Top 5 Free Websites for Quality Copyright Free Photographs

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copyright free imagesStock photography is all over the place on the Web. If you’re looking for an image of just about anything, you’re bound to find that professional, high-quality photo from various online distributors and agencies, like Getty Images, Corbis, iStockphoto, or Shutterstock.

However, the downside is that all those photos are going to cost you. It’s important to understand the term “royalty-free” (RF) for those websites. RF images are not in the public domain, nor are they free to use without purchasing a license.

Luckily, there are plenty of websites for copyright free images that won’t require you to dig into your pockets.  Here’s 5 of them.


Once you register for a free membership at Freerange, thousands of high-resolution stock photos will be at your fingertips at no cost. All of the website’s images can be used for personal or commercial projects.

copyright free images

For photographers, Freerange also offers Google AdSense revenue sharing when you contribute. Check out this list for more of the top websites to sell your stock photos.


With over 13,000 free copyright free photos, Stockvault connects designers and photographers. The photo sharing website offers all of its images for absolutely free personal or non-commercial use.


Check out more about Stockvault in MakeUseOf’s Directory.


FreeDigitalPhotos neatly organizes its thousands of photos into easy-to-find categories and sub-categories. Every image is available for free download but if you want a larger version or a high-resolution version, they’re priced at $5 and $10, respectively.

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stock.xchng has over 400,000 photos to choose from by more than 30,000 photographers. The website maintains that all images are free, but you must abide by its image license agreement.

Some of the site’s artists may also need to be notified about using some copyright free images, and in most cases, you’ll need to give credit to them.


If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, you may want to actually try Flickr. The popular image hosting website has millions of images from its users who have offered their work under a Creative Commons (CC) License. All you have to do is simply pay close attention to the type of licenses each image falls under to use it appropriately.

Keep in mind that Flickr photos offered under the CC Attribution License requires you to give credit to the photographer.

Want more? MakeUseOf’s Directory of Apps has got details on MorgueFile, yet another website database for free high-resolution digital stock photos. If you’re still having trouble looking, try out PicFindr, a stock photography search engine.

If you know of any other good sites for copyright free images, let us know in the comments.

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24 Comments - Write a Comment


Patrick Braga is also a great free resource for stock photos.


Tristan Bethe

You might want to check out as well. Free for use in commercial projects



Nice sharing. Great post. You can share your article at: to gain more views.


Tim Lenahan

How ’bouts


Keith Kmett

I second for great high-res shots!


Tim Lenahan

OOPs, seems Morguefile’s down! “morgueFile is experiencing technical difficulties, we are working on the problem.” – straight from the site!


Andy Commons

I enjoy Not free, but $1 – $3 for photos I can legally use in my websites.


I agree with Andy. Fotolia suits those who are willing to pay a very nominal amount for their images. Legal and economical. The image gallery is very good too.


Tim Lenahan

Is down for the count?



Cool! Thanks for sharing these sites. After all, no one wants to be accused of being a photo thief… if there’s such thing!
Have you heard of


Yvette Francino

Great list! I’ve been looking for this! Thanks!


Online Cash

Its a great collection of lovely photographs available online. I always look for some useful photos for my website, now you made my task easier by providing these websites.


Saw Htoo

For free photos, check out

All photos are high resolution and absolutely free to use for both personal and commercial projects.



I create online exercises for use through an LMS, for a private university that charges tuition. So I appreciate sites with photos that allow commercial use, and thanks for these links.

Some comments upon further investigation of these sites.

Freerange – NOT copyright-free actually, but a very permissive license, so I’m pretty sure I can use their stock. From their license page:

License Summary: You can do nearly anything with the images, commercial or not. Just don’t redistribute them – this means don’t host the images or repackage them, just post a link and let others download them, just as you did.

{i.e. you can’t make your own clone of freerange, imo}

Stockvault – NOT copyright-free actually, CC BY-NC-SA license. Poison for my situation: no commercial use (e.g. private university that charges tuition), viral Share Alike clause.

Freedigitalphotos – NOT copyright-free actually, but a fairly permissive license, so I can use their stock if I provide a credit and hyperlink to their website.

Stock.xchng – NOT copyright-free actually, but with somewhat permissive licenses. I’ve used their stuff before, thinking all I had to do was credit Stock.xchng. But upon further research it seems a little more complicated than that. First, photos are covered by a variety of restrictions; most of them are “Standard restrictions”, which are the ones I used. But some have more restrictions: be careful.
Secondly, the usage summary seems to indicate I have to credit each individual artist (not the site) AND notify them too. That would a *real* pain for me.

Flickr CC content – NOT copyright-free actually, but with a variety of Creative Commons licenses. Of the 5 licenses there, the ony one I’m sure I can use is the CC Attribution License (BY). And that requires me to credit each individual artist per their requirements. A pain.

In short, none of these sites are offering truly copyright-free photos (i.e. public domain). But they all offer copyrighted photos with a license allowing some re-use if you comply with certain conditions.
For me, the “free-est” is Freerange (commercial use, no crediting required) and I think I’ll be using it in future.
Next comes Freedigitalphoto, which requires a credit & link just to the site.
Flickr & stock.xchng offer some possibilities but frankly the requirement to credit each individual artist (or even notify them!) means I won’t bother.
And Stockvault is out of the question for me: not only no commerical use, but also the viral “Share Alike” factor that means the exercises I make that include such a photo also become CC BY-NC-SA. My employers would not be happy with that!

Please note I’m not an expert, so my understanding may be wrong. And please note that I have specific needs; yours may differ, so a license that’s bad for me might be good for you.



(BTW the above and below comments are just about reuse permission, I haven’t yet had time to check the quality and variety of the photos themselves)

Some of the sites mentioned in the comments:

Morguefile – NOT copyright-free actually, but a very permissive license, so I’m pretty sure I can use their stock. Allows commercial use, no crediting required. Looks like I might be using Freerange and Morguefile.

Photovaco – minimal info on their site, basically just this from their front page:

We provide free stock photos with high resolution for both personal and commercial projects. You can use our free photos in websites, video, TV production, forum, blogs, school projects and print medias including newspapers, magazine, books, CD covers. OK, let’s say, you can download, edit and use all photos anywhere and anyhow you like except for abuse.

Fotolia – as original poster said, you have to pay. Yes, the prices are probably reasonable for many people, but I would have to pay out of my own pocket, which rules it out for me.



Plug here, but I really think you’ll like this one. It’s a completely 100% free stock photo, design and vector website.

Our site, is not spammy, it’s built around a nice, easy-to-use functional layout with easy drag-and-drop interface, and has a lot more planned for the future. Currently we have about 500 images but we have a database of over 7000 yet to be added and growing everyday. I personally shoot photos myself and create custom designs as well. All are available for person OR commercial use, most of which do not require attribution.

check us out on twitter as well,



Number 6:
other free quality photo on niffylux



Excellent web site the great work don keep it up


Michael Garmahis

My version of Top 10 Free Stock Photos Sites



Free photostocks – it’s good. But they definitely lose paid. Shutterstock istokphoto and – apart from the competition. However, all this is expensive. But there is one site that helps all who wish to download at a substantial discount from pay photostocks. This site is called Several times used the services of the site – everything honestly.However, registration on this site – only for an invite. Here are three free invitation:




Invitations to quickly understand. Here are the most recent:




Here are the most recent:



Tobias is olso a great website for find creative commons photos. The images are licensed under Public Domain license, so they are free for use.


John Deevy

For completely free photos for personal and commercial use with no attribution required check out Great images and most are not available elsewhere.

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