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Mar 20, 2017

So you want free images for your blog

  • Posted by Tim McLarty
  • Comments Off

Images on a blog or article just make it more enjoyable to read.  That’s a fact.  The images help a visual mind immediately key in on the subject matter.  And they divide up large blocks of copy so your brain has a chance to segment and understand what you’ve just read, or are about to read.

Legally using stock images is very important

Legally using stock images is very important

But if you’ve ever received a threatening legal action email or letter from a stock image company, you know the implications of using someone else’s image can be costly. And let’s be honest, if someone took the time to create an image worthy of being included in your article, don’t they deserve some compensation?

The compensation for using an image is not always money.  Often it’s just the courtesy of crediting the creator of the image, but be very clear that that is sufficient.  There are a number of sites that allow you to find and use images.  But the usage for them is also very clearly printed on those sites.

Because of the large number of images we use each month, and the quality requirements, we simply pay a service and purchase the right to use those images for whatever the purpose happens to be.   But if you still want to kick some tires and see what’s out there in the cyberstock universe, here are some possible resources made known to us through the online publication, Inc.

These “free” sites also include public domain images; images that are old enough to have outlived their creators and the families never bothered to pursue ownership.  In Canada, the time frame is “50 years from publication or 75 years from creation, whichever is shorter (anonymous works) and 70 years from date of publication (sound recordings and performances).  Source “the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)”.

Artists who issue their work under “creative commons” can choose how their work will be re-used.  CCO waives pretty much all rights.  While CC2.0 requires attribution of the creator when being re-used.

Here are the list of photo resources to choose from:

Creative Commons 0 (CC0) and Public Domain image sites.

1. Pixabay–A huge database of public domain images

2. New Old Stock–Vintage photos from the public archives

3. Unsplash–10 new high-quality photos released every 10 days. Released under the CC0 license.

4. Foodie’s Feed–High-res food images. Free to use without attribution; however, the may not be resold.

5. Death to the Stock Photo–Free images for commercial use. Delivered monthly to your inbox. You do not have the right to claim these photos as your own.

6. Magdeleine–One free high-res photo every day (and access to a full repository of images). Use the handy filter to find images that are either public domain or require attribution.

7. Public Domain Archive–All images are completely free for personal or commercial use, no link or attribution required. I personally use this for my latest startup Due for some of the amazing whitepaper images that we’re putting together for the big launch.

8. Good Free Photos - Public domain images taken by the owner of the site. Offers some good location-based images.

9. Free Range Stock–Free high-res images, registration required. It is suggested you link back to the site and give credit to the photographer, but it isn’t required. You cannot resell, distribute, or claim ownership of the images.

10. Pickup Image–Searchable database of public domain images.

11. Photogen–Free for personal or commercial use, but not suitable for resale or redistribution.

12. Gratisography–Free collection of amazing images taken by photographer Ryan McGuire. All photos provided under CC0.

13. Skitterphoto–License-free photos, free to use under CC0.

14. Life of Pix–High-quality, public domain images with no copyright restrictions.

15. Pexels–Searchable database of CC0 images.


16. Morgue File–A huge repository of free photos. You’re free to use the images for personal or commercial purposes, but you cannot claim ownership of them.

17. SplitShire–Free photos with no copyright restrictions.

18. 1 Million Free Pictures–Free amateur public domain images. What they sometimes lack in quality they make up for in quantity.

19. pdpics–Public domain images taken by their in-house team of photographers.

20. Flickr: Creative Commons–Access to all Flickr photos sorted by license. This allows you to find images under the public domain, non-commercial license, attribution license, etc. Make sure you select ‘Public Domain’ to find images that don’t require attribution.

Good luck with your image shopping.  Remember to always go through the site’s usage details so there are no complications down the road.   And happy image hunting!