehman and David Sherry, Death to the Stock Photo offers free monthly photos for your creative needs, personal or commercial. The pair shoots fresh, modern images, and then sends each new collection to their subscribers. Read their license for details.

The Pattern Library

The Pattern Library offers vibrant patterns for download. Just scroll down the page to see each pattern “slide” over the last one — it’s a fun way to browse patterns. Many of the selections are colorful and bold, while there are more subtle options, which work well for those seeking custom backgrounds.

Gratisography

Taken by artist Ryan McGuire of Bells Design, these stunning images are available for personal and commercial use. New photographs are added weekly and are also free of copyright restrictions.

Still want more to choose from? Here are additional options for free-to-use images. Note that a few options on the list require attribution.

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  1. Thanks for these! I’m going to update a post I did a couple of weeks ago with the other suggestions you’ve made.

    By the way, I have a couple on there which you haven’t listed. Try these :)

  2. I have been using stock photos with their watermarks on my blog and have been wondering if this is acceptable. . . Does anyone know if I am wrong?

    1. Well, they do put watermarks on to stop people using them ……
      As a sometime contributor to one microstock agency (Dreamstime) i have to say that the idea is that you have to pay for a watermark free version of the image.
      (but you will not be the first, nor the last person to use a watermarked photo !)

      1. I know that they put the watermarks to stop people from using the photos without buying them. But if I use the photos with the watermarks (thus showing where they are coming from) does that mean I am infringing any copyright?
        Thanks for the input.

    2. I’d suggest not using other people’s images without their permission or proper attribution, watermarked or not. The services/sites above are great in this regard, as you can use the images as you wish (without attribution).

      I know people steal photos all the time, but I suggest poking around these sites in this post for alternatives, and/or properly crediting/captioning images taken from the Creative Commons, as specified by the license of the image.

      1. I don’t want to steal anything :( I guess I will have a lot of editing to do on my blog now, but thanks for the information.

  3. This is so helpful. I really like when bloggers support bloggers by providing practical tips like this. It’s such a great thing to share what helps you :)

  4. I won’t use pinterest.com for this reason. I have no real idea what the origin is from any image. Someone may have “borrowed” this illegally and you cannot trust sources anymore. In legalities such as this, you would not be able to say “I got it from that guy” and not be liable just because someone else did take an image illegally. I say this because I know someone that was really burned once and he had to pay huge fines when sued later.

  5. Great post ! As a new blogger I’m unsure about what photos I can use and even more apprehensive about using them, so this is just what I needed !

  6. This article is awesome, almost like a prayer answered. It is so hard finding the perfect image that conveys and strengthens the message of your post. Thank you so much. :)