Many clients ask where they can find images for their websites. Others don’t ask, and simply send images they found on Google Images.
My experience is that many people aren’t familiar with copyright laws. You aren’t free to use every image you find on the Web. You may only use images to which you own the copyright, or to which you have been granted usage rights. So, where can you get such images? There are many places, but these are my favorites.
Sources of Free Photos and Graphics
- Take photos yourself. If necessary, get releases from the people in your photos.
- Create graphics yourself.
- Unsplash has many photos. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.
- Pexels photos have a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means the pictures are completely free to be used for any legal purpose. The pictures are free for personal and even for commercial use. You can modify, copy and distribute the photos. All without asking for permission or setting a link to the source. So, attribution is not required.
- Pixabay. You can copy, modify, distribute, and use the images, even for commercial purposes, all without asking for permission or giving credits to the artist.
- Flickr Advanced Search allows you to search within Creative Commons-licensed content. You can also specify Find content to use commercially and Find content to modify, adapt, or build upon, depending on your needs.
- Wikimedia Commons has public domain and freely-licensed media.
Sources of Paid Photos and Graphics
- Purchase photo rights from a photographer.
- Purchase graphic rights from a graphic designer.
- Dreamstime has a large, relatively inexpensive collection of royalty-free stock photos, illustrations & images.
- iStockphoto, Shutterstock, and many other sites also sell stock photos, illustrations, vector art, and other media.
- Death to the Stock Photo has been recommended to me, but I haven’t personally used it.
Learn the basics of image copyrights with SitePoint’s The Web Designer’s Guide to Image Copyrights. You don’t need to be a web designer to read and understand it. Next, learn where to find free, legal images with SitePoint’s The Definitive Guide to (Mostly) Free Images.
Where do you like to find images for your websites?