Creating content for the Internet – regardless of whether it is a blog, Graphics on a fanpage, or maybe a photo for Instagram – we need to have a quite big collection of photos we can use. Of course, it would be ideal to have photos of your own authorship or made on our request. Then we would be sure that they are unique and no one else will use the same photo in their Graphics. However, if we don’t have our own gallery, we start the search.

Short legal advice

What we can do with the free photos we find Depends on the copyright. If we want to use someone else’s work in public, distributing it on our blog, in a book or presentation, we need permission from the author (i. e. license) or we need to make sure that the photo is no longer protected by proprietary copyrights (i.e. has gone to the public domain). Work that is protected by copyright, anonymous, or one we are not sure if protected by copyright, should be used only as permitted by copyright.

Creative Commons Zero photos without restrictions

Provided by the authors on the Creative Commons Zero mechanism (abbreviated to CC0), which allows you to use them in the widest possible way, also commercially and without even acknowledging the author if you don’t have this possibility.

  • Pixabay – almost a million tagged photos that can be downloaded in several resolutions
  • Pexels – a website with photos and a search engine Collecting photos from other websites with materials for CC0.
  • Unsplash* – thousands of grouped photos from great photographers, technically it’s no longer a service on CC0, but the photos work under their own license exactly the same way.

Public Domain

The content in the public domain can be used without restrictions, however, mind the personal rights of authors (they never expire), i. e. to acknowledge them when you use such content.

  • Rijksmuseum – The Dutch National Museum has one of the largest and most enjoyable to watch and download in a high quality digital image collection.
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York Museum has published 375,000 photos of museum objects from the last 5000 years.
  • NASA – satellite pictures of earth, space photos, posters promoting the conquest of other planets, NASA provides all this for free and without any Legal restrictions.
free photos

Creative Commons licenses

Pictures from the pages presented below should be used with a little more Consideration. The materials from those websites are available under various licenses, so first you must always check which one it is and then meet its conditions.

  • Foter – nearly 200 million photos licensed under Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY), i.e. requiring only information about authors and licenses to be able to use them for free, for any purpose.
  • Flickr – the largest photo resource in the world (except Facebook), where almost 300 million photos are available under Creative Commons licenses.
  • 500px – a more Professional alternative from Flickr, which also has a mass of Creative Commons licenses among protected photos.

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