Eight sites for sourcing free-to-use images

Finding quality images that are also free-to-use for that all important presentation can be a time consuming process, so here are my top eight sites for saving time on finding that perfect image.

(Image by Ryan McGuire, freely available on Gratisography)

(Image by Ryan McGuire, freely available on Gratisography)

  1. Gratisography: I was first put on to this site via a Twitter chat and it’s great for shots that are unusual and quirky! All of the images on the site are taken by Ryan McGuire under a Creative Commons 0 licence and are all high resolution photographs (so you don’t get images that pixelate easily like you do from some other sites). The main drawback is the number of images on there – a basic search returns some good images, but if you’re looking for something fairly niche you may struggle.
  2. Unsplash: Also a site where all the photos can be used for free (for commercial or non-commercial purposes). You don’t even need to ask permission or attribute the photographer, although it’s good practice to do so. If Chrome happens to be your browser of choice there’s also a handy extension you can add to get quicker access to the site. To get all the latest news and images from the site you can also follow them on Twitter and other social media channels.
  3. Pixabay: My colleague, Esther Barrett, absolutely loves this site and it’s easy to see why. With over 1,090,000 free stock photos there’s plenty to explore and the search options are relatively sophisticated (the site uses Boolean logic and there are options to specifically search either photos, vector graphics, illustrations or videos; by orientation – vertical or horizontal; pixcel size; and whether you want colour/black and white). Again, all images are available under a Creative Commons 0 licence.
  4. Flickr Creative Commons: No list of image searching sites would be complete without Flickr. Everyone loves Flickr – don’t they? With over 1,600,000 public domain images it’s easy to see why Flickr is often the first stop for researchers and bloggers looking for that all important image. Apps are also available on iOS and Android which is perfect for people on the go.
  5. Haiku Deck: Granted, this is not technically an image search site per se, but more of a site for creating your own presentations. Haiku deck essentially follows the mantra of small amounts of text with large amounts of images with the presenter filling the gaps with the narration. So, why have I included it in this list? Well, Haiku Deck does a great job in linking seamlessly with Flickr to ensure all images embedded in the presentations are under a Creative Commons licence. For more tips on this theme see Esther’s earlier post on interactive presentations.
  6. The Xpert Attribution site also allows you to get an auto-generated attribution embedded in the image and allows people to upload their own content for CC use – a practice that’s good to encourage.
  7. PikWizard is a relatively new site on the block and has over 60,000 completely free images on the site, over 20,000 of which are exclusive to the PikWizard site. There’s also new images being added daily and I found some really neat images relating to technology in particular (something I tend to search for a lot in my field).
  8. Creative Commons Search: Finally, there is of course the search on the Creative Commons.org site itself which draws in free-to-use images from a range of other sites (some of which I’ve already listed above!).

Not an exhaustive list, by any means, so if you have come across any other good ones that you’d recommend feel free to add them to the Comments section below 😊

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