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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tons of Free Stock Photo Sites – Commercial Use OK – No Attribution Required

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.
Screenshot - 3_27_2010 , 5_16_30 AM  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.

Screenshot - 3_27_2010 , 5_18_37 AM  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.
Screenshot - 3_27_2010 , 5_20_34 AM  BurningWell.org has nothing but public domain photos. You can do anything you please with them, including items for resale.

Screenshot - 3_27_2010 , 5_23_11 AM  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.
Screenshot - 3_27_2010 , 5_25_30 AM  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.
Screenshot - 3_27_2010 , 5_26_39 AM  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.
Screenshot - 3_27_2010 , 5_27_59 AM  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.
Screenshot - 3_27_2010 , 5_29_21 AM 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.

Screenshot - 3_27_2010 , 5_31_46 AM  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.
Screenshot - 3_27_2010 , 5_32_59 AM  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.
Screenshot - 3_27_2010 , 5_34_00 AM  Photogen has images that are good for the standard commercial uses that don't involve redistribution or printing on products for sale.
Screenshot - 3_27_2010 , 5_36_21 AM  Photo Rack says there are no limitations on the use of their images.
Screenshot - 3_27_2010 , 5_37_23 AM  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.
Screenshot - 3_27_2010 , 5_38_40 AM 
Public-Domain-Photos.com has images you can do anything you want with, no restrictions.
Screenshot - 3_27_2010 , 5_39_44 AM 
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.
Screenshot - 3_27_2010 , 5_41_22 AM  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.

Norebbo has some great 3D renderings that would be perfect for illustrating technology related blog posts, creating web templates, Powerpoint presentations, and many other types of projects. The free images are ENORMOUS compared to similar free images offered by other artists. Norebbo has some very generous terms of use for his free images, too. You may use them any way you wish, except redistributing them, as-is. And while a link back to his site is appreciated, it is not required. And if you need even larger versions than Norebbo is offering for free, you can buy them in his shop.
Screenshot - 7_25_2013 , 9_07_04 PM 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.


Barbara said...

Wow! Thank you so much!! I'm always nervous about using images on my site which may come back to haunt me with copyright issues, these links are a godsend!!

Steve Bush said...

I agree with Barbara. I use 95% pictures that I have taken on my site, but the remaining 5% can be worrying. A future article idea would be to outline what constitutes "proper attribution". Thanks for this list!

app said...

The reason for this list is so you don't have to worry about attribution. Just comply with the terms as they are outlined by the site that is giving away the photos. As long as you do what they want and don't use their photos for purposes they don't agree with, you have nothing to worry about.

When in doubt as to whether your use falls within what they consider acceptable, contact the site and ask before you use it. The worst they can do is say "no".

Cathy Mason Pixmac said...

Pixmac offers Free legally licensed imagery too! We also offer affordable pictures starting at .10 and we invented the "one-stop shop" you can search from 10+ million pictures and buy one instantly without pre-registering!

Pdposter.weebly.com said...

www.pdposter.weebly.com I use website daily to get free public domain images

Tim Cray said...

Thanks for sharing these free stock photos sites resource .This is nice blog post , its great sites . I really like this post...

Ellen Dubistock said...

Good Job, high quality of images and unique photos are very effective for photostock sites, lots of nice creative sites, thanks you so much!

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app said...

Thank you.

There might be something wrong with your site, though. The first time I looked, there wasn't any free images and all I got was a search box.

When I checked again, there was some. You might want to look into that. (I apologize for my previous message)

I have added your site to my list.

ConnieFoggles said...

Just checked out Public Domain photos and found what I needed on the first try. Bookmarking this to use again and again. Excellent source.

Gothi[c] said...

That's quite a nice and useful list.
On the other hand, who needs them when you have app, the digital packrat! :)

app said...

But we need more digital packrats in the world, so I am revealing my sources.

Consider this the mother load on stock photos. There will be more posts revealing other types of files, as I sort through what I have and organize it better.

jareso said...

http://www.StockPhotos.it It is a database and catalogue of stock images. It contains a lot of free images under various categories.

noelg said...

Very informative and comprehensive. Truly something useful. Thanks a lot!