Images for peanuts

picframe1Typing ‘free images’ into Google is an interesting and sometimes dispiriting exercise. Some of the sites listed are ad-laden, spyware infested monstrosities. Others are merely royalty­-free, which is not free at all. There are however quite a few legitimate and useable sources of free images worth considering, of which the following are a small sample.

1. Wikimedia Commons: from the folks at Wikipedia, a fairly clunky search engine and a rather arbitrary system of classification. All of the images are in the public domain.

2. Flickr: A monster photo sharing website with literally billions of images. Some are just happy snaps, but others top flight professional images. The search engine is organised around tags and extremely easy to use. Many are copyrighted, while other images (100,000,000 at last count) carry the Creative Commons licensing system. This allows for use by others in certain circumstances dicated by the creator.

3. Mayang’s free textures: Wood, paint, metal and more. Useful as backgrounds, licensed for unrestricted use.

4. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs catalogue: over a million images held by the Library of Congress, many of which are in the public domain. The search engine is old-school librarian – heavy on text, light on thumbnails.

5. Picture Australia: contains a vast archive of historical images relating to Australia. The images belong to various Australian institutions. Some are still under copyright, but many are in the public domain. Picture Australia maintains a tagged category at Flickr, on an experimental basis.

6. Easy Stock Photos: a nuts and bolts free image site. The quality is moderate and the range limited, but it is easy to use and not infested with malware.

For further searches, try:

For Chameleon Print Design’s list of pay and free sites, go to /image-libraries/

Note: Please read the image use policies of the site from which you are downloading the image. Some allow for private use only, others restrict modification of the image in question and some don’t care what you do with it.