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Free Web Resources: Royalty-Free Images

This is a listing of resources that are freely available on the internet.

Royalty-Free Images

Royalty-free images are professional and hobbyist photographs, drawings, and paintings that are available for free use. Normally, use of these images is governed by a Creative Commons Licenses, which is composed of multiple elements. Other images  are without copyright (in the public domain) and include images created by the Government of the United States and materials produced or published before certain dates. More information about United States' Copyright rules can be found on the Stanford University Libraries' very thorough guide to Copyright & Fair Use.

Free Stock Images

  • Burst 
    A free stock photo platform that is powered by Shopify. Image library includes thousands of high-resolution, royalty-free images. 
  • The Gender Spectrum Collection 
    The 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. Created by VICE Media
  • The Jopwell Collection: Intern Edition 
    Features free stock photos of young professionals of color. Must give attribution to Jopwell.com if used.
  • MOrguefile 
    Morguefile is a free photo archive “for creatives, by creatives.” Founded by Michael Connors in the early Internet days of 1996, the site was created to serve as a free image exchange for creative professionals and teachers to use in their work. This same mission remains true today: we are 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. The photos have been contributed by a wide range of creatives from around the world, ranging from amateur photo hobbyists to professionals.
  • The Noun Project 
    Database of icons that can be used for free with attribution.
  • nappy.co 
    nappy.co provides beautiful, high-res photos of black and brown people to startups, brands, agencies, and everyone else. Nappy makes it easy for companies to be purposeful about representation in their designs, presentations, and advertisements. Created by SHADE, designed to help creators of color build their digital influence while helping brands stay relevant among diverse audiences.
  • pixabay 
    pixabay offers over a million high quality stock images and videos shared by professionals.
  • Unsplash 
    Free high-resolution stock photos contributed by a community of members.

Vector Illustrations

  • VectorStock 
    A collection of vector images. Over 300,000 are freely available.
  • Vecteezy 
    "The largest vector graphics and photo community in the world." Vecteezy provides thousands of vector graphics for free use (though license varies by image).

Vector graphics allow you to build works of art and functional graphics that can expand to any size.  While these collections are focused on vector graphics, you can search some of the other image websites on this page for vector-based graphics.

Creative Commons License Types

Creative Commons is a standardized licensing tool that offers creators the opportunity to license their in-copyright works for free use by third parties. Creative Commons offers six copyright licenses. These licenses are:

They also provide tools that work in the “all rights granted” space of the public domain. TheirCC0 tool allows licensors to waive all rights and place a work in the public domain, and their Public Domain Mark allows any web user to “mark” a work as being in the public domain.

Open Access Photographs and Historical Images

  • Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online 
    Images from the Library of Congress, now in the public domain.
  • Wikimedia Commons 
    Historical and contemporary images contributed by Wiki editors and participants. Millions of high-resolution images of art, architecture, design, people, historical events, diagrams, maps, and more.
  • WorldImages
    The internationally recognized WorldImages database provides access to the California State University IMAGE Project. 
  • Google Arts & Culture 
    Founded in 2011, the Google Cultural Institute is a not-for-profit initiative that partners with cultural organizations to bring the world’s cultural heritage online. We build free tools and technologies for the cultural sector to showcase and share their gems, making them more widely accessible to a global audience. Use images from with caution, as many museums retain copyright for the works.
  • Text This Week Art Index 
    The Text This Week offers an "artwork concordance" that sorts links to artwork focused on Biblical/spiritual themes. Be very cautious with this resource as not all images are licensed for free use.

Curated collections of Open Access photography.

Flickr Search and Resources

  • Flickr Creative Commons 
    Flickr's Creative Commons portal. Browse by license type or choose "Advanced Search" to limit to Creative Commons content.
  • Smithsonian on Flickr 
    A showcase of photos from different collections within the museums, archives, and research centers of the Smithsonian Institution. 
  • Compfight 
    An enhanced search interface for Flickr content. Limit to Creative Commons.

Not all content on Flickr is available royalty-free or under Creative Commons licensing. These landing pages offer users ways to access that Creative Commons' content easily.