This page contains links to websites with free image resources online. These images are either:
- In the public domain, meaning they no longer have any copyright restrictions on their use, or:
- Licensed under Creative Commons, meaning that they can be reused for free, but may have other restrictions on their use.
- Most images licensed under Creative Commons require attribution to the creator of the original work–give credit where credit is due.
- Some image under Creative Commons may require modification to the original image, forbid modification to the original image, or forbid use in commercial projects.
Check the original license to determine how an image can be used appropriately. For academic projects, copyrighted images may also be covered under Fair Use laws. For more information on copyright law and image use, please see UNC’s Copyright Basics Page, or contact the Scholarly Communications Office.
Creative Commons Search
This webpage allows users to find images, videos, and music licensed under Creative Commons from many sources around the world. Tip: Click on the source you would like to search, type in your search terms, and hit enter.
The Flickr Commons is a project on the photosharing website Flickr, where public cultural institutions post images with no copyright restrictions (i.e. in the public domain). Some participating institutions include the Smithsonian Institution and the Internet Archive, as well as many state and national libraries, archives, and historical societies.
Flickr Advance Search also allows users to search all photos on Flickr while filtering by Creative Commons license, including filtering by permission to modify or use images for commercial purposes.
The Noun Project
The Noun Project features simple icons for visual communication, most of which can be used for free with attribution under Creative Commons. Users can also buy a license to use images without attribution for $1 per image.
Pixabay is a searchable, free stock photo website, for which all images have been released into the public domain. Attribution is considered polite with these images, but not legally required. Images on this website may, however, include trademarked logos, or recognizable people who have not signed model releases, and so their may still be some legal restrictions on the use of these images. See their FAQ for more information.
US Governmental Agencies
All images created by federal agencies in the US are considered public domain, and can be used for free without attribution. Some agencies with easily searchable collections include:
- Library of Congress
This website is especially good for finding images of famous Americans throughout history. Tip: Try either searching for just “Photos, Prints, Drawings” using the drop-down menu next to the search bar, or browse through the collection highlights listed on the homepage.
- US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
The USDA has many good photos of food, agriculture, and people involved with either. While many images are available throughout the USDA website, this collection is less searchable that the USDA Flickr Photostream, which can be found here.
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
NASA has many images of space exploration, astronauts, and telescope images available in their media gallery. NASA also has a Flickr Photostream.
Wikimedia Commons is the media library of Wikipedia, Wikispecies, and all other projects of the Wikimedia Foundation. Most images on this site can be freely reused, but may have some restrictions on their use. Tip: When searching for images by subject, try looking at images used on related Wikipedia pages, as well as through the Wikimedia Commons library.
Dafont features fonts that are free to download and use, though some are only offered as a demo version, or may be restricted to only desktop use (meaning no use online), or may require users to pay for a license if they would like the font for commercial purposes. Each font has a label for what kind of use is permitted on the right-side of each font listed.
Font Squirrel is a website that curates free typefaces from around the web, all of which are licensed for commercial use. Some fonts have restrictions on how they may be used, and some may not be usable on the web, so check the license before you use these fonts.
Open Font Library
Open Font Library features typefaces that are free for anyone to download and use, including for commercial purposes (though not to sell the font itself in any way). Some fonts on this website are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0, which does require attribution for use, while others are licensed under SIL Open Font License 1.1, which does not require attribution.
Last updated April 17, 2015.