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Need free images for your website? Here’s where to find them!

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If you’re building a website, or looking to refresh one you already have, you’re going to need images. If you’re just starting out in business or blogging, you might not have the budget to pay for images just yet, so you’ll need to find yourself some free ones. We’ve done the searching for you, and you’ll find a list below of sites that carry collections of free images. Note the difference between ‘free’ images and ‘royalty free’ images; the former are ‘free’ as in ‘free at point of download’, whereas the latter you’ll have to pay a one-off fee for.

The Big Kahuna. Flickr has a massive, ever-growing collection of free-to-use images licensed under Creative Commons licenses. To find them, go to ‘Advanced Search’ and tick ‘Only search within Creative Commons licensed content’. (If you want to use images for commercial purposes, there’s a box to tick for that, too.) You’ll be astonished at what’s available here and free to be used by others. Check the license for any image you want to re-use before downloading it – licenses can vary from image to image.

Image 1: Vinoth Chandar; Image 2: Kevin Dooley; Image 3: catlovers

If you’re looking for a background for your blog or website, you could do worse than have a browse of the images on Creativity103. With collections called things like ‘Aquascape’, ‘Vortex’ and ‘Fractals’, the style is slightly moody, but there are some truly beautiful images available here. There are many many high resolution images available, as well as wallpapers, stand-alone images, and ‘design packs’, which they describe as: ‘Backgrounds, textures and other useful creative “bits”, for use as part of websites, digital and printed designs.’ To get access to the design packs, you’ll need to subscribe with your email address, but it’s free to do so.

License: All images are free to use, even for commercial purposes, they just ask that you credit and link back to the site. See the terms here.

Images: is, they say, ‘the largest collection of free photographs on the Internet’. With 132549 images, it’s certainly pretty big.

While its collection isn’t exactly cutting edge – a search for ‘mobile phone’, for example, yields lots of shots of old Nokias and Blackberry phones, and nothing by way of iPhones – it performs relatively well when it comes to stock photos of places and the great outdoors. Some are very ‘stock’-looking, while others have a bit of style.

FreeFoto has a few different sets of terms for use. In general, ‘ANYONE, by which we mean commercial and non-commercial alike, can use images in an online setting, providing they provide attribution to the image and a link back to (either the image or the main site). This license allows blogs, social networking sites and use in emails, just to name a few, providing they provide the required attribution, this includes sites that pay people to write, carry advertising or are selling and promoting products. The only requirement the attribution and link back.’

However, if you want to use images in advertising or marketing, you’ll need to purchase a license. Read the full terms here, and if you’re unsure what category you or your site fall into, drop them an email.

A database of stock images that are, in general, of pretty decent quality (read: not obviously stock images). With categories from Architecture to Leisure, Food and Drink to Transport, the collection isn’t vast, but it’s not at all bad.

The terms of use don’t mention attribution or link-back, so you can use the images without either. You can’t use them ‘as part of a trademark, service mark or logo’ or ‘in website templates that you intend to sell or distribute’, however. Have a read of the full terms here.

A sister site, texturegen, is a nifty collection of textured backgrounds that would be useful for web designers.

Images: Photogen

Lots and lots of free stock images, some good, some not so good. As they say themselves:

‘This obvious question, then, is, “Why are some of your photos not so great?” Maybe you have not asked that question – but it’s worth answering. Photos that make it into the collections are either artistically and photographically interesting, or they provide photographic documentation of an item or event. So, every photo of a rock on the site may not be great art, but if you need a basic image of a rock for your Photoshop composite, we hope we can help.’

Which is refreshingly honest. The database is searchable by keyword, and the collection seems relatively up-to-date (unlike FreeFoto, above, for example, there are some pictures of smartphones!).

They ask, as a courtesy, for a credit, and/or the photographer’s name, but they do say that ‘photos can be used uncredited!’.

Read the terms here.

Travel photos that are totally free to use, so long as you link back to the site and give credit. Images are arranged by location (UK, Australia, Caribbean, etc.) and you can also search by keyword. Images are high resolution, and you don’t need to register to download them.

The only downside is that there isn’t an enormous number of images to choose from (3,600 in total), but when something is so cheap it’s free, it would be rude to complain!

License: ‘Images are provided free of charge under a Creative Commons license – on a royalty free basis and the condition that a credit (printed use) or a hyperlink (online use) is made to this site ““. If you can’t do this, ‘you can buy a low cost photo license to use the images from our partner site’.


Many of the images on Morguefile are quite simply stunning. The purpose of the site is ‘to provide free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits’, and it’s ‘specifically for designers and illustrators to use the images in a creative process creating work of their own’. You’re not allowed to use the images in ‘a stand alone manner’ – in other words, to illustrate a blog post, for example, but you can build on them and adapt them as you wish. However, they do say: ‘If you would like to use the image in a blog post, we recommend contacting the photographer and providing a by line under the photo with the photographer’s name. This is generally agreed to be acceptable.’

If you’re a web designer or illustrator, this is the place for you.

Read the terms here.

A mixture of images, graphics and simple clipart, images up to 400×400 are free to use with attribution, but if you want anything bigger you’ll need to pay for it. If all you need are some small graphics for your website, this might be the one for you – their collection is fairly comprehensive.

You’ll need to credit the image creator, and the site, if you want to use images from; if you don’t want to include an attribution, you can pay for the image. Read the terms here.

Boasting 13,700 images, this is a medium-sized repository of free images. Many of them are pretty ‘stock photo’-looking, but there are times when you just need a picture of a plug or a key – and if you do, you’ll find them here.

Images are arranged into categories – Technology and Transport, Objects, Sports, Health and Leisure, and so on – and within those categories you’ll find further subcategories. You won’t be able to search for particular keywords, unfortunately, but you can search for categories.

Use for purposes commercial or non-commercial is free, but you’ll need to credit and link to the site, and join their mailing list (this is free). Full terms are here.

This is a collection of free-to-use images from amateur photographers – so the quality can be a bit hit-and-miss. Categories are arranged by place (so, America, Europe, etc.) as well as topic (Nature, Sculpture, etc.).

You’re free to use the images for commercial purposes, they just ask that you link back to bigfoto.


Open Clipart

It’s clipart, so if you’re looking for complex graphics or beautiful photos you won’t find them here. But if you need icons or simple graphics, this site is definitely worth a look. There are plenty of quirky and interesting graphics in the mix, too.

You can ‘use all clipart from Openclipart even for unlimited commercial use’, and you don’t need to include an attribution or a link to the site. See the terms here.


Main image: Gabriela Pinto