Public Domain, Free Photography and Images for Your Blog

Originally published on Lorelle on WordPress and used here with permission. This list is for my classes and workshops needing public domain, royalty free images for their projects.

Colorful brain scan of a mouse - US Science Departments, public domain photographs

Colorful brain scan of a mouse.

I’ve been collecting a variety of resources for free photographs to use on your website and blog. These images are, for the most part, free to use, but may have copyright and usage restrictions. Some may require registration, use only on non-commercial sites, and/or a link back to the source. Others may require more. Check thoroughly for the specific usage rights before using any of these images.

Just because you select a filter for public domain and royalty free images on a Google Image search does not mean these images are actually public domain and royalty free. Check. Ask first, they might say yes.

is a major resource for images, but many of these have restricted use. Not every image on Flickr or the web is free to use. Check thoroughly for usage rights, and if in doubt, get permission or don’t use the image. Check out Flickr’s Public Domain Photos’ Photostream for images specifically marked as public domain.

Autumn Leaves - Morgue Files - public domain free photographs.The images featured range from people, places, wildlife, and space, as well as textures, patterns, and artistic graphic images. These free photos sites listed may have nude or violent images, though I did my best to exclude image sites which specialize in those.

One of the best, kept up-to-date lists for images and graphics in the public domain for free use is Wikipedia:Public domain image resources. I usually start my search from their list, which includes government collections and resources, special subject-based collections, and more.

morgueFile,, Public Domain Pictures, Image After, Stockvault, and Stock.XCHNG are the ones I usually use the most, though Stock.XCHNG is not always free, depending upon the image you seek.

General Photography Images

Monet painting of stream under Japanese Bridge in Garden - Library of Congress.

Monet – The Japanese Footbridge

Government, Political, Historical, etc. Images

Mount St. Helens after volcanic explosion 1980, US Government NSGS.

Mount St. Helens after volcanic explosion 1980

Nature and Science Photographs

Patterns, Texture, and Art Design Photographs

The rings of Saturn - NASA public domain, free photographs

The Rings of Saturn – NASA

More information on Finding Free Images and Photographs on the Web

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