Blog posts, websites, print materials, and social media posts featuring images get more attention and garner more shares, but finding images you can use legally is no easy lens

It seems everyone has their favorite places to get photos. Through years of trial-and-error, I identified my favorite seven places to find usable images online.

1. Free Images

Free Images, which use to be called “Stock.xchng,” is my favorite site for free photos I know I can use legally. The site offers a variety of artistic and traditional stock options. It also is a great place to find minimalist photos that can be used to design original graphics.

2. iStock Photo

iStock probably has the best stock photos offered for legal use, but the photos aren’t free. I have a small account of iStock credits that I use only if I can’t find a suitable free image elsewhere. I would use it for all of my photos if I could.

3. Flickr

Flickr is a Yahoo site that offers free images uploaded by users and professional photographers. Look under “Creative Commons” to find photos you can use legally. A lot of bloggers really like Flickr, but it’s my least favorite photo site. It just takes too much time for me to sort through the rubbish to find a quality photo I like.

4. Google Images

Google Images scours the Internet looking for anything related to your search terms. This yields a ton of results. But just because you can download an image doesn’t mean you can use it legally. To find photos you can use legally with proper attribution, click on the “advanced search” and change the usage rights to read “free to use or share, even commercially.”

5. Creative Commons

Creative Commons allows you to search multiple sites from one website. You can search Flickr from here, instead of how I mentioned above. You also can search for usable Google Images. Like I mentioned about Flickr, I think it’s difficult to find good photos through this channel, but a lot of people seem to like it.

6. Your camera

Ok, this is kinda cheating on this list, but the best way to find unique photos is to take them yourself. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to shoot some basic photos. Just remember the rule of thirds, focus and strong, crisp colors, and click away.

Regardless of where you find a photo, you want to make sure you’re using it legally. For a quick understanding of online photo use, read Oh Snap, Can I (Legally) Use that Photo?

Let’s Talk Nerdy!

What are you favorite online photo sites?