Free Public Domain Images & Free Stock Photos Websites

Over the years, I’ve amassed a collection of bookmarks for websites where I can handily go and find images for projects I’ve been working on. However, I’ve also not been in the habit of using bookmarking websites or backing up any of my bookmarks. I guess you could call it a very abrupt way of purging my bookmarks. As I have a habit of bookmarking random websites over the years and then often never getting around to going back to them, or cleaning up my bookmarks.

So when it became my turn to write for the blog, I was stuck with a bit of a dilemma on what to cover. I then realised that a few weeks ago, I’d had one of those face/palm moments when I realised that I’d forgotten to save a bunch of bookmarks for places that I could go to for free images. In fairness, it was a small list of website of maybe 5-10 places. So I decided that this would be a great opportunity to (not before time) give myself one bookmark – This blog post! – to save and refer back to when I’m stuck trying to find some images for a project in future…

Public Domain Images

The images on many of these websites will fall into the category of “Public Domain Images” which can be any of the following; Photographs, Clip Art or Vectors Images, whose copyright has expired or in some cases, never existed in the first place.

Don’t assume that just because an image is on any of these websites, along with other images that are classified as free to use and distribute, that all of the images will be. It’s your responsibility to check and ensure they are free to use and distribute.

If you are planning to use these images on a client’s website or even on your own website, either hosted in or targeting other countries, it is your responsibility to ensure that the laws in that country regarding these images is also considered. Just because an image may no longer be covered by Copyright Law in one country, if your website is hosted in another country along with the images, there may be an issue (I’m no lawyer) so you may wish to look into this.

Another issue some people run into is when images include trademarks, products, property, works of art or people. Once again, do not assume that because a website has listed the images for use on their website, that they are 100% certain of the lawfulness of their use for your own projects.

Public Domain images can be a very grey legal area for many people and businesses, so although in the short term you’re looking to save a few pounds/dollars by using freely available images. If you’re really unsure about the legality of an image, it may sometimes be worth investing in a Licensed Stock Image instead.

However, don’t let me put you off, I’m simply adjusting my moral compass and ensuring I cover all bases by making you aware of the rights and wrongs of all of this. So that I don’t have anybody come back and blame me, because I said it was OK to use any and all images on any of the websites listed. But as long as you do your research properly and check all the small print on the websites where the images are hosted that you plan to use. Then you should have no problems or issues with finding some great images for use within your projects from all of these Free Public Domain Image websites.

Here is the list of photo websites (in no particular order);

  24. (Thanks Nica – See comments)
  25. (Thanks Yinan – See comments)
  26. (Thanks Marshall – See comments)
  27. (Thanks Julia – See comments)
  28. (Thanks Julia – See comments)
  29. (Thanks Julia – See comments)
  30. (Thanks Julia – See comments)

Hopefully as I come across more Free Image Websites, I’ll get around to adding more websites to this list. So feel free to bookmark this page or even better, let me know in the comments if you know of more websites that you like and use…

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