free dolphins

We’ve all heard many times that “a picture is worth a thousand words”. I wonder who said that first? A quick search on Google leads me to Wikipedia with a fascinating exposé on the origins of this phrase. In 1927 an ad by Fred R. Barnard appeared in the advertising journal that said “One Picture is Worth Ten Thousand Words” and was falsely labeled as a Chinese proverb “so that people would take it seriously”. Earlier in 1862 Russian writer Ivan Turgenev wrote “A picture shows me at a glance what it takes dozens of pages of a book to expound”. And before him Napoleon Bonaparte said “A good sketch is better than a long speech”.

It’s hard to disagree with all those sayings, so it’s not surprising that the increasing number of blogs always include a picture with their posts. There are many great royalty free stock photo sites, and a picture could cost you anywhere from $1 to as high as it can go. If you post daily, that’s $30 spent just on getting your point across and impressing readers with those stock images.

So if you want to save a bit, check out two great sites with an extensive list of free stock photo sites: and Wikipedia public domain image resources.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve tried most of them out and found the following 8 web sites to have the best quality photos, easy to use (many of the other free photo sites don’t even have a text search option, which I find very inconvenient when looking for an image on a particular topic) and very resourceful.

1. Wikimedia Commons and Mayflower


Wikimedia Commons has a database of 1,780,830 freely reusable media files, including audio, video, photos, illustrations. It provides you with a handy search tool Mayflower to find the right image with the information about its permissions.

2. Stock.XCHNG


Stock.XCHNG definitely lives us to the site owner’s claim to be “the leading FREE stock photo site”. With its database of 326050 photos that updated with hundred of new images on a daily basis everyone will always be able to find the needed pictures for their projects. It requires a free registration and be sure to read the permissions details before downloading the file, some may require you to give credits to the photographer.

3. MorgueLife


MorgueLife contains free high resolution digital stock photography for either corporate or public use. It quickly became my new favourite site when looking for stock photos online. Many of the photos there are offered in really high quality with the sizes reaching up to 3072 x 2304.

4. Stockvault


Stockvault allows you to share and download over 8.000 royalty free, high resolution stock photos, templates and logos. It also offers helpful tutorials on anything from 3D Studio Max to Photoshop to CSS to PHP.

5. Wallpaperstock


Wallpaperstock – is an excellent resource for Free desktop wallpapers and stock photos. Image sizes range from 1024×768 to 1600×1200.

6. Photogen


Photogen stock photos are FREE for commercial and personal use. “Forget royalty-free – try totally-FREE.”

7. Everystockphoto


Everystockphoto – Searching Over 1 Million Free Photos, results include pictures from Flickr, stock.xchng, Imageafter and many other image resources. Be sure to check the license for using Flickr images.

8. Yotophoto


Yotophoto is indexing over a quarter million Creative Commons, Public Domain, GNU FDL, and various other ‘copyleft’ images. I really like how it’s returning the results by displaying three important details underneath each of the found pictures: source site, license and image size.

So here you go, hopefully those 8 bits above will help you to save some money.

When Free is Not Really Free

Important Note: Royalty-free does not mean free of charge, and even Free images are not always Free. Some images come with the requirement of a credit or a link, or are not free for commercial use. Make sure to read The Ins and Outs of Free Images On the Web that should answer most of your questions about the terms and conditions when using images from the Web.

Which web sites do you use to find photos for your blogs and design projects? For all of you photographers out there who read this blog: Do you share your photos online, would you mind your photos to be downloaded and used freely by others?

From Readers Input

David from ppleyeard has suggested another great free stock photo site – StockPhotoLibrary.

Ted introduced me to another interesting stock photo site, where all photos are absolutely free, even for commercial use: SweetStockPhoto.

If you know any other free image resources, feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll update this section, by adding your link.

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32 Insightful Bits in response to “8 Finest Bits Of Free Stock Photo Sites”

  1. Excellent! I’ve been looking for more photo sites to use for my blog. Thank you for these great resources! I’ll be bookmarking them for sure. I’ve been using YotoPhoto and Stock.XCHNG but sometimes they just don’t have what I’m looking for. It’ll be good to have other resources. I’m noticing quite a few sites that are requiring links and photo credit for their free photos. Users beware of those restrictions!

    I’m heading over to read that Ins and Outs of Free Images on the Web article. I would feature that link more prominently (for the scanners out there) because it’s quite important! I’ve always been a little hesitant to use work that’s not my own, which is why we started the discussion over at Tara’s blog about photo credits and I found Charity’s summary of different rights types helpful as well.

  2. Great review. I had not heard of all of these.

    By the way I was trying to send you an email through your contact form and it wouldn’t accept. It said the verification code not generated, I think. Anyway, I gave up.

    I was wanting to ask you about Macs. I figured you might have one.

  3. Vivien

    Lauren, who did you address “I would feature that link more prominently” – to me or to the author of that article? What do you mean, by more prominently (I did notice that the URL of that article is not se-friendly)?
    Yes, it’s very important to read the fine print with the license details even if the photo is free.

    Joey, glad you found the list useful. Not sure why my contact form didn’t work for you – I tested it, worked fine. If anyone else is having problems with my contact form, could you please, let me know?
    Yes, I’m a Mac user now, since last year. Just emailed you so you could ask me your question.

  4. FYI

    I was able to use the contact form on Mozilla but not IE7.

  5. To you. I think that’s a really good article you linked to and I wouldn’t want people to miss it!

  6. Vivien

    Thanks, Joey. I suspected that there might be a problem with IE7, I’ll look into it.

    Lauren, how about now? – I’ve dedicated a separate paragraph with a sub-headline to highlight the importance of that article.

  7. Awesome list. I’m going to use them to search for stock articles for an eZ Publish article.

  8. Thanks for this Vivien – there were a couple here I had not heard of, and I’m always looking for new sources. I like that wallpaper site!

  9. Something wrong with IE7? Blasphemy!

    This is a great collection of stock photography sites. I personally don’t mind giving credit to the author, but I’d like to do it at the end of a post instead of right under the photograph. I imagine most photographers wouldn’t agree to this.

  10. Great resources — I’ll have to check them out when I can’t find what I need on the Flickr Creative Commons.

  11. Yes! That’s perfect, Vivien. Sometimes the line can be a little unclear between what is truly free and what’s not :/

  12. Vivien

    Peter, Randa – glad you found those resources helpful.

    Brian, thanks for the vote on PhotographyVoter

    Ronald, thanks for the Digg and Stumble :-)

    Lauren, thanks for the helpful suggestions to edit the article.

  13. I’ve used stock.xchng and EveryStockPhoto, yet to try others.
    YotoPhoto seems great to me.

    Excellent list.. thanks for sharing, Vivien. :)

  14. Vivien

    You’re welcome, Shankar. Hopefully you’ll find them helpful for your ever growing in popularity blog :-)

  15. Brilliant post, I am a regular user of stock photos and the extra websites really helps.


  16. Vivien

    You’re very welcome, Mike (Typer Tappers) :-)

  17. Great post – handy to have a nice concise list. Another new free stock photography website you might like to add to the list is is

  18. Vivien

    Thanks, David. I see that you’re an owner of a cool royalty-free stock photo site, that’s up on sale now. Good luck with it.
    You know what? I just happened to look for images with the keyword “time” on both sites – free stockphotolibrary and your ourstockworks, and discovered one image that existed in both sites, but on one – it was free for grab, and another – costs £3.00.
    If I were to use it by downloading from the free site, would it be ok and legal?

    P.S. Btw, I’ve just updated the post and added your suggested resource. Thank you.

  19. Thanks for sharing that information. I knew about morguefile for free stock photos but I didn’t know about any of the other sites. That is going to be a big help to me. :mrgreen:

  20. Vivien

    You’re most welcome, StaticBrain. Glad you found the sites useful.

  21. Hi there — I’ll note Freerange Stock (

    We have thousands of high res photos for free for commercial or personal use. No credit, no link, just like “regular” stock photos. We also have an AdSense advertising revenue sharing program for contributing photographer — check it out and add it to you list (the site is partly indexed by yotophoto and everystockphoto, though the index is out of date and this site is much larger than it was…)

  22. Hi .. very nice post
    Another new free photography website you might like to add to the list is is

  23. Great !!!!

    this post save my day,

    i was searchin for everysphoto thanks for this links

  24. You’re very welcome, Omar. Glad you found the links useful.

  25. Ted

    May I suggest It’s an growing archive of totally free stock photos released under public domain license, meaning you can use them in whatever you want – even in commersial projects!

  26. Thanks so much, Ted. I’ve updated my post with the link to your great site.

  27. You forgot another nice website free wallpapers stock


    8 Finest Bits Of Free Stock Photo Sites…

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Hi, I'm Vivien. Thanks for visiting my Inspiration Bit. I often find myself scouring the internet looking for either answers to many questions I have or websites that inspire me, sites that I can learn from. On what topics you might ask — any topics that interest me, anything from web design to typography and art, from blogging to entrepreneurship, from programming to open source.
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When I'm not blogging, I design web sites, teach, play with my daughter and try to balance family, work, friends and a somewhat active social life on