Get Great, Free Photos to Use on Your Blog

Polaroid images of landscapes

 Ryan McVay / Getty Images

Finding free photos to use on your blog can be challenging because so many of them have stringent copyright restrictions. Several websites, however, offer free high-quality photos that bloggers can download to use on their blogs.

Check the copyright restrictions on any photos you download for use on your blog. Some of the free photos on these sites might require you to provide attribution — which you should do anyway — or notify the photographer of your use of the photo. Always follow the copyright and Creative Commons licensing rules related to any photo you use on your blog and obtain any necessary permissions.

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Photo from Stock.xchng

rubyblossom / Flikr

What We Like
  • Images are free for personal and commercial use in digital or printed form.

  • Each image is downloadable in several sizes.

  • Image page displays thumbnails of related images.

What We Don't Like
  • A free account is required for downloading.

  • No exclusive rights are granted.

  • Prohibits the use of images in products for resale and company logos.

FreeImages (formerly Stock Xchange) is a great resource for finding free photos. This attractive website organizes photos by categories, so you can peruse photos on specific topics quite easily. Restrictions vary by photo, so check the copyright and attribution requirements on each before you use them.

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What We Like
  • Offers some downloadable images for sale or at no charge.

  • Any image with a Creative Commons license is available for download.

What We Don't Like
  • Primarily a photo and video cloud storage service.

  • Many images are private and cannot be downloaded.

Flickr is the best known of the websites that offer free images. A good practice is to begin searching by Creative Commons license. Click on any of the thumbnails to view rights retained by the photographer. Always provide attribution if required and include a link back to the source.

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What We Like
  • More than 350,000 free images for commercial or personal use.

  • Click a thumbnail to see size, number of downloads, license, keywords, and other info.

  • No attribution is required.

What We Don't Like
  • Cannot search the site by category, only by keyword.

  • Images cannot be sold and you cannot claim ownership of them.

MorgueFile has a large selection of free high-quality photos; just search the site for "free." Typically, you can download the free images immediately, but do read about the MorgueFile license requirements —and link back from your blog post to the source if required.

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What We Like
  • Extensive section of free and public-domain images.

  • Huge list of categories for search.

  • Millions of royalty-free images.

What We Don't Like
  • Site requests a credit line when a free image is used.

  • Site sells photos. Be sure you're in the Free section.

  • Must read license carefully to avoid misuse of image.

Dreamstime provides a large selection of royalty-free stock photos and vector images that are available either for free or for as little as $0.20. As long as you don't claim to own the image itself, you can use most of these on a blog. Just check the rights that the photographers have assigned to the images before downloading them.

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What We Like
  • Free Stock Photos tab goes straight to free images.

  • Search by term or category.

  • Lots of background textures for blogs.

What We Don't Like
  • Licenses vary on free downloads.

  • Some licenses require attribution.

StockVault is a community of photographers and artists who share their work on the site. The site includes a section just for bloggers, where it showcases free textures, photos, and design elements that are particularly useful for blogs.