You can find a ton of free photographs online that you may use without encountering any copyright problems if you’re looking for one that you can reuse for one of your projects but aren’t able to snap a shot yourself. You simply need to know where to look.
Here, we’ll discuss various websites where you can look for free photographs online. It’s important to note that the Creative Commons (CC) license, which permits the free use of an image, is frequently encountered when looking for free photographs. However, there might be some restrictions that call for you to provide credit to the original creator or forbid you from changing the image, depending on the type of CC license an image has.
Because of this, it’s crucial to understand the license that an image has before using it. Here you can discover more details about the variations between various CC licenses.
Let’s now discuss the many methods for finding free photos.
Find free-to-use images on Google
It’s a popular misperception that images you see on Google Images can’t be used again lawfully. While this might be accurate for general searches, there are ways for Google to limit your results based on picture usage rights. This is how to accomplish it:
- Head to Google Images, and type in the image you’re looking for.
- Select Tools > Usage Rights, and then choose Creative Commons licenses.
- Google will then display images that have been licensed under Creative Commons.
Make sure to verify the kind of CC license a picture is under before reusing it. You can usually do this by going through to the image’s source.
Use a stock photo site
Searching for a free-to-use image on a stock image website like Pexels, Unsplash, or Pixabay is among the simplest ways to discover one. These websites offer free photos, and giving acknowledgment to the creator is optional (though it’s still polite to do so).
The photographs may be altered for both personal and professional use, however selling them without substantial alteration is not permitted. On the license pages of Pexels, Unsplash, and Pixabay, you may read more about what you are and are not allowed to do with these photos.
We’ll use Unsplash in this example to demonstrate how to discover photos. Whichever website you pick, the steps are essentially the same.
- Open Unsplash, and search for an image.
- When you locate an image you like, select the resolution you want to download it in by clicking the dropdown arrow to the right of the Download free button in the top-right corner of the window.
- While the process isn’t exactly the same for all the stock image sites out there, the steps are still quite similar.
Search for free images on Wikimedia Commons
Another excellent resource for free photos is Wikimedia Commons, a website managed by the same nonprofit organization that manages Wikipedia. All of the photographs on this page are free to use, although they all have distinct licenses with various usage restrictions.
- Open Wikimedia Commons and type a search in the top-right corner of the screen to get started.
- From here, use the License dropdown to filter photographs based on the license constraints. You have the option to select Other, Use with attribution with the same license, Use with attribution, and No limitations.
- By clicking on the included link when you select an image, you can see which CC license it adheres to and find out more details about any potential limitations.
Flickr is a fantastic alternative if you’re still having trouble finding the picture you’re looking for. However, not all of the images here are free to use, so to focus your search, be sure you select the appropriate license from the Any license dropdown.
Find free images through the Library of Congress
There is a vast digital archive of public domain images available from the Library of Congress. Its website states that it hosts material that it considers to be “in the public domain, has no known copyright, or has been permitted for public use by the copyright owner.”
Although you might not find generic stock photos here, it’s an excellent place to explore if you’re seeking for old photos of famous people, artwork, landmarks, and other things. This is how to apply it:
- Open the Library of Congress’ free image database.
- You’ll find free image collections organized by category on the site, like “Birds,” “Natural Disaster,” and “Independence Day.”
- Use the search bar at the top of the screen to look for a specific image. You can narrow down your search results by category, including “Maps,” “Newspapers,” “3D Objects,” and “Photos, Prints, Drawings,” using the dropdown menu to the left of the search box. For a database-wide search, you can alternatively select “Everything”.
- When you’ve found an image you like, click Go after selecting it and then select the Download option that appears beneath the image.
- To find out more about the restrictions on using the image, scroll down the page and click the Plus icons next to Rights & Access.