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Twelve Places to Find Images for Your Website

Posted on March 24 by in Resources | 82 comments

Twelve Places to Find Images for Your Website

Images have become a vital component of online content over the last ten years. This is partly due to the increase in internet speeds and partly due to the rise in popularity of sharing content on social media services. From a reading perspective, images are important as they break up long articles and make it easier to digest information.

Finding images for posts on Elegant Themes has not been difficult for me as I have been reviewing a lot of plugins and services. Therefore, I have been using screenshot images. With many other topics, a screenshot cannot be used; however it is still important to include relevant images where possible.

One of the stumbling points for many website owners is the uncertainty over whether an image can be used or not. It’s understandable as no one wants to receive a bill and a threatening letter from a large stock image company.

You should therefore avoid searching for images using tools such as Google Images, as many of the images that you will find through the service have been used illegally. Do not be fooled into thinking an image is safe to use as many others have been using it. It is no guarantee that the owner of the image will not contact you about using the image illegally.

Let us take a quick look at the most common licenses that you will see for images:

  • Public Domain – Images in which the intellectual property rights have expired or images in which the owner has released them to the public domain free of charge. They can therefore be used in any way you see fit.
  • Creative Commons – Can be one of several available licenses. Some licenses allow you to use and share the image if it is unchanged, whilst others require a credit link to be displayed. It is important that you read the Creative Commons license that an image has before using it on your website.
  • Royalty-Free – Do not let the name fool you, Royalty-Free does not mean that an image can be used free. It means that once you have purchased the image, you can use it as many times as you want. That is, you do not pay a royalty every time you use the image.
  • Rights-Managed – This allows the image to be used a limited number of times. If you want to use the image more than the defined amount, you will need to pay for the privilege.

There are many other image licenses that are used online. My advice to all of you is that if you are unsure about whether an image can be used, do not use it until you have emailed the owner of the image, or service selling it, and clarify how the image can be used.

In this article, I would like to share with you twelve places online which you can use to find images for your blog or website.

1. Flickr

Several billion images have been uploaded to Flickr since it launched in 2004 (yes, I said billions!). A large percentage of these images have been released under the Creative Commons Attribution license. This means that the images can be used on your website as long as you give the original photographer credit.

Flickr also have a large archive of public domain images. Known as The Commons, the catalog hopes to become the world’s public photography archives.

Flickr

Flickr have a huge archive or high quality images. Many images can be used if you display a credit link in ret.

2. Public Domain Pictures

A wide collection of public domain images. Although the images are free to use, some restrictions do exist for commercial users, so be sure to check the usage conditions for each image.

Public Domain Pictures

Public Domain Pictures has thousands of photographs to choose from.

3. FreeFoto

A free photo archive that contains over 130,000 images. A link back to the image is required in order to use them.

FreeFoto

You can use FreeFoto images as long as you display an attribution link.

4. DeviantArt

With over thirty million registered users, DeviantArt is one of the largest communities online for artists and photographers.

Some artists allow their items to be used if you link back to their profile. You can search for these images through Google using “This work is licensed under a Creative Commons” site:deviantart.com. You can also find suitable images at creative-commons.deviantart.com.

DeviantArt

DeviantArt has many unique illustrations and photographs.

5. Pixabay

A directory of free public domain photographs, vectors and drawings. All images are of a high quality and no attribution link is required in order to use them.

Pixabay

Pixabay is a great resource for public domain pictures.

6. Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is one of my favorite places to find images for blog posts. Owned by the Wikimedia Foundation, it hosts over twenty million images and media files. The quality of images is generally high.

Wikimedia Commons

All Wikipedia images are stored on Wikimedia Commons.

7. Creative Commons Search

The Creative Commons organisation has a fantastic search tool that lets you search resources such as Flickr, Fotopedia, Open Clip Art Library and Pixabay. It is the best way of finding suitable Creative Commons images.

Creative Commons Search

One of the best ways of finding images that are licensed under the Creative Commons license.

8. Stock.xchng

Owned by Getty Images, Stock.xchng is a free stock image directory that contains over 400,000 photographs and illustrations. The standard of images varies from poor to high, therefore you sometimes need to spend a little time to find the right photo.

Stock.xchng

Stock.xchng has a large collection of free stock images.

9. PhotoDune

Photodune is an affordable stock image solution from Envato that has a collection of over four and a half million images. Like all stock image services, the price of the image depends on its size. Small images of around five hundred pixels in width only cost one dollar.

PhotoDune

PhotoDune is a great place to find high quality images at at a fair price.

10. PhotoRack

A large directory of free stock images. It contains hundreds of thousands of photographs, textures, and wallpapers.

PhotoRack

PhotoRack is a good place to find nature photos, city photos, backgrounds and textures.

11. GettyImages

With over eighty million photos in their archives, GettyImages can claim to be the largest stock image service online. Earlier this month they made thirty five million images available to bloggers. All you have to do is click on the embed icon and then paste the code into your post or page.

Getty Images

Getty Images has every type of image you can imagine.

12. ShutterStock

ShutterStock is a royalty-free image service that offers over thirty million images and vectors. Subscriptions are available that allow you to download a set number of images per day. Alternatively, you can pay for a package of images.

ShutterStock

ShutterStock has a good collection of photographs, vectors and illustrations.

If you found this article useful, I encourage you to subscribe to the Elegant Themes for free updates on our latest posts.

Please let us know what resource you use for images in the comment area below :)

Article thumbnail image by YuryImaging / shutterstock.com

82 Comments

  1. Thanks for these resources. Good stock photography at a low cost is hard to find for us bloggers without a budget.

    (Also you left a typo in there: “Finding images for posts on Elegant Themes as not been difficult for me..”)

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Thanks for letting me know Paul. I’ll get that fixed.

  2. Informative and helpful blog, thank you.
    The source I now is “ImageSource” (www.imagesource.com). Great collection of images that are excellent quality. The site also has a very good search and filter capability.

  3. I was looking badly for such a post. Thanks for making it easier for me.

  4. That is a great help as I spend too much time looking for good images that I can use.
    As we all know, a post is so much stronger with an image that links to the content. I’ve been putting up with low-res images that Google tells me are ‘labelled for reuse’.
    I don’t suppose some peopl ebother to even check.
    Thanks for your hard work.

  5. Thanks for another great and useful post. Finding the right images is a big problem for myself and my clients when building new websites. many times clients want to use copyrighted images. This list may help me persuade them to do things the right way.

  6. My favorite is shutterstock, but it is great to know about the other options, thank you for share it!

  7. Thanks sir,
    Please, I don’t understand how can i uses the resource number 3. FreeFoto ?
    Please can do explain more ?

    Regards
    Ashraf

    • Kevin Muldoon

      You can use the image as long as you link back to the page you got it from.

  8. Great post for the off chance you don’t know where to look for stock imagery. You left out DepositPhotos.com. Their customer service could certainly stand to be a lot better, but they do have a wide selection of photos. They use a credit system that allows you to download “X” number of images per day. The only catch is if you miss them you’re out of luck.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Thanks for the suggestion. There are hundreds of stock image services out there, so I had to just pick a few. :)

  9. Great list of free spots! Will definitely check these out.

    You mentioned Shutterstock. Their subscription fees are pretty darn high. For paid subscriptions two I’ve really liked are Bigstock and rtf123. Their fees are very reasonable, and Bigstock will give you a week’s free trial, five downloads a day. Just google Bigstock free trial.

  10. I’ve used several of the sites mentioned in this post. One of the biggest obstacles I’m faced with, is the use of large images for homepage sliders, usually at least 960px wide with a short depth (300px). My clients rarely have good images in that size!

  11. I’ve had some success with Public Domain pics on morguefile.com

    • Thanks for the link to this site. I’ll check them out.

      Shame your affiliate link didn’t work!

      • did just check out Deposit Photos – what a rip off! Good one Sarah!

    • Besides posting an affiliate link….

      They are pretty sneaky people. They have a trial for 7 days, if you don’t cacnels by the end of 6th day, they will charge you 70$ for “auto-renewal”.
      I’d stay away from them.

      And the are not cheaper than the others.

  12. I knew about some of these but not all of them. This is great information for anyone running a blog or website.

    thank you

  13. Great list! I think the Getty one can only be used for non-commercial sites, which would eliminate most website owners but would be great for some.

  14. For designers Dreamstime and Depositphotos are 2 large and interesting resources with exciting offers.

  15. This is so helpful! Thank you for compiling this list :)

  16. I hope you don’t mind sharing links here. Here are less-known places to get do-whatever-you-want photos:

    Unsplash.com
    Gratisography.com
    Picjumbo.com

    Disclaimer: I’m not associated with any of these sites.

    • Thanks for these links. I hadn’t heard of these sites and they have some create pictures. :)

  17. After buying a couple of pics from photodune.net, graphicstock.com and shutterstock.com, I recently found dollarphotoclub.com and stick with them, great collection of high quality images for just $1 each, couldn’t ask for more !

  18. Thanks for such a timely article-sometime Flickr feels limited in terms of whats free to use, so it’s nice to have so many options, gonna bookmark or even link to this post. Very informative!

  19. http://www.everystockphoto.com is a great stock photo search engine (which includes some of the sources mentioned in the article above); you can use the advanced search to filter by license as well.

    • I’ve been using Dollar Photo Club for a while now. Just finished a Beauty Salon site and found the images to be really good for my purposes.
      There seems to be some BS sign up approval process which I cleared in about 10 minutes.

      I hoped for the $10 per month which in the UK moved to $12 with 20% VAT added on. I’ve been back for more than my 10 downloads this month, as you say, $1 (plus 20%) for each after that.

      http://www.dollarphotoclub.com/

  20. And Morgue File is another great resource.

    Thanks for pulling these all together!

  21. Sweet resources. You can never have enough resources for images for your blog. I think with Getty’s recent move were gonna see more high quality stock photography open up for free use.

    Thanks guys. This blog is very valuable

  22. As a photography I do not like your article.
    As a web designer I like it very much.

    Thank you and I hate you.

    Regards / Bugger off,
    Harold

  23. I think this article serves to confirm that the istock/getty image companies have us over a barrel. The range and quality of their stock is unsurpassed and its very easy to search their libraries and find images that will suit most purposes. Unfortunately the costs are prohibitive for us bloggers who have derive little or no income from web endeavours.

    I’m all for royalties but some of the photo’s I’ve seen are charged at outrageous rates and I think there’s a disconnect between the people running these companies and the real world. Having said that, someone must be paying their extortionist rates or they’d drop them by now. Another problem I’ve seen is that as new competitors come on the market they quickly get bought out by the big fish. Even Flickr are deferring alot of their stock to Getty or iStock.

    I know that I’m using some images illegally and I’m conscious that I need to fix this very soon but am stuck between using crappy free images or paying through the nose for the ones that will make my sites look nice.

    I really would be happy to pay for photo’s but think that $1 an image is plenty and splutter at having to pay more. Oh well, I might have to bite the bullet…..

    • This is true, iStock/Getty Images are increasing their prices knowing that the online market for pictures now includes a larger image. Some of the prices on the sites mentioned above are indeed a waste of money. $1 for an image is too much. If enough bloggers in need of pictures say no thanks maybe they will figure it out and lower their prices. Wishful thinking.

    • I hear you, I have a few blogs that I run that don’t make any money, and it’s hard to justify any cost for images. I buy a lot of stock photography for my design clients, and I’ve stopped using iStock because of their cost increases. We now use Shutterstock, Thinkstock, and I just bought a subscription to Dollar Photo Club but have yet to use it (I have no affiliation with with any of these companies BTW).

      A word of caution about using unauthorized images — a few years back I had an unauthorized photo on one of my blogs that I used as a placeholder and forgot to remove, and was later sued by the photographer. I was in the wrong and ended up settling for a large sum ($1,000, he originally wanted $7,000). So a buck an image is cheap in comparison for the peace of mind of knowing you have the rights to reproduce an image.

      Below Tamhas mentions the Flickr Pick a Picture plugin which I’m going to check out also.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      I agree John. I think PhotoDune have one of the fairest pricing policies right now.

      There needs to be some difference in pricing by the companies between personal bloggers and large news corporations.

  24. Thank you, very informative article:)

  25. Got another great Portal.
    http://cgtextures.com/
    Once you have a login there, a certain size is free.
    As the name sais, its more background textures then acutally pictures of products, people and so on…

    Are you gonna post a list somewhere?

  26. Very useful article – thank you. For our German friends I have on my webSite a similar article. This I will complement with your information. Have fun today.

  27. very useful link for my feature work…….thank you

  28. Hint for Flickr to search for CC pictures only: Submit a search with your keyword and then klick on the advanced search button in the right upper corner. Scroll down and check all 3 boxes. Search again, now you see pictures you really can use. But don’t forget to mention flickr and photograph on your site.

  29. I’ll probably throw in another one. This is the site where I place my own photography. You can have the pics for free, no attribution is required, I know it’s a pain, and breaks the design sometimes. (But if you provide some, it would be nice of course) Write me an e-mail if you want some pics from this site (I’ll send them for free, even though it has a price tag on the site.)
    http://artandstock.com/

    I also started posting new free pics in by blog: http://skylark-studio.com/web-design-and-travel/
    (Just hit FREE IMAGES category. I will be posting much more, just a bit busy at the moment)

  30. Thanks Kevin. Stock.xchng has degraded significantly in the last year in my opinion. Pixabay – is a great resource, thanks, didn’t know about it.

    • Great resources, thanks so much for these links. I’ve already started looking at all of them.

      Question – the divi demo page has an animated background (which is totally cool, btw) but I wanted to know if anyone knew where I might find other animated backgrounds that are optimized for web use?

      I’ve found a few sites with animated backgrounds but their file sizes are all around 50mb.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      No problem Elijah. I appreciate you sharing more useful links with others :)

  31. What a wonderful resource! Thanks so much. I am often worried about the legality of using photos and now I know what is allowed.

  32. Great resources! Didn’t know most of these actually, have always just been using Flickr and Wikimedia Commons.

    Thanks! Will definitely be usefull

  33. Great points totally, you just acquired a logo brand new reader. What can a person propose in terms of this post which you designed at times in the past? Any kind of particular?

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Sorry, I am not 100% sure what you are asking. Can you clarify your question for me :)

  34. What about the plugin “Flickr Pick a Picture”?
    https://wordpress.org/plugins/flickr-pick-a-picture/

    “Lets you pick a Creative Commons picture from Flickr and use it anywhere you want on your WordPress installation. The plugin will maintain attribution to the original Flickr author to keep peace with the CC Attribution License”

    I use it all the time for filler pics… there’s some nice ones too!

  35. Thanks for the given info. Its very useful.

  36. Do you know… Is it ok to put the credit & link-back in the rollover (img title or alt-text), or does it have to be an always & immediately visible credit? I’ve always been curious, but haven’t found anything. Thanks!

    • Kevin Muldoon

      There has to be a credit link somewhere in the text. I imagine placing it in the alt text will be perceived as hiding it.

      I personally don’t see a problem with giving credit. It’s a small price to pay for a good image. Plus all the top websites do it :)

  37. I was just adding up the expense of purchasing fotolia.com images for a series of five books we’re publishing in print (about 50 images) — and it’s an expense for us, since we’re the publishers. With a few of the sites on this list, I was able to cut my expenses by about 2/3. Thanks for this great resource, and for all the links provided by commenters!

  38. One of my favorites is http://unsplash.com! Completely and totally royalty free pics, which they encourage people to use wherever they want; however they want.

  39. Awesome! Thanks so much for the post, I’ll never be at a loss for a good photo again!

  40. Or you can simply search for alternatives. There are several stock photo agencies with ready-made high quality and above all -legal images that can be used by all bloggers or websites builders users who are willing to pay a decent price for them. One of these agencies is yayimages.com which has a great unlimited streaming service at only $9.90/month. So far it has been the perfect solution for me.

  41. Kevin Muldoon

    I’m overwhelmed by all the positive responses.

    I’m really pleased with how everyone is making more suggestions for good image resources. Ultimately, it is not possible to list every great resource in an article like this, and there are always good resources that are missed during the research stage.

    Thanks guys :)

  42. Flickr is the best source for finding free images for your blog articles.Apart from this I also use PhotoPin,FreeDigitalPhotos and Fotolia etc. The websites mentioned in this list are also useful :)

  43. Thank you for your article !!! but what type of licence can allow a web designer to use and include an image in an html template and sell this template (like your themes for example) ?

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