Six 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 six sites for saving time on finding that perfect image.

Looking(Image by Ryan McGuire, freely available on Gratisography)

  1. Gratisography: I was first put on to this site via a Twitter chat with a library contact in York (thanks Ned!). 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 are too pixelated 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’re likely to struggle.
  2. Unsplash: Also a Creative Commons 0 site which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash. 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 620,000 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 an estimated 3.5 million images uploaded on a daily basis 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.
  6. 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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