When I first started work in my first company, I was assigned to redesign the entire web portal of the business presentation site. It was a bit of a challenge for me as I had no prior knowledge on using the tools given to me. I only learned about MySQL and PHP during my uni days, not Oracle. However, I had no choice but to get the job done.
Part of what I learned was on where to get free, open, copyleft images. Surely I wouldn’t want to land any party in any legal tangle. I found many, many useful image repositories during the 6 months on the project and it has widen my knowledge. Here are 9 of the most reliable sites to get re-usable, high quality, free images for your website, blog, adverts, banners, etc.
- Free Stock Photos
- Stock Xchng
- MSN Search Images
- Yahoo! Images
- Google Images
One of the most accurate and fresh image search on the web that indexes over 1,700,000,000 pictures! Picsearch connects its users to the vast visual resources of the internet by using its own technology to crawl the web and create a searchable index of images. When a user sends a query to Picsearch the returned result is received as a set of thumbnail images that are sorted to ensure that they are as highly relevant as possible. When the user clicks on a thumbnail they are linked to the original web site where that image is located.
Parents, relax, because Picsearch is family friendly so children are able to surf in safety as all offensive material is filtered out. The site is also very user friendly as it’s designed to be simple, fast and accurate. Good stuff!
Woophy stands for World Of Photography. The website is founded by a Dutch collective of photo aficionados and internet designers who believed that navigation on internet can be more visual, logical and associative.
With the help of (amateur) photographers across the world their objective is to ultimately cover every inch of our world map with images that represent the world’s beauty and peculiarity from all different cultural perspectives. You can search by city, country, category keywords or member to find photos. The categories are animals, culture, landmarks & buildings, objects and people. You can also limit the search results by date and sort by number of views. Thumbs up!
Download images and use it for personal or commercial design projects as many as you want for FREE! There are some restrictions in using photos from the site such as retaining the domain name when you use the photo for your website or blog.
Originally an experiment to facilitate easier image searching of the Wikipedia, Yotophoto eventually expanded to index over 250, 000 free images. Yotophoto is a search engine for free-to-use stock photographs and images. These are images that are either in the Public Domain or released under generous Creative Commons, GNU FDL or similar licenses. Yotophoto’s goal is to help people locate, remix, republish open and copyleft images.
Stock.XCHNG was launched in February 2001, as an alternative for expensive stock photography. The idea was to create a site where creative people could exchange their photos for inspiration or work. In about two years the site evolved into a massive community indexing over 1.000.000 registered users and more than 250.000 photos online!
The site encourages users to share photos with fellow designers! The aim is to keep SXC as a friendly community of photography addicts who generously offer their works to the public free of charge.
MSN, one of the top 5 search engines. The returned results are almost as good as Google’s or Yahoo’s. Just click the image to get its details like the source and the image availabilty. There is a written term saying that ‘MSN Search is not affiliated with the contents or authors of the page displayed below. We are not responsible for its content. The image may be subject to copyright laws.’ So check the image’s page to find out if it’s copyrighted or not before using it.
It’s good! No doubt about it! However, images appearing in the results may or may not be copyrighted. What you can do is, if you find a picture that you want to use, review the site and contact the owners to find out about using it. Yahoo! Image also lists popular image searches by web surfers so you can check out the top search by everyone.
Relax, and be happy for this is the mother of all image searches. You will MOST likely find the image you are looking for, here. There’s a lot that you can do besides keying in the keyword and press ‘search’. You can also limit images to a specific size, a specific format or even colors! Once you find a picture, check the site or contact the site’s owner to find out about using it.
Again, the important thing to understand in using this search is that the images come from all over the Web and there’s no guarantee they’re free. What I usually do is just send a mail and offer a backlink as ‘appreciation’ for using the images. I have had 100% approval rate using this method as every website appreciates backlinks that boosts their search engine rankings. Everybody is happy that way. =)
Flickr’s 2 main goals:
- To help people make their photos available to the people who matter to them.
- To enable new ways of organizing photos.
Flickr has tons of features, very easy to use and a community of world contributors. This is definitely the BEST and COOLEST online photo repository in the world. I could spend an hour doing nothing but checking out the ‘last 7 days‘ section. What’s even cooler? Flickr lets you search for only Creative Commons-licensed images in the advanced search tool to save users the trouble of having to sift through thousands of images to find the ones free for re-use. Brilliant work by the Flickr team!
Other Image Repositories
List of small to large directories