Perhaps you’re an aspiring photographer, or an amateur artist looking for some inspiration that can help you out with your next project
Or maybe you’re just an up and coming entrepreneur or web designer in need of some fantastic stock photos and art images to add to your website.
Whatever your profession, it’s essential that you find the right stock copyright free image that can fit your needs.
However, with so many public domain image websites out there, it can be rather difficult to pick the one that houses the exact image you want or contain photos which are well curated and license free.
Hence, to help you out we have compiled a list of some of the best websites with copyright and royalty free images online.
From landscape images to art illustrations and food pics these sites have something to offer everyone.
Copyright and Royalty Free Photos & Art Websites
- Public Domain Pictures
- The British Library
- Foodies Feed?
- Barn Images
- Wikimedia Commons
- Fancy Crave
- Old Book Illustrations
- 1 Million Free Pictures
- Public Domain Review
- Guide for Browsing Through a Public Domain Image Website
- The Laws Regarding Public Domain Images
- Final Thoughts
- The Laws Regarding Public Domain Images
Sick of traditional stock imagery? Well, why not take a look at Unsplash and their amazing collection of photographs that does more than just break the traditional mold.
The website was initially created by a group of photographers who believed that copyright free image websites should house more than just the typical stock images. So, they decided to offer their very own collection of high-resolution pictures for free for budding photographers or entrepreneurs who are about to launch their very own website.
Though Unsplash started small, they have now grown into a rather big creative-community with a multitude of active users and over 250,000 exclusive photos that span a variety of genres.
Every photo present on the website can be very easily copied, modified and even distributed throughout all the users. Moreover, you will be able to use the images for commercial purposes as well, under just a custom license.
This custom license is more or less like a CC0 license. It will allow you to download the images that you want without asking for permission or providing any sort of attribution when you use them to set up your very own website.
We recommend this website for those users who need copyright free images more for personal reasons than for commercial really.
Public Domain Pictures has one of the biggest lists of high-quality photos out of all the websites that we have listed today. But, we suggest that you make sure to check the license which is listed on each individual photo as many of them might just require you to credit the original photographer.
Now, this is precisely the reason why we won’t be recommending this website for commercial purposes. However, if you are a photography enthusiast who wants to set out to create his/her very own collection, then this site is just perfect to draw some inspiration from.
But if you do decide to use the images present on this website for commercial purposes; apart from the photographer’s credit, also make sure that the release was obtained by either the original author or you especially for images of people and property.
Public Domain Pictures houses an incredible library of high-quality images, but not all of them are open to the public. Some of the more exclusive ones are reserved for the premium members of the site.
It seems like it was only yesterday when the British Library released over one million images into the public domain for use in both personal and professional spheres. But, the release was really done some years ago, and the buzz about it is still there and for good reasons, to be honest.
The website has scanned pages from books which dates all the way back to the 17th century. The vast collection of vintage art is hosted on Flickr and is just amazing to view for any designer or painter who wants to dab their brushes into a bit of Renaissance and Victorian artwork.
The images present on the website are segregated into specific albums each designated by the century it is from as well as the genre that it belongs to.
All you have to do is click over to the albums for images which cover specific categories such as typography or even decorative papers representing instruments and animals and download the ones which suit your needs the best.
Unlike Public Domain pictures, all the images on this website are within the public domain and can be accessed by anyone without having to worry about rights and credits.
Looking to set up your very own restaurant website and in dire need of some attractive designs that will help haul in your customers?
Then the Foodies Feed might just be exactly what you’re searching for.
One of the best things about Foodies Feed, in our opinion, is how lifelike and original, the food photos seem. Most food-photo public domain websites that you will go to, generally have images that represent cuisine that look stiff and even fake to some degree, if we are being perfectly honest.
These stock photos are not at all inviting to the average food lover, and in many cases does seem to drive away potential customers than goad them in with their substandard allure.
The high-quality images in Foodies Feed look quite appealing and lifelike. Their gallery features genres which cover a wide category from baristas all the way to home cooked meals.
There are also quaint photos of well-arranged food platters and even produce, which are just perfect for a variety of commercial uses, especially when setting up a website or postering the menu of your restaurant.
The history and inspiration behind Barn Images is a lot like that of Unsplash. It was first launched by two Latvian photographers who wanted to redefine the traditional stock photography industry as they felt that most of these images are lackluster and devoid of any sort of life-like quality.
They have proudly named their images as ‘non-stock’, and as the years went by, they have created an amazing library of images which covers a multitude of genres from every aspect of daily life.
They add new images almost every weekday, and almost all of the photos on their website is available for both personal and commercial use.
However, there are some images which are not available in the public domain and can only be accessed after getting a premium membership.
For just a small fee, you will be able to have unlimited access to a variety of high-quality and intriguing curated photo packs. You will also be given access to a unique dropbox set that will be filled with over a thousand high-resolution photos which are otherwise not available for free to the rest of the users.
Freerange is a free to register and free to access public-domain-image website which supports thousands of high-resolution stock photos right within the reach of your fingertips. The images on the website are free to use and download for whatever purpose, may it be for professional or personal projects
Additionally, apart from having access to a vast catalog of unique images, the site also provides more than 20,000 CC0 photos most of which possess accurate descriptions along with keywords.
However, Freerange doesn’t just stop at providing free images for its users. For budding photographers who wish to upload their own images, Freerange offers them Google AdSense revenue sharing as well. So, if you ever feel like becoming an active user on this site, feel free to contribute, and keep adding to their ever-growing library.
Moreover, the team who designed and started Freerange has another site which specifically deals in housing vintage images and photos called Vintage Stock Photos.
Accessing the content on that site, previously required payment, but they have removed that policy and opened up the images for the public domain. Here you can easily download and share over $25,000 worth of high-quality content without any additional charges.
As one of the largest public domain images site in the world, the Wikimedia Commons is going to be our most popular pick for copyright free art and image website.
However, even though most of the images in Wikimedia Commons are free for public use, there are still some of the images which have certain restrictions. There are some licenses which require that the original creator be attributed, there are some that require that the license in question be identified before use, while the rest require that if you modify the artwork the modifications must also be similarly free licensed.
It may seem like Wikimedia Commons might not be all that of a good pick for downloading images for commercial purpose. But with the sheer amount of free to use images in its library, we don’t feel that commercial usage will be a problem at all.
One note of caution: if you do decide to use the licensed images for professional use, make sure that you triple-check the license tag for each of the images. As Wikimedia Commons doesn’t guarantee the correctness of the licensing for each image, it’s important to look out for any licensing issue.
There are not many artists or even photographers who have heard of Burst, and therefore it’s vastly gone unnoticed by a major portion of the artist and web designing community.
But we are here to put this brilliant website on their radars as Burst is just amazing when it comes to housing one of the most unique and vast collection of concept artwork and landscape pictures.
One interesting thing about this website is that it offers photos at both high and low resolutions, so you can pick the correct resolution of choice depending on what you’re going to use it for.
May you be searching for pictures for your website or for graphic designing, Burst is bound to have something for everyone and for every purpose.
Like Unsplash, Burst has a very sleek, attractive and user-friendly interface that will seamlessly allow you to explore and select from a vast category of images which you can download and modify.
The idea that lead to the creation of Fancy Crave was rather simple really, the creators wanted a public domain image website that would help photographers and artists discover something new every day.
The website is all about helping the creative community at large. All of the photos and images present in the site are of incredibly high resolution and have been previously curated by the renowned professional photographer Igor Ovsyannykov.
Under the CC0 the images are made free of any sort of copyright restrictions and are free to download and modify without much hassle for both personal and commercial reasons.
One amazing thing about Fanny Crave is that it adds an image to their library almost every day. They have a wider community who uploads photos from all aspects of life and helps to ever improve the collection of free stock photos.
Their amazing library of photos and art images are not the only reason why we have decided to place Magdeline in our list today. The other aspect which is just amazing about his website is the interface which is as inviting as it is easy to use.
It has a convenient search column on the right-hand side of the webpage where you can browse the vast amount of categories from nature, food, art piece, etc.
Moreover, apart from those above-mentioned keywords, you can even search their library by dominant color. This color scheme for browsing is just perfect if you’re looking for a bit of cohesiveness on the web page you’re designing or the art piece you’re willing to try your hand at.
However, while searching, do make sure that you filter the images down to CC0 licensed images, as there are many photos in this domain which require attribution.
The Old Book Illustration domain is highly popular among new and amateur artists and also certain professionals who are looking for inspirational ideas and art styles for their next piece. This website offers a fantastic collection of public domain illustrations which have been scanned from older and newer books spanning across centuries.
The website also houses a variety of vector illustrations which can be very easily modified and distributed for both commercial and personal purposes.
Much like the British Library website, the Old Book Illustrations too has an amazing list of vintage art which is sure to capture the attention of any onlooker.
The vintage art photos are of very high resolution and there is a lot one can learn from these classical masterpieces. These pieces will help you to try out your hand in making Victorian and Renaissance designs.
Now if you’re not looking for images which have people, property or trademarks on them, then the 1 Million Free Pictures website houses a plethora of landscape photos and images of art and daily objects that you can choose from.
Originally, the creator of the website was the one who made all the initial photos on this website, which he slowly started releasing into the public domain.
The search engine of this site is rather simple to use, and you can browse through different collections which have been curated and segregated by not just style, but also subject, purpose and a whole lot more.
As none of the images contain people or even property, you will not have to worry about any sort of trademark or licensing issue and you can download and distribute them as you see fit.
Created all the way back in 2011, Public Domain Review, began as a simple well-curated website for public domain photos, artworks, illustrations, audio files, and even texts.
However, the Public Domain Review community is always evolving and has slowly over the years grown into a vast cultural space for history buffs and vintage art enthusiasts.
If you’re looking for some classical designs and art pieces then this website can come rather handy.
You can browse through their unique range of media which primarily deals with a particular historical context, or take part in their monthly Curator’s Choice special. During that time, a special guest is appointed where he/she makes a certain media post (from art images to text or audio) which celebrates a lesser known part of history.
The Public Domain Review website is as educational as it’s inspirational.
Guide for Browsing Through a Public Domain Image Website
In the field of cultural resource for artists and photographers, free public domain images do play an incredibly vital role.
However, when it comes to picking the right images to fit your needs, many of these websites take up a considerable amount of time to look through, because of the sheer volume of content that they possess.
But there are a lot of images in them that are worth finding, so just keep these following things in mind when perusing through their list:
- See if the image is licensed and the license allows you to distribute it the way you want it to.
- The image you wish to choose should come at a quality that specifically caters to your needs, the better images have a quality that supports both printing and web uses.
- Make sure that the images are defined as ‘public domain images’ by the copyright laws of both the countries that you and your client are citizens of.
- Double check or even triple check the license every time to wish to use it for commercial projects.
- Always try to check for trademarks or if the image includes products, property or even people. If they are present, make sure that the release has been obtained.
The Laws Regarding Public Domain Images
When it comes to such websites and the images that they house, the licensing laws are a bit different in every country.
So not only must the picture be a public domain image in your country, but for the country that your client is a citizen of as well.
The laws behind public domain images can be rather sketchy and do tend to fall under a gray legal area. And this is precisely why a lot of the professional artists and web designers tend to pick stock imagery which are licensed as it’s a much safer alternative.
So if you do plan to use these websites and images for commercial reasons then it’s important to check with a trademark/copyright attorney before doing so.
However, if you have thoroughly done your research behind your selected images, you can find some amazing art pieces and photos to use in all of your projects.
The stock image sites that we have listed today are just amazing when it comes to inspiring budding artists and photographers for their next project. They house a plethora of images ranging from vintage art pieces to breathtaking high-resolution snaps of landscapes, people, property, and even food.
As a majority of these images are in the public domain, you can use them for commercial purposes as well, just make sure that you double check the license and release before you do.
We hope that our list and guide today was able to help you with all your stock image related problems.
Till next time!