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These guides will help you find and locate other types of information.
Why Legal is Important
Not everyone has the time, resources, or talent to make their own graphics. So for those of us who fall into this group, below is a list of some incredible tools that will help you locate millions of free images that can be used legally. You may not know that an artist who takes a photo or creates a graphic has the legal right to share or distribute copies of their work. This legal right is known as copyright, and permission must be granted by the artist to legally use the image.
It is important to note that there are some limits to copyright, such as the Fair Use guidelines (details at copyright.gov). Nonprofit educational purpose is probably the most common copyright exception. For example, students may use images for a class paper and instructors are in most cases allowed to use images for class instruction since it is for educational purposes. Just make sure to cite where you found it so you don’t plagiarize!
Suggested Image Sites
A major search engine that rivals Google. This site like most major search engines can refine results by license type.
Major search engines such as Google can usually limit results to specific usage rights (e.g. free to use, share, or modify, even commercially). These limits are typically found under the advanced search option
Other Image Sites
Note: Always check the license for each image to find out if the work can be freely used and whether you need to attribute the creator.
Flickr Creative Commons
With over 55 million images, Flickr is one of the largest photo-sharing platforms around. Use the Advanced Search to find photos with a Creative Commons license.
Over 1.5 million royalty-free professional stock photos and videos are shared by the Pixabay community.
This site offers hundreds of thousands of high quality professional-grade photos. All photos on Pexels are free for personal and commercial purposes, and each picture has been reviewed for high quality.
Browse through thousands of professional photos, some of which may require attributing the photographer.
This is a free community where photographers and artists share their own high quality photos and illustrations. There are thousands of high quality images that range from people, animals, plants, buildings, landscapes, textures, and even concepts.
Similar to Pinterest, the images on Unsplash can be browsed by keyword on a single ever-scrolling page of photos. All of the 550,000+ images are free.
Free Digital Photos
This site has thousands of high quality photos of people in settings that range from weddings to business, but the results can sometimes blend with the professional for-profit work.
Photo Pin is an image search engine for the Creative Commons, and also suggests high quality for-purchase images.
Besides genealogical info, Ancestry Images includes historical maps, images, and prints, most of which come from around the 1800s.
Ever Stock Photo
Over 29 million free photos from various organizations such as NASA and the Library of Congress.
IAP images in Artstor that can be used free of charge in scholarly publications.
Library of Congress Digital Collections
Access online collections: view maps & photographs; read letters, diaries & newspapers; hear personal accounts of events; listen to sound recordings & watch historic films.
Open Content Program | The Getty
Free access to the Getty's digital resources.
Free media files (images, sounds and video).
, Citation Guides
, Computer Science
, Data Management
, Environmental Science
, Exercise & Heath Science
, Physics & Astronomy
, Science (General)
Historically Underrepresented Populations
Openly licensed photo collections specializing in historically underrepresented populations. List is based off of Boise State.
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." License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
"Beautiful, high-res photos of black and brown people." Creative Commons Zero (CC0)
"A coop of stock image photography. We have created a space where publishers, bloggers, website owners, marketers, designers, graphic artists, advertisers and the like can easily search and find diverse multi-racial images." License: No attribution required.
"Free photos of women and non-binary people of color working in tech." License: CC-BY