Best Online Royalty Free Images Photos for Commercial Use

If you are like me, photo images have become a way of life. We now add them to blog posts, our Facebook pages and other social media posts, and of course Pinterest. It is always better to use a unique image rather than something everyone else is posting. It’s so easy to take an image, add a few words, save it with a unique name and voila, you have a unique image. The sites I tend to visit often are indicated with a (Takara) in their description.

But where to get the images online?

Obviously, for a blog post or Facebook update, we don’t want to pay for photos and images.  But we do want to make sure we are not breaking any copyright rules. Images that you use online for your business need to be free to use for commercial purposes. Otherwise, they are copyrighted and using them is actually breaking the law.

Over the years of hunting images, I’ve come up with several websites that I go to again and again. I’ve provided the list for you here. Before using an image, even if it is from one of these sites, be sure to read the fine print to make sure the image can be used for the purpose you are intending.

Also, many of these websites earn money by offering ads for paid images. So you have to pay attention to where on the site you are clicking. Otherwise you end up on iStockPhoto or another paid site. They have lovely images and I do use them on occasion. But that is more for advertising or book covers, not an image I use for an article or blog post.

Free Photos / Royalty Free Images

Most are free and OK to use for commercial use. Be sure to check the licensing agreement. A few have fees.

All Free Downloads – free images, vectors, etc. – BE SURE IT IS FOR COMMERCIAL USE

Animoto – has some great photos free with your video

Best –

The British Library – – The British Library has made these images available for use by anyone. There are over a million images.

Creative Commons Search – – searches lots of sites for commercial use images and photos – this is a great place to start your search

Dreamstime – – Dreamstime also has paid images

Every Stock Photo – a search engine for stock images. Be sure to read the license for each image you find.

Flickr – Creative Commons – Be sure to click the down arrow and choose “Commercial use allowed.” (Takara)

How to do a commercial image use search on Flickr

Free Digital Photos – small images are free.

Free Foto – – claims to be the largest quantity of free photos on the web

Free Images UK –

Free Media Goo –

Free Nature Stock –

Free Photos Bank

Free –

Free Pixels  – are the terms – very liberal and can be used commercially

Death to the Stock Photo – 

Gaderinge –

Image Base –

Image After –

Lensicle –

LibreStock – – a search engine for 40 free stock sites

Morgue File – – another of my favorite resources (Takara)

Nanamee –

OnePixel –

PD – – some things are copyrighted, so read the license for each.

PD –

Pexels – 

Photos Public Domain – – thousands of images

Pixabay – a great source with over 350,000 choices (The first place I visit when hunting images, Takara)

Pixel Perfect Digital

Pond5 The Public Domain Project- – images, audio, video

Public Domain Archive –

Public Domain Photos –


Stock Free Images

Stock Snap –

Stock Up –

Stock.xchang – one of my favorite places to find images. Now called FreeImages. (Takara)

The Stocks – 


Unsplash –

Wikimedia Commons – (Takara)

Clip Art

Free Clip Art –

Open Clip Art

Vector Images (Drawings)

Free Illustrator Downloads –

Free Vectors –

Free Vectors Daily



Vector 4 Free

Vector Art –

Vector Characters:

Vector Open Stock –

Vector Portal –

Vector Vaco

U.S. Government Public Domain

US Gov Royalty Free Photo Search Engine –

Air Force

Department of Defense

Earth From Space – – use rules (very liberal)

Library of Congress

NASA –   NASA – Do I need special permission to use astronaut photographs or to publish them? NASA asserts no copyright over these photographs, but requests that it be credited as the source of the information. We recommend that the caption for any photograph published include the unique photo number (Mission-Roll-Frame), so that others can locate or obtain copies when needed. (Example just showed under the photo a caption that said NASA photo with a number behind it.)

National Institute of Health –  NIH National Institute of Health/Department of Health and Human services – NIH Copyright Notification. NIH images may not be used to state or imply the endorsement by NIH or by an NIH employee of a commercial product, service, or activity, or use in any other manner that might mislead. No fee is charged to using the images. However, credit MUST be given to the National Institutes of Health/Department of Health and Human Services unless otherwise instructed to give credit to the photographer or other source. NIH images are in the public domain and CANNOT be copyrighted. Images may be used, linked, or reproduced without further permission from NIH.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce – Restrictions for Using NOAA Images. Most NOAA photos and slides are in the public domain and CANNOT be copyrighted. There is no fee for downloading any images on the NOAA Photo Library.  Educational use is encouraged as the primary goal of the NOAA Photo Library is to help all understand our oceans and atmosphere so as to be better stewards of our environment for future generations. A few photos in the NOAA Photo Library that are known to have copyright restrictions are so noted in the caption information associated with those images. Credit MUST be given to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce.  Where a photographer is noted, please credit the photographer and his/her affiliated organization as well. Downloading Images. If you wish to download an image, click below the image caption on High Resolution Photo. This will download a high resolution “jpg” image that can be saved by right clicking your mouse for printing or manipulation within a graphics software program.

National Park Service – National Park Service. Releases. All photographs and images in this archive are “public domain” images. You are free to use these images without a release from the National Park Service. However, the photographs and images must not be used to imply National Park Service endorsement of a product, service, organization or individual. Photo Credits. Credit photographs to the National Park Service.

National Science Foundation – National Science Foundation

Public Health Image Library

United States Geological Survey –

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Government Photos and Images – read licenses for these


White House

Additional choices I’ve heard about but not used:

Free Photos Bank – I can’t find restrictions anywhere on the site.

Bible Places  – You may not use more than 10 images, the size of the images must be not more than 400 pixels wide, and the images must include a credit link on each page they are used to

Paid Photos / Images

Canva – – many images that cost much more on other sites only cost $1 on Canva … and you can design your graphics there as well.

Deposit Photos – – I haven’t checked their prices recently. Discounts often available through their mailing list.

OnePixel – – The photos here are excellent and only cost $1.

iStockPhoto – where I typically purchase images for more important projects – – their prices have changed.

I keep expanding this list – so come back to visit whenever you need images!