Everyone has heard the saying, "A Picture is Worth 1000 Words." Well on the Internet, this couldn't be more true. A great photograph for a hub or blog can really spice things up make a huge difference in the amount of traffic your content will receive. One of my hubs originally had a poor quality image next to the title for quite some time. During this period, it did not get many views (about 15 per day at the time). Then I decided to change the photo to something more appropriate. My average daily traffic to this article nearly doubled overnight.
In this hub I will list all of the free photo and stock image sites that I have used in the past. Currently, I have 46 free image websites on this list. Hopefully, you should never have a problem locating that perfect picture to bring your website, blog, or article to life.
But before I begin with the websites, a short word about licensing and copyrights is needed.
Creative Commons Licenses
Creative Commons is a license that allows you to legally use a document for your own purposes. A great discussion about the creative commons licenses can be found here.
It is very important to make sure that every photograph you use in an internet post was obtained legally. You don't want to end up having to settle a copyright claim with your earnings do you? Though I have never heard of this happening, its best not to risk your hard work and time.
Also, many images you find on the internet require you to provide a link back to the source indicating where you got it from. Make sure you know what the terms of the image license is before you use it.
In addition to these items, its always important to cite the sources of your imagery. Here is a great HubPages tutorial about how to do it properly: A Guide to Proper Image Use on HubPages
Free Photograph and Clipart Sites (Alphabetical Order)
4 Free Photos - This site doesn't have a whole lot of images yet, but they are certainly working on it. You could check this site out if you are not able to find what you are looking for at some of the bigger sites. No registration or login is required here. Image categories for this site include: Abstract, Architecture, Business, Food, Industrial, Interiors, Nature, Science, Sports, Recreation, Transportation, Travel, & Textures
4 Free Textures - Another relatively new website. So far there are about 250 great textures to choose from to fit your needs (and at high resolution too!). No registration or login is required here.
Alegri Photos - There are plenty of photos on this site for your use. Nothing extraordinary about this site, just lots of typical pictures. Attribution is required to use these photos. No registration or login is required here. Image categories for this site include: Abstract, Architecture, Business, Food, Industrial, Interiors, Nature, Science, Sports, Transportation, Travel, & Textures
Bugwood Images - This is an image database sponsored by the University of Georgia. There are over 144,000 pictures of creepy crawly insects, crops, and other plants on this site. Every time I need something from here, I can find a decent high quality image for my use. Another great thing about this site is that the scientific names for all of the plant and animal species is given in the photo title. Registration with the site is required to obtain the high resolution images, but trust me, it is totally worth it. Image categories for this site include: Bugs, Farming, Insects, Nature, & Plants
Burning Well - This is a repository of free images that were donated to the site from photographers. The pictures on here have a varying degree of quality and resolutions. Nothing really special about this site either. No registration or login is required here. Image categories for this site include: Activities, Animals & Bugs, Cityscapes, Landscapes, Objects, People, Plants, & Textures
Cepolina - Over 15,000 free photos from all over the world. Each photo can be saved in six different formats at a maximum resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels. Give this site a try, there are plenty of decent images here. No registration or login is required here. Image categories for this site include: Art, Africa, America, Asia, Europe, Food, Nature, Oceania, People, Technology, Transport, & Objects
CKS Info - Lots of free medium and high quality Clipart images that you can use for your blogs and webpages. They have a little bit of everything from animals and food to sports and holiday imagery. This site is growing everyday. There is an abundance of Clipart available in these categories: Agriculture, Americana, Animals, Art, Buildings, Business, Entertainment, Money, Music, Nature, Religion, Science, Signage, Society, & Transportation.
Creative Commons - This website allows you to search multiple services (Google Image Search, flickr, & Wikimedia Commons) all at once. It may slightly speed up your image search process. No registration or login is required here.
Car Pictures CC - Need a picture of an old De Tomaso Pantera? How about an old Lotus Cortina? Well if you need these images, or pictures of just about any other car, check this site out. No Registration or login is required here.
Every Stock Photo - This isn't really an image site. It is a search engine that may help you find free creative commons imagery. I really don't use it because it just searches the other sites on this list. This site could save you some time though. No Registration or login is required here.
Flickr - Flickr has literally billions of photographs on it for your viewing pleasure. Unfortunately, most of them don't have a creative commons license. Despite this, there are still many great images available for you to legally use on your website or internet articles (more than 100 million of them). Though it must be said that most of the creative commons images on here probably won't work for your needs. No registration or login is required here. The images on this site seem to be really geared towards the following categories: Events, People, Places, Landscapes, & Nature
Free Digital Photos - I really like the high quality images that are available on this site. Many of the images available on this site are computer generated. This means that they are perfect for giving your blogs, articles, and WebPages an authentic feel. You can download load resolution versions of most of the images for free as long as you agree to attribute the image to the photographer or author. If you need a high resolution image, you will have to pay for it. No registration or login is required here. Image categories for this site include: Architecture, Business, Environment, Food, Government, Health, Nature, Objects, Science, Technology, & Travel
Free Foto - This site has lots of free images but it is somewhat of a hassle to obtain one without a watermark. If you can live with the watermark, it's a pretty good site to use. If you don't want the water mark on it, you have to agree to attribute the author (link back to the site) and provide your email address. No registration or login is required here. Image categories for this site include: Americana, Business, Europe, Food, Nature, Transportation, & United Kingdom
Free Images - Over 6,000 high quality free stock images in 78 categories are available on this site. I like sites design and the fact that the web master spends plenty of time describing the imagery on here. No Registration or login is required here. The main categories of the images available on this site are: Abstract, Buildings, Food, House & Home, Industry, Light, Objects, Technology, Transportation, Space, Sports, Workplace
Free Large Photos - This site has lots of high resolution imagery for you to use. They require you to link back to the website when you use it. Most of the pictures on here are of places. No registration or login is required here. The images on this site are mostly Buildings, Nature, and Place related.
Free Media Goo - This site contains several odd and obscure images with a creative commons license. The photos vary in size and quality. Sometimes you may find a great picture, but it may not be of a good enough quality to use. Still definitely worth searching if you need a particular photo. I got the image for this hub from this site. No registration or login is required. The main categories of the images available on this site are: Abstract, Aviation, Beach, Buildings, Digital Art, Finance, Food, Nature, & Wildlife
FreeMages - There are plenty of awesome high resolution images here. This site is relatively easy to navigate and clearly states the licensing information on each photo. Most of this photos on this site are of landscapes and animals, but its still a great place to go for free images. No registration or login is required here. The images on this site are mostly Buildings, Nature, People, and Place related.
Free Photo Bank - I'm not a huge fan of this site partly because they usually don't have what I need and mostly because of the site's design. The page also contains annoying pop-ups which makes it even less attractive to use. If you're having a hard time finding a photograph to use, you might as well give this site a try. No Registration or login is required here. The images on this site are mostly Animal, Buildings, Nature, People, and Place related.
Free Photos Bank - This site's layout is a bit confusing as well. Searching or navigating to find an image can be somewhat difficult. I have, however, found a few medium resolution images here that I used for various projects. No registration or login is required here. The main categories of the images available on this site are: Abstract, Architecture, Computers & Technology, Food, Nature, Objects, Transportation, & Life
Free Pixels - This site has a lot of great free images. They have everything from abstract images to people and places. A good portion of the images are also high resolution. No registration or login is required here. The main categories of the images available on this site are: Abstract, Architecture, Food, Nature, Objects, Travel, & People
Gimp-Savvy - There are over 27,000 free community indexed photographs on this site. There are plenty of unique and interesting photos on this site. No registration or login is required here.
Geograph - This really isn't a free photo site, but it does have some great photos of Britain and Ireland. This site is actually a national photography project with the goal to photograph nearly every piece of land in the country. The website says that there are almost 2.5 million images that cover about 79% of the land. Besides this, most of the photos are tagged with a creative commons license. No Registration or login is required here.
Google Image Search - This is probably everyone's favorite image search engine. To search for creative commons imagery, click on the "Advanced Search" link located under the search button (after you have started your search). Next, select one of the license options under the "Usage Rights" dropdown menu. No registration or login is required here.
IconFinder - This is an awesome site that has plenty of free icons and clipart. Many of them can actually be used commercially too! I definitely recommend this site. No registration or login is required here.
Karen's Whimsy Public Domain Images - This site has hundreds of images of old or antique books, magazines, and post cards. All of the images are public domain and free for your use. No registration or login is required here. The images on this site are mostly Art, History, Literature, and Holiday related.
Library of Congress - We can't foget this massive source of images. Not all of the images here are licensed for reuse, so be sure to check them out before you use them. No registration or login is required here.
Matarese - An assortment random or abstract photographs. You can find some pretty obscure images here as some of the pictures would be impossible to find elsewhere. No registration or login is required here. The site contains mostly Abstract, Electronics, Technology, & Place related photos.
Morgue File - This is one of my favorite stock photo websites. I can usually find what I am looking for here; this site really does have a little bit of everything on it. Most of the imagery is truly free, meaning that they don't even require you to attribute the image back to them. No Registration or login is required here.
Open Photo - This is a relatively useful site that has about 15,000 free stock images. Not all of the pictures here are high quality, but they can still fit the needs of most people. No Registration or login is required here. The main categories of the images available on this site are: Animals, Architecture, Art, Events, Food, Landscapes, Life, Light, Nature, People, Places, Skies, Technology, Textures, & Weather
Panoramio - This is the place where all the images in Google Earth are located. A large percentage of these pictures will be landscapes or cityscapes. Some are tagged with a creative commons license. So if you need some outdoor or urban scenery, give Panoramio a try. No registration or login is required here.
PD Photo - Thousands of royalty free public domain photographs exist here. If you need some random travel or place photos, give this site a try. No registration or login is required here. The images on this site are mostly Event, People, and Place related.
PicDrome - This is a relatively new site with just over 1,000 public domain pictures on it. One good thing I can say about this site is that the pictures are unique. Many of the images aren't even similar to what you would expect to find at other sites. Categories available for your viewing include: Travel, Nature, Sports & Recreation, Food, Technology, Urban, Abstract, and Textures. No registration or login is required to download the pictures here.
Pictures of Animals - Ever needed a free creative commons image of a Prairie Chicken or a Gadwall? Or how about any other obscure animal that interests you? Well, this great site is all about the animals and may just have what you need. At the moment they have over 6,500 animal pictures and are adding more everyday. No registration or login is required here.
Pixabay - This is a pretty easy to use site that says all of their images are "Public Domain." There are plenty of vibrant and colorful high resolution images available here for your use. They even have a lot of clipart style images. The downside of this site is that sometimes my image searches yielded no results. Nonetheless, give Pixabay a try if need another place to find that perfect image. Registration is not required for this site, however, creating an account will allow you to download the high resolution images without completing a CAPTCHA security check.
Public Domain Photos - One good things about this site is that they have clip-art images as well as your typical photos. In total, there are over 13,000 images on this site. There are an assortment of miscellaneous images here, including Clipart and abstract art. A great site where no registration or login is required.
PublicDomainPicture.Net - This website is great because it hosts several hundred high quality public domain photographs. That means no attribution is required and you can use the photos for any purpose that you wish without worrying about the legal implications of doing so. Let me tell you, I wish I had found this gem of a website earlier in my career.
Stock Arch - This is an archive photo community geared toward photographers. There are plenty of great pictures on this site to fit your blogging or article writing needs. No registration or login is required here. The main categories of the images available on this site are: Abstract, Buildings, Events, Illustrations, Recreation & Sports, Technology, Business & Industry, Objects, Nature, Places, & Transportation
Stock Exchange - This site is the premiere location to find free high resolution graphics for all of your blogging and article writing needs. If Morgue File doesn't have what I need, I will check this site's database of over 350,000 images. Pretty much anything you can think of is available at Stock Exchange. You do have to register an account with them, but it is well worth the time to signup.
Stock Media - Stock media as an assortment of random photo of odd things that you can use to spice up your articles. They have plenty of macro shots of everyday objects as your typical landscapes and buildings. Registration is required to access the images on this site. The main categories on this site are: Business Concepts, Festive & Seasonal, Communications, Computing Technology, Environmental Issues, Farming, Finance, Health, Power & Energy, Sound & Music, Textures, & Party & Celebration
Stock Vault - Though the site's layout is a bit confusing, I was able to find some great free high resolution imagery on here. There are currently over 26,000 images for you to choose from. No registration or login is required here. The main categories on this site are: 3d Renderings, Animals, Constructions, Graphics, Industrial, Nature, Objects, People, Seasonal, Textures, & Transportation
The Creative Element - This is a neat website that hosts lots of free abstract backgrounds, textures, and design imagery. There are currently more than 2,500 great images for your free use (attribution required) on this site. No registration or login is required here.
TOFZ - A random assortment of about 11,000 images. All of the photos are medium to low resolution, but at least they are free. The photographer does ask that you link back to his site if you use his images. No registration or login is required here.
Urban Dirty - This website has about 800 free stock texture photographs that you can use in your artwork, blogs, articles, etc. Many of the pictures can also be downloaded in very high resolution as well. The site has a sleek and hip design that makes searching for the right texture very easy to do. No registration or login is required here.
US Fish and Wildlife National Digital Library - I got excited when I found this great site! There are more than 11,000 great, high quality images here. Most of the images are of nature's creatures and landscapes. 99% of them are copyright free and completely in the public domain. No registration or login is required here.
Wikimedia Commons - All of the images on this website have a creative commons license. Many of the photographs on here were taken by federal agents during the course of their job duties. This means that they are automatically public domain. This site has over 10 million media items for you to use in nearly every category imaginable. No registration or login is required here.
Yestercards - A large collection of free vintage greeting cards. They have images for just about every holiday. You can download up to 10 free images a day as a guest. If you need more than this, you have to register with the site.
Ronald on June 04, 2015:
There is also this new site for high quality 3D textures. Not free but the quality is amazing: https://toptexture.com
Tobias on February 24, 2015:
Hi, great list - thank's for share. I recommend you one more source for creative commons images: http://creativecommons.photos
Ethan Parker on January 29, 2014:
Thanks, your list is really comprehensive. There is also http://www.indigostock.com with photos that have CC-BY-SA license
Sarrah White from India on February 28, 2013:
The use of photographs in blogs and websites have positive impacts. But it should be quality photos that can attract more viewers and thus increase the popularity of the site. The question now is how to use them legally and the solution is creative commons license. I was completely unaware of such license but your post provides good information about it.
ElvenaDracos from Far far away lol on May 26, 2012:
Nice hub found an image I could use, great help
Christopher Wanamaker (author) from Arizona on May 20, 2012:
Prodyot - I am glad that you found this useful.
Prodyot on May 20, 2012:
This article should be placed under "Must Read Sites For Webmasters, Designers and Bloggers".
I made a timely discovery and this coillection will help me a lot.
Thanks for posting the collection.
Prodyot on May 20, 2012:
Hey, great site.
This page should be placed under "Must Read Sites For Webmasters, Designers, Bloggers".
I made a timely discovery and the lists mentioned here will be a great help.
ssteinberger on March 17, 2012:
Awesome collection - thanks!! I love the public domain databases, because no attribution is required.
Javier on December 18, 2011:
Well I find this new website I think they are starting but I can find free pictures on it about Christmas time
Christopher Wanamaker (author) from Arizona on November 29, 2011:
Hello PicDrome - Added your site to my list, I liked what I saw there. Thanks.
Picdrome on November 25, 2011:
Hi and thank you for the list!
I can also add http://www.picdrome.com, a growing Public Domain picture collection, free of copyright and licensed under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication. All items are free to download for personal and commercial use, without restriction and are available in high definition. New photos are added on a daily basis.
Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on November 13, 2011:
No problem at all! Glad to help out a fellow hubber. I've bookmarked this hub as well. Great resource and you have a few links that I missed. I LOVE finding pics! Thanks and Happy Hubbing! :)
Christopher Wanamaker (author) from Arizona on November 13, 2011:
MissOlive - Hey I appreciate that. Glad to follow you as well.
Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on November 13, 2011:
Great list of links CWanamaker - I wrote a similar hub Free Photo Websites for Blogs and Hubs. I went ahead and added a link to this hub of yours. You will find it at the end of the hub. Glad to follow :)
Christopher Wanamaker (author) from Arizona on November 02, 2011:
JohnnyK - thanks for the site. I will check it out tonight.
JohnnyK on November 02, 2011:
Hey, nice list. Very useful if you don't want to buy the images. While searching the web, i also found this gallery with CC content: http://www.freephotogaleries.com/
Seems misspelled but has some interesting images.
Christopher Wanamaker (author) from Arizona on November 01, 2011:
Beverly Byer - No Problem, thanks!
Beverley Byer from United States of America on November 01, 2011:
Appreciate list! Thanks.
gogogo on October 05, 2011:
This is information I can use, I am glad I found your article, thanks for sharing this info.
Robert Hughes on July 23, 2011:
Nice listing of photos and images, CWanamaker. Of these, flickr seems to be the best at sorting and offering CC licensed videos.
Christopher Wanamaker (author) from Arizona on July 15, 2011:
Thanks everyone for the positive feedback. I will make updates to this hub if I find additional sources of free images.
Bud Gallant from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on July 15, 2011:
This is one of the most useful hubs I've come across.
Sally Branche from Only In Texas! on July 13, 2011:
Well, this is a very comprehensive list! Voted up and useful. I usually do use everystockphoto because it is quick and easy.
tnderhrt23 on July 12, 2011:
Very useful info...thank you!