Skip to main content

How to Use Free Photos and Free Clip Art on Your Hub or Website

Finding Free Images for Your Hubs

There’s no doubt that adding pictures to your Hub or website will make it more visually appealing. While using your own original photographs is often your first choice for illustrating your Hubs, sometimes it just isn’t possible. You may not have a suitable photograph in your personal photo library, or you may be under time constraints to publish and not have time to set up a photograph or scout for a photo op. Rather than publish your hub without visuals, you can use some of the wide selection of resources on the internet to find free photographs and clip art to enhance your hub. Here are a few that I’ve used in my hubs that are searchable and easy to use:

Beautiful Images From NASA

Chaos at the Heart of Orion  from NASA

Chaos at the Heart of Orion from NASA

Where to Find Free Digital Photographs and How to Use Them Legally

  • Government and Public Domain Websites. Public domain sites have a wealth of free pictures - everything from scenery to spaceships. Any pictures that were taken when working for the U.S. government or any pictures that can be downloaded from a government website are automatically public domain. For example, try the NASA image galleries for fantastic pictures of the sky, earth, moon, stars and space ships.The picture shown is from the NASA multimedia gallery.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Paul Czanne, Les joueurs de carte

Paul Czanne, Les joueurs de carte

  • Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia. If you don’t have the exact picture you need, go on an internet hunt. Here you’ll have to use both your imagination and your creativity to tie the picture to your hub. For example, when I wrote my hub Playing Card Games Promotes Senior Brain Fitness, I did not have a picture of people playing cards. I was ready to publish, but felt that I needed a good graphic in my hub. My solution was to find a photograph of the Paul Cezanne painting, Les joueurs de carte, which pictures two old men playing cards.This is a Creative Commons picture that was available through Wikimedia Creative Commons and is a perfect illustration for my topic.

    If you do find a photograph on Wikipedia that you’d like to use, click on it to bring up the picture. You will find information about licensing. If it is a picture under Wikimedia Creative Commons licensing, you are free to use it in your hub as long as you follow instructions for attributing the photograph.Continue to download it to your computer or import directly into your hub. When I use a picture from Wikimedia Creative Commons, I always cite the source, even if it’s not required as I do not want to take credit for someone else’s photographs.

Vintage Clip Art

From free Victorian Clip Art flower pictures:

From free Victorian Clip Art flower pictures:

  • Free Clip Art. If you’re looking for cute, check out the clip art that came with your word processing program or one of the free clip art sites (search for “free clip art”) on the web. I sometimes like to use vintage pictures, which are just perfect for something like a romantic Valentine Hub (Romantic Valentine Idea-A Horse Drawn Sleigh Ride ). When using free pictures, be sure to follow the instructions on how to use the clip art and cite the source if you are asked to do so. One of the free clip art sites that I use is here: This is a sample of one of the Victorian images that can be used:Victorian Seed packet

Photo from Free Digital Photo.Net

Natural Apples by DigitalArt.

Natural Apples by DigitalArt.

Wind Surfer from

Creative Commons photo by Leunix at Flicker

Creative Commons photo by Leunix at Flicker

  • Free Digital Photos.Net. Here you can download royalty free images for use on websites and blogs.You have free use of the images for personal or commercial purposes. However, all free images must include attribution according to terms stated on website. High resolution versions of these images are available for sale for those who wish to use high quality images in printed materials. The sample photo is Natural Apples by DigitalArt .

  • This is a great place to find free photographs as many Flickr users have made their photographs available under Creative Commons licenses. Be sure to check the terms of the licenses before using the picture as there are several different versions of the copyright. You can search the Flickr site for Creative Commons licensed photographs. If you use one of these photos, don’t forget to give credit to the owner of the copyright.

How to Cite Your Creative Commons Source

It is important to cite the source of your free photograph or clip art, not only because it keeps everything legal, but because the creator of the image deserves recognition - little enough reward for making his/her art freely available.

When you are in the Photo Capsule Edit mode, there are three fields to type into:

1. The Name of Source: Here you should type in just the name of the source, like "Flickr". If you add more words than just the name of the source, the URL won't work as a link.
2. Source URL: This is where you should paste the URL to link to the source's website when asked to do so. By doing it this way, readers will be able to click on the "Source" name and it will backlink to the source's site.
3. Caption: Here you can type in the title of the photograph if it has one, or you can add your own short comment.

Learn more about Creative Commons Licensing

Anyone who uses photographs of others that are licensed by Creative Commons should read this explanation of the Creative Commons copyright symbols. You may be surprised to learn that not all Creative Commons licenses are alike. Different symbols associated with an image indicate different restrictions on its use.

Creative Commons license symbols may be used together to indicate specific restrictions. For example, the Attribution symbol may be used together with the Non-Derivative symbol to indicate that the work must be attributed, but it cannot be altered in any way.

Creative Commons Symbols

Creative Commons symbols may be combined to indicate specific uses.

Creative Commons symbols may be combined to indicate specific uses.

Points to Remember About Using Free Images

  • Creative Commons Licenses can differ. While some photos with CC licenses are free and unrestricted, others can't be used commercially, nor can they be altered in any way. Be sure you know the terms of the license on the photo you are using.

  • Always give credit. Giving credit to the photographer or the website that gave you the free clip art is a small price to pay for professional quality images that you use to enhance your writing. Learn the terms of the licensing and give appropriate credit as directed.

  • Royalty Free does Not Mean Free. There are numerous websites advertising free photographs and free clip art. You've probably already discovered that not everything that looks free is actually free. Some sites offer Royalty Free images. This means that you must purchase the image, but after the one-time fee, you can use it as much as you want without paying royalties.
Scroll to Continue

There's no Excuse for Boring!

So there you have it. There is no excuse for long unbroken text when you can spice up your Hub with colorful images, beautiful photographs and cute clip art without paying a cent. Play by the rules, but have fun with it!

Join HubPages — It's Free and It's Fun!

Interested in writing? Why not join the HubPages community? It's free and fun, and I'm sure you will enjoy much support and encouragement from fellow hubbers. Click here for more information: Join HubPages

Check out My Hub on Using Original Photographs

If you own a digital camera or a cell phone camera, why not use original photographs on your website or Hub? Check out my Hub on using your own photographs to illustrate your articles: Quick and Creative Tips for Using Original Photos on your Hub

Cute free clip art is easy to find.

Cute free clip art is easy to find.

  • How to Choose the Best Pictures for Your Articles
    Choose the best pictures for your hub to attract attention and add color and interest to your layout. Here are tips on how to make the best choices when choosing clip art, free photographs or your own original photos to illustrate your hub.
  • Live in the Moment ~ Enjoy Life More
    Enjoy the fleeting beauty of a sunset. Some people have an innate ability to live in the moment without thinking ahead to some future activity or dwelling on something that happened in the past. Others have to learn it. For example, artists,...
  • The RVing Lifestyle: Living full time in an RV
    To some, the concept of living full time in an RV, might seem crazy. People who suddenly decide to give up their homes, sell or store their belongings, pull up stakes and hit the road with the intention of living and traveling in their rigs full...
  • Padre Island National Seashore~ RVing and Birding on...
    Padre Island National Seashore on the Gulf Coast of Texas is a popular destination for RVing snowbirds. RVers can camp in one of several campgrounds or drive and camp right on the beach.

Web Design


Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on February 28, 2018:

Thank you so much for your very informative and yet still beautiful article. I was worried about getting into trouble trying to find great photos, but you made it all sound really easy.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on April 27, 2015:

Thanks for stopping in, WendyMCS! I'm glad that some of these tips were helpful to you.

Wendy from West Coast, Canada on April 27, 2015:

I see I'm late to the party commenting on this article but I wanted to say I find it very helpful. Copyright issues usually motivate me to create and use my own graphics but since that isn't always possible, this write up has been very helpful in increasing my comfort level around using other people's work! Thank you for putting it all together. :-)

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 23, 2012:

Mike Robbers - I'm glad you found some useful new information in my article! Thanks so much for your comments.

Mike Robbers from London on October 23, 2012:

I mainly use flickr, instagram and devianart .. I didn't know most of the sites you recommended, they look quite good & vital. . just bookmarked them :)

thanks a lot for your excellent information, shared

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on April 11, 2012:

Petealex - I'm so glad that you found this article on using free photos and free clip art useful. Thanks for the read.

petealex on April 11, 2012:

I really needed this information.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 13, 2011:

Injured Lamb - I'm glad that your found some useful resources for free photos and free clip art here. Thanks for visiting my hub today, and thanks for your comments!

Injured lamb on October 13, 2011:

Thanks Stephanie for your generous sharing...glad that I have another useful resources then...cheers!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 12, 2011:

Denise - I'm glad you found this useful. Thanks for stopping in to read and comment!

Denise Handlon from Michigan on October 12, 2011:

I've bookmarked this hub for easy reference. What a wealth of info in one place, thanks.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 10, 2011:

HikeGuy - I'm glad that you found some useful tips in my hub. The Creative Commons search is great for finding free pictures on Flickr, though we still need to double check the CC symbols. Thanks for the link you sent me and for your comments and votes!

Bryce from Northern California Coast on October 10, 2011:

Stephanie -- Excellent information. I'm glad you emphasized respect for copyright. I use the Creative Commons search to find pics on Flickr -- saves time. NASA has been a favorite of mine. Some of the others are new to me -- Thanks! Voted up & Useful.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 10, 2011:

Ubanichijioke - I'm so glad you found this useful. Thank you for visiting my hub and taking time to comment.

Alexander Thandi Ubani from Lagos on October 10, 2011:

You ve set the pace, and you i must follow. You ve provided a most vital and useful information. I am thrilled. Be blessed. Voted useful and interesting

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 10, 2011:

Hi Carmen, I was very happy to discover that government photos are public domain. The USDA, in particular, has some wonderful pictures that are useful in all kinds of hubs. I'm glad you found my hub on using free photos and free clip art useful! Thanks for visiting and commenting!

Carmen Beth on October 10, 2011:

I didn't know that pictures that are downloadable from government websites are public domain. Thanks for sharing that and for introducing Vintage Crafts clip arts(I have a penchant for vintage & Victorian designs)...the images were lovely.

Bbudoyono on September 30, 2011:

Very informative hub. Thanks a lot.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 30, 2011:

BKCreative - It's true that finding free clip art and free photos can be tricky as there are many sites that advertise "Free", but are really "Royalty Free", which is not the same thing. We do have to be careful. I'm so glad that you found this hub useful. Thanks for your comments and your votes!

BkCreative from Brooklyn, New York City on September 30, 2011:

Great! - you have made this so easy and a pleasure to read through. I'm bookmarking it now because I need to have this resource readily available. And yes, I look for free but most are not - what a waste of time.

Thanks a million! Rated up and more!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 29, 2011:

Hi Sunshine,

Thanks so much for your comment and vote. I appreciate your sharing my Hub, too! Have a great day!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 29, 2011:

Hi Marellen, I'm glad that you found the sites I mentioned useful. There are many other sites where you can get free pictures and clip art, but I find that just doing an internet search will bring up a lot of sites that are not really free. It can be frustrating. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment on my Hub!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 29, 2011:

Lucky Cats - I agree that using your own photos and drawing would be the best way to go, but the free sites are great for those times when we just don't have the right picture in our photo libraries. I'm glad you found this hub helpful! Thanks for your comments!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on September 29, 2011:

This is a very useful hub for pictures! Thank you Steph for sharing this info! Voted UP and shared! :)

marellen on September 29, 2011:

Thanks Steph for all this info. I wrote down all the websites you memtioned and will start to use these sites before I use an image I shouldn't. Thanks you for sharing this info... Mary

Kathy from Independence, Kansas on September 29, 2011:

Stephanie....what a great informative hub...I've found and another site plus Clip art sites but, mostly, use my own photos and drawings (Poem for Jamie & Double Life series). thank you for doing the 'footwork' for us.

katrinasui on September 27, 2011:

Great hub! It is very useful to know where to get copyright-free photos.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 26, 2011:

Thanks for visiting Christine. I'm glad that you found the information here useful.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 26, 2011:


Using your own photographs is definitely a good idea, and it's great that you can do that. Glad you find these resources useful for times when you need something that's not in your photo library. Thanks for stopping by.

Christine P Ann from Australia on September 26, 2011:

Thanks so much for this informative hub :)

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 26, 2011:

Great resources! I also try to use my own photographs as much as possible, but it's good have some quick references when you need something else.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on September 26, 2011:

The reason I try to use my own is that I'm never sure how to legally attribute and use others which is why I found this article very helpful.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 26, 2011:

Hi Gail,

I know that you usually use your own beautiful photographs, but I'm glad that you find this useful. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment and bookmark my hub!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 26, 2011:

Hi Ann,

You use so many of your gorgeous original photographs in your Hubs, but, hopefully, some of these free sites will come in handy when you need that certain image that isn't in your library. Thanks for your comment and our votes!

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on September 26, 2011:

Wow, this is great information with wonderful resources and a clear concise information about the legal use of photographs and clip art. Am bookmarking this hub for future reference. Thanks so much for sharing this information.

annmackiemiller on September 26, 2011:

this is a great resource - I try to use my own photos but it is really useful to know where to get copyright-free ones - voted up, useful, awesome and interesting,

Related Articles