15 Sites For Finding Free Images in the Public Domain
Images are pivotal to a good website – without them your site will be a wall of uninviting text.
Finding great images for your site is relatively easy as there are many, many sites out there that supply paid for and “free” images. Often though you either don’t have the cash, the desire to spend the cash or don’t want to have to add in attribution all the time.
That’s where Public Domain images come in. These rare gems have been handed out by the creator to the world at large. Mostly they are covered under a licence such as the Creative Commons CC0 licence which says:
You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.
You can pretty much do anything with these images, though some sites do add extra terms such as not to be used for pornographic purposes, be sold on stock websites or not to claim ownership of the image. Nothing that will generally affect you in your day to day usage of the images.
There is a problem though, most public domain photos are crap! Honestly they often come across as badly taken holiday photos.
That’s why I’ve compiled a list of some of the best public domain image sites available today.
Public Domain Pictures
A mixture of public domain images and links to Shutterstock, though the premium links are marked so you can tell the difference.
1 Million Free Pictures
Landscapes, buildings and textures sent to you via email every week. How handy is that?
New Old Stock
A curated list of vintage photos all sourced from Flickr.
Public Domain Archive
Not all the photos on this site are CC0 licensed so just be careful about that.
The British Library
The British Library uploaded over a million scans of old books and manuscripts, to make them freely available for the public. While not suitable for everything, there is such a wide range of content that something could be of use.
Internet Archive Book Images
Need more old images? How about over 2 million pictures ranging from the 1500’s to 1922?
09/26/2014 @ 4:35 am
Hey there Dean, just wanted to say thank you. What an awesome selection you’ve given us. Sure do appreciate ya’ doing all that footwork… that had to have taken a good chunk of time.
Much obliged, partner!
09/26/2014 @ 1:19 pm
You’re welcome Randy, and yes I always find articles like this take much more time to create than a 1000 word article. Lot’s of fiddling about 😀
09/26/2014 @ 1:03 pm
Thanks a lot for posting taking the time to compile and post this useful list of sites where we can find free images. Blessings!
09/26/2014 @ 1:20 pm
You’re welcome Hilda!
01/28/2015 @ 12:21 am
Please also check out http://www.goodfreephotos.com for thousands of unique public domain photos, especially travel photos. Appreciate it if you could add it to your site. Thanks.
03/24/2015 @ 3:07 am
I cant thank you enough for this website. It has been a struggle trying to find good pictures.