Updated on March 14, 2023
When blogging, I draw from numerous sources for graphics. Some of the sources are screenshots or comic covers; a few are photos I’ve actually taken myself. However, most of the photos on the blog come from free stock photo sources online. Below are some of my favorite sources for free stock photos.
The US government
Photos created by the United States federal government are usually automatically considered public domain. As such, there’s thousands of photos freely available for use:
- NASA. NASA offers thousands of photos on its own Flickr page.
- The Library of Congress. The Library of Congress similarly has thousands of photos on its own Flickr page.
- The Smithsonian. The Washington DC museum also has a Flickr page with numerous photos.
The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library’s released thousands of photos that have fallen out of copyright; many of them were taken between the late 19th and mid-20th centuries. There’s a selection of photos available on the library’s Flickr page. The NYPL’s website has a complete selection of their public domain photos.
The Creative Commons organization runs Openverse, a site for searching available Creative Commons licensed photos from multiple websites.
Flickr Creative Commons
Flickr’s Creative Commons page has been a longtime major source of such licensed photos online. They offer the full range of Creative Commons licensed photos, as well as public domain ones.
WIkimedia Commons serves as Wikipedia’s media repository. While the images aren’t as neatly organized as on some of the other sources I’ve listed, there’s a large number to choose from. The images here fall under a Creative Commons license, similar free content licenses, or under the public domain.
Pixabay and Unsplash
Pixabay and Unsplash are two sites that offer a large variety of free-to-use photos. As such I’ve made heavy use of them, mostly the former, in the past.
However, several years ago, both sites moved away from offering Creative Commons photos, instead offering images under their own proprietary licenses. While the terms are similar, they’ve added rules against using images in a way that’s seen as setting up a competing repository. The few articles I could find about this suggests these changes came out of business reasons.
Unfortunately, this has the byproduct of making these sites less desirable for those working on Creative Commons or similarly licensed projects. WordPress’ themes repository, for instance, now no longer allows images from Pixabay and Unsplash, as their new proprietary licenses conflict with the GPL license WordPress uses.
Photos of LGBTQ people and people of color
Sources of free LGBTQ stock photos
Sources of free stock photos featuring people of color
I’ve previously written about how to find free photos of LGBTQ people, as well as people of color. Most of the sources are from a mix of the above sites, plus a few others.
Photo by congerdesign (Pixabay)