Where to Find Free Images for Your Blog

Finding free images without breaking copyright laws

Using images to make your message stand out is a fantastic way to attract more attention to your content.

You should know that most free images you find on the web (yes, the ones you find on Google images included) are protected under copyright laws which makes using them wrong unless specified otherwise.

If you’re like me, copyright laws and creative commons licences can sound pretty confusing. So, I’ve tried to research some of the terms and symbols commonly used so that I could “attempt” to explain them here.

Just remember that I’m not a lawyer or copyright expert, this is purely some of my own interpretations. If you have any doubts or questions, please consult an expert.

I’ve also added at the end of this post some really useful websites you can look up to help you find free images but before you scroll to the bottom; make sure to understand how to use content and images you find on the web.

What is Copyright

When you create an original work (including text, images, videos, music, etc.) you own the copyright automatically which gives you control of how others use your work. Registration or using the copyright symbol is not necessary but may provide you extra benefits. You can’t use someone else’s copyrighted materials without their permission even for material you find on the web.

What are Creative Commons Licences

In simple terms: These licenses allow copyright holders to define conditions under which others may use a work and to specify what types of use are acceptable. (Wikipedia.org)


Six Types of Licences

From CreativeCommons.org

1. Attribution 

attribution CC BY symbol


This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.

2. Attribution-NoDerivs

Attribution CC BY-ND symbol


This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

3. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Attribution CC BY-NC-SA Symbol


This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.

4. Attribution-ShareAlike 

Attribution CC BY-SA symbol


This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.

5. Attribution-NonCommercial 
Attribution CC BY-NC symbol


This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

6. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 

Attribution CC BY-NC-ND symbol


This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.


Some Definitions

From CreativeCommons.ca


You must attribute (give credit) the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).


A user may copy, distribute, display, perform, and (unless NoDerivatives applies) modify your work, for any non-commercial purpose. Users must obtain your permission if they want to use the work for a commercial purpose.


Means “primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation.”   Wiki.CreativeCommons.org


If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one. Users must obtain your permission if they want to distribute your work on a different term.


You may copy, distribute, display and perform only original copies and you may not alter, transform, or build upon this work. Users must obtain your permission if they want to modify their work.


Where to Find Free Creative Commons Images

Wikimedia Commons

Everyone is allowed to copy, use and modify any files here freely as long as they follow the terms specified by the author; this often means crediting the source and author(s) appropriately.


Find Creative Commons licensed photo from Flickr and add them to your blog posts with the proper attribution with just one click. The images stay hosted on Flickr. My favorite feature is their WordPress Plugin which makes it amazingly simple to add images to your blog posts. This is my favorite!


Pretty similar to Compfight, search millions of Creative Commons photos from Flickr and add them to your blog posts easily. Download the photo as well as the proper attribution link.

Creative Commons Search

Find images from several different sources by entering certain search criteria.


Images are available free of charge, for business, personal, charitable or educational use. It is mandatory to publish an acknowledgement to FreeDigitalPhotos.net and the image creator on the page each free image is used on.

If you want images without attribution, you should visit sites like istockphoto or fotolia which will charge you a fee to use their images.

With the increasing popularity of social media and photo sharing sites like Pinterest, it is becoming increasingly difficult to retrace where images originated. Be watchful of how you use and share free images you find on the web.


Image Source: Creative Commons License Martin Fisch via Compfight

  • Hi all my images you can use freely i dont mind, in fact i will be happy
    if you do.Use them on your websites or blogs or on your university or
    school works i will never scream copyright.Please consider adding some
    images and giving to the community please try us at http://www.imgparty.com

Genevieve Lachance is a web marketing consultant who has a passion for social media and technology based in Montreal, Canada. Read More About Me »