If you are a small business, often finding good inexpensive pictures to use in advertising or on your blog can be a challenge. Even if you find a good picture, the copyright may keep you from being able to publish it or alter the content in the way you need to for your purposes. As a result, finding pictures becomes hard and you end up with a product that is either not what you want or expensive.
Knowing where to find good, inexpensive, and copyright free images is key. Also, knowing how to determine what the copyright rules are on an image is also important. To help make your job easier, we have compiled a list of great resources to look for general copyright and royalty free images and other media with some tips on copyright.
Generally, anything listed on any of these sites under Public Domain of Creative Commons are free for your use and alteration, commercially or non-commercially. Each site however will have its own specific guide with clear labels.
Pixabay – This is a great resource for copyright free images as all images are released into the public domain under “Creative Commons CC0.” This means that the images can be used in almost any manner including commercial and print use. While attribution is appreciated, it is not required as part of using the image. This service is also free.
Flickr – This is an awesome source for images that range in copyright restrictions. Like Pixabay, Flicker has some images that are released into the public domain. In addition however, they also have some images with some copyright restrictions that are clearly labeled. For example, some simply require attributions. What level of copyright can be clearly determined on each picture and the site provides a helpful outline of what is required of each level. While this site has some restrictions, they are reasonable and still allow for flexibility, and the slightly higher restrictions generally lead to better, higher quality images.
National Park Service – If you a looking for some awesome nature scenes, check out the National Park Service website. Any media credited to NPS that does not have a copyright symbol are public domain, and therefore, up for grabs.
SoundCloud – This is a great resource for finding sounds and music that are copyright free. From sounds effects to audio tracks, everything in the creative commons section is public domain and free for your use. Be careful to check to make sure the media is available for commercial use, as some may not be.
Again, keep in mind that with all of these sites there may be some exceptions, so be sure to check the copyright on each image that you use to make sure it is safe. However, generally these sites should be great resources for copyright and royalty free images and other media.