Free photos for the website

The Internet is a gold mine of free materials. And I don’t mean poor quality and questionable legality, but legitimate free materials for personal and commercial use. Beautiful and useful works of art that are at your fingertips if you know for what and where to look.

Over the past few years I’ve came across a great amount of beautiful free content, and I decided to share it with you. In today’s post I will explain briefly the essentials of licenses. And show you where to start when you are looking for some nice pictures for your website.

Read the license before use!

But before I share this precious links with you, a few words about the licenses. Because everything that’s free, ironically, has its price. The times when the World Wide Web was more like Wild West are far gone. You can’t just take someones work and use it in your own and get away with it. Not only it’s wrong, but it can cost you a serious amount of money, fines for copyright infringement aren’t cheap. So how to use free images and cover your back at the same time?

Creative Commons Licenses

When it comes to free photography the most popular and common licence is the Creative Commons License. Which most of the time comes in five flavours.
First and the best from your point of view is:

CC0 – No Rights Reserved – which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the artwork for free. It’s free for personal and commercial purposes. And you don’t need to ask permission from or provide attribution to the photographer

32px-cc-by-new-white Attribution – This type of license allows you to do virtually everything under the condition that you will provide the attribution to the creator. In other words, you can copy the image, distribute, display, modify. But you need to provide clear information who is the author of the original work. In good taste is also to provide a link to the author’s page :-)

32px-cc-nc-white Noncommercial – This license grants same rights as the attribution license but only for non-commercial purposes. Non-commercial purposes are those which do not derive any financial benefits. In other words: Personal use only.

32px-cc-nd-white No Derivative Works – In short, you can copy, distribute, and display the image but you can’t alter it in any way.

32px-cc-sa-white Share Alike – This means that if we use pictures for something – for example a photomontage that we share with a wider audience – we will need to share it for free on the same license as the source file. It also applies in the case when you display, copy and share the original artwork under this license.

That’s about it for the bare minimum in terms of the licenses. Remember to always, I repeat ALWAYS, check the license before you use someone else’s images on your website. Especially if it is your company page. Better to be safe than sorry.

Flickr – a constant stream of photography

Now it’s time to get to the good stuff. I’m sure you’ve heard about Flickr, right? It’s the most massive source of images of all kinds. You should especially check out the section dedicated exclusively to photographs under CC (Creative Commons) license. With a little patience you will find good-quality photos like this in the header by Horia Varlan

Because the photos on Flickr are mostly made by amateurs, it will be the best source for non demanding bloggers or small busines website owners. If you need something better and more stylish make sure to check out the next entry – Excellent quality stock photos for free.