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Creative Commons Licenses
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that works "to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in “the commons” — the body of work that is available to the public for free and legal sharing, use, repurposing, and remixing" ("What We Do").
Creative Commons licenses provide a way for people to share their work and make it available for others to build on and reuse. Check out the Creative Commons website for more information and details about CC licenses.
Here is a wiki on best practices for how to give attribution (credit) to images with CC licenses.
Stock Photos for Visual Aids
- Burst is a "free stock photo site that is powered by Shopify. We have 1000’s of high quality and royalty-free images available and free to download." Read more about terms of service.
- CC Search provides users with the ability to search for content with Creative Commons licenses from a variety of databases offered by independent organizations, including Wikimedia Commons, SoundCloud, Pixabay, Google Images, etc. Users can also limit results to content that can be used for commercial purposes and/or modified, adapted, or built upon. As Creative Commons does not have control over search results, users should double-check to see that the content is under a CC license by following the links. The new Beta CC Search, with new search filters and one-click attribution, allows users to search across a variety of vetted open sourced content through one single interface.
- Cupcake offers images that "are licensed under the Creative Commons license CC0, which means that you are free to use the images without any costs. You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking for permission."
- Death to Stock sends free images to your email on a monthly basis. Premium accounts cost $15/month.
- Everystockphoto is "a search engine for free photos. These come from many sources and are license-specific. You can view a photo's license by clicking on the license icon, below and left of photos. Membership is free and allows you to rate, tag, collect and comment on photos."
- Fancycrave photos "are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CCO) license which grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Fancycrave for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Fancycrave."
- Foodiesfeed "is a resource of awesome naturally looking food photos that are completely free to download."
- Gender Spectrum Collection "is a stock photo library featuring images of trans and non-binary models that go beyond the clichés. This collection aims to help media better represent members of these communities as people not necessarily defined by their gender identities—people with careers, relationships, talents, passions, and home lives." The images are shot by Zackary Drucker and are available to the public for free.
- Gratisography is another website serving up high-resolution photos covered under the Creative Commons Zero license. All of the photos are taken by Ryan McGuire, a "whimsically creative visual artist, based in Ithaca, NY."
- ISO Republic's mission is to "provide high-quality images to be used by designers, developers, bloggers, marketers, and social media teams." For those looking for access to more exclusive free photos, ISO Republic invites you to sign up for its email list and receive photos right to your inbox.
- Jay Mantri adds seven new "do anything photos every Thursday.
- Kaboompics is a royalty-free collection of images provided by Karolina, a web designer from Poland. Photos are sorted into categories, such as nature, technology, home decor, lifestyle, interiors, food and drink, etc.
- Life of Pix provides "free high-resolution photos, no copyrights restrictions for personal and commercial use."
- Morguefile is "a community-based free photo site, and all photos found in the Morguefile archive are free for you to download and re-use in your work, be it commercial or not."
- NegativeSpace's "photographs (and their raw image files) are made available under the Creative Commons CC0 license." This means you can download, copy, edit, and share the photo and use it for commercial and noncommercial purposes. Attribution is not required but appreciated.
- New Old Stock provides "[v]intage photos from the public archives. Free of known copyright restrictions."
- No Backs provides "comprehensive collections of free stock photos with isolated transparent backgrounds, Download isolated stock PNG photos, vectors, and illustration for free."
- Old Book Illustrations provides free vintage-style imagery. All the images are scanned from old books and are in the public domain, so there are no rights hassles. Categories include plants, animals, buildings and monuments, ornaments and patterns.
- Pixabay features over 1.1 million photos, vector graphics, illustrations, and videos that can be used for commercial and noncommercial purposes. All content is licensed under Creative Commons. Users can search by media type, orientation, pixel size, color, and categories ranging from animals, architecture, religion, music, beauty/fashion, and people. Images can be downloaded in a variety of sizes, and each image also provides users with suggestions for similar images.
- Pexels is a library of 40,000 free high-quality stock photos, which can be used for both personal and commercial purposes. All photos are covered under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, and attribution is not required. Users can search for images or can also browse by color, popular photos, popular searches, photographers, and categories (summer, abstract, city, fashion, etc.) Every image can be downloaded in a variety of sizes, and each photo also has suggestions for similar images. Those who sign up for accounts receive 40 additional photos to download and can upload their own photos to the Pexels community.
- Picjumbo was started by Viktor Hanacek in the Czech Republic in 2013. Photos can be downloaded for free and be used for commercial and non-commercial purposes. Attribution is not required but appreciated. With a $7.50/month subscription, you can receive a premium pack of photos sent straight to your inbox every month. The packs include unpublished and upcoming images, as well as complete collections.
- The Public Domain Project allows you to "[d]ownload thousands of historic media files for your creative projects. Completely free and made available by Pond5.
- Representation Matters includes stock photos that focus on inclusion and diversity.
- Skitterphoto contains "license-free images in the public domain."
- SplitShire, powered by Italian photographer Daniel Nanescu, offers free photos for you to use without restrictions.
- Spoon Graphics provides design tutorials, articles, and "freebies to use in your own artwork."
- Startup Stock Photos offers "free photos for startups, bloggers, publishers, websites, designers, developers, creators, & everyone else."
- StockSnap's photos are "under the Creative Commons CC0 license. That means you can copy, modify, distribute any photo on the site, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission!"
- Unsplash is a searchable library of free high-resolution digital photographs that can be downloaded and used for any purpose, both commercial and noncommercial. In addition to searching for images, users can also browse the most popular collections by topic or the results of trending searches. Unsplash also has a Chrome extension, so each new tab provides a new photograph, which can also be downloaded. Users who create accounts can make private or public collections and receive announcements, recommended photos, resources, tips, etc.
- WOCinTech photos on Flickr provides stock photos of women of color working in tech
- 100+ Free (& Nearly Free) Stock Photo Libraries is a list provided by WhoIsHostingThis.com that you can check out for even more image sources!
- List of additional stock photo resources: "85 Free Stock Photo Resources -- How to Use Them (CC Licenses)"
How to Images You Can Resuse with Google Images Advanced Search
Google Advanced Image Search
Scroll down to the Usage Rights section. Using the drop-down menu, you can restrict results to images that are free to use or share, etc.
How to Spot Fake Stock Photos (And Attribute the Right Person)
UC Merced Image Databases
Photographs, audio sound bites, and graphics from the Associated Press (AP). The collection includes 12 million photographs from 1826 forward.
ARTstor is an ever-growing digital library of over 500,000 images of art, architecture and archeology from a wide range of cultures and time periods to support teaching and learning in the humanities and social sciences.
A free public gateway to thousands of digitized primary sources - including photographs, documents, newspaper clippings, works of art - from UC museums and libraries and other cultural heritage institutions across California. Designed with a special emphasis on serving California teachers.
Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)
DPLA offers a single point of access to millions of items from digital collections around the United States. Includes photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images and more. Search by topic, timeline, map, and format.
Getty Research Library
Includes the Art & Architecture Thesaurus, the Getty Provenance Index and the Photo Study Collection.
Museum & Other Library Image Collections
The British Library's Flickr
The British Library has over a million images on Flickr Commons for anyone to use. The images are from 17th, 18th, and 19th century books that have been digitized by Microsoft.
From the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, use and re-use the images for education and research, without payment of a fee or the need to separately obtain copyright permissions.
Google Art Project
Over 40,000 images from 250 museums. "Some paintings are available in ‘gigapixel’ format, allowing you to zoom in at brushstroke level to examine incredible detail. Use Google Street View to explore the interiors of landmark..."
Los Angeles County Museum of Art Collection
LACMA has over 20,000 images in the public domain that can be freely downloaded.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Over 400,000 images available for free download for non-commercial use as a part of its Open Access for Scholarly Content initiative. All images are identified with the acronym OASC.
Museum of New Zealand
Over 30,000 images available for free download. 14,000 images are available under a Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND,” so you can use them non-commercially with attribution to the artist. 17,000 images are downloadable for any use. It’s best to search this page after first checking the “with downloadable images” check box so that you only get results that are free for download. Each image specifies its license, many of which are remixable and have no copyright associated with them at all.
The National Gallery of Art's Images
The NGA Images collection allows you to freely download, search, browse, and share high-resolution images.
National Library of New Zealand
Free images that can be downloaded from the National Library of New Zealand's The Commons Flickr account.
New York Public Library Public Domain Collections
More than 180,000 of the items the NYPL's Digital Collections are in the public domain, which means you are welcome to download and reuse the materials without permission or restriction.
The Prints of Mary Cassat
"Spanning twenty years of Cassatt’s career as a printmaker, from 1878 to 1898, this [New York Public Library] exhibition documents her first tentative steps in the medium and culminates with her highly accomplished and technically dazzling color prints."
The Rijksmuseum's Digital Collection
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has digitized over 125,000 images from Dutch painters and can be downloaded for free.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's Rauschenberg Research Project
SFMOMA's Rauschenberg Research Project allows you to freely download images and essays spanning Robert Rauschenberg's career from 1949 to 1998.
Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler Galleries
More than 40,000 works of Asian art available for high-resolution download. The artwork dates from the Neolithic period to present day Images can be used for all non-commercial purposes.
The Tate Museum
Britain's Tate Museum has digitized 70,000 works of art in their online gallery. This link takes you to the search page for art and artists, but also check out the archive search for documents, letters, and sketches.
The Walters Art Museum
The Walters Art Museum has thousands of artworks from around the world and across time periods. You can download high-resolution images and search, tag, and create an online gallery.
The Wellcome Library in London focuses on the history of medicine. Wellcome has made 100,000 historical images related to medicine, the body, public health, and medical science free to download under a Creative Commons CC-BY license. Rights-managed images are marked as such in the thumbnail results that appear after a search. Although the archive requires you to enter a CAPTCHA to access the free images, you can select several thumbnails on the search-results page in order to bulk-download files for many images at the same time.