Top ten sites offering free photos and images

Flickr User: BMiz

There’s always a moment when you need an good image for a presentation. Jonny Baker posted a link to Prayerscape which offers this advice

Free for (virtually!) all uses:-

  • Morgue File – This is an extensive library of photos, some of which are high quality. Most of the downloadable photos are also of reasonable size (e.g. 600 pxls or higher). Photos at Mogue File can be used as is, or edited and republished with no restrictions. It is also not necessary to acknowledge the source of the image. All this makes Morgue Files one of the most useful free image resources on the web. The only restriction is that the images may not be resold or repackaged, and you must not claim the ownership of the image in it’s original condition. More licence details here:
  • Stock Photos for Free – A relatively new site, boasting in excess of 100,000 library stock photos which can be freely used in any project. Arranged in categories such as “aerial”, “backgrounds”, “nature and animals” etc. Some good quality work here. The file sizes (which average around 1 meg) are slightly on the small size. Usable for most websites but the resolution is on the small for HD work. Sign-up required.
  • Find Icons – A icon site currently boasting about a third of a million icons (it claims to be the largest searchable database of free icons in the world). If you want to find free icons that can be used for commercial purposes, and do not need a link back to the authors site, then type a search query into the search box, and then select “Both Above Two” from the drop down selector in the licence box (on the left-hand side of the page). Results can be further narrowed down by size (px) and colour, and are available in the png and ico formats.
  • Public Photo – Another searchable database of free to use photos. These images can be used for personal or business use. There are also no restrictions on them as they are in the public domain. However, because professional models have not been used for the shots of people, there may be one or two license issues to look out for. More on this here: (Watch out for the adverts on the site which can easily be confused with the free content!)
  • Image After – A categorized and searchable database of photos and textures that can be freely used and reproduced. Generally at a good downloadable resolution (1000 pixels +), currently boasting over 28,000 free images. However, there is a high number of fairly poor or average quality photos here. Some of the more useful ones are of musical instruments. (see example).

Free but some restrictions apply:-

  • Every Stock Photo – A search engine for free photos. The licenses vary from photo to photo so be sure to check to see if there are any restrictions before using the image. “Every Stock Photo” draws its database from many of the popular free image libraries, including Wikipedia images, Flickr and NASA. Claims to have over 15 million searchable images. Has a useful advanced search feature that can search by shape (e.g. square or rectangle etc) and options to choose which free database to search in (e.g. Morgue, ImageAfter, Flickr etc.)
  • Wikipedia Commons – An extensive collection of images, videos and sound recordings which are free to use and are either in the public domain or areCreative Commons licensed media. A searchable database containing over 12 millions files.
  • USA Government Images – This is page leads to a list of categories of images taken by US government employees, including photos of Anatartica, National Parks, wildlife, the Grand Canyon and NASA space images. These photos are copyright free, and can be used freely. The only catch is that the image must be acknowledged, and can not be used for commercial profit without first contacting the photographer. An example about some of the restrictions can be found here.
  • Icon Finder – A truly vast collection of high quality icons and images. The copyright terms of use vary with each set. Whilst some are restricted to personal use only, other images can be used commercially provided that a link is run back to the creators/copyright holders site. Tip: searches can be narrowed down by selecting “Allowed for commercial use” or “Allowed for commercial use (no link required)”. Each set cites how the icons may be used. Note: some versions of Internet Explorer do not display this site correctly. If you experience problems, try downloading and installing another browser, such as Mozilla’s Firefox browser.
  • Flickr – Flickr is a photo sharing and online photo management site . Some users have allowed their images to be used for free under the creative commons license. To find these images, enter an advanced search hereand then tick the box labelled “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content”. The search can be further narrowed down to find images that can also be used for commercial purposes. Here you’ll find some very high quality free photos. If you’re planning to use these images, you’ll need to acknowledge the source (photographer etc).