,

Where To Find Free Images For Your Website

images

When you’re running your own business and counting pennies, it’s hard to get yourself to spend money on stock photos. Websites like Shutterstock charge a hefty sum for a handful of pictures and you don’t want to risk yourself getting sued while using some random picture from the Internet.

The common notion is that you either have to pay money or settle for lesser-quality, free images. That’s not true. Here’s a list of websites that you should keep on hand whenever you need some free stock images.

Aggregator

LibreStock – This site has become popular recently, as they aggregate results from 47 different websites.

Large databases of stock images:

Pixabay
Pexels
FreeImages
Public Domain Archive
Freepik – This one is a favorite of Zen WP. They also offer free, high-quality vector images and icons.
StockSnap

Incredible quality pictures, typically of objects:

Gratisography

Landscape, cityscape, architectural, and nature images:

Unsplash
Superfamous
Little Visuals
Picography
Refe
Jay Mantri

Niche:

New Old Stock – Antique and vintage photos

Some lesser known websites worth checking out:

Picjumbo
Morguefile
Good Free Photos

Websites with free icons:

Flaticon – This is another favorite at Zen WP. Flaticon is owned by Freepik.
Modern UI Icons – Icons that can also be used on mobile apps.

Pay-to-use sites that give away free pictures, graphics, icons, and more:

Envato Market – Scroll down on the homepage and find the “Free” section. Envato gives away free graphics, themes, images, and more every month. We’ve downloaded some gems from the graphicriver section before.
Shutterstock – Weekly free images, many of which are high quality and usable.

If you’re a user of Zen WP and are looking for particular types of pictures for your website like “clean, apple computer, office pictures,” our developers will work with you and recommend some websites where you can source such images depending on your needs.

Don’t Break Copyright Laws

There are two rules to keep in mind:

  1. If you didn’t take the picture, it’s not yours.
  2. If it isn’t yours, you can’t use it without permission.

You might think that no one will notice if you take an image off the Internet and use it without permission but the exact opposite is true. The owner of the picture will almost always notice through use of tools like Google Reverse Image Search or TinEye.

So how do you get permission? Well you can personally reach out to the person who owns the picture and request it but that’s very impractical. As a result, the world has a system where permission is granted in advance. It’s called a license.

Licenses In A Nutshell

There are tons of different licenses each with its own scope of licensing. However, the most common ones and the ones that actually matter to you will be public domain licenses and Creative Commons licenses. Both mean “free” but there’s a unique difference between the two.

An image that’s under public domain means that it is owned by the public. Because you’re a member of the public, it’s yours to do whatever you want with it. An example of a public domain work is Beethoven’s music.

Licenses that fall under the Creative Commons family are a bit more complex. There are several different forms but they all require attribution. Basically, if you ever come across an image that grants a CC license, go back to this page and reference the directory.

What You Should Never Do

Don’t ever go on Google Images and use images in any capacity. Most of them will be protected by a copyright.

It’s best not to even look for images through such methods in the first place because even if you find an image that you like, it will be nearly impossible to track down the copyright holder to get permission because chances are the website you are seeing it on has used the picture itself without permission.

Have Some Websites We Should Add?

If you know of other great websites that offer free images (royalty-free does not count), as they’re always popping up, let me know in the comment section below.

  • A. Wong

    Wow! This post is so valuable! Thanks

  • Mayra McDermott

    Great post Lauren. Have you thought about adding a list for icons like flaticon?

    • Lauren Upchurch

      That’s a great idea! We actually have a list of sites for icons that we use at Zen WP and recommend to our customers as well with Flaticon being our favorite. I’ll begin to add those in the coming days. Thanks Mayra!

  • Sal Morelock

    Thank you for creating this. It’s great to have all of this in one bookmark!

  • Jay Herd

    Amazing. We’re definitely using this!!