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7 Places to Find Free, Legal Images for the Web

Guest Bio: This post was written by Lior who works for an online task management start-up.

Everyone knows that the Web is a visual medium and that posts/pages with images stand out better than those with just text. However, finding images can be tricky, especially considering that most of the photos on the Web are copyright protected and using them could result in legal trouble.

Fortunately, there are many places on the Web that you can turn to find free, legal, photos and images that you can include in your posts.

Here are seven easy places that you can find images for use on your site.

1. Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is the media wing of Wikipedia and has thousands upon thousands of images under licenses from public domain, meaning free to use without restrictions, to various Creative Commons licenses. You can easily search for images by license type and quickly find something you can use on your site without worry.

2. Flickr Advanced Search

Flickr offers an advanced search tool that least you narrow your search to only works licensed under Creative Commons licenses. You can easily filter results by those works available for making derivative works or for commerical use, just by ticking the relevant check boxes.

3. Google Images Advance Search

As with Flickr, Google Image Search offers an advance search tool that lets you filter results based on license type. Using the provided dropdown, you can easily select the image rights that you need and find relevant images to your query. However, where Flickr routinely provides high-resolution images, Google Images has results of all sizes.

4. Stock.XCHNG

The Stock.XCHNG is the world’s largest free stock photo library. It contains nearly 400,000 images for reuse, most of which don’t require attribution and are available for commercial use. Nearly all images are available as high-resolution downloads if you sign up for a free account. The only word of caution is to make sure the photographer did not add extra restrictions, such as notice and attribution, before using an image.

5. MorgueFile

Similar to Stock.XCHNG, Morguefile is a free stock photo site where users upload and share their photos. Though it may not be as large as Stock.XCHNG, it is a much prettier site and has some very useful crop and rescale tools that eliminate much of the work one usually has to do offline when using free images. Also has great search tools to help you find images by size, date, color and more.

6. PicApp

Unlike the other sites on this list, PicApp doesn’t let you download the images for reuse but, instead, is an image embedding service aimed at those who want to add news or other timely images to their site. Great for news sites, gossip sites and anywhere else that needs photographs from journalists, PicApp’s only drawback is that it displays advertising over the image and embeds it in a JavaScript.

7. The Federal Government

It is a little-known fact that all works created by the federal government are placed into the public domain automatically, no need to wait for copyright to expire. If you can find images taken by government employees as part of their job, a good place to start being a relevant government site, you are free to use the image as you see fit.

All in all, there are so many freely-licensed images on the Web, there is little reason to use the works of others without permission. Almost certainly, if you search, you can find just the image you need without having to run the risk of a legal headache.

The only thing to be careful is to make sure that you complete the license and you should find countless artists and photographers very eager to have you use their work at no charge.

Guest Bio: This post was written by Lior who works for an online task management start-up.

Categories: Blogging Tips
Tags: , , , ,

This post was written by . You can visit the for a short bio, more posts, and other information about the author.

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  1. Dan Taylor says: 10/1/2010

    I love Stock.XCHNG but it worrys me that they are now part of iStockPhoto who have been recently selling photos that they dont have the rights to distribute.


  2. Jean Sarauer ) says: 10/1/2010

    Thanks for sharing this list. I also like


  3. Roy Scribner ) says: 10/1/2010

    This is a great list, Lior! I mostly use Wikimedia and Flickr CC content, but I am always looking for additional photo sources.


  4. Phil ) says: 10/1/2010

    Glad I found this, I have been looking for good free picture websites. Sometimes I spend more time looking for images than writing my blog posts. Thanks again!


  5. Joe Boyle ) says: 10/3/2010

    It really doesn’t matter where you get the images from, just as long as you give credit. Images do, in fact, make a huge part of your website, so most people will understand you using their images if you don’t claim them as yours.

    It’s kind of like writing an article. If you give credit and use quotes, you can use text from ANYBODIES writing. Otherwise, it’s plagiarism.


  6. John ) says: 10/5/2010

    Thanks for the list. Stock.XCHNG has been my first option. I had not heard of Morguefile, but it looks good.

    Stay blessed…john


  7. Aydin says: 10/12/2010

    Wikimedia Commons + Flickr super


  8. Didier Daglinckx says: 11/2/2010 can help you.


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  10. Sam says: 11/22/2010

    Thanks for putting these resources together.
    Very useful. I’ve come across one more site offering free images Thank you


  11. Coach Sean says: 11/24/2010

    Thanks for the great list of resources.


  12. paul says: 12/20/2010

    does anybody know the exact time SEO Netlinks is coming out? i heard it’s an amazing way to generate tons of traffic


  13. Maia says: 8/21/2012

    I was really confussing of how to find a free image on the internet because mostly of them are copyrighted. Thanks for share this useful post.


  14. Cris DeRaud says: 8/8/2013

    A good alternative to sxc is


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