Picture This: Finding Free Images for Your Blog Or Website
The magic of the Internet lets us to steal images faster than we can type, and they do so dress up a post. But is that really fair to their creator?
You can legally copy some work online under the legal doctrine of “Fair Use.” The law is complex, and sometimes in the eye of the beholder, but Stanford Law School has some Does & Don’ts.
Assuming you can’t/won’t pay directly, where to go?
Several sites host free-to-use images, and a number of search engines will take you to the promised land.
Public Domain Clip Art has astounding numbers of images, letting you direct traffic or post any kind of warning sign. With the site you can illustrate computer history from 1980s HR Lady to today’s sleeker models. or enjoy anthropomorphizing food.
BigPhoto has images ranging from cityscapes to perhaps the only carnival/call center photo you’ll ever need, freely available in return for a link to the site.
The Library of Congress’s main image search engine opens vast archives, but you need to be careful in checking the rights for each image. Much of it is public domain, but some is not.
Part of the LOC’s archive is the FSA Collection, almost entirely public domain. Practically every plucky farmer or determined worker image you’ve seen from the Great Depression was shot by the Farm Security Administration, a New Deal agency. The pictures are almost all available to peruse online. Don’t be put off by the uplift, FSA shot everything, from children to grain elevators to abstracts of piled lumber.
It’s always Christmas at Public Domain Clip Art, not to be confused with the similarly named one mentioned above. This site holds old photos, magazine illustrations and scads of other material in dozens of categories, all freely available.
UShistoryimages can give you oodles of historic greats and the battles they fought.
Wikimedia has a searchable database of millions of images, all under Creative Commons license, free to use.
Wikispaces publishes a very useful guide to hundreds of other places to find free pictures.
If you really want to be slick, Wylio lets you search for Creative Commons-ized images on flickr, play with size and alignment, then generate an embed code with more attribution than you could ever need.
Where do you find pictures?