Ten Great Sources for Free Stock Photos and Public Domain Images

Photo Collage from Pixabay

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Content may be king, but a picture is still worth a thousand words.

Stock photos can be a fantastic way to punch up your content or visually cue readers into your topic. You could purchase an image from the myriad of stock photography sites out there, though you’ll find their vast selection of images is often paired with a dizzying array of prices. For the prolific content creator, high priced images just don’t fit the budget.

But just how do you find that perfect image to go with the text you’ve so carefully crafted? That’s where these resources come in handy:

  1. PublicDomainPictures.net – 94,000 images
  2. Commons.Wikimedia.org – database of over 24 million media files
  3. Pixabay – 300,000 images, vectors, and illustrations
  4. ImageAfter – categorized images as well as textures
  5. Public-Domain-Photos.com – 5K images, 8K clipart
  6. FreeImages.com – 410,000 images
  7. FreeRangeStock.com – thousands of hi-res images
  8. StockVault.com – 52,000 images
  9. FreeDigitalPhotos.net – thousands of photos and illustrations
  10. Creative Commons – if you’re looking for a giant pool of CC-licensed works, then this is it. Creative Commons has hundreds of millions of works available for free and legal use under their various copyright licenses.

Now, not -every- photo on these sites is free and in the public domain. You should be aware that some of these sites do offer paid images alongside their free images and most of them offer images that fall under one of the other Creative Commons license types. Additionally, some images may also have attribution requirements so be certain that you follow the necessary requirements for any image that you use. If you’re downloading images for possible future use, I would highly recommend making a spreadsheet to keep track of file names alongside the resource you downloaded the image from as well as any post requirements for that particular image.

There is a fantastic breakdown of all the Creative Commons license types by blogger and author Meghan Ward. Some sites offer size or file restrictions and only let you download small sizes or a certain number of files for free and offer a site membership for full access. I’ve found the small sizes are usually more than large enough for blog posts however and even if you do decide that a membership is the best way to go for a particularly relevant resource, they’re fairly inexpensive.

Bonus Site #1: Wikipedia Public Domain Image Resource List – This is an incredibly long list of sources of public domain images. It includes general collections and some government resources, but it also contains a list of subject specific collections.

Bonus Site #2: DotGovWatch Photo Library List – This is a really wonderful list of sites that contain images from various government agencies that are (mostly) copyright-free and in the public domain.

Bonus Site #3: EveryStockPhoto.com – This is essentially a search engine for stock photography. It contains both free images and paid images, so I’d advise using the Advanced Search functions to narrow your results.

Though the photo in this post does not require attribution, it is from Pixabay

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