One of the first things that any small business owner wants to have when creating a website is images. For many, that just means going to Google, searching a keyword in Google images, copying the image, and pasting that to the website. Let me tell you that THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO GET IMAGES.
You see, unfortunately when individuals first start creating websites and don’t understand the legal aspect of image copyright infringement; they become guilty of accidentally stealing images. The main reason that individuals do this is because they think it is okay to do as long as they use royalty free images and gave attribution to the author or owner of the image itself. That way of thinking is 100% wrong and I personally know someone who has spent just under $1000.00 dollars to avoid a potential lawsuit from Getty Images.
Royalty free doesn’t actually mean “free website images”. Instead, it means that an individual can purchase rights to use the image on their website and they won’t have to pay royalties every time the image is viewed. With that being said, sometimes those images are very expensive and a small business owner doesn’t have $250 to spend on every image they want.
So, what does a small business owner do? The answer is simple. Find a website that has images that individuals can use for free as long as they provide attribution for those images. By doing this, an individual doesn’t risk getting threatened with a lawsuit for copyright infringement.
About this list: At the time of this posting, all of these resources are free to use, don’t require you to create an account, and provide users with 100% free images. This is subject to change if the website owners decide to change their rules, so always review the copyright information with any image, it can save you a huge headache later. All of these resources would appreciate attribution to their website and most of them explain that the images should not be used in a “Stand alone manner”. This means, it is not okay to use the photo itself and sell it. This means no posters, photos, t-shirts with the image, etc. that you sell. However, if you take the image and put it on your website, it’s okay because it is a part of the website and not being used in a “stand alone” manner. Make sure that you understand what “not filtered by license” means before you take these photos from these sources as you want to make sure you have the correct usage rights.
Understand that some of the photos you find from the resources below won’t be the type of quality you are looking for. To me, this would be the case if you are looking for a homepage image or some other main image on the website that you want to use. If you are looking for something like that, I would recommend the company I am affiliated with which is Shutterstock. Or, if you want 100+ photos that are completely free to use however you’d like, join my website at the bottom of this post.
1) Wikimedia.org – Wikimedia-which is affiliated with Wikipedia-is a database full of free images that are easily searchable by anyone who needs them. This websites gives visitors access to images, videos, and video. When you first enter the page there is a search area to use on the right side of the page. This search will then bring up multiple options per your result and you will have to select the options you prefer to find a desired image.
2) Google advanced image search – Did you know that it IS possible to find images in Google through their image search? If not, it really is possible BUT you need to do it correctly. The process is actually pretty simple.
3) Flickr.com – One of the largest databases of free images is available on Flickr. However, not all images on Flickr are free to use commercially so, like Google, the user needs to go to an advanced search option and change the setting to find pictures that are okay to use. The process here is also simple.
4) Morguefile.com: This website is another large database of images that are both low and high quality. These images are open for use, but make sure that you are always on the “morgueFILE” tab. Once you click on any of those other tabs, you are in copyright territory.
5) Unprofound.com: These images are typically lower quality and the search of the website isn’t great, but you are able to sort by color which is nice.
6) Pixabay.com: Though smaller than the other resources, this website offers many free images available to all. The one thing to be careful of is realize that they have “Sponsored Images” at the top of their search results. At the time of this writing, it is the top row of images. DO NOT use those images as they cost money and are not free to use.
7) Freemediagoo.com: All of the images in this website are very high quality. The issue is that they don’t have that many images, but the ones they do have are very nice. When images are downloaded they are very large, but you can easily adjust the size of the photos and you should be able to use them for your intended purposes.
8) Unrestrictedstock.com: Similar to Freemediagoo.com, this website has few images, but the ones that they do have are very high quality. In addition, this website has some abstract images including hand-drawings and vector images.
9) Clker.com: This website is full of clipart that can be used by anyone. Though it isn’t exactly photos, the clipart can be great for cartoon-types of posts or presentations.
It should be noted that OneHourProfessor.com is not liable for any instance when someone downloads an image from these websites for usage on their own website. As of this posting all of these images are free, but make sure you read (and follow) the copyright or creative commons information that is explained with each image.