searching for free images

Searching for Public Domain Images – List of Best Websites

Last updated June 2, 2018

Why Add A Featured Image?

If you are writing a product review or a post targeting something specific, then an image of your topic makes perfect sense and finding the right image is pretty straightforward. However, there are many times that the topic is more conceptual and you want the featured image to impart an emotive or cognitive flavor.

“What problem am I solving by adding a featured image?”

Featured images are a draw, or lure, like the cover of a book. The image needs to match, make sense, and attract. The featured image is a hook that grabs the reader’s attention and helps to keep them on the page.

Paid or Free?

If you are an artist or have one on staff, then you can have the perfect image created for you. For the rest of us, we need access to photographs and other artwork. You can get stock photos, depending on the source and subscription options, anywhere from .50 cents to $10 each. Paid catalogs are often much larger and better indexed. However, if you are reading this post then you are interested in the free options. Free options are sometimes eclectic, and not indexed as well, so expect to do more searching for the right fit.

Usage Rights and Licenses

Here is a list of sites that have photographs and images that you can use for your website.  Some have images in the Public Domain, some have a CC0 license, and others allow personal or commercial use, but have their own license.

Public Domain:  Images in the public domain are images whose intellectual property rights have expired, been forfeited, or are inapplicable. You can read about public domain works at Wikipedia.

CC0:  Images with a Creative Commons Zero license have had all rights waived to the extent allowed by law.  You can read about the CC0 license at the Creative Commons website.

Per-site License:  You should check the conditions of usage before downloading images from sites that have their own license. The sites listed below allow image use for many circumstances, but your needs may vary.

Note that if the image is a picture of a person then you should check to see if you need a model release.  If the image depicts a trademark or other copyright image then you should acknowledge that trademark and may need other permissions.

I’ve tried to pick sites that have free to use images, without the need for attribution. Also, if figuring out the license terms was confusing or difficult to find, then I skipped that site and did not add it.

Check the license and usage rights of each image you download. Although I’ve tried to be accurate, you are responsible for images you use.  You may want to cite the source of the image or keep notes on image sources for your records.

The List

1 Million Free Pictures

1 million free pictures

Free photos that were taken by Toper Domingo.  Public domain.

Public Domain

1 Million Free Pictures

Brust

burst

Free stock photos powered by Shopify.

CC0 License

Brust

cc0.photo

cc0.photo

Public domain photos.

Public Domain

cc0.photo

Coverr

coverr

Short, free videos for your website.

Coverr license - free to use for personal and commercial purposes with restrictions

Coverr

Focus Fitness

focus fitness

Fitness, weight loss, and food photos.

Public Domain

Focus Fitness

Foodiesfeed

foodiesfeed

Free realistic food images in high resolution.

CC0 License

Foodiesfeed

FreeImages

freeimages

Browse thousands of free photos and illustrations.

FreeImages License - Free for Personal and Commercial use with restrictions

FreeImages

GoodFreePhotos

goodfreephotos

A gallery of unique stock photos.

Public Domain

GoodFreePhotos

Gratisography

gratisphotography

Free hi-resolution quirky photos taken by Ryan McGuire.

CC0 License

Gratisography

ImageBase

imagebase

Free stock images.

Totally free for personal or commercial use with exceptions

ImageBase

ISO Republic

iso republic

Free stock photos for creatives.

CC0 License

ISO Republic

Jay Mantri

jay mantri

Free photos from Jan Mantri. Make magic.

CC0 License

Jay Mantri

KaboomPics

kaboompics

Free images of the highest quality.

Free for personal and commercial use with restrictions

KaboomPics

Library of Congress

library of congress

The Library of Congress catalog of prints and photographs has a large number of images organized by collection.

Many collections are CC0, but each collection has a "Rights and Restrictions" link. Not all images are free from copyright.

Library of Congress

Life of Pix

life of pix

Photographs submitted by various photographers.

CC0 License

Life of Pix

Morguefile

morguefile

Free images for creatives, by creatives.

Free for personal or commercial use.

Morguefile

New Old Stock

new old stock

Vintage photographs from public archives.

Public Domain

New Old Stock

New York Public Library

new york public library digital collection

Photos, magazines, and other digital files.

Public Domain

New York Public Library

PDPics

pdpics

PDPics.com is a repository of free public domain pictures.

Public Domain

PDPics

Pexels

pexels

All photographs are free for personal and commercial use.

CC0 License

Pexels

Photogen

photogen

Quality, high-res free stock photos, and images.

Photogen License - free for personal or commercial use with restrictions

Photogen

PhotoRack

photorack

Free stock photos.

Free for personal and commercial projects.

PhotoRack

Photos Public Domain

photos public domain

Photos and clip art.

Public Domain

Photos Public Domain

PickupImage

pickupimage

Free public domain photographs.

Public Domain

PickupImage

Picography

picography

Free images to use however you like.

CC0 License

Picography

Pixabay

pixabay

Free images and videos you can use anywhere.

CC0 License

Pixabay

Pixnio

pixnio

High-quality copyright friendly images with no restriction for their use.

Public Domain

Pixnio

Public Domain Archive

public domain archive

Everything you need for your creative projects.

Public Domain

Public Domain Archive

SplitShire

splitshire

Free stock photos and images.

Free for personal and commercial use with some restrictions

SplitShire

Startup Stock Photos

Free photos for startups, bloggers, publishers, websites, designers, developers, creators, and everyone else.

CC0 License

Startup Stock Photos

StockSnap

stocksnap

Beautiful stock photos.

CC0 License

StockSnap

Stokpic

stokpic

Free stock photos.

Stokpic License - Basically You can do anything apart from redistribute.

Stokpic

Unprofound

unprofound

Public domain images contributed by designers.

Public Domain

Unprofound

Unsplash

unsplash

Free high-resolution photos.

Unsplash License - Free of personal and commercial use with some restrictions

Unsplash

Viintage

viintage

Vintage graphics.

Public Domain

Viintage

VisualHunt

visualhunt

Image aggregation across multiple CC0 image sites.

CC0 License

VisualHunt