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Where to Find Copyright Free Images

Not only do images make websites, eBooks, or articles look better, they're also beneficial from an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) standpoint. Image captions can be a great way to sneak in some keywords (be careful to avoid spamming). Images also get picked up by search engines and you may get traffic through Google Images.

Finding images can be a bit of a challenge. Images legally belong to their creators. You will violate copyright laws if you randomly pull images off the web. If you have Google Adsense ads on a website or blog, that automatically makes it commercial. If you plan to sell an eBook, that is also considered commercial use. Many images available on the web either can't legally be used or can't be used for commercial purposes. The following is a list of websites providing images for legal use.


What Does Public Domain Mean?

Public domain images no longer have any copyright or legal restrictions, so they can be used freely for any purpose, including commercial use. Images are either in the public domain because their copyright has expired or because the creator chose to give up their intellectual property rights.

Take Your Own Pictures

This is one option many people don't consider. I regularly take pictures that I think might be useful at some point. If you write on a limited number of topics you will have a good idea of what images may be useful to you.

Open Clip Art Library

The Open Clip Art Library ( is a great source for quality public domain clip art and vector graphics. The website says that all clip art can be used in any project for free. But it also says:

"Unless noted, content on this site is waived of all copyright."

So, you should double-check and make sure the image can be used.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons ( has permission information for each image. It will tell you if images are in the public domain and why.

Pixabay has user-submitted public domain images. The website already has over 20,000 images and clipart. Most of the images are high quality. This is a great starting point for eBook authors and article writers. According to the website:

"You can freely use any image from this website in digital and printed format for personal and commercial use without attribution to the original author."

However, there are restrictions on the use of pictures with recognizable people. They require a model release. See for a list of restrictions.


Flickr is a photo sharing community that is "home to over five billion of the world’s photos." The nice thing about Flickr is the advanced search feature. You can limit your search to only images that can be used for commercial purposes. A lot of images on Flickr come with restrictions. You may have to credit your source to use them.

Free Digital Photos

Free Digital Photos ( has a large number of high-quality images. Crediting the creator is required to use these pictures. Attribution information is next to each picture. Use both the credit and a URL for the picture.

Wpclipart has both images and clipart. All are in the public domain.

"WPClipart is an ever-growing collection of artwork for schoolkids and others that is free of copyright concerns as well as safe from inappropriate images. Use in school research and reports is my main focus when creating, or finding and editing -- but there are photos and clips here that work great for commercial uses, book illustrations, office presentations, and some just for fun."

Public Domain Pictures

Public Domain Pictures ( is a good source for both free and paid images. When you do a search, the public domain images come up on top. Before downloading you can check the licensing information that comes with each picture to ensure that the image is public domain.

Government Agencies

Most images taken by public employees are in the public domain. There are some restrictions however when an image has a picture of a person who is not a public figure. Some options are NASA, the CIA Factbook, the Library of Congress, the National Park Service, and the Department of the Interior. You have to be cautious with these websites. Photos taken by public employees are usually public domain. However, that does not mean all images used on government websites are public domain. They may be stock photos purchased for use on the website.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2011 LT Wright

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Do you have any recommendations for finding free images?

LT Wright (author) from California on February 10, 2015:

Thanks Easy Exercise

Kelly A Burnett from United States on February 10, 2015:

Learn Things Web,

Excellent view of free images and very much needed for Hubbers and fellow bloggers. Thank you very much! Voted up!

LT Wright (author) from California on October 10, 2014:

You're welcome ItayaLightbourne.

Itaya Lightbourne from Topeka, KS on October 09, 2014:

Thank you very much for these awesome resources.

LT Wright (author) from California on February 26, 2014:

Thanks Au fait.

C E Clark from North Texas on February 26, 2014:

Some great free photo websites listed here. I always like to expand my list of possible free photo sites and I appreciate the time and work you went to here to put this together. Thank you!

LT Wright (author) from California on February 07, 2014:

Thanks LCDWriter.

L C David from Florida on February 06, 2014:

Still my favorite list of safe and public domain graphics.

LT Wright (author) from California on December 26, 2013:

Thanks FullOfLoveSites

FullOfLoveSites from United States on December 26, 2013:

Will bookmark this and share this here and on my Facebook feed to my friends. Thanks for the wonderful info! :)

LT Wright (author) from California on November 30, 2013:


There are a lot of stock photos used on government sites. These sites will often have credit info for pictures they've taken, so those should be ok to use.

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on November 29, 2013:

I always check to see if a site has image usage information specified, or copyright mentioned, before I use an image from another site. However, I always thought that government sites were public domain since tax payers paid for photographers to take those pictures. But you corrected my understanding. I never knew that they may purchase photos for use on a government website, and those pictures may be protected by copyright. Thanks for a well-written article with lots of useful information.

LT Wright (author) from California on November 07, 2013:

Your welcome easylearningweb.

Amelia Griggs from U.S. on November 07, 2013:

Thanks for this list and sharing, Learn Things Web!

LT Wright (author) from California on March 28, 2013:

Thanks CZCZCZ.

CZCZCZ from Oregon on March 28, 2013:

Thanks for the excellent resource to use. voted up.

LT Wright (author) from California on March 28, 2013:

Thanks Paul Kuehn, phdast7 and joanwz. I'm glad to help.

LT Wright (author) from California on March 28, 2013:


I hadn't heard of stockfreeimages before. It looks really good.

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on March 28, 2013:

Great information. Thanks for pulling it all together.

Joan Whetzel on March 28, 2013:

YEs!!! THanks for this. I'm saving it on my favorites. Good to have this information.

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on March 28, 2013:

This is valuable information for me. Finding free images for my hubs has always been one of my main problems. Voted up and sharing.

beingwell from Bangkok on March 28, 2013:

Thanks for these excellent sites! I'm using stockfreeimages and 123rf. I prefer the first one. Will check out your sites, too. Thanks!! Sharing this one.

LT Wright (author) from California on February 22, 2013:


I take a lot of images too but I never seem to have what I really want. So, these sites are very helpful.

Wendy Golden from New York on February 22, 2013:

This is very helpful, thank you. I take a lot of my own pictures and draw some very bad cartoons, but there are times when I need a photo or clip art that I can't create myself. This hub is a great resource and I am bookmarking it for future reference. Thumbs up!

Ronald on November 19, 2012:

nice list , i also suggest , you can share them on custom domain name like,

collegedad from The Upper Peninsula on May 06, 2012:

Just what I've been looking for!

JaneA from California on April 26, 2012:

Great hub - glad I found it!

ssteinberger on March 16, 2012:

Great collection - thanks! My recommendation: - it's another resource for public domain images. My personal favorite.

Levertis Steele on February 27, 2012:

This information is so helpful!

Thanks for sharing.

Rema T V from Chennai, India on February 14, 2012:


Great hub. The images for my hubs have always been the most difficult part, now I have a fair idea as to where I can get them from. Thanks very much for sharing.



icountthetimes on November 11, 2011:

What in invaluable post. I'm new here and it really helps to know that there are places I can find public domain images. Thanks.

RobertDCrandell on November 02, 2011:

Great hub!

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