As content creators, we’re constantly writing blogs posts, creating multimedia and updating social media to get our messages out to the world. And in an increasingly visual world, it’s important to have top-notch images to accompany that content. As easy as it might be to grab a great looking image from another website, it’s not all that ethical or legal. Yes, you can get sued for using someone else’s photos. So, check out these places to get free, legal images for your next media project:
Did you know any and all pictures on Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Commons are free to download and use all you want? That’s because when someone uploads an image, the user agrees to waive all rights to it. According to the website, “All user-created images must be licensed under a free license, such as the GFDL and/or an acceptable Creative Commons license, or released into the public domain, which removes all copyright and licensing restrictions.” This site is a great starting point if you’re looking for historical, political or standard photos of well-known people, places or things.
Pixabay offers free, beautiful shots of the common and creative, without attribution to the original artists. According to the site, “You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free for anything you like, even in commercial applications.” Anyone can upload his or her own work, so pictures range from fun to beautiful and it’s constantly updated.
Similar to Pixabay, StockSnap.io is free of any copyright restrictions. Updated daily, the site allows you to search or filter by trending, most recent, most downloaded and so on. According to its site, “We curate the best stock photos from around the web and we also upload photos from select photographers within our network. The end result is a bad ass repository of beautiful stock photography.”
UnSplash’s statement on how you can use its photos is simply “Do Whatever You Want.” The site even allows you to subscribe to the newsletter, which features “the best of UnSplash” directly to your inbox. Users can search, check out the most recent uploads or even take a gander at staff-chosen collections. The photos here are more artistic and highly curated.
Similar to the last three, NegativeSpace offers “Beautiful, Free High-Resolution Photos with No Restrictions.” Images are broken up into 14 different categories that range from the abstract, to nature, to sports. The site also invites community uploads and newsletter subscriptions for its latest images.
No angst here. Death to Stock was borne out of the anti-iStockphoto, anti-Shutterstock movement of the mid 2016’s. OK, we made that up. But this site has some seriously great images. As the site states, it is “currently fueling creators” from Complex, FastCompany, Spotify, TED and Twitter. Quite the rap sheet. While all images are free, users can also pay for a premium service with over 1500 photos, videos & “other fuel for
your creative projects.” You do have to sign up the the newsletter to receive the free photos.
The brainchild of Viktor Hanacek, a 22-year-old photographer from the Czech Republic, this site offers Hanacek’s own high quality, beautiful photos. As the author states, “I’m just a guy who shares his photos to the world. For free.” With 16 different categories of photos, ranging from “Love” to “Roads” to “Things”, this site seems to have it all (I’m not sure what wouldn’t fit in the “Things” category). Picjumbo also has a premium, paid version where users can “be supplied with extra packs of hi-res photos in picjumbo‘s well-known quality every month straight to your inbox.”
Kaboompics calls itself a “great place to get breathtaking free pictures for business or personal projects.” And it is. According to the site, users can do almost whatever they want with the images, whether for commercial purposes or not. While attribution is greatly appreciated, it’s not required. This is a great site for everyday items, like office shots, nature or nondescript buildings.