Last updated May 27th, 2016 at 05:40 am

brown eye - image search

I have spent considerable time researching the best sites to find online free images/stock images, along with their copyright/ Creative Commons licences. Some of these sites will probably already be familiar to you but others new, as they were to me. I hope you find this of use, as it makes the time spent all worthwhile. Sites are listed in alphabetical order.

Free Images

  • BurningWell – a repository for public domain (free for any use) images. Donations welcomed – anyone have any Melbourne images they could upload, Melbourne is not represented there at all!

Waterlillies – Fiji

Morning Glory

  • Freerange Stock free stock photos – Freerange is an advertising revenue supported photographic community – photographers get paid when users click on the ads that appear next to their submissions. Usage: commercial and personal.
  • Free Web Page Headers – Usage: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.
  • freewebphoto Usage: Free for linked web use
  • Image*After a free online photo and texture collection. You can download and use any image or texture from the site Categories covered: architecture, art, food, nature, industry, humanoids, human parts, landscapes, objects, vehicles. (pretty much everything) – Usage: commercial or personal but no redistribution.

Caribbean sea on Image After

3d abstract pixel perfect

  • Microsoft Clip Art
  • StockVault – stock photo sharing website. Over 100,000 images. Usage: Free for personal and non-commercial purposes.
  • Stock.XCHNG – over 350.000 free user submitted images – terms of use vary but are displayed on each image page.

Smaller Free Image Sites – over 2,500 free stock images. Usage: Only a link to site required. * which was started by one photographer, Jim, has now grown to become a “a global collaboration of photographers” all generously sharing their work freely with the only restrictions seeming to be on redistribution of the photos. Check the FAQ if you are unsure. No attribution is required although I think that giving credit is the right thing to do wherever possible. Search is via photo color or photographer and a search tool still to be refined. I had trouble choosing only one image out of this wonderful collection of high quality photos and I hope to see this site grow and become well known. teapot

Specialist Free Image sites

There are so many of these that I cannot mention them all here but I would appreciate it if anyone can recommend any that are worthwhile checking out.

These sites contain images relating to specific topics or genres, those that have been designated as public domain, creative commons or are of an age where copyright has expired.

  • Old Book Illustrations includes galleries of animals, plants, landscapes, characters, scenes, buildings and monuments, science and technology and miscellaneous illustrations scanned from old books.

jasmin illustration


plants of Hawaii agapanthus

Agapanthus aka Mt Eliza leprosy Source

Crystals of a DNA repair protein bound to DNA



Source Bernard O’Hara & Renos Savva, Wellcome Images

Personal Photo Sites

Personal sites where images are offered for download free of charge:

  • PD contains public domain photos taken by the site’s owner, Jon Sullivan who also has a blog, aptly titled, Jon Sullivan

orchid photo from

John reminds us that if an image is in the public domain then it must stay there. You cannot claim it as your own nor add any extra restrictions on its use. He also advises that it is wise to assume that no model release has been given for commercial use; unless stated otherwise or indicated by its Creative Commons Licence.

Future posts in this series will include image search engines, directories of free image sites, where to find low cost images, useful image tools and Firefox image tools. I know because most of them are written already 🙂

* New sites added since original post. Last update: 17 July 08