Get Legal, Free Photos for Your Blog, Website, or Ebooks

Autumn fallen leaves of Zelkova serrata

Image via Wikipedia

We all like to illustrate our books and blogs with images, they catch people’s eyes, increase time on your site, and make it more interesting.

If you’re a photographer, you can take your own. If it’s late at night and you need something for a blog post, you’ll need help.

So, here’s a list of free places to get photos. Some are absolutely free (no strings), others are creative commons.

1. Zemanta – this is the tool I’ve been using for most of my posts. It analyzes the content, and comes up with possible images, along with a link to tell you what the usage rights are. You “pay” in the form of a link back to Zemanta, but you can hide it if you like (it’s an option in the settings). I like it because it includes the credit as a pop-up caption when you mouse over the image.

2. The US government: Anything produced by the government is copyright-free. Check out NASA (the space agency), the NOAA (weather agency) photo library, and The National Forest Service (thanks to Blogging Teacher reader John Soares for suggesting this last one).

3. Flickr Commons: Several public institutions have uploaded public domain photos or photos they don’t care to protect with copyright.

4.  Freefoto – Beautiful free stock photos of nature, cities, food, and holidays. The terms are a bit confusing, as it says you may use it online commercially or not (but must pay for offline use), and then says the images are creative commons 3.0 (share alike, noncommercial). I would email them for clarification.

5.  PixelPerfect – They retain the copyright, but you may use the images of bridges, holidays, animals, and people. Use as you like, except for logos, and you can’t sell the image itself (down right now, new site coming).

6. Public domain images sorted by type (nature, food, computers, flags, etc.).

7. Digifeld. My friend Judy Vorfeld (the grammar goddess) also has a site with a collection of photos she’s taken or digitized: she’s got flowers, plants, fish, buildings, vintage cars, and even a covered wagon.

(Thanks to Blogging Teacher for the inspiration for today’s post).

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3 thoughts on “Get Legal, Free Photos for Your Blog, Website, or Ebooks

  1. Hey Jodi, one of the ones I like is the Morgue File which offers free usage, most of them not even requiring attribution, though some of the photographers ask you to email them if you use their stuff, which I always do.

    I’m going to try Zemanta—thanks!