When you are a blogger, web designer, developer, or creating a product for resale, you might need photos for your posts, templates, and other designs, but you can't just use any photo you find on the internet. That would most likely violate someone's copyright and get you into a heap of legal trouble.
So what are you supposed to do if you don't have a camera or any photography talent?
Stock photos? Sounds good, but most stock photos cost money.
Creative Commons licensed photos from Flickr? That could be good too, but that requires a link back and there may be restrictions against commercial use. Can you imagine having to put a long Flickr URL on every t-shirt and mousepad you make? How would you go about giving proper credit on a small 125x125 ad? And if you are making web templates it might not be the best idea to trust people that use your templates to keep the attribution links intact.
So where can you get a whole bunch of great photos to use, that don't require an attribution link, won't cost you a dime, and allow for commercial use, too?
Fortunately for you, I have done some research into this and found quite a few sources.
Fotolia has a section on their site where they give away free stock photos. The selection is limited, but they change the photos offered on a regular basis. Good for web use. Files must not be displayed in a size bigger than 640x480 pixels. Can not be used in items meant for resale (no printed t-shirts, web templates, etc). Free membership is required.
|freestockphotos.biz has tons of photos with varying licenses, many of which allow for commercial use, including items meant for resale. Check the license terms included on the page with each photo.|
|BurningWell.org has nothing but public domain photos. You can do anything you please with them, including items for resale.|
|Creating Online has free stock photos that are 400x600 pixels in maximum dimensions at 72 dpi, ideal for web use, and the selection of free photos is at the discretion of each photographer. To learn if a photo has a free download version, check its preview page. New free photos are added daily, so check back often. All free photos are covered by their standard license.|
|Crestock gives away one free stock photo each week. If you hit the site every week, you can build quite a nice collection. Sometimes they even give away a vector instead of a photo. All material they give away is covered by their standard license agreement. Free membership is required.|
|Free Media Goo provides free images, audio files, textures and flash files that you can pretty much do whatever you please with them except use them in propaganda, pornography, or anything suggestive, according to their license.|
|freerangestock offers photos you can use for just about anything. They request that you give credit, but they also say it isn't required if you don't want to. There is a credit and link requirement if you use their photos as part of a web template, though.|
|Image*After lets you do anything you want with their photos, as long as you don't use them to set up a stock photo site that competes with theirs.|
|iStockPhoto gives away one free stock photo each week, under their standard license. They also give away a free vector, video file, and audio track each month. Free membership is required.|
|KeyStockPhoto has a number of photos and retro images available. Photos are approximately 5" x 7" at 72dpi. They are suitable for all you web and graphic needs. They can be used on your web site, newsletter, advertising, articles, brochures, presentations, reports, promotional materials, print ads, mailers, handouts, packaging, greeting cards.|
|Morguefile has some very generous license terms that even allow you to sell the images, as images, as long as you have altered it so that it isn't identical to the original.|
|PDPhoto.org has some really nice images that you can do whatever you please with, as they are all dedicated to the public domain. There are a few sections containing photos that are not public domain, but that collection is a rather small part of the site.|
|Photogen has images that are good for the standard commercial uses that don't involve redistribution or printing on products for sale.|
|Photo Rack says there are no limitations on the use of their images.|
|Pixel Perfect Digital has lots of great images, but you can't use them for items for sale or redistribution, and that includes not using them in web templates.|
Public-Domain-Photos.com has images you can do anything you want with, no restrictions.
PublicDomainPictures.net is a repository for free public domain photos. You can do anything you want with them, but keep in mind that none of the photos have model or property releases. If you want that type of photo, they do sell some cheap, in the bottom section of the main page.
|Unprofound.com was created by designers, for designers and will pretty much let you do anything with their photos except redistribute them as stock photos. The only payment they want is the pleasure of knowing what their work has become. All they want in return is to be able to see what you have done with them, which means either sending them a photo of your product, screenshot of your software, link to your website or template, or whatever other way you can show them what their images have become part of. |
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Pixmac has a selection of images that you can use, but not in anything considered redistributable (like mousepads, t-shirts, etc.), and at a max of 400x400 resolution on the web. There is an exception to the redistributable rule which would allow for use in web templates, providing they are made for use by one specific client. In other words, you can't use their images in web templates you plan on offering to the general public, where more than one person or company could download and use them.
|Stock.xchng offers lots of high quality stock photos, free of charge. Their licensing terms allow for commercial use, with only a few limitations. If you'd like to use a photo for certain uses (web templates, print on demand items, etc.), you will have to contact the photographer and ask for permission, first. Some photos also require you to notify the photographer that you plan on using it for something that will be displayed, publicly. So, for example, if you plan on using it for a blog post, contact the photographer and give him a link to your post, so he can see it. Some photos may have additional terms, set by the photographer. Check the page before downloading. And be sure to rate and leave comments on the photos you use. Photographers love getting feedback on their work. Free membership is required.|
Do you know of a stock photo site that I might have missed that will allow you to use their images commercially, without attribution? Leave me a link in a comment.