When you hear the words stock photo websites or copyright free image sites these days some funny stock photos might come to mind.
How about a bunch of business people sitting around a table in front of a whiteboard?
Or a couple of people shaking hands because they just sealed the deal?
Perhaps an entrepreneur sitting barefoot on their bed in front of their laptop computer giving the thumbs up?
What about the person whose body is facing you, but their smiling face is turned to the side where their finger is pointing?
These free images with no copyright can be found on traditional stock photo websites for a small amount of money. In exchange, you receive a nontransferable restricted license.
How do I know if an image is copyright free?
Before downloading the image, review the licence agreement on the website where the image is hosted. The status of the image, how it can be used, and whether attribution is required will be indicated.
Can you use a copyrighted image for personal use?
It depends on the licence of the image. Some have restrictions on how the image can be used such as whether it can be printed and reproduced or only used in digital projects.
No Funny Stock Photos Here!
Each of the following websites with copyright free images was visited to determine the licensing information. Examples of information include the method of downloading copyright free images (i.e. does one need to login to access it?). Whether a search function is included for easy filtering. Here are explanations for each of the considerations based on available information.
Login Required – Does the website required an account (in most cases creating an account is free) to download an image? If so, then a sign-in box will appear when you click the download button.
Search – If the website has a built-in search for finding copyright free images. Here’s a trick for finding images on any internet site. Visit Google web or image search and type “keyword site:domain.suffix” (without quotes). It will display only relevant pages or images on just that website.
For example, to find “coffee” on a fictional website abcdefphotos.com use:
Attribution – Language to look for in evaluating an image license are “Attribution,” “Credit,” or a “Link.” These are all the same thing. While attributing the original source is not required in some cases for free pictures without copyright, it’s still appreciated.Language to look for in license #images are 'Attribution', 'Credit', or a 'Link'Click To Tweet
Personal Use – 100% of these image sources allow personal use of their files in individual projects. Such examples might include wedding invitations or photo albums that you share with others; none sold for profit.
Usage – Licensing information for most websites are sometimes on the home page, but for most are on a separate web page. The separate page might be an “About” them or an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). The language used in these licenses are subject to interpretation.
License information is available covering use in written, digital or movie projects. Keep in mind that while some photographers that submitted images may retain copyright, most are flexible in allowing how an image can be used. All allow commercial use but sure to review the license information to determine specific allowances. For some, the pictures cannot be used as part of a logo. In other cases, the image cannot contribute significant value.
Be sure to share this list of links with others if you find the perfect image.
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