What Images Are Copyright Free?

What images are copyright free

Having access to copyright-free images can save you time and money in your design projects. In addition, sourcing copyright-free images can help you avoid lawsuits and ensure that creators get paid.

There are a few different types of copyright free images available. We’ll cover them all in this article: Public Domain, Creative Commons, Royalty-Free, and Stock Photos.

Public Domain

Whether you’re writing a blog post, creating marketing collateral or an infographic, great images can take your content to the next level. This is because visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text and can improve comprehension. But, if you’re not careful, you could find yourself in copyright trouble if you just pull any old image off the internet. This is because every creative work gains copyright protection as soon as it’s created, and even if it’s labelled as public domain or royalty-free, the terms of use can be confusing.

It can be difficult to know if an image is copyright free, but there are some simple rules to follow. If it’s been in the public domain for 70 years, or it’s stated to be so by the creator, then it is. However, many people mistakenly assume that any image readily available on the web is public domain. This is especially common for photos, as the phrasing “free to use” or “public domain” is commonly used on sites like Facebook and VKontakte, but this doesn’t mean that it is legal to download and use those images without permission.

Some sites have been set up specifically to provide public domain images, such as Pexels, which offers a great selection of high-resolution photographs that can be used for commercial and personal projects with no attribution required. Likewise, Flickr’s own search function makes it easy to filter for only images that are in the public domain, but the individual licence agreements may have restrictions on how you can use them.

Similarly, the New York Public Library provides a database of historical images that can be downloaded and used in any context – but again, it’s important to check their individual licence agreements for details. In addition to this, the Library of Congress has a massive collection of photographs and drawings that are in the public domain. For journalists, Harvard Law School and Columbia Journalism Review both offer useful tip sheets for finding sources of public domain images online.

Creative Commons

In a world of copyright rules, there are some images that are free to use with no permission required. These are known as public domain or Creative Commons images and can be found at a variety of sites on the Internet. Searchable image sites, such as Wikimedia and Pixabay, allow users to browse tens of millions of high-quality photos and other media files. Licensing details are usually clearly explained below each picture. Some specialized content sources also offer free or low-cost images and other media files. For example, DryIcons offers unique icons, icon sets, vector graphics and web templates under a Free License, while the Getty Images website allows customers to purchase subscriptions that include some free or public domain imagery. Many large companies have their own online photo galleries or make handout photos available as part of their marketing efforts. Other sources of free imagery include Wikipedia, iStockPhoto by Getty Images and a number of other free or low-cost image repositories on the Internet.

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that works with artists to promote a range of licensing options for their work. These range from copyright-free to royalty-free, with various license agreements indicating what users can and cannot do with the work. Some artists require attribution, while others don’t mind at all and actively encourage the use of their images and other works.

While images on social-media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and VKonaktakte are generally not copyright-free, the University of Minnesota offers a helpful tip sheet on using such media for news stories, and there is scholarship on fair use in the world of online journalism. Some commercial companies will provide free or low-cost images of products and services that are available to customers, while others may require a fee for the use of any images or other types of media that are part of an advertising campaign.

For example, the National Gallery of Art provides a wide selection of high-resolution photos that are licensed under Creative Commons zero (CC0), which means they can be used for any purpose without asking permission or providing credit to the artist — although attribution is always appreciated. Other sites that feature CC0 images include Unsplash, Pixabay and Dreamstime.


Whether you’re a designer, a small business owner, or a blogger(opens in new tab), high-quality images are essential for making your content stand out. After all, visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text and generate more clicks on social media posts. So, where can you find copyright-free images to use for your next project? There are many different sources and tools to help you do just that. Some are searchable image sites, while others offer create-your-own tools and free downloads.

While the Royalty-Free label may suggest that these photos are free to use, this is not entirely true. Unlike public domain or Creative Commons images, royalty-free images typically require a flat fee to be used. This fee will be paid either to the image library domain and/or the creator of the image, depending on the license type.

The good news is that once this initial payment has been made, you can then use the image as often as you like, without paying additional fees each time. RF images can be used on websites, in print advertisements, billboards, YouTube videos, and more.

RF images are non-exclusive, meaning that you can still purchase them from other stock photo agencies even after you have licensed them. However, this isn’t a deal breaker as there are many other benefits of using RF images over other types of images.

Aside from the flexibility of RF licenses, they also tend to have more high-quality images than other types of free and paid stock photos. This is because these images are usually taken by professional photographers and artists rather than random users who have uploaded their own photos.

One of our favorite RF image providers is Depositphotos, an affordable stock photo agency based in Florida that offers incredible e-commerce images for businesses of any size. Their image collection includes 224 million high-quality photos, vectors, and videos. Their prices are incredibly affordable when compared to other microstock image providers, and they offer a 7-day free trial for new customers. This is a great way to see for yourself how much they have to offer!

Stock Photos

Stock photography is a popular choice for content marketers and other business owners because it’s easy to find images on the web. It can be used to create marketing campaigns, website design, and presentations. The quality of these photos is usually high because they’re taken by professionals. However, they can be expensive.

Depending on the type of license, stock photos can be royalty-free or rights-managed. Royalty-free means that the photo can be used unlimited times, whereas rights-managed means that the photo can only be used once. Before purchasing a stock image, be sure to read the license agreement carefully to ensure that it’s right for your needs.

One of the biggest benefits of using stock photos is that they can be edited and manipulated easily. This can help businesses customize the image to better fit their brand and make it stand out from competitors. It can also save time and money, as it would take a lot of time to take a new photo from scratch.

However, it’s important to remember that just because a photo is copyright free doesn’t mean that it can’t be used by someone else. So, before using a stock photo, be sure to check the license information and attribution requirements.

Another option for finding free images is to use a search engine that offers a variety of options, including royalty-free and rights-managed images. There are many different search engines available, but the best way to choose a search engine is to determine what type of images you’re looking for and how often you’ll need them.

When it comes to choosing a stock photo, it’s important to consider the subject and style of the image. For example, if you’re looking for an image of a person, you might want to avoid using photos that are too posed or over-exposed. Instead, try to look for photos that have a natural feel to them.

There are several websites that offer free stock photos, including Pixabay and 123RF. Another option is to check out Wikimedia Commons, which features images that are in the public domain and are licensed under various Creative Commons licenses.

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