Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Where To Find Public Domain Images

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Death To Stock Photos

How to Find Free Public Domain Images

Death to the Stock Photos emails new photos on different themes every week. This site gives you two options to access images First, you can get the images completely free on monthly basis, and the second plan is a paid version called as the premium plan which gives you access to all the stock photos for a monthly payment of $15.

Using Public Domain Images

This collection of websites offering free to use public domain images have been a fantastic resource for my own artwork be it drawing, painting, printmaking or design. A public domain image is one that is free of known copyright around the world. As the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 outlines: You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission. Excellent news for artists.

How Do The Licenses Work

Check out this infographic by adityadipankar for a quick intro to the various types of Creative Commons licenses. If you are interested in learning more about these licenses, offers more information.

All Creative Commons licenses require attribution to the creator. If you are interested in more information about best practices for providing attribution, Creative Commons Australia has created a handout with detailed information about proper attribution practices.

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How To Find Public Domain Images

Before you use any images on your website, it’s critical that you make sure that you have a license to use them.

UCSC provides a photo repository of images that you have permission to use.

If you need to find additional images for your site, below is a list of tips and resources for you:

How to find free-to-use images on Google

! Important Note -many of the images on Google are mostly aggregated from Wikimedia Commons and are by no means representative of the universe of free images available.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons licenses provide a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors, artists, and educators.

! Important Note –if you search Creative Commonsvia Flickr, the SEARCH engine automatically resets when you search again – so with every new search, you have to make sure the “Creative Commons” boxes are ticked.

Wikimedia Commons

a database of 24,321,353 freely usablemedia files to which anyone can contribute


Free hi-resolution photos. 10 new photos every 10 days.

! Important Note:A lot of media folks know about this site, so you’ll often see these images frequently used.

Free Pik

You have to register and download their software.

Public Domain Project

The British Library

The Getty

Copyright Vs Public Domain


Images that are not in the Public Domain are protected by Copyright Law. The Fair use exception allows for a limited use of images for educational purposes without obtaining permission from the copyright holders. Some copyrighted images may be offered for reuse under a Creative Commons license which grants permission to the public to access, share and reproduce those works. There are several different Creative Commons licenses that may be applied, so be sure to check what uses the license allows. In addition, some of the sources below may contain both public domain and Creative Commons images so it is important to check the terms of use of each image.

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Best Websites For Downloading Public Domain Images

Weâve searched the Internet and we utilized our results to compile a collection of the most reliable websites that grant its users access to vast numbers of public domain images. Letâs take a look at some of the best websites that let you download public domain images.


Graphic designers and all other creatives in constant need of a fresh supply of public domain images donât need a special introduction to Pexels. The stock image platform is dedicated to photography and video, so you canât use it to search for vectors or clip art. Even so, you can use Pexles to search for public domain images based on a particular keyword or browse through its collection of free images and discover photos spontaneously. Clicking on the Popular Searches tab will enable you to see the images from Light, Nature or Animals and it will shorten the amount of time you have to spend looking for a photo you want to download.


  • Neatly organized website
  • Free and easy sign-up
  • Offers a huge selection of free public domain images and videos according to the CC0 license
  • Hand-picked High quality Images
  • Some categories should contain more images
  • Optimizing the search terms can be difficult



  • Powerful search tools and various filters
  • Huge collection of public domain images


3.Wikimedia Commons


  • All images are available in high resolution
  • Nearly all images can be used without any restrictions


4.Flickr Commons





6.From Old Books


Historical Stock Photos Copyright And Licenses

When you think about historical photography or vintage pictures, you think of photos that were taken many years or decades, or even a century ago. If you have a general idea of how copyright works, you might know that it expires after a certain period of time .

This leads many to believe all historical stock photos are in the Public Domain due to no known copyright. But thats not the case. In many cases, restrictions will apply. And well explain to you why.

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Where To Find Public Domain Images

The internet is home to several sites each hosting thousands of stock photos or public domain images. Some sites require registration while others are freely accessible to anyone. The quality of the images varies from scanned blurry historical images to large high resolution digital photos. Here are the major ones

Wikimedia Commons

This has to be the largest multimedia repository under the Wikipedia project where anyone is free to download and use any of its photos, audio, videos, and other media content. The site boasts of more than 10.5 million media files it calls reusable media: which are mostly owned and contributed by their original creators. In general, they are freely reusable without the need for permission but some may require that the creator be acknowledged. Most images are among the finest in the internet with 2k high resolution averaging 700 kb files sizes in JPG. You can browse through the photos by author, location, topic, type and license

Public Domain Photos

Stock Exchange

The Commons on Flickr

PD Photo

A personal site owned by a programmer/photographer Jon Sullivan based in San Diego, California, PD Photo houses a sizable collection of free public domain pictures in the thousands and growing. Because the site owner is apparently an avid traveler, the site has one of the most extensive collections of travel photos from around the US.

Google Life Photo

U.S. Government Graphics and Photos

Public Domain Versus Creative Commons

How to find Public Domain pictures on Google Image Search

When you are adding images, videos and other content that you did not create to your presentation, it is important to make sure that you are not violating anyone’s copyright. One way to do so is to find public domain images for your presentations. explains the public domain as follows: “A work of authorship is in the public domain if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner.” Because such works can be used without first seeking permission, they are ideal for many projects, particularly those that will extend beyond educational uses.

Note: Even if a work that you use is in the public domain, it is advisable to provide attribution for the work or, at a minimum, keep a record of the attribution of the work, so that you or other interested parties can find it later if necessary.

If you can’t find Public Domain media that fit your needs, you can also use Creative Commons-licensed content as long as you ensure that you correctly attribute this content to its creator and otherwise meet the terms of the license under which the image is offered. You can find more information about this on the Creative Commons FAQ.

Note: Even if content is covered by a Creative Commons license, you must always make sure that your use does not violate that license and that you properly attribute the content.

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The Best Historical Stock Photo Archives

It will come as no surprise that the best places to get historical photos are paid options. Some stock photography agencies invest in vintage archives of great commercial and editorial value with images which copyright remains active despite how old they might be and offer its photos under a license of use for a fixed fee. Heres some of the best:

Citation Styles For Images

Citation Styles for Images

There are different styles used to cite images. These include APA, MLA, and Chicago . Ask your professor which style to use and then check out these links to learn how to cite using the appropriate style.

  • The Purdue OWL provides instructions for citing print or electronic images in APA, MLA, and Chicago styles.

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What Are Creative Commons & Public Domain

The images listed on this page fall under these categories:

  • Public domain: When the copyright of a work expires 50 years after the death of the creator, it can be freely copied and used.
  • Creative Commons licensed: Creator waived certain rights to a work so it can be freely copied and used. Attribution is generally required unless it is CC License Zero. Other additional restrictions such as non-commercial uses, no derivatives, and share alike licence may apply.
  • Free with no or some restrictions: Similar to Creative Commons, creator waived all or some of the rights to a work so it can be freely copied and used. Creator or vendor may set their own restrictions for the use of their works. For example, they may require non-commercial uses or prohibit their works to be used in a standalone manner.
  • Check the copyright or licence terms of each source you want to use to see which type it is and to identify any restrictions that may apply.

    Image source:, CC BY

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    The Rich World Of Historical Photography

    Free Technology for Teachers: Use Bing to Find Public ...

    The theme historical photos seems narrow, but it is actually very broad. Considering the oldest surviving photograph dates from 1826/1827, there are about two centuries of photographic archives documenting from relevant historical events like the U.S civil war, the protests of the hippie movement or the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of England, to mundane scenes of daily life like youngsters dancing rocknroll, workers at a big oil rig, the construction of the Empire State building or vintage cars.

    There are many institutions, organizations, private collectors and companies that dedicate to curate and maintain these archives, applying expertise and latest technologies to organize them into categories and make them easier to navigate.

    However, not all of them are accessible to the public, not all are online, and not all are available to use for a commercial purpose .

    All this sums up to the conclusion that historical and vintage stock photos can be a lot more varied than you think, and have a wide potential to be exploited in your designs. If you know where to find them and how to use them accurately, of course.

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    Top 35 Free Public Domain Image Websites

    Designers need relevant images to create an impact on viewers. But getting an expensive photographer to have exclusive images is not possible for everyone. To meet their demand, there are plenty of useful public domain image websites that have quality images on every topic for free.

    Free or paid stock images are popular with people and even with some professionals such as designers. According to a survey in Denmark, 51% of the internet users used free services to access images online. Also, 8% of the surveyed people used both the free and paid online services to get stock images. Due to the rising use of stock photos, many websites offering free images have mushroomed and their popularity with masses have increased over the years.

    The use of free image provider websites as a resource is widespread also because some big players in this field charge high fees to access photos. According to Entrepreneur, a huge portion of the stock photo market is owned by professional companies like Shutterstock and 123RF, who charge $20 or more for a single photo. As a result, these few expensive sites are out of the reach for most startups and small business. Now, they get images free from public domain image websites.

    Pond5 The Public Domain Project

    Pond5 is a stock footage specialised agency, but they offer a wonderful collection of hundreds of thousands of historical and vintage media files in their Public Domain collection, spanning over a century of history and mixing famous landmarks, cities and people with curious vintage art, random portraits and documentary shots.

    As you guessed, all these files that include over 60,000 photos are Public Domain images. This means they are not subject to copyright and are free to use in any way.

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    How To Find Public Domain Images: 15 Valuable Websites

    1. PublicDomainArchive

    PublicDomainArchive is a great source of professional-level public domain images. New photos are added regularly, which keeps the sites content fresh. The website is managed by Matt Hobbs, a professional web designer and photographer.

    2. Pixabay

    Pixabay is easy to use: The site has a good search feature and multiple options for exploring its content. All the images on Pixabay carry the CC0 1.0 public dedication license.

    3. The Public Domain Review

    The Public Domain Review is an online publication dedicated to the subject of the public domain. They have over a hundred collections of public domain images, with each collection having numerous images and containing a description about the body of work.

    4. Unsplash

    On Unsplash, you have more than two million free images to choose from. Unsplash is a project originally created by Crew, an online marketplace for creative talent.

    6. PDPics

    PDPics has a collection of over a thousand public domain images organized into 18 categories, such as Animals, Food, Technology and so forth.

    7. Picdrome

    Picdrome is a collection of photos in the public domain. The images are licensed under CC0 1.0 and arranged in categories such as Nature and Textures and Backgrounds.

    8. Smithsonian Open Access

    9. Pexels

    Pexels is a stock website that offers free images and videos for use in your projects. The team at Pexels asks that you dont redistribute or sell the photos or portray people in the content in an offensive way.

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