Spice up your Website with Free Images

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Beware of Borrowing Any Image

If you are just grabbing images off the web, from google image search, other blogs etc, and think that there is no copyright!! Beware. A change to the copyright act some years ago means that there is always an implicit right on images. So……..Stop it!!  Read on for the solution to this problem.

Creative Commons Licenses

One of the best ways to find free images is to use images licensed under the Creative Commons License. These are licenses that allow photographers to choose how they want their images to be used.  Many websites offer such photos which are free to be used, as long as you abide by their licensing requirements.  This usually means in the worst case that you have to attribute the photo to them, and/or you cannot change it. Their are varying requirements and you should check them when you use an image.  The link below is to the licenses and their exact meaning.

Creative Commons License Terms

Websites with Free Images


The following are a list of pages, searches and information you might find useful in the search for Free Images!

Create Commons

Creative Commons Search Page
– this provides a common page with links to site that have Creative Commons Images, and their searches


Flickr Creative Commons
– this is a specific link to the Creative Commons section of Flickr

Flickr Advanced Search
– a more useful link, this is the advanced search for Flickr where you can specify the type of license

* Note at the bottom of the search is this section, where you can choose “Creative Commons” or more specific parts of the license

Flickr Advanced Search

Photo Pin
– Still on the Flickr Theme, this is also a Flickr Creative Commons search tool/website, but the usability is a bit better than the flickr standard site

** I have since played with this a bit more and found that they are a bit sneaky and the images appear under a heading “Sponsored Images” and are not free, look below them (below the dotted line) for the free images


Obviously Wikipedia is a bastion of openness, and their section Wiki Commons has many images you might find useful

Wikipedia Commons
– the majority of images on Wikipedia have also been released by their owners for usage, just double check before you use it what license it has

Other Options

Outside of these main areas are a range of other sites, some I find quite hard to navigate, others promoting paid images in the search results, and some that I find it extremely messy and confusing. Therefore, the following are the ones that I personally use as they are simple and don’t seem to have a hidden agenda.

Morgue File
– I have used this search a lot and found some nice images for simple meanings (Flickr on the other hand has a lot of photography you need to sift through)
* the other tabs on the search results clearly divide and show other results, which I believe are all pay options (Dreamstime, ShutterStock etc)

– Another nice interface with a great photo selection of Public Domain Images, but also shows some “sponsored images” so be aware of that

Stock Xchng
– a reasonable option, but you need a login

Free Digital Photos
– by popular demand (ie. comments from readers) I have added this great resource.
* things to be aware of: smallest images is free, but usually enough for bloggers.  You must acknowledge the image – read this  for info on how to acknowlege


This is of course just the tip of the iceberg on working with images, finding images, using images and I will write some further posts to help you through the madness.

What images sites do you find useful?

About the Author Ashley Faulkes

Ashley is obsessed with SEO and WordPress. He is also the founder of Mad Lemmings. When he is not busy helping clients get higher on Google he can be found doing crazy sports in the Swiss Alps (or eating too much chocolate - a habit he is trying to break).

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