The BIG Guide to Free Images for Your Blog Posts // Part 2: Creative Commons

The BIG Guide to Free Stock Photo Resources: Part 2 Creative Commons. From DesignYourOwnBlog.com.

I have a feeling that after today your image search problems will be over.

You’re never gonna believe how many Creative Commons resources I’ve rounded up in this post.

Since you now know that you have to be careful about selecting blog post images that make a statement and don’t violate image copyright laws, you’ll appreciate that the many wonderful resources listed in this guide will give you endless options!

Welcome to Part 2 of the Big Guide to Free Stock Photography!

I’ve been curating a giant list of stock photography resources for a while now and am finally ready to share it. Because the list is so exhaustive, it’s been split up into two posts, one for each of the following two licensing categories: Public Domain and Creative Commons.

For more on the different stock photography licenses, see the image copyright article I wrote a few weeks back as part of the Photography for your Blog series.

Please note that some sources may fall under more than one category, but to avoid repetition in the list, I chose the one I thought it would fit under best.

Free Stock Photography Resource Type #2: Creative Commons

Creative Commons images are great for bloggers because they don’t cost money and many (NOT ALL) are free to use in blog posts, ebooks and products. Just be sure to give attribution each time you use one and be careful about where you use a non-commercial image.

These are 7 Creative Commons licenses:

  1. Attribution means that the owner allows you to distribute, remix, tweak and build upon their work, even commercially as long as you credit them for the original work. These images are perfect for blogs because you can use them in posts and products with credit the owner.
  2. Attribution-NonCommercial same as above, but you can’t use their work commercially. In other words, you could use the photo in a blog post, but not in an ebook you’re selling.
  3. Attribution-NoDerivs is the same as Attribution, except you can’t make any changes to the original work. You can use the image in a blog post or product but you won’t be able to crop, rotate or change colors on a photograph with this license.
  4. Attribution-ShareAlike licenses let you remix, tweak and build upon the original work for commercial or non-commercial purposes as long as you credit it AND license your new creation under the same terms. This means that if you wish to share your new work, like say a free ebook, it must carry the same license.
  5. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Same as the license above, you just can’t use it commercially.
  6. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs is the most restrictive CC license, meaning you can use the creative work with attribution, but you can’t use it commercially and you can’t alter it in any way.
  7. Zero is the least restrictive CC license. It means that the owner of the work has waived all rights and you are free to use the image as often and however you wish, however you like, with no attribution.  You’ll notice I leave CC0 resources off this list because they’ve already been listed in Part 1 of the guide.
While most of these images are available for you to use free on your blog, be sure to read the terms of service for each one before you use it to avoid any copyright infringement. You are not allowed to resell or re-distribute any of these images, they are for your own or your clients’ use only. You are basically “borrowing” the image, so you don’t own any rights to it.

Some of the time you cannot alter the images and you cannot use them in templates or products like mugs or t-shirts. You are also never allowed to use any of these images for pornographic use. (I’m sure this won’t be a problem for my readers! 😉 ) Also, some resources may not be allowed for commercial use, so read the terms carefully.

All Things Related to Flickr

The following set of websites all index their images from Flickr in different ways. Depending on what you’re searching for, I highly recommend looking at each resource here. But first let’s start with Flickr itself.

Flickr

Everyone knows you can get free images on Flickr. It’s probably the most common place for bloggers to find Creative Commons images. But not every photo on Flickr is available for you to use, even with attribution, so it’s best to find images using Flickr’s Advanced Search.

A fast way to search Flickr is with CompFight. It’s like Flickr search on speed, but beware: not all of its results are in the Creative Commons.

Searchability: The advanced search option makes it easy to find what you’re looking for by keyword.

Resolution: Most images are available in a variety of resolutions including high.

Registration? No registration required to download images.

Rights: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Attribution: Different rights apply to each image, so be sure to check each one before using.

StockPhotos.io

StockPhotos.io is a high quality site for public domain and Creative Commons photos mostly from Flickr. David Choi, a full time web designer and developer, created the site because he wanted a place to separate the high quality photos from the not-so-high-quality ones that he found on Flickr.

Searchability: Search by keyword or category.

Resolution: Most images are from Flickr so they are available in hi-res.

Registration? None.

Rights: http://stockphotos.io/faq/

Attribution: Must give proper credits to the authors.

A few gorgeous examples from StockPhotos.io:

IM Free

Apparently IM Free no longer has images, none that I can find anyway. If you find otherwise, please let me know in the comments below, thanks!
IM Free is a part of IM Creator, a website template company. IM Free is a curated collection of free resources, all for personal or commercial use. They have plenty of high-quality stock photos on this site, as well as other design resources like background patterns and such. The free images seem to be sourced from the Creative Commons on Flickr.

Searchability: You can search by keyword or browse through the categories.

Resolution: Hi-res.

Registration? None.

Rights: Check each image.

Attribution: Yes, required.

A few examples from IM Free:

TinEye

If you use Flickr, you’ve got to know about TinEye. It’s a simple shortcut to finding photos in a specific color palette. When you choose the color(s) you’d like to have in your image, TinEye will gather images straight from the Creative Commons images on Flickr. Choose up to 5 colors and even adjust the percentage of each color.

Searchability: Awesome if you’re only searching for images by color. Not so great if you’d also like to narrow down your results by category.

Resolution: Most images are available in a variety of resolutions including high.

Registration? No registration required to download images.

Rights: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Attribution: Different CC licenses apply to each image, so be sure to check each one before using.

An example of a color search on TinEye starting with one color, then adding a second and a third:

Free creative commons stock photography from TinEye and Flickr. See more free stock photo resources on DesignYourOwnBlog.com

Free creative commons stock photography from TinEye and Flickr.

StockPholio

StockPholio is another site that aggregates images from Flickr, but it’s Pinterest-style layout is nice and the search is helpful for finding the good ones. What I like about this site is that, unlike the others, it doesn’t take you to Flickr to download the images, you can download them directly from the site AND get the HTML code with the credits. It makes downloading images much faster.

Searchability: Search by keyword or type of photo. I love the suggestions the search bar gives you (like “Lomo” or “Tilt-Shift”).

Resolution: Most come in hi-res.

Registration? None.

Rights: Read the terms for each image as they vary.

Attribution: Most will require attribution but will be listed per image. There is a nice little HTML code for each image that you can copy and paste that displays the credits so you don’t have to worry about it.

A few examples from StockPholio:

30 Stunning HDR Photos

The web design blog, Six Revisions published a post of 30 truly beautiful urban HDR photographs from Flickr that are shared under CC licenses. I thought this was worth sharing since some of the photos are so cool.

Searchability: None, just 30 to scroll through.

Resolution: Hi-res.

Registration? None.

Rights: Check each image.

Attribution: Most will require attribution.

Photo Pin

Free photos for bloggers & creatives. Search millions of Creative Commons photos from Flickr and add them to your blog posts easily. What’s nice is that you can download the images in several sizes without having to go to Flickr and there is HTML code available to cut and paste for attribution.

Searchability: Can’t browse, just search by keyword.

Resolution: Hi-res.

Registration? None.

Rights: See each image’s individual license.

Attribution: Yes.

Photographers’ Own Stock

These amazing photographers have decided to share their photos under Creative Commons licenses on their own websites. These are my favorites…

Lime Lane Photography

Kellie is the photographer/blogger behind Lime Lane and although she sells many photographs, she also shares a few for free. All photos are meant for blog posts. Kellie’s photos have a retro-vintage kind of feel and have great composition.

Searchability: Can only search by category. Click on the Stock Photos link in the navigation and then select a category from the drop down menu.

Resolution: Large enough for blog posts.

Registration? None.

Rights: Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license are available here.

Attribution: She provides a bit of HTML code with the attribution you must include with any use. Or you can include a badge to her site in your sidebar.

A few examples from Lime Lane Photography:

Love From Ginger

Rachael Smith of Love from Ginger has made a free photo library of original stock images to download. They’re not for commercial use, but you’re welcome to print them, post them on your personal blog, or alter them under this Creative Commons License.

Rachel usually adds a new photo to the gallery every Friday but admittedly it’s been a while since she has. Nonetheless her images are gorgeous and full of vibrant color!

Searchability: No search, but the selection is fairly small.

Resolution: Images are big enough for blog posts.

Registration? None.

Rights: Creative Commons License

Attribution: Yes. Her images have an attribution line built into the bottom of each which you can leave as-is or crop it and add attribution in text instead.

A few examples from Love From Ginger:

Free creative commons stock photography from Love From Ginger. See more free stock photo resources on DesignYourOwnBlog.com

All images courtesy of Love From Ginger

PicJumbo

Viktor Hanácek adds free photos to PicJumbo every day. Most of the photos are his and the quality is really nice, many remind me of what you’ll find on Unsplash. You can use the stock photos in your commercial and personal works.

You get one free image per collection. To get the whole collection, you have to go premium for $6/mo where you’ll get photo packs emailed to you once per month.

Searchability: Search by category only.

Resolution: The photos on Picjumbo are very high-quality with most of them being 3888 pixels wide.

Registration? None, unless you sign up for Premium.

Rights: http://picjumbo.com/faq-and-terms/

Attribution: Attribution is not required (but appreciated).

A few examples from PicJumbo :

Free creative commons stock photography from PicJumbo. See more free stock photo resources on DesignYourOwnBlog.com

All images courtesy of Viktor Hanácek at PicJumbo.

SplitShire

“Delicious free stock photos for personal & commercial use.” Daniel Nanescu is an Italian Web & Graphic Designer and Photographer that shares his own photographs to use free for both personal and commercial use. Free or you can offer him a coffee through donation to help maintain the site.

There are some nice blurred backgrounds here which you don’t find at many stock sites.

Searchability: Search by category.

Resolution: Hi res.

Registration? None.

Rights: http://splitshire.com/about/

Attribution: Yes.

A few examples from SplitShire:

Superfamous

Dutch interaction designer Folkert Gorter shares his incredible biological, aerial and geological photography on this site.

Searchability: Browse through each photo using the up and down arrows on the left side of the screen, or click the small grid at the top/left to open a window with thumbnails divided by categories.

Resolution: Hi-res.

Registration? None.

Rights: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license

Attribution: Use them however you like – just provide attribution.

A few examples from Superfamous:

ImageBase

Imagebase.net is a collection of vectors and photos of people, objects, urban, nature and travel, mostly taken by David Niblack. Images can be freely used for personal, commercial, non-profit, artistic, or creative purposes.

Searchability: By keyword or category.

Resolution: The vast majority of the images are very high resolution, the newer the image, the higher the resolution.

Registration? None.

Rights: http://www.imagebase.net/pages/show/about

Attribution: Only if you would like to, it is not required

A few examples from ImageBase:

Free creative commons stock photography from Imagebase. See more free stock photo resources on DesignYourOwnBlog.com

Images courtesy of David Niblack at Imagebase.net.

Function Design Blog

Liam McKay has offered to share 4 volumes of his hi-res photos. If you like what you see and want to show your support just leave a comment or give the page a tweet. You have full permission to use them however you see fit. No need to ask permission, enjoy!

Searchability: Browse through 4 volumes of about 5 photos each.

Resolution: Hi-res.

Registration? None.

Rights: None listed.

Attribution: The WTFPL License. Warning, inappropriate language used. 😉

A few examples from Function Design Blog:

Free creative commons stock photography from WeFunction.com. See more free stock photo resources on DesignYourOwnBlog.com

Images courtesy of Liam McKay at WeFunction.com

Pixel Perfect Digital

Free Stock Photos, Backgrounds, Textures and other Design Elements provided by Darren Hester, a full time programmer/analyst who does photography and graphic design as a hobby.

Searchability: Search by keyword or category.

Resolution: Hi-res.

Registration? None.

Rights: All images are provided under a CC-BY license. You may remix, tweak, and build upon the work, even commercially.

Attribution: You must credit pixelperfectdigital.com for the original image.

A few examples from Pixel Perfect Digital:

Free creative commons stock photography from WeFunction.com. See more free stock photo resources on DesignYourOwnBlog.com

Images courtesy of PixelPerfectDigital.com

Crowd Sourced Stock

These websites have photographs that are contributed by several or many different photographers.

Fotopedia

Fotopedia is a seriously gorgeous online travel magazine with incredible quality photos. It reminds me of National Geographic, that’s how amazing some of these photos are.

Many photos here are available under the Creative Commons license, but you have to read the caption on each photo very carefully. If the caption says “Photo: ” and then shows the little CC in a circle icon, then click on that to read the license for that one photo.

Searchability: This is little tricky. It looks like you can’t download photos from the magazine, so you have to go into the keyword search and use the advanced option to search for photos with a CC license. You can search by photographer name if you find an image in the magazine that you love.

Once you find an image, click on the little “i” icon that appears on hover. There you will see the license and a download or embed link.

Resolution: Most are hi-res.

Registration? None.

Rights: Per image basis. Be sure to read each one before downloading.

Attribution: Yes, most licenses require attribution.

A few examples from Fotopedia:

Photober

These nice photos are all available for both commercial and personal use. It looks like a fairly new site, but I am already enjoying the quality of photos here. They have nice color and composition and categories range from technology and objects to food, nature, travel and people. There are even some cool and unique textures and backgrounds here. Definitely worth looking at.

Searchability: Search by keyword or category.

Resolution: Photos aren’t super large, but definitely large enough for blog posts. If you need a higher resolution of an image on the site, you can contact them to purchase.

Registration? None required to download.

Rights: http://www.photober.com/terms/

Attribution: Please include photo credit “Free Image via Photober.com” where image appears. There is HTML code you can copy on the Rights page.

A few examples from Photober:

Free creative commons stock photography from Photober. See more free stock photo resources on DesignYourOwnBlog.com

Free Images via Photober.com

PatternPictures

A free photo site that provides mostly photographic backgrounds and textures, but also a lot of travel-style photographs. I’ve noticed that some (although not all) of the photos may need a little color or lighting correction in an image-editing program.

Searchability: Search bar or browse by category.

Resolution: Hi-res.

Registration? None.

Rights: http://www.patternpictures.com/terms/

Attribution: It looks like you don’t have to attribute these images, however just to play it safe, include a link to the website.

A few examples from PatternPictures:

Free creative commons stock photography from PatternPictures.com. See more free stock photo resources on DesignYourOwnBlog.com

Free creative commons stock photography from PatternPictures.com

The Open Photo Project

Created by Michael Jastremski, this photo sharing site is targeted towards artists, developers, students, and teachers. All images are offered under the Creative Commons license. There are some really cool images here like image mosaics and art photos, but also a lot of amateur ones.

Searchability: Search by keyword or category

Resolution: Several sizes are available for download.

Registration? None.

Rights: Check each image.

Attribution: Yes. There is attribution built into the bottoms of each photo, but there is also HTML code you can copy and paste that includes the attribution information.

A few examples from The Open Photo Project:

Dotspin

Dotspin is a social sharing website for where you can upload and either sell or share your Instagram and Twitter photos under a Creative Commons license. The site has a cool vote function that works kinda like ‘Hot or Not’ so it can get a little addicting!

Searchability: Search by tag, but this only works well if people have properly tagged their photos.

Resolution: Photo sizes aren’t that large, but should fit most blog posts. Mostly around 500-700 pixels wide. Unfortunately, some of the photos’ quality aren’t that great.

Registration? You will be required to register with Dotspin in order to access and use certain features of the service.

Rights: http://www.dotspin.com/terms-of-service.

Attribution: Check under each image for the license. If it says you can use it, you’ll have to give attribution.

A few examples from Dotspin:

morgueFile

Most of you know about this site, but in case you don’t, it’s another awesome resource of photographs that have been freely contributed by many photographers for use in creative projects. You may use them for personal or commercial use. The quality of many of the photos is really good here and there are so many different subjects that you can probably find anything you’re looking for.

Searchability: Search by keyword or browse.

Resolution: Most are hi-res.

Registration? None required.

Rights: http://morguefile.com/license/morguefile

Attribution: Not required but they ask that you please credit the photographers when possible.

A few examples from morgueFile:

Free creative commons stock photography from morgueFile. See more free stock photo resources on DesignYourOwnBlog.com

Credits clockwise: dr_evil, balena87, SRCHEN, BBoomerinDenial

Stockvault

Another great resource of free images. Just be sure to read the terms of use before using any of them. The site is well-designed, allowing for quick and easy access to their photos.

Searchability: Search by keyword or category.

Resolution: Hi-res.

Registration? None required.

Rights: http://www.stockvault.net/terms-of-use

Attribution: It’s best to give attribution, although I did not see mention in the terms of use.

A few examples from Stockvault:

Additional Free Creative Commons Resources

Wikimedia Commons

This “media file repository” makes media content (images, sound and video clips) in both the public domain and Creative Commons freely available. Because it’s a Wiki site, anyone can copy, use and modify any files as long as the terms of each is followed.

Searchability: A keyword search bar at the top right makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. Or you can use Creative Commons Search.

Resolution: Most images are available in a variety of resolutions including high.

Registration? No registration required to download images.

Rights: The Wikimedia Commons database itself and the texts in it are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License. More information on re-use can be found at Commons:Reusing content outside Wikimedia and Commons:First steps/Reuse.

Attribution: Check each file’s terms before using.

Freepix.eu

This site is a collection of Martin Vorel’s own photography that he graciously shares for private or commercial use. He provides a lot of nature and travel photos among several other categories.

Searchability: Search by keyword or category or just browse the Pinterest-like layout of images.

Resolution: Hi-res.

Registration? None.

Rights: http://freepix.eu/about-freepix/

Attribution: You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

Europeana

This is an online collection of digitized items from European museums, libraries, archives and multi-media collections. There are many items here that are also in the Public Domain. I found the site a little hard to navigate, but there’s some cool stuff here.

Searchability: The best way to search this site is to use the Search Creative Commons site.

Resolution: Varies.

Registration? None.

Rights: Check each item before downloading.

Attribution: Check each item individually.

Studio 7 Designs

Free and open source nature photography from a design company. There’s only 6 or 7 images here, but they are good quality so check them out.

Searchability: None, but there’s just a few to browse through.

Resolution: Large enough for most blog posts.

Registration? None.

Rights: Shared willingly with the Creative Commons License 3.0 in mind.

Attribution: Appreciated.

Photogen

Tons of photos for commercial and non-commercial use. Categories range from business, agriculture, technology and arts to nature, travel and food and drink (plus more). I think this is a pretty good choice if you’re looking for more “stock” looking photos, rather than the artistic, Unsplash-style photos.

Searchability: Search by keyword or one of the many categories.

Resolution: Hi-res.

Registration? None.

Rights: http://www.photogen.com/terms-of-use/

Attribution: A link back to Photogen.com would be greatly appreciated, but is not a condition of use.

FreePhotoBank

Another free stock photo site with the usual categories: travel, plants, animals, transportation, etc. It also includes wallpapers and textures. There are professional-looking photos here mixed in with amateur ones.

Download images by selecting the size, then right-clicking and saving.

Searchability: Search by keyword or category.

Resolution: Hi-res up to 2048 pixels. Most photos are available in various sizes.

Registration? None.

Rights: License and FAQ.

Attribution: A link to FreePhotoBank to any use for a website is mandatory. A link has to be placed for each page which contains FreePhotoBank pictures.

FreeFoto

Thousands of images in many different categories can be used for non-commercial purposes under the Creative Commons license for non-commercial, no derivatives, attribution license. For a fee, images can be made available for commercial use and in high resolution.

Searchability: Search by keyword or category.

Resolution: Large enough for blog posts. Hi-res options are available for purchase.

Registration? You must enter your email address to download the image without a watermark.

Rights: Free Use Rules.

Attribution: Link back and attribution are required.

FreeStockPhotos.com

Mostly travel and nature photos. Photographs with the FreeStockPhotos.com name are owned and copyrighted by Daniel Speck.

Searchability: By category.

Resolution: Low. Unfortunately many photos are not even 600px wide.

Registration? None.

Rights: Please read the Copyright Terms of Use thoroughly before downloading any images.

Attribution: Credit or a link must be given to FreeStockPhotos.com in all applications where they are used. Most of the photos have credit built in at the bottom. This credit may be removed from the photograph if it is included in readable type somewhere else on the page or in the credits.

PhotoEverywhere

A free stock photo site specializing in travel-related stock photos. The composition quality is ok. Download by right-clicking and saving or you can use their embed code.

Searchability: Browse by location, category or type.

Resolution: Hi-res.

Registration? None.

Rights: Images are provided free of charge under a Creative Commons license. http://www.photoeverywhere.co.uk/image_use_terms.htm

Attribution: Requires a credit (printed use) or a hyperlink (online use) made to the site “http://photoeverywhere.co.uk.” HTML attribution code here.


Create Your Own Stock!

That’s the list folks! And here’s a tip: When I browse these sites and find images I like, I download them to my computer where I’ve created an archive of stock images. I organize them by website and keep the original file name or number so that I can refer back to the terms of use when I use it at a later date. Sometimes it’s helpful to create a text file in the folder and keep all the attributions or terms in there in case you can’t find it again later.

Take Your Own Photos!

Not sure how to take your own beautiful photos? Emma Davies’ 28-Day Blog Photo Bootcamp should do the trick! No DSLR necessary!

Note:

While Creative Commons images are mostly free to use however you’d like, always read and re-read the terms of use before you use an image and if in doubt, provide credit and a link back.

Help Me Keep This List Updated!

This list is meant to be updated regularly but I need your help! If you find any resources here no longer available or you have others you’d like to add, please let me know in the comments below so I can make appropriate changes. Keep in mind that this list is for free images from the Creative Commons only.

More Free Stock Photography!

Want more? Try these other lists:

The BIG Guide to Free Images for Your Blog Posts // Part 1: Public Domain

23 Sites for Free + Affordable Feminine Styled Stock Photography

22 More Free Feminine Styled Stock Photography Sites

I would also really appreciate it if you would share this with your friends and followers by sharing on your social media sites. Use the handy links below. Thank you!

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