When you need royalty-free images, it can be difficult to find a website that lets you use their images for free. Fortunately, some websites allow you to use their images without paying, with or without credit.
Let’s explore the best websites to find Creative Commons images.
If you are looking for a real photo, give Pexels A try. Pexels is a huge database of photos and videos that you can freely use in your projects.
Because Pexels is largely pure photography, you won’t find many images for niche subjects. For example, there are only a few results for “hack”, as it’s not something a photographer would try to capture. However, if you want an image of a seagull, you will be spoiled for choice from the range of photographs available.
Pexels also has a special color filter when you search. When you choose a color or enter its HEX value in the search window, it browses its library and selects the images where that color is dominant. For example, choosing a light blue tends to give you images against a sunny sky, while oranges give you photos taken at sunset.
If you don’t have much luck with Pexels, or are looking for something that can’t really be photographed, try Pixabay. It also has photos in its library, but it also allows users to upload vector graphics and edited images. This means you can find more abstract and niche topics on Pixabay.
When looking for a subject, you can choose between vector graphics and photography. While photographs give a more realistic feel to your items, vector graphics are a bit more cartoonish and relaxed. As such, you can change your search parameters depending on whether you want to go for a professional or casual look for your project.
If you can’t find what you want from the two options above, you can try Flickr instead. Flickr has a huge selection of user-submitted images, but there is a slight catch. Unlike Pexels and Pixabay, not all images on Flickr are free to grab and use. As such, you need to do your due diligence to make sure you don’t violate any copyright laws.
To find creative, friendly images, start by researching what you want to find. Then, at the top of the page on the left, click on “Any license” and select the desired license.
Once you’ve found an image you like, scroll down below and look at the license details. Click on it to see what you can do with the image and if you should credit the downloader or not.
While Flickr searches require a few extra steps compared to Pixabay or Pexels, the sheer volume of media available is well worth it. As long as you choose the images with the right licenses and give credit where credit is due, you can use Flickr wisely.
4. CC research
CC research is not, per se, a collector of images. However, they collect websites that host Creative Commons images and compile them in one search. All you have to do is type in what you want to search for, and CC Search will do the rest.
When you find the right image for you, you can click on it and see all the license details. If you agree to the terms, then you can click a button to go to the website that hosts it for download.
Clker is a resource for public domain clipart images with vector and bitmap images available for download. It’s especially good for icons and symbols. One of the remarkable features of Clker is that it allows you to edit any SVG image in a browser-based drawing program. You can use the visual editor or edit the raw SVG source code, which is an easy way to change the colors of the elements because no “paint bucket” tool exists.
6. Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons contains over 15 million free images, sounds and other media files. You can browse by thematic categories – such as animals, flags, math, and medicine – or by location, type (images, sounds, or videos), author, license, or source. All images are licensed under one of several Creative Commons licenses, the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), or a Public Domain license.
MorgueFile is a collection of free high resolution photos that you can use for personal or commercial purposes. Before uploading images to morgueFile, users must agree to the following conditions: “You import your own images, not a photo of a photo or someone else’s work.“This prevents the site from ending up as Imgur, a popular image sharing site that mainly hosts non-original work.
All images on morgueFile are released under the morgueFile license, which specifies that users are free to remix the work, use it for commercial purposes, and use it without attribution.
Unsplash claims to be “The Internet source for freely usable images “ and it contains over a million high resolution images that you can download and use for free.
All images are uploaded by photographers in their community. Although he did not explicitly state that the photos come with a Creative Commons license, he does state that:
- All photos can be downloaded and used for free
- For commercial and non-commercial purposes
No attribution to photographers is required, but we would appreciate it.
Viktor Hanacek started Picjumbo when other photo sites did not publish his images. Since then, his images have been downloaded millions of times by users around the world. Almost all of Picjumbo’s images were taken by Viktor himself, which means you won’t encounter any copyright surprises.
Picjumbo also has a premium subscription which gives you access to exclusive photos. Whether you stick with the free version or go premium, all photos are free to use as you see fit.
If you are looking for original and original photos, look no further. Gratisography offers free high-resolution images that you can use for personal or commercial projects. All photos were photographed by Ryan McGuire and are copyright free. The site has a handy search function, and all images are grouped into categories such as urban or whimsical to help you narrow your search.
If you’re a blogger, social media influencer, or marketing business, you’ll want to check out To burst. Organized by Shopify, Burst is a business-focused stock image site. In fact, Burst encourages you to use their images for commercial purposes. Therefore, Burst’s high resolution photos can be used in advertising campaigns or to create websites. All of the photos on Burst are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero License, which means you can do whatever you want with them. With the CC0 license, you don’t even have to credit the photographer, but it’s good karma if you do.
12. New old stock
This site is different from others because it is a niche site. New old stock specializes in free vintage photos. If you like old stuff, you can find some real gems here. It doesn’t have a search feature and the photos are hosted on other sites, but it’s still a nice collection of unique old photos from all over the web.
Get creative with Creative Commons websites
Without any help, finding images that you can use for your projects can be tricky. Fortunately, there are ways to quickly browse Creative Commons images to find the perfect image. You can also find Creative Commons videos and royalty free music.
What’s your favorite stock footage website? Let us know below.
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