As tempting as it may seem, you cannot use any image you’ve found online and put it on your blog, much less use it for commercial purposes. Fortunately, there are photos of the “public domain” sites can be used to download photos, free and legal way. So, if you’re an aspiring Blogger or you’re building a website for a company, the limits now just put your talent and imagination.
Our favorite sites
Creative Commons is one of the best options for public domain content, whether you’re looking for photos, audio or anything else. Best of all is that the way to use the site is very easy and practical, since you just have to enter a search term in the top right corner and filter the results in function of Flickr, Fotopedia, Pixabay, Google Images and other places of good reputation for hosting photos. You can even search for images that are part of the collection of the public domain of the Met Museum.
However, it is important to know that the site looks for images that have Creative Commons licenses, which means, that the images may not necessarily belong to the public domain, but often it can be used under certain conditions. The site should also automatically search for content that you can use for commercial purposes, but it is a good idea to check the license just to be sure.
EveryStockPhoto has an attractive interface and easy to navigate, as it shows some of the searches more popular, on the left side, for easy access. When you use the integrated search bar, the site compiles images from a great amount of resources and displays them in a thumbnail view in a classic or in a view column.
Once you click an image, EveryStockPhoto will show you the photographer, the license type, resolution, and some other fragments of information. However, you must keep in mind that you have to sign up for a free account, according to the source of the image.
With more than 16 million media files available for free, Wikimedia is another great tool for finding different types of content in the public domain. Users select the site prepared, uploading, tagging and categorizing files, and most of the content is available and can be modified, if and when you highlight the rights of the author.
Wikimedia presents a quite extensive list of categories, ranging from photographs of nature to engineering, and even has a category of public domain to filter the better its results.
When using the search bar in the top right corner, try entering “PD” before your search term to limit the results to only images in the public domain. For example, search for “PD Abraham Lincoln” to show only images in the public domain of the late president.
Flickr is not only home to millions of protected images, but that also is a great source to find material with Creative Commons license and a few others that have come into the public domain. The site presents a wide range of images and the search function integral allows you to browse the images much faster, than the browser built-in image.
A large part of the images on Flickr are free to use, but it is important not to forget to give credit to the photographer.
After you type a term into the search bar, use the drop-down menu in the top left corner that says “any license” and select the use that you are looking for to sort the images.
Like the rest of the sites in our summary, it is best to avoid any legal problem, and for that reason, we recommend that you observe what are the restrictions of the owner of the original content on the image.
Some images in Flickr are not subject to any copyright and, therefore, can be used for anything (including commercial purposes), while others simply require attribution, or simple hyperlink to the source. Be sure to see the gallery of photos of the Library, if you’re looking for a great collection of historic images.
If you are looking for a site to download a collection of photos for personal and commercial projects, IM Free offers you everything that you need, whether you want to create a personal blog using one of the best blogging sites, or develop a commercial enterprise using Wix, Weebly, or one of the many builders of quality web sites that exist.
IM Free bills itself as “a curated collection of resources for web design free, all for commercial use”, which means that the assets can be used in web sites for profit. However, it is important that you consider the clause of commercial use, since many images can be downloaded free of charge, but lack of free license.
In addition, this site has a higher concentration in stock images and offers a variety of tools for designers, including templates, icons and buttons.
Unsplash has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Although initially it lacked a search button and categories to classify the images, with the passing of time has managed to create a design type Tumblr, which allows you to quickly browse through new images and explore the site in function of the image tags, collections and users.
However, despite these recent changes, the library Unsplash still presents a wide range of high-resolution photos submitted by different users. The photos range from close-ups of animals and landscapes, to cars and intimate portraits, and a series of collections selected will provide a means to explore a variety of broader themes: wedding, silhouettes, computers, among others.
Without a doubt it is also one of the best applications for Browsing occasional, because the images are a little more “artistic” than other sites.
Dreamstime has a similar look to Shutterstock, but also includes a selection of free photos. It is important to know that this site, you need to first do login, and then from there, you’ll be able to find photos that require credits to download, but also has a selection substantial of free images.
In fact, compared with the other sites in our list, Dreamstime has the best variety, given that it consists of Creative Commons and many other web sites. In case outside little, has a search accurate, of course, as long as you keep your search queries are broad. Also offers a large amount of generic categories to navigate, if you’re looking for something less specific.
Co-founders David Sherry and Allie Lehman noted that it was very difficult to find photos compelling free use on blogs and personal websites, so they decided to offer their own. Once you register on this site, you’ll be able to obtain a free subscription, and receive a package of photos with stories accompanying each month.
However, if you want something more comprehensive, you can pay a membership of $10 dollars a month, and so you’ll be able to have access to the full library of the couple and you will receive an additional package of photos monthly. It is worth noting that part of that money that you pay, is intended for different artists, which allows for a greater variety in the library.
Unlike the shots of waterfalls or cuddly puppies, the photos of the space are more difficult to achieve for a photographer at home, for obvious reasons.
For this reason, the web site of the NASA has a special merit that is very hard to beat, and that this independent agency offers amazing photos of cosmic that have captured over the years, totally free of charge. The site also has several galleries that you can explore if you need something specific. Whether it’s shots retro of Neil Armstrong on the moon, photos that highlight the surface of Mars, or something more recent, NASA can help you with that. And if you need pictures of rockets or other spacecraft, check out the Flickr page of SpaceX.
Pexels offers photos that carry the license Creative Commons Zero (CC0), which means that you don’t have to give the credit to the photographers when you wear them, and the best thing is that you can edit and redistribute freely. The photos come from users of Pexels and other web sites that offer free images, like Unsplash (see above) and Little Visuals. The company says it has 40,000 images available in stock for free, and add at least 3,000 new ones every month. If you’re using Pexels with frequency, consider the possibility of providing images CC0 to your portfolio, so that you can return the favor it does Not cost you anything!