Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
UPDATE 11-09-21: I deleted some sites that seem to have disappeared and added several new free photo links. There are now almost 40 sites for you!
Hey there, my fellow creative! Are you tired of paying for the stock photos you use in your online business? Or are you just starting out and your budget is slim? 📷
Well, I have your solution! I've found 30+ sites with FREE images you can use with no attribution and no restrictions. Pretty exciting, right?
Any time you need an image to use in your business, just come back to this post (SAVE IT TO YOUR FAVORITES NOW!) and you're golden :)
I may receive commissions for purchases made through links on my site. Please see my full disclosure for further information.
What Are "CC Zero" Photos?
CC0 photos are free to use anywhere online. Before using a photo from one of these sites, though, YOU are responsible for confirming it has a CC0 license. I'm merely providing sites where some CC0 photos can be found.
These sites may also have paid, attribution-required photos available as well so you MUST ascertain the type of photo license before using each photo (an explanation of photo license types is HERE).
For example, my favorite free photo resource Pixabay.com provides thousands of CC0 photos. However, along the top of your search results, you'll see a section of highlighted photos called "Sponsored Images" that are paid photos and therefore not CC0.
When you click a Pixabay photo to download, it will clearly show if it's a CC0 photo you're downloading. See it right above the green Download button?
Again, please see the license information provided by each site before utilizing their
free photos. You can face legal action for using photos improperly.
Did you know that because a photo is available online or you find it via Google Images DOES NOT mean it's okay to use it?
That's why using CC0 images that YOU PERSONALLY VERIFY is the best way to go.
I also noted this disclaimer on one of the sites I link to below:
So again, I just remind you to do your due diligence before using ANY photo that you didn't take yourself. Capisce?
A Quick Tip Before You Download
Because people DO get called out even for using what they thought were "safe" photos, one tip is to take screen shots for each photo that you download and just tuck 'em away on your hard drive. The screen shot should include the date/time you downloaded, name of the photographer, a statement that it's a CC0 photo or CC0 website, and whatever else makes you feel more protected.
In the off-chance that a site or photographer comes after you in the future, you have proof that you did your due diligence before using the photo. (I'm NOT an attorney and that's not formal legal advice).
30+ Free Photo Sites
Okay, after all those warnings, here's where to get free images to use on your blog, website, online courses, social media, e-books, freebies, etc.!
Each website name in the list below is a link to that photo site. Just click on it. When
you get to each site, do a search or look for a link to their CC0 images.
Now that you know where to find all these free photos, let's talk some more about using them properly.
About the CC0 license
One type of photos to use in your business are called "CC0". This means they are licensed under Creative Commons Zero. You can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or the website.
Best Practices for Using CC0 Photos
Although you're not required to provide photo attribution on CC0 photos, it's proper online etiquette and common courtesy to provide a link to the website and/or photographer, if that's possible, like in a blog post.
These photographers provide free photos to generate interest in their paid work and linking to them is a way to say "thank you" for the free photo :)
As an example of this, please see the first photo in this post, which I downloaded for free and gave attribution to the photographer on Pixabay.
The Downside of Using CC0 Photos for Your Brand or Blog
One of the downsides is that it can be hard to find CC0 photos that are from the same series.
They tend to be one-off or two-off photos so if you want to use, say, a cohesive series of photos on your website or in a blog post, it can be hard to find a matching series.
That's usually the catalyst that sends me looking for paid photos, since most paid photo sites sell series or "branding packs" of photos that are all from the same shoot.
If you find yourself in the same boat, please check out my post "A Review of Feminine Stock Photo Memberships & How I Chose One ..."
Thanks for reading and happy photo hunting! If you know of other CC0 photo sites, please let me know in Comments (or email to [email protected]) and I'll include them in the list!