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Thousands of public domain photographs have been provided online by museums, libraries, and artists who have grown tired of “conventional” stock photography. We’ve created a list of websites that curate free public domain art, photos, and high-quality stock photography that anybody may use anywhere in the globe, completely free of charge.
The 18 Best websites to get free art online are below!
Table of Contents
- Key Takeaways
Where To Access Free Public Domain Art
- 1. Unsplash
- 2. Public Domain Pictures
- 3. Burst
- 4. ISO Republic
- 5. Kaboompics
- 6. Wikimedia Commons
- 7. Life Of Pix
- 8. The British Library
- 9. The Public Domain Review
- 10. Pixabay
- 11. Pikwizard
- 12. Public Domain Images from Raw Pixel
- 13. Heritage Type Library
- 14. Smithsonian Open Access
- 15. Styled Stock
- 16. WOCinTech
- 17. FREEIMAGES
- 18. StockSnap.io
- Related Questions
- Many websites allow you to access art, images, and public domain illustrations at no cost.
- CC0 licenses usually cover these artworks, images, and other available downloads, and some do demand credit.
- It would be best if you were especially careful when using images containing real people’s photographs. Do not paint these people in a bad light when using their images.
We’ve got you covered if you’re an artist looking for more diverse media and artwork to use in your creative or business projects. Say goodbye to generic stock photos with common watermarks, and hello to the most helpful creative resources out there.
This collection of websites with public domain pictures available for free is an excellent resource for artists working on any type of creative endeavor, including drawing, painting, printing, and design. An image in the public domain is free of recognized copyright everywhere throughout the world.
Unsplash was founded by a group of photographers who were fed up with “conventional” stock photography and chose to share their own high-resolution photographs for free. They’ve grown into a vibrant community with millions of active members and over 250,000 exclusive photographs.
Unsplash provides you an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to download, reproduce, edit, distribute, perform, and use pictures from Unsplash for free. This includes using the pictures for commercial purposes without obtaining permission from the photographer or attributing them to Unsplash.
Because of the library’s vastness, finding the appropriate photo takes some time and scrolling. To refine your search, try varying your terms. For the best results, use their filters.
Although there are many high-quality free public domain photographs on Public Domain Pictures, certain photos are only available with a paid subscription.
Check each photo’s license for specific requirements since some demand you to acknowledge the creator, which is not great for commercial designs. You’ll also want to make sure the author or yourself secured a release for any photographs of persons or property.
Burst, a Shopify-powered stock picture marketplace, has thousands of professionally taken photographs that you can use for any project or website. The photographs are absolutely free, require no credit, and you may download the photos in low or high quality.
Burst makes picture searching simple by storing all of its photographs in tags, categories, and collections. They are continually adding fresh photographs and are fast to supply images that reflect current events and trends.
Depending on what you’re searching for, this might be a positive or a con: Burst sources its photos from its own photographers rather than relying on community contributions like some other free picture websites. This implies that their library is smaller and offers fewer options, but their photographs are all of superior quality.
“Free and quality stock pictures” is the motto of ISO Republic, another free stock photo website. With an ever-growing picture database, the site offers over 500 free photographs. All photographs are free to use for personal and commercial purposes without credit.
The collections are one of our favorite aspects of ISO Republic. ISO Republic organized their greatest photos into useful, easy-to-find sections, such as “Designer’s Toolkit,” which includes backdrop and flat lays for graphic designers, and “Spirit of Entrepreneurship,” which features corporate and workplace photographs.
The search choices in ISO Republic are restricted. You can only search by tags and keywords, not by picture color, size, or orientation. This might cause issues if you require an extremely specific picture type.
The Kaboompics library now contains over 20,000 photographs, all of which are excellent. Karolina Grabowska, the photographer behind every image on the site, runs Kaboompics as a one-woman show. Every day, new photographs are posted, and they’re all free to use for personal or business purposes.
Kaboompics has a lot of positive aspects. It may be little, but it is powerful. Image orientation, color, category, and keyword searches are all available. When you need many coherent photographs to work with, the site also provides ‘photoshoots,’ which are collections of similar photos all taken in the same session.
Karolina goes above and beyond by providing a color palette for each picture, complete with HEX code, to make integrating the image into your designs even simpler. The scale of the library is the site’s biggest drawback. Although the website isn’t very limited, we can’t help but wish there were more photographs to pick from, especially given how good it is.
Wikimedia Commons is one of the most comprehensive collections of public domain photos. The majority of the photographs can be used without limitation; however, some of them do have a few restrictions.
Please keep in mind that Wikimedia Commons cannot ensure that the licensing for each picture is valid. Therefore, you should always double-check the license tag for each image.
Pro photographers sourced the images in the Life Of Pix repository and contributed them to the public domain. That’s fantastic news for us because images that are public domain imply that you may use these photographs for whatever purpose you like. Every image is of excellent quality, and new ones are uploaded every day.
Life Of Pix is a terrific mix of creative photographer photographs and high-quality stock photos. Their search option makes finding the correct photo for you straightforward, and they even identify the colors in each photo. When you click on a color you like, Lifeofpix will show you additional photographs in that color shade.
There isn’t anything about Life Of Pix to hate. The picture collection, like many lesser sites, does not have millions of results. But you’re likely to find things on Life Of Pix that you won’t find anyplace else.
When the British Library put 1 million photographs into the public domain a few years ago, it created quite a stir. The collection is excellent for any designer searching for a vintage flourish, scanned from the pages of 17th, 18th, and 19th-century books.
This website allows you access to handpicked photographs of anything from typography and colorful paper to instruments and animals; go to the albums.
All of the photos are in the public domain.
The Public Domain Review is a carefully chosen collection of public domain photographs, graphics, artwork, music, videos, and writings. It was founded in 2011 and has since grown into a thriving community of history buffs. Check out their collections or their monthly Curator’s Choice for a special guest post that highlights lesser-known aspects of history.
All of the photos are in the public domain.
Pixabay is a community of photographers who have collectively uploaded a massive collection of high-quality public domain photographs, drawings, vectors, and movies licensed under the Creative Commons Zero license. You can search by photographer, camera type, or “Editor’s Choice.” You may also sort by orientation, category, size, and color.
All of the photos on Pixabay are entirely free and do not require credit. From artistic backdrops to ordinary stock photos, their extensive library is sure to have something that will suit your needs. Their website is simple to use and appealing to the eye, which is always a plus.
The quality of the photographs is hit or miss, as it is with many community input stock websites, with some images seeming more like snapshots than professional photography.
Pikwizard is an image collection with over 100,000 photos available for free without credit, including over 20,000 that are unique to the site. Every day, they upload new photographs to their library. Best of all, they have a lot of photos of people, which may be difficult to come by on other free stock photo sites.
Pikwizard may be the site for you if you’re seeking standard stock images rather than artsy photography shots. Find professional photographs of individuals in a variety of scenarios, including sets and series that include the same performers in many photos.
While many photographs are free and shared under Pikwizard’s CC0 license, some “paid” photos may come across. These images are available for purchase on the Adobe Stock website. If you’re looking for free images, stick to Pikwizard’s normal license.
The goal of Raw Pixel’s platform is to make the greatest public domain creative resources available to everyone. Raw Pixel scans and enhances high-resolution photos from historic books, plates, and museum collections, assuring that each image is copyright-free for personal and commercial usage (CC0 license).
There are larger collections available, but none compare to their Apple-like simplicity and intelligent design.
The public domain photos from Heritage Type Library may lack the breadth and depth of RawPixel’s collection, but they make up for it in quality. You can download almost any imaginable thing from these high-resolution vintage illustration packs, from Jungle Animals, Butterflies, and Fantastic Birds to Bicycles, Baseball, and Skulls.
The way each image has been painstakingly carved out with translucent backgrounds sets Heritage Type’s images apart from their competitors. It’s not often that photos are cut out so neatly and are ready to use in your creative projects right away. Each image is suitable for both personal and commercial usage (CC0 license).
Smithsonian Open Access, which debuted in February 2020, was late to the public domain party but well worth the wait. The world’s largest museum now houses the world’s largest public domain picture repository. It is not just the largest picture repository for artists, but every image has been given a Creative Commons Zero license.
To put it another way, knock yourself out and do anything you want with the photographs. There are no concerns about credit, selling your paintings, or legal issues. Everything is yours. Not only that, but each image is accessible in high resolution, making it ideal for creating high-quality prints. The Smithsonian’s Open Access initiative has clearly been a labor of passion.
Styled Stock is a stock photo collection that specializes in ‘feminine’ photos. You’ll discover stock photographs of ladies and graphics similar to those found in a women’s magazine. Of course, you may use these photographs for any purpose you like; they’re not only for ladies. They’re all high-quality, lovely photographs with a little more personality than your typical stock pics.
Styled Stock has devoted a lot of thought and work to developing stunning photos. If your company generates material exclusively for women, you should dig into their database.
One thing to bear in mind is that their library is limited. For this reason, many searches will come up empty. Keep your search criteria broad to enhance your chances of discovering the right image.
WOCinTech was founded with the goal of providing stock pictures that authentically depict the diversity of the technology sector. WOCinTech is no longer active, but its hundreds of free photos showing women of color are still accessible for download. These photographs were made available under a Creative Commons Attribution license, which means you can use them for free as long as you credit WOCinTech.
Where other stock picture websites might struggle to provide variety, you’ll find it here. The photographs are all high-resolution and ideal for business or office use. The database is small, but we couldn’t resist including the concept and existing photographs.
FREEIMAGES, as the name implies, offers over 300,000 free photographs for personal or commercial use (some photographers may need attribution; see the license under each image for details). The photographs on FREEIMAGES are less high-resolution and more realistic.
It’s self-evident that FREEIMAGES gets its photographs from community submissions. There aren’t all high-quality, professional photographer photographs in their database. Many of the shots are more natural and organic. This may appear to be more of a drawback than a benefit, but if you’re looking for some casual images to utilize in your project, this is a terrific place to start.
FREEIMAGES has a wide range of image material and quality. In other words, this is probably not the best option if you’re looking for corporate, professional photographs.
The increasing library of stock photographs on StockSnap.io is curated from user-submitted photos, with hundreds of new images uploaded each week.
The photographs on StockSnap.io have no copyright limitations. You may also search by keyword or collection on StockSnap.io. The smaller, less well-known collection boosts your chances of discovering an image that hasn’t been overused or that you haven’t seen before.
On the downside, the quality of the user-submitted photographs varies. The majority of the photographs are of incredibly good quality, although some are better than others.
Now that you know where to get your free art and photographs for all your creative needs, you might have a few questions that you need to be clarified. Here are a few questions that are related to where to find free art online.
Whether or not photographers desire it, copyright rules automatically grant them ownership and copyright protection all around the globe.
These regulations protect photographers while also simplifying the copyright process in the age of the internet. Imagine if every photographer had to file a copyright application every time they shot a photograph. Yikes.
However, many photographers want to share their work and allow others to utilize it. They can legally control or cancel their ownership rights using a Creative Commons license.
You can’t use the image for commercial reasons under several Creative Commons licenses. When using a picture, some ask that you provide credit to the creator (the Creative Commons Attribution license). Remember that not all Creative Commons licenses are created equal. It’s critical to read the fine print.
The Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license enables artists to “give” their work to the public with no restrictions. Images with a CC0 license are truly royalty-free and unrestricted. You may use them for any purpose without asking permission, paying a fee, or giving credit.
Double-check that any royalty-free picture under a Creative Commons license is appropriate for your intended use before using it, and always adhere to the license’s terms.
Free public domain photos are a valuable cultural resource. However, as a designer, you must be exceedingly cautious about double-checking the license and restrictions of any picture you want to use.
Some of these free public domain picture websites may take some time to look through and explore thoroughly, but there are some incredible photographs to be found.
Just keep the following five things in mind when looking for images:
- Is the image’s license allowing you to use/distribute it in the way you want?
- Is this photograph of sufficient quality for both print and online use?
- Are these photographs considered public domain under the copyright rules of both the countries in which my client and I reside?
- Have I double-checked that this photograph is actually free to use? (Before using it, run it through a trusted search engine.)
- Are there any brands, products, property, works of art, or individuals in this image? If that’s the case, ensure sure a release has been secured or that you get one yourself.
Because the regulations of public domain photographs vary by nation, double-check that the image is in the public domain in both your country and the country where your customer resides. Keep in mind that some images may need a model or property release. Also, never take a flashy “Free Download” button as a free pass.
Because public domain photos can be a legal minefield, some designers prefer to utilize licensed stock photography as a safer and more convenient option. Before using a free public domain image for commercial purposes, you should consult a trademark/copyright counsel.
In the Stock and microstock photography industries, royalty-free licensing is prevalent. Licensors that acquire royalty-free photos and videos pay a one-time price and then can use and re-use the material without having to pay again. The use of royalty-free material is greatly influenced by the conditions of the work’s license.
Royalty-free works can only be used by the licensor and are not transferable. They’re also non-exclusive, which means that other people can buy the same license you do. You can use royalty-free works as frequently as you like, anywhere in the world, indefinitely, as long as you stay within the license’s stated restrictions.
Works that are royalty-free can genuinely be free of charge. There are several free stock photography websites where you may download and use photographs without having to pay a royalty or license charge. However, these are not public domain or copyright-free photos, and their licensing has restrictions.
The creator maintains the copyright when you buy a stock photo license from a stock agency like Shutterstock or iStock. That implies the author also establishes the parameters for how the work can be used in the long run. Creators can sell their works’ license rights many times.
As a result, unlike Creative Commons public domain licenses, royalty-free works are not in the public domain and, therefore cannot be used however you want. There are limitations and restrictions on these images.