Updated on December 10, 2021
As part of good blogging practices, I include a featured image with each post. When possible, I usually use Creative Commons licensed photos. But where do I get such images from?
There’s lots of sites offering Creative Commons licensed photos to download. Some of these are licensed under a CC0 (public domain) license, meaning one can use them for any purpose without attribution. (Though it’s still nice to credit the creator if possible.) There’s also the CC BY license, which offers the same benefits as CC0 photos, but do require crediting the creator. Other licenses are available, though they come with more restrictions; thus, I’d suggest bloggers stick with using CC0 and CC BY licensed photos if possible.
Below are some of my favorite sources for Creative Commons photos.
Pixabay offers a variety of CC0 licensed photos, plus some clip art. The site does require registering (for free) to download full resolution photos.
Flickr Creative Commons
Flickr’s Creative Commons photos are one of the most popular features of the photo hosting service. Users can upload and license photos under the various Creative Commons licenses, including CC0 and CC BY. As Flickr’s one of the most popular photo hosting services (its owner Yahoo’s problems notwithstanding), it’s got a large number of photos to choose from.
Wikimedia Commons serves as Wikipedia’s media repository. While Wikimedia Commons’ image search functionality’s pretty basic, the site does have plenty of interesting images.
Google Images offers a vast number of photos, but many of them are strictly copyrighted. To deal with this, Google has added to its image search function the ability to search only for freely licensed photos.
To use this feature: on the image search page, go to the menu bar under the search box and select “Tools,” then select “Usage rights,” and select which license option you wish. “Labeled for reuse with modification” is the most liberal license; it’ll turn up public domain and CC0/CC BY licensed images.
Unsplash offers a broad selection of CC0 licensed photos that’re free to download.
The above sites offer many photos, and should satisfy the needs of most bloggers. Those needing something more might want to consider using sites that sell stock photos. Some of the above sites do have affiliate links with stock photo services like Shutterstock.
Where do you turn to for images?