How to Find Free Images Online

As a long-time blogger, I’m always on the hunt for places to find free photos on the Internet. I want cool, interesting, evocative images that don’t look like they were taken fifty years ago, and don’t look like everyone else has them.

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Even if you’re not a blogger, though, you may have use for using free images in projects you’re working on.

Here is my (updated) list of favorite places to find free images online.

  • MorgueFile.com is my new favorite site. It has a small but good collection of images I’m loving using that do not require any attribution. The best kind.
  • Flickr.com always has tons of images available. However, you must read the individual terms of each photographer to figure out which you can use, and which you can’t. Go for the “Creative Commons” licenses to sort them. If you do use any image, link back.
  • Bigfoto.com offers pictures from around the world, including America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Pacific. Each main category has subcategories, for instance “aviation,” which allows you to choose from pictures in a certain theme.
  • Fotogenika.net has you can get free if you plan to use for personal, educational, and nonprofit use. Commercial use is off the table, and you can’t ever claim you took them.
  • FreeDigitalPhotos.net has more than 2000 free images you can use in both commercial and noncommercial work. You cannot sell, redistribute, or claim these images as your own. As with most of the sources on this list, just browse by category or search for exactly what you need.
I know there are many more sources out there, but these are my go-tos.
Do you have others? Let me know!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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23 thoughts on “How to Find Free Images Online

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  3. Great post. I’ve heard of some of these sites.

    Since I post on technical topics, at times the trick is to find a photo that resonates. And that is the mastery of keywords, and some creativity thrown in.

    I wanted to do a post about a new Amazon feature, with a really boring name (provisioned IOPS). So I found a picture of Taylor Swift and a shocked, surprised look. 🙂

    http://www.iheavy.com/2013/06/11/the-most-important-aws-feature-for-performance-and-scalability/

    Btw, loving your blog Claire. I think your way of presentation & simplicity is a great model for a lot of bloggers out there. Including myself!

  4. Love your go to’s, thanks for sharing. I just created a review of 30 “free” image websites which claim to be royalty free and creative commons, but as you’ll notice in my review – not always the truth. 🙂

  5. hmm…then you should not post this article based on find free images 🙂 , I am really curious to ask this, is it every people care about permission or licensing issue when he/she gets a image in free site?? Reality is different here I guess.

    • “Free” does not necessarily mean that you can use them freely. Even if the image has no cost, you need to give artists and creators proper credit for their work. If you don’t, it’s an insult to their creativity, plus you could be violating terms of use or copyrights and get in legal trouble.

  6. i am a photographer myself , so i`m kinda skeptic in such sites.
    i need to know very well if they are using fro free other`s works or not.
    each time , myself use a photo (i mostly share pics i like on my fb page actually, or very rarely at my blog), i always make sure to ask for permission from the artist or at the worst case put the credits of the author.

  7. I use DeviantART for free images a lot! Culture aside, there’s a very useful Resources and Stock Imagery category. Like Flickr, you need to read through individuals’ terms – some want credit, some exclude commercial use, but some have no restrictions.

  8. This is an AWESOME compilation of resources. I purchase images every week for my site or presentations… It’s great to have some free options on the table now as well. Thank you, Claire!

  9. Love Flickr, though looking for the creative commons adds another layer of work. Still, the number of available and usable pictures is nearly limitless.

    At times, I also use sxc.hu. The photos are free, but it has a limited selection. Still worth a quick search sometimes.

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