Top 10 Sites for Copyright and Royalty Free Images and Photos

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How “Free” Is a Free Photograph?

Some websites allow you to download pictures for private use (e.g. background wallpapers) yet disallow images to be used commercially. This includes instances as business cards, websites, or posters. The websites below are protected under Creative Commons CC0.




The following websites either support or are fully composed of, CC0 images available in the public domain. The owners of these images have allowed users to modify, edit, and use their images without copyright backlash.

creative commons license

Two things concerning common courtesy when using CC0 images: 1) although you do not have to give credit to the creator, it’s recommended that you do so in order to publicize the artists’ efforts, and 2) these websites often have a Donate page or splash screen. If you use free image hosting sites often, consider donating to their cause.

Now that that’s all out of the way, here are the websites you need to bookmark for quality, copyright-free images.

1. Freerange




freerange stock photos

Once you register for a free membership at Freerange, thousands of high-resolution stock photos will be at your fingertips at no cost. All of the website’s images can be used for personal or commercial projects. For photographers, Freerange also offers Google AdSense revenue sharing when you contribute.




 

In addition to thousands of unique images, the site also has about 20,000 CC0 photos, most of which have accurate keywords and descriptions.

The team behind the project has also launched another free site specializing in vintage images called Vintage Stock Photos. The content previously required payment, but now you can find more than $25,000 worth of quality vintage photos available at no extra charge.

2. Unsplash

City Photography Unsplash

 




Unsplash is a side-project started by Crew, an online marketing agency dedicated to making your design dreams a reality.

Besides providing free stock photography, Unsplash also showcases graphic design workdone by users with their MadeWith section. How to Be a Profitable Online Graphic DesignerHow to Be a Profitable Online Graphic DesignerIf you’re a graphic designer struggling to turn a profit, all is not lost. Here are some tips for getting your freelance career back on track.

3. Pexels

Mountain Range And Clouds Pexels
Image Credit: eberhard grossgasteiger/Pexels

Pexels is a website that wants to help. Started in 2015, it has grown to develop a reputable stock photo library. Its mission statement phrases their aim best.

We help millions of designers, writers, artists, programmers and other creators to get access to beautiful photos that they can use freely which empowers them to create amazing products, designs, stories, websites, apps, art and other work. We call it: “Empowering Creators”—Pexels.com

Pexels is also unique in that it doesn’t only display images located on the Pexels website. It also outsources images from such high-quality websites as GratisographyLittle Visuals, and more.




 

Best of all, Pexels screens their images to ensure the highest quality images available. Note that you can also download high quality stock videos from the site.The Top 6 Websites for Quality Copyright-Free Stock VideosThe Top 6 Websites for Quality Copyright-Free Stock VideosWhen you need stock video, you don’t want to break the bank to get it. These sites provide high-quality stock videos that are completely free.READ MORE

4. Flickr

Run Down House Flickr
Image Credit: Bernard Spragg/Flickr

Although Flickr is not dedicated to public domain images, they have an extensive library of high-quality public domain images.

Flickr is, and has been for a long time, one of the greatest image libraries on the internet. With over 3 million, high-quality public domain images alone, I doubt you’ll run out of stock photography anytime soon.

5. Life of Pix




Skyscraper Architecture Photography Life Of Pix
Image Credit: Tuur Tisseghem/Life of Pix

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve spent hours at a time scouring through the beautiful pictures on Life of Pix.

Created by LEEROY advertising agency in Montreal, Life of Pix is a haven for free, public domain photography. Better yet, their Life of Vids website contains even more impressive stock video footage, completely for free!

6. StockSnap

Sunset Photography StockSnap
Image Credit: Asaf R/StockSnap




StockSnap provides an excellent and extensive library of free stock imagery. With hundreds of high-quality photos added weekly, StockSnap isn’t your casual photography outlet.

Created by the good people at Snappa, every single image in StockSnap is free for you to use. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better image repository.

7. Pixabay

Old Painting Of General Pixabay
Image Credit: WikiImages/Pixabay

Pixabay is another image repository which integrates images from other image hosting sites. They attempt to gather the very best of free stock images for your own personal or commercial use.Concerned About Copyright? A Guide For Legally Using Images On The WebConcerned About Copyright? A Guide For Legally Using Images On The WebCopyright is a complex subject. A fair amount of understanding makes it easier. If you’re wondering under what circumstances you can use someone else’s creative work — expect some answers here.READ MORE

Pixabay also allows easy access to camera search, which allows users to explore images based on the camera used to take them. This is a great resource for both beginner and professional photographers alike.

8. Wikimedia




Presidential Photography Wikimedia
Image Credit: Cecil Stoughton, White House Press Office (WHPO)/Wikimedia

Wikimedia provides a truly stunning image repository, spanning everything from lush landscapes to historical events.

Touting over 34,000,000 freely usable media, including videos and sounds, Wikimedia is a necessity for graphic designers, photographers, and artists looking for free, high-quality images. Wikimedia is also part of a much larger organization dedicated to free images, education, and information.

9. Burst

Nature Photography Of Fish Burst
Image Credit: Ryan Bruce/Burst

They say something works well when you hardly notice it at all, and that’s exactly what Burst provides. In the same vein as Unsplash, Burst not only provides a sleek interface to explore but a very wide selection of images and categories to choose from as well. Better yet, it provides both low and high quality images depending on whether you’re adding images to a website or using images for graphic design.

If you need a vast online repository of high quality images, bookmark Burst immediately.

10. KaboomPics

Classic Car Photography KaboomPics
Image Credit: KaboomPics

KaboomPics is a legitimately impressive undertaking. From the UI design to the vast reservoir or stellar images, you will find yourself combing through images you don’t even need.

If it were just about images, KaboomPics’ selection would already be top of the class. Then, they also feature both a color picker search engine and color palettes for their images as well!




That’s just scratching the surface of what KaboomPics has to offer. From photo shoots to informative blog entries, it’s overall one of the most impressive free stock image websites around.

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