The Web is Your Oyster: Where to Find Free-to-Use Images

Browse sites that offer high-quality, free-to-use images for your personal projects — like your blog or website — or commercial work. also offers support for embedding Getty Images, which means you can access and share photos from Getty’s extensive library for non-commercial use.

For many of you, images are an integral part of your site. But sometimes, you may not have the right photograph to use for a post or page. You can use the Creative Commons to search for images you need across the web, from Flickr to Wikimedia Commons, and source and attribute images that you find. There are also excellent online resources that compile high-resolution images that are free to use on your site. Let’s take a peek.


Unsplash has gorgeous high-resolution photos, many of which work well for full-width featured images, custom headers, and custom backgrounds. While crediting the photographer is not required, Unsplash provides the HTML code for an image credit line, which you can easily copy and paste into a caption on your site.


Pexels pulls the best stock photos, all licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, in one place. Images are tagged, searchable, and can be downloaded quickly in different sizes (as well as a custom size, too).

Death to the Stock Photo

A lot of stock photos out there are uninspiring, and this site wants to change that. A project by Allison Lehman and David Sherry, Death to the Stock Photo offers free monthly photos for your creative needs, personal or commercial. The pair shoots fresh, modern images, and then sends each new collection to their subscribers.

The Pattern Library

The Pattern Library offers vibrant patterns for download. Just scroll down the page to see each pattern “slide” over the last one — it’s a fun way to browse patterns. Many of the selections are colorful and bold, while there are more subtle options, which work well for those seeking custom backgrounds.


Created by artist Ryan McGuire, this online project offers free, high-resolution images for personal and commercial use. New photographs are added weekly and are free of copyright restrictions.

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  1. Thanks for these! I’m going to update a post I did a couple of weeks ago with the other suggestions you’ve made.

    By the way, I have a couple on there which you haven’t listed. Try these 🙂


  2. I have been using stock photos with their watermarks on my blog and have been wondering if this is acceptable. . . Does anyone know if I am wrong?


    1. Well, they do put watermarks on to stop people using them ……
      As a sometime contributor to one microstock agency (Dreamstime) i have to say that the idea is that you have to pay for a watermark free version of the image.
      (but you will not be the first, nor the last person to use a watermarked photo !)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know that they put the watermarks to stop people from using the photos without buying them. But if I use the photos with the watermarks (thus showing where they are coming from) does that mean I am infringing any copyright?
        Thanks for the input.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I’d suggest not using other people’s images without their permission or proper attribution, watermarked or not. The services/sites above are great in this regard, as you can use the images as you wish (without attribution).

      I know people steal photos all the time, but I suggest poking around these sites in this post for alternatives, and/or properly crediting/captioning images taken from the Creative Commons, as specified by the license of the image.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t want to steal anything 😦 I guess I will have a lot of editing to do on my blog now, but thanks for the information.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so helpful. I really like when bloggers support bloggers by providing practical tips like this. It’s such a great thing to share what helps you 🙂


  4. I won’t use for this reason. I have no real idea what the origin is from any image. Someone may have “borrowed” this illegally and you cannot trust sources anymore. In legalities such as this, you would not be able to say “I got it from that guy” and not be liable just because someone else did take an image illegally. I say this because I know someone that was really burned once and he had to pay huge fines when sued later.