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Digital Media - Using Google Images: List of Sources for Cost-Free Images

Introduction to the use of images found on the Web.

Free Image Sources

Resources for Free Images

Most of these sources offer high resolution images digitized by professional graphic designers. Most are either in the common domain or have CC licenses.

As an industry professional, you should supply a properly formatted attribution for any image you use in shared media regardless of copyright status. Not to do so reflects badly on you and your work.

1. Pixabay

With more than half a million images to select from, Pixabay is one of the primary resources for a wide variety of free stock photos for both personal and commercial use.

2. Unsplash

Unsplash is a great source of very artsy images to use for your blogs and digital projects. You can search the inventory on the website as well as subscribe to receive 10 new images every 10 days, delivered straight to your inbox. 

All of the images submitted and published on Unsplash fall under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. Once again, even if there is no attribution requirement, you should take the time to include one to give credit where credit is due.

3. StockSnap

Like Unsplash, StockSnap  images fall under the CC0 license, enabling you to use the images as you wish. According to the website, StockSnap’s long-term goal is to create a community of photographers that seek to share their art with the world.

4. Flickr

Flickr has always been a reliable source of free images as it still is today. However, it’s important that you understand which type of Creative Commons license is attached to the image. As there are eight different license categories, images on Flickr cannot all be used the same way. Make sure you reference the proper license.

5. Pexels

Pexels adds 10 new high quality images to its collection of free stock photos every day, which currently sits at more than 2,700. With a minimum of 70 new images added every week, the Pexels library should increase by approximately 3,600 images each year.

All  images are of high quality and fall under the Creative Commons Zero license, allowing unrestricted use.

6. Death to the Stock Photo

With an unforgettable name, Death to the Stock Photo is one of the most popular free image resources. It has two options: a free plan that delivers a fresh pack of images to your inbox monthly and a paid version that, for $15 per month, gives you full access to the entire library of stock images in addition to a premium-only package of images every month.

7. Snapwire Snaps

Snapwire Snaps is another option that delivers free images to your inbox, adding to your supply every seven days with seven new offerings. If you are a Tumblr user you can follow Snapwire Snaps and never miss a new photo.

With a little over a year's worth of images, this isn’t the largest online database of free stock images, but it’s definitely one worth adding to your bookmarks. These are some of the more creative images you will find for free and attached to a Creative Commons Zero license. 

  1. MorgueFile

MorgueFile is a post production collection of files of over 400,000 free stock photos for personal or commercial use.

  1. Freeimages

FreeImages allows you to browse royalty-free photos by subject, photographer, or even camera—all free for personal and commercial use (Affiliated with Getty Images.)

  1. Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is a collection of 75,456,349 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute

Online Lists from Industry Professionals

This is a G2 list of  more sources of “free images.” Some are repeats; but there are some excellent suggestions.


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