Sourcing Images -Free Images you can use legally

15/05/2018

If you're creating a website, a blog, teaching and training materials, writing and you need images to illustrate your reports or work, then what do you do?

It's a common misconception that if it's on the internet, you can use it for free. This is not the case - all text, pictures etc on the internet belongs to the person who wrote it or created it, or the person they sold their work to. You need their permission to use their work. While there are educational exceptions to Copyright law, they are very limited, and do not equate to freely using everything you find, because it is for educational use.

If you've been around for a while, you'll be familiar with using clipart, which used to come as part of many packages. it was often very uninspiring, but perhaps we were less picky back then! Microsoft used to run a library of clipart, but this has been disbanded in favour of a Bing search. If you still love to use clipart, then this OpenClipart.org can help.

So, how do you illustrate your work legally, and for free?

Pixabay is one of my favourite sites, and has a massive range of free stock photos. You do need to check the license on the images (some require you to acknowledge the source / others are not free for commercial use) While the licenses do vary, I have always found high quality images that are free to use that have met my needs. I like this site in particular, because you can use the images without creating an account with them, although it is easier to download images if you do have an account.

if you don't find what you want on Pixabay, then you can try these sites. With all of them, remember to check the terms and conditions, and ensure they are free for your purpose. (Many free apps etc are not free for commercial use!)

Freeimages is another great source of free pictures. You do need to create a free account to download images. Once you have logged in, you can download a range of free images.

Morguefile also provides images which are free for commercial use. You do need to create a free account with them, and again, check the usage rights.

  1. FreeMediaGo has a small selection of images, which may also be used.

Some of these sites do ask for a donation for the creator of the images, which is a nice way to reward them for helping you out.

There are other sites out there, but as always, I am listing the sites I use, and like. I hope they help you too.