Where to find free images

Let's face it: a good and eye catching image can improve your articles, websites and presentations.

But you already knew that you couldn't reuse any image that you found in Internet, didn't you? Most images out there are copyrighted, even if there aren't any explicit copyright statements or watermarks on the image. That means that you cannot pick and use whatever you find using Google Image search, for example.

So if you want to find a really free image, you have to look for an explicit license statement in its website, that entitles you to reuse such photo or graphic. One of the most popular licenses is Creative Commons, which lets you share your work with specific permissions.

But how do you find images under Creative Commons licenses? Don't worry: the 2 most popular search engines have been upgraded to cover this issue:

  • Yahoo Image Search now allows you to filter search results according to the Creative Commons License type. On top of that, Yahoo now owns that huge database of photographs called Flickr, and the image search results will also include free images from Flickr.
  • It seems that Google Image Search has been planning a similar update, and now, this kind of free image search can be done at Google Images using URL search parameters. Google will be adding these free image search options to the main interface of Google Image Search soon, but in the meantime, you can use this free image search form.
  • There's another trick to discover domains that contain free images under Creative Commons licenses. Most of these sites link back to the Creative Commons webpages or icons. So you can perform an advanced search at your favorite search engine of webpages that link to the Creative Commons icon and that contain your target image keywords.

As you see, Internet is full of free images that you can use, if you know how to find them.