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Free Web Graphics: Where to Get Them (Legally!)

Free Stock Photos

Morguefile has amazing images released to the public domain, no credit required.

Morguefile has amazing images released to the public domain, no credit required.

Add Images, Photos, or Graphics to Your Lenses the Right Way

With all the clip art, free web graphics, and stock photography sites out there, it's easy to make your lenses and webpages look great without breaking copyright!

Some people think images posted on the web are up for grabs. They aren't, any more than beach towels on the beach. Other people think it's okay to take graphics if you're not making money with them. Nope! You still need permission.

Luckily, lots of generous people do let you use their pictures with no strings attached. Others just ask for credit and a link back in exchange.

Here's the places I go to get free graphics, stock photos, and images for my webpages.

My top go-to sites: Freeimages (Formerly Stock Xchng), clipart, Wikimedia Commons, Flickr Creative Commons, and Open Clipart.

Creative Commons: Millions of Images

Creative Commons is a great source for graphics, images, videos and even music, as long as you're willing to follow their terms of use.

There's varying levels of Creative Commons licenses, indicated by a small graphic and/or two-letter abbreviation beneath the picture on the webpage where it appears:

  • BY: Available with attribution (credit) and a link back to where you found it. All Creative Commons images have this license.
  • ND: "No Derivatives" meaning you can't change, manipulate, or composite the graphic. Use the picture as is!
  • NC: NonCommercial. Sorry, you can't make money on these photos. That means you can't use these photos on pages that make money (like Hubpages), and of course no printing them on t-shirts and mugs for sale on Zazzle or Cafepress.
  • SA: Share Alike. That means you should post your image with the same level of Creative Commons license.

Tip: If you search on Creative, you can limit your search to images licensed for commercial use and/or adaptation/remixing on their top banner.

Flickr Creative Commons and Wikimedia

Many but not all photographers on offer their photos as Creative Commons. Look for copyright or Creative Commons icons under "License" in the sidebar of each photo's page. To find Creative Commons photos on Flickr, go to their Advanced Search and scroll down, choosing "for commercial use" under Creative Commons.

Wikipedia images are usually Wikimedia Commons. See Reusing Content Outside Wikimedia for the full scoop, but basically (a) For images labeled Creative Commons, do as above; (b) For images labeled GNU (or some similar) license, give attribution, a link back, and mention and link to the text of the license; (c) for images labeled Public Domain, it's no strings attached; and (d) Wikipedia doesn't recommend you reuse images labeled "Fair Use," because they're not 100% sure the person who uploaded them knew the image's copyright.

Stock Photos Are Slick!

Traditionally, you had to pay a licensing fee to use stock photography.

Nowadays, many stock photo archives offer a wide selection of free or low-resolution images that are perfect for web graphics. (They may sell the higher-resolution versions, needed for print publications.)

On stock photo archives, you still need to double-check the license. Rarely, it will say non-commercial only. Sometimes the photographer asks that you leave a message to let them know where their photos are being used.

  • FreeImages - Leading Stock Photography Site
    FreeImages (formerly Stock Xchng / Jupiter images) are some of the best stock photo images out there. My link takes you to their browser. Browse by category at right, or use the search box at left.
  • MorgueFile Free Photo Archive
    Free photos available for commercial or personal use. Browse by category or search by individual tags.
  • Image * After Free Images
    Free graphics and textures (great for background-images) available for commercial and noncommercial use. Lots of nature, architecture, industry, miscellaneous objects, and abstract patterns.
  • - Totally Free Stock Photography and Textures!
    Free stock photography -- you must register as a user -- for commercial or non-commercial use at Read their sensible terms of use: use them to illustrate and embellish YOUR work, but don't sell THEIR work as your sole content, whe
  • Pixel Perfect Digital - Free Stock Photos
    Great selection of sharp-looking stock photos on many categories, including some striking-looking photomanips plus a selection of "cartoon" smiley faces expressing different moods. For commercial and noncommercial use, except for use in company logos
    Free photos with an unusually wide variety of categories, including not just people, travel, nature, sports, holidays, but also things like icons and even "symbols and metaphors." Terms: you must include a link & credit. Click the ? next to "attr
  • - Free Pictures - FreeFoto.Com
    Large stock photography library. All images available for comemrcial/noncommercial use with link and attribution.
  • BigFoto Stock Photography
    "themes" tab, which covers everything else -- people (with a nice collection of hands doing things), nature, food, fountains, fireworks and more! Terms: They ask for a link to Bigfoto.
    Excellent photos in certain categories: Animals, Athens, Christian, Egypt, Israel, Near East, Plants, Rome, Scenery, Sky. Up to 10 may be used without fee. Must retain watermark and/or link back to site with (
  • Getty Images: Embeddable Images
    You can't download and post Getty image somewhere else, but they WILL allow you to copy and paste their HTML codes so that they're still hosting (and controlling) the image, but it appears on your page. Paste their embed codes into a Squidoo Text mod

More Free Stock Photography and Public Domain Images

  • Good Free Photos
    Excellent and extensive collection of photos released to public domain by photographer. Includes travel photos (U.S., Canada, Mexico, China, Haiti), food, animals, fossils, and a few other categories.
  • Photorack
    Great library of stock photos in many categories, plus they're a friendly site: "No backlink required to use them, however we really appreciate it if you want to link back to us :) Enjoy!"
  • Public Domain Pictures
    An excellent collection of free photographs. They ask for credit and a link back.
  • Public Domain Images
    Public domain photos, fairly good quality and a large collection. No rights reserved, no linkback needed.
    Yet another great public domain photo website. The site owner has uploaded thousands of his own photos of animals, places, travel, cooking, holidays and more, asking for credit and a link back.
  • -- Creative Commons Photos
    Large archive of Creative Commons photos organized by category. Check the licensing for each photo (they use the CC icons I explained above).
  • FreeStockPhotography
    Small but good collection of royalty-free stock photos (no terms given, so I assume these really are free for all uses). Includes some especially useful categories like "Toys and games" "Seasonal" and "Technology" as well as the usual nature, landsca
  • African Wildlife Stock Photography
    Three pages of safari photos of African wildlife: zebras, lions, cheetahs, etc. Terms: Credit and a link back to the site.
  • Karen's Whimsey Public Domain/Vintage
    Vintage postcards, old Victorian illustrations, architectural drawings, fairies, flowers, butterflies, medieval costume and design, and much more from this fun collection of Public Domain images drawn from old books.

Free Clip Art and Web Graphics

It's hard to find good-qualitly, royalty-free clip art that doesn't have a watermark and isn't limited to noncommercial use. If you're willing to pay a (quite reasonable) subscription price, you may download and use millions of excellent graphics on or iClipart. They allow you to use their graphics on website or for commercial purposes.

However, many of us are stingy. We want free graphics. That takes a little more hunting.

  • Open Clip Art Library
    The Open Clip Art Library is a stunning collection of public domain, high-quality free clip available for any use. (The camera I used in the header of the Stock Photo section is from Open Clipart.) I find it easiest to Search Clipart By Tags.
  • Royalty-Free Vector Clipart
    This and Open are the clipart sites I use. Tons of good graphics, easy to search, no fuss, no backlink required.
  • VectorOpen Stock
    Excellent, modern backgrounds, patterns, and templates (here's the Christmas / Christmas cards category). Search lets you look for Creative Commons licensed photos or those with no attribution needed.
  • Icons
    Excellent buttons and icons on a gazillion different topics. Shiny, web 2.0, royalty-free, and they don't even require a credit or link. What nice people!
  • PSDgraphics Blog -- Web Design Freebies
    A limited selection of absolutely gorgeous Web 2.0 style 3D graphics, meant for blogs, but there's got to be a way to use these. The artist just gives them away!
  • The Vintage Moth -- Old Images Clipart
    One technique for getting copyright-free clipart is to go with vintage book illustrations and magazine clippings. This blog serves up new ones regularly. Also check her links for more vintage clipart sites.
  • Barry's Clip Art Server
    Good-quality clip art organized by category at left, animations at right -- middle column on homepage takes you to other websites.

More Clip Art and Web Graphics Archives

  • -- Public Domain Clip Art
    Another good clipart collection. Not many annoying ads, and a lot of great web graphics -- free, no strings attached, no need to link back.
  • WilsonInfo Free Gifs & Animations.
    Animated graphics, buttons, banners. Free for any use with a link back to their website.
    Good-quality clip art, but it's only for noncommercial and/or educational use. Terms: Credit and a link back.
  • Discovery Education: Clip Art Gallery
    Free educational clipart, but only for noncommercial, educational purposes. These are GOOD graphics. It's almost worth creating some nonprofit educational lenses just to use them!

"The information on government web pages is in the public domain unless specifically annotated otherwise (copyright may be held elsewhere) and may therefore be used freely by the public." -- copyright notice on NOAA.

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So, basically, if you find an image on a .gov site, unless there's a caption saying it's copyrighted or has usage restrictions, it is free to use! Please DO check.

When using .gov images, you must credit where you found them and acknowledge that they're public domain.

Graphics Geeks Guestbook

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on May 24, 2019:

FANTASTIC list of resources here! Very VERY much appreciate you sharing your knowledge here for us to benefit from.

Stella Aligizaki from Greece on November 23, 2017:

Very good information. I will take advantage of it.

Jeanne Hoback from Rapid City, SD on October 10, 2015:

Thanks for all the tips, good help.

Sean Fliehman on February 06, 2015:

Wow this is great material. I use graphics and pics a lot so I'm always searching for free legal material.

Colin Garrow from Inverbervie, Scotland on December 27, 2014:

Very informative and useful - thanks for taking the time to do all the leg-work!

LampsPest on June 20, 2014:

Thank you for taking the time to share this information. Now I have to go look for some pictures.

Ellen Brundige (author) from California on May 04, 2014:

@Archbob: Added, thanks!

Ellen Brundige (author) from California on May 04, 2014:

@sofia-alex83: Good tip!

Donna Cook on March 07, 2014:

Terrific lens! Bookmarked for future freebies.

sofia-alex83 on February 17, 2014:

How about it here you can many vector Free your website, graphics designers and blogs.

try some best today!

Archbob on February 06, 2014:

For pictures of National parks, cities, and Landmarks, check out

VioletteRose LM on February 01, 2014:

Great tips, thank you!

Axamit on January 20, 2014:

Thanks for the compilation!

scottlin on January 04, 2014:

Awesome article thank you very much for going to the time to put this together!

Vortrek Grafix on December 13, 2013:

Great resource. Thanks

ThePresentationTutor on November 06, 2013:

Thanks for all of the great information! I will be using it in the future.

pitlock on October 19, 2013:

Love these ideas, I need all the help I can get LOL!

Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on October 16, 2013:

Thanks for so many great suggestions! They will come in very handy!

Troywilson123 on August 12, 2013:

Great lens. You have shared very important and useful tips. Thanks

BlowDryBar on August 05, 2013:

This is exactly what I was looking for!

adammuller003 lm on June 27, 2013:

I've used your advice. Thank you!

jen becht on June 03, 2013:

Your squidoo lens are amazing. I read them all the time. You have helped me so much !!!

TravelLover81 on June 03, 2013:

Thanks! I'm going to bookmark your page. I frequently have a difficult time finding free images on the web...

storytimesam on April 15, 2013:

Thanks for sharing. This is really helpful to know. Great Lens!

sazzy881 on April 10, 2013:

Thank you very much with all your hints and tips about squidoo, you have inspired me to start creating new lenses. Thank you!

renagirl on March 27, 2013:

wow great lens thank you

kingston123 lm on March 07, 2013:

Interesting lens.I really like these graphic designs. i am also a graphic designer and share this lens with my facebook friends.

slimmingLinda on February 28, 2013:

Great info, I'm always struggling with finding images, not anymore :)

Ferdinandalonso on February 28, 2013:

Good resources, will help me a lot!

Jawill on February 24, 2013:

Great lens, helps a lot. If you are going to use images it's a must to understand the rights.

BlueBoxMedia on February 22, 2013:

Thanks for the list :)

scss on February 13, 2013:

»-(¯`v´¯)-» . . »-(¯`v´¯)-» . . »-(¯`v´¯)-»

Happy Valentine Day!

All the very best to you and your loved ones, from me and mine!

Helene Malmsio aka. SCSS

Pinnsvin on February 06, 2013:

This has to be the best lens about graphics I've come across so far! Thank you for this great resource!

Finding the right picture can be really hard sometimes, especially when you're on a tight budget. And I'm always confused, if I buy a stock photo how to credit it properly.

InfoCoop on February 04, 2013:

Excellent info as always. Especially liked the tip about the govt websites.

ukprowriter on January 30, 2013:

Awesome tips. Thanks

anonymous on January 29, 2013:

Thank you so much for all the really useful information. Love it!

Alex-45 on January 26, 2013: is another site for free photo images. Photographer credit and link back to site required and they provide the html code to do that. Thanks for sharing this excellent list.

Athenasia on January 25, 2013:

Very helpful! With pictures, It's always the more the better. Thanks for sharing valuable tips and sources. Great Lens!

suepogson on January 24, 2013:

This is very useful. Thanks

aliwings on January 20, 2013:

Lots of great info, thanks!

rasnasah on January 18, 2013:

Very Informative lens.I am very impressed.Wow.It helped me a lot .Thanks.

AlexVolker on January 17, 2013:

Good to know. Always looking.

reviewmaker lm on January 16, 2013:

Nice collection. Thanks

Donnette Davis from South Africa on January 11, 2013:

Wonderful resources for images and I use most of those mentioned, plus crate my own. Thank you. Bookmarked and blessed by a passing Squid Angel.

texan203 lm on January 10, 2013:

Fantastic list of resources. Thank you

anonymous on January 06, 2013:

Thank you for this list.

mrdata on January 04, 2013:

Thanks for sharing with us valuable info!

anonymous on January 03, 2013:

Fantastic reference and source...Thanks for the list!

anonymous on December 23, 2012:

This is a great list for us bloggers! Thank you so much for doing the research.

Gregory Moore from Louisville, KY on December 23, 2012:

Great tips. I love to use my own images where possible, but also use the Flickr creative commons search from time to time.

TheFreeLife on December 20, 2012:

You have some great lenses! Really Really like how you put them together!

anonymous on December 19, 2012:

Good information, thanks, have squidliked, pinned and G+1

sentivaweb on December 11, 2012:

Thanks for this info!

dellgirl on December 04, 2012:

Thanks for sharing this information on Where to Get Free Web Graphics. This is really helpful!

RockingChairWisdom on December 03, 2012:

A very thorough undertaking to identify all these sources.

Always appreciate those talented folks that have allowed their creations to be part of Creative Commons or the public domain.

anonymous on November 29, 2012:

Please do another: this time confined to sources that are not only completely free but which require no attribution -- that's what we all really want.

cgbroome on November 28, 2012:

This is great! I know have a one-stop source!

fadhlyashary on November 14, 2012:

i need this information, and done .. i got it ..

anonymous on November 13, 2012:

If possible, I am new at this, a teacher trying to make a difference and have my word get out... could you check out my lens

I would truly appreciate a LIKE.....Thank you!

anonymous on November 10, 2012:

I appreciate the links to the image sites. My website has always lacked quality images due to pricing issues. Open source sites definitely will help.

Thank you

emmyjas on November 05, 2012:

Wow! That was a lot to take in! I'm new to Squidoo and I have found it a bit overwhelming, but with great insight like yours I'm feeling better. When you're a newbie it's hard shelling out $300 for photo credits or paying monthly fees.

AdOnce on November 02, 2012:

Good leans! :)

loveanime22 on October 25, 2012:

Very helpful thanks

bskcom on October 25, 2012:

As someone who works as a graphic designer, I've found your collection of resources invaluable to me. Thanks for all of the research you did!

dominiqueamara on October 23, 2012:

Very helpful! Thank you!

AdityaAgarwal on October 22, 2012:

nyc lens you shared

anonymous on October 21, 2012:

great info to add to lenses , thank you for that lens :)

onyesvic on October 19, 2012:

Great stuff!

Alessandro Zamboni from Italy on October 13, 2012:

Thanks GreekGeek, your lens opened my mind on image rights.

Before it was like a jungle for me, between rights, prices and possibilities.

NaturalLifeCoach on October 07, 2012:

Great compilation of free graphics! Thanks heaps! Will be using some of these links for sure.

cricketlady on October 06, 2012:

Awesome! Thanks great info for us Newbies!

moralblogger lm on October 04, 2012:

Wow! What a great lens and a great resource for photo's...

Thanks so much!

CreativeExpress on October 03, 2012:

This is a wonderful all of yours are with regard to photos and Squid lens making. I really appreciate access to this information. You are a fount of knowledge! Thanks for sharing!

anonymous on October 01, 2012:

Your visit and comment to my lens.

ababe-singh on September 26, 2012:

great,great and great stuff I Like this lens so much and also tweet and stumble it this is the website i use for free web graphics pdposter

qualityweb on September 26, 2012:

Great and really helpful....

sahilwaste on September 25, 2012:

a very useful lens, thanks for sharing all the info. :)

jackthebuilder on September 17, 2012:

Tons of info on how to legally get images for a web presentation. Thanks for writing this great lens. :)

Laraine Sims from Lake Country, B.C. on September 11, 2012:

I've been writing lenses for quite a while now and I have never known where to find free graphics. I was looking for one today and I stumbled on your lens. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am so very grateful! This is a purple star lens, of course! I will be checking out your other lenses too. Angel blessings!

ggruden2 on September 06, 2012:

Nice Informativ lense!

shineall on September 06, 2012:

Wow, so many ways to get graphics for my lenses, really helpful. Thank you for writing such a masterpiece.

PaigSr from State of Confusion on September 03, 2012:

Thanks for the info I will have this one book marked for further reference.

AdeelAthar LM on August 29, 2012:

Wow... I really like your word and the post.

HolisticGiftStores on August 27, 2012:

Great lens, with valuable information! Thank you for sharing!

Rosyel Sawali from Manila Philippines on August 26, 2012:

Amazing lens! I'm glad I found you and your lenses! ^_^ Thank you so much!

PhilominaTheSicilian on August 24, 2012:

Thanks, great info. I learned a few things that I didn't know.

mouse1996 lm on August 20, 2012:

Great information. I will have to check out all the suggested sites.

bossypants on August 18, 2012:

This is a wonderful resource: having all these sources in one place is incredibly helpful. I'll be referencing this lens again and again! Thank you!

clerana on August 18, 2012:

Very helpful, exactly what I was looking for. Thank you.

efcruzarts on August 13, 2012:

great resources for digital artist

anonymous on August 12, 2012:

Your other lenses sounds great. But I am still struggling to earn money

Beverly Lemley from Raleigh, NC on August 05, 2012:

Great! Thanks for all these great resources! B : )

LaurisB LM on August 03, 2012:

Thanks again! Your lenses represent a whole "how-to" course. Fabulous!

timshyu63 on July 25, 2012:

thanks! I love it

chft55 lm on July 19, 2012:

Nice lens! I use Microsoft Word clipart sometimes, and I'm pretty sure that's legal, but I'm just making sure. It is, right?

Kathy McGraw from California on July 19, 2012:

Just put this in the New Squids Library as a is a great one, thanks!

StationNord on July 19, 2012:

Thank you for the lens! I am so going to use it!

anonymous on July 16, 2012:

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anonymous on July 16, 2012:

Intimately, the post is actually the sweetest on this worth while topic. I harmonise with your conclusions and also definitely will eagerly look forward to your incoming updates. Saying thanks will certainly not just be sufficient, for the extraordinary clarity in your writing. I will ideal away grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Solid work and also much success in your business dealings!

Diva2Mom on July 12, 2012:

Love the easy access "Tweet" buttons right by the Guestbook, how slick! I just tweeted a msg about your Children's Latin Translation books, cause I couldn't find where to leave comment, haha. My son will really like this lens...

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