A couple of things you should know about photos before you start using them in your work.

What is a stock photo?

Stock photos are professionally taken pictures of people, events, nature and common places. They are sold on what is known as a royalty free basis or licensed for use. Agencies for stock photography charge different rates and the charges depend on usage and quality of the photo.

What is royalty free?

Wikipedia says that royalty free photos mean you have the right to use the picture without any fees, but there may be some attribution required.

What is attribution?

Attribution means you must credit the photographer for their work. The legal way to do this is as follows (from Wikipedia). Creative Commons zero means that you can use the photos in any way you’d like, without asking permission. Creative Commons with attribution means that you can use the photo in any way you want, as long as you credit the creator of the photo.“Photo: [photographer name], Creative Commons 2.0 [or applicable license].”

It is occasionally required that you link the photographers name to the photo by placing it under the photo or on the photo in the bottom corner of the picture. Finding good stock photography that is free can be a real pain and can be very difficult to find. A great deal of online photos belong to professional stock photography companies such as Shutterstock, Alamy and 123RF. These companies can charge $20 or much more for the use of one photo. You may find free photographs online but very often these pictures are of a very low quality or resolution and simply don’t work for your project.

Fortunately, there are several methods and online sources for finding free stock photography. I have listed the company and the link and what the guidelines is for attribution here is a list of some of them.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is free. Anyone is allowed to modify copy and use any or all of the files stored in the repository. As long as the terms that are specified by the creators are followed, which means appropriate crediting you can use the images.


A very modern collection of graphic images and close-ups. This is a non-searchable database and attribution is required.


This archive has both free images and a premium package. It is great for food shots and very high-res photos. It is searchable which will make your life easier and most images do not require attribution.


A favourite of bloggers and designers, Pixabay has a great search function and beautiful images most of which don’t require attribution.

IM Free

This is an online website building tool that curates very high quality images. The database is small but it is searchable and requires attribution.


From photographer Ryan McGuire these photos are free of copyright and photographed by Ryan. The archive is searchable and Ryan adds new photos every week.


This site adds around 10 new images every 10 days. They specialize in gorgeous landscapes and images from nature. The site is not searchable however, which means you could spend a great deal of time looking for what you need. The images do require attribution.

Library of Congress Flickr collection

A fantastic series of prints that reside in the Library of Congress. The Flickr collection contains images from all over the US and are mostly copyright free. Great repository of historical, archival and antique prints and images.


Not a huge archive of photos and it isn’t searchable but it does cover a good range of topics from antiques, people, nature and wildlife. No attribution is necessary.


This is a huge archive, which has a really great range of images. It is also searchable although some of the images do require attribution.

New Old Stock

This is a free collection of antique and vintage photos. All no attribution but you could spend days looking at the photos.

A really interesting selection of free photography offered by professional photographers. Non-searchable and no attribution required. Great for graphic design or photos that are incredibly evocative.


A great place to find landscape and architectural photos. Non-searchable and no attribution required. Lots of great European travel photos.

Public Domain Archive
A huge collection of images from modern to vintage these images are not searchable and no attribution is required.

There you have it a great range of free image sites that you can use for your blog pieces. If you have any that I haven’t written about let me know and I will add them to the list.

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