Stock.XCHNG has a more complex image licence agreement than some of the competition, though, so read that carefully before you start.
It first appeared back in 1998, and so it’s no surprise that Openphoto
has now built up a solid collection of stock photos. They’re neatly
arranged into well-chosen categories, and clicking any of these leads on
to a thumbnail gallery of related shots.
Stockvault has a small but very
high quality collection of stock photos, as well as logo templates,
clip arts, textures and backgrounds. It’s the perfect site to find
graphics for your website, then, but beware - Stockvault’s images are free for personal, non-commercial use only.
This site has some great photos,
with no significant restrictions on their use. You don’t have to
register to download images, and Unprofound is strictly non-profit, so you won’t be hassled by the usual collection of annoying ads. What’s not to like?
5. Free Media Goo
You can browse the tiny library at Free Media Goo
in just a few minutes, and the images are relatively low resolution.
There are some undeniably impressive photos, though, along with some
handy textures and audio samples, and there’s no need to register - just
download anything that appeals.
This site’s best feature is its
excellent search tool. You can filter by categories, keywords, size,
rating, even colour, so it’s easy to bypass irrelevant shots and zoom in
on the photos you need. Morguefile’s licence is generous and no registration is required.
7. Pixel Perfect Digital
This interesting site
includes over 4,000 stock photos, neatly organised in categories from
Abstract and Animals to Places and Transportation. The best part of Pixel Perfect Digital is the collection of digital art and illustrations, though; stylish images that are hard to find elsewhere.
didn’t impress us with its conventional photos, but the more abstract
efforts - everything from electronic components to brick walls and
artistic blurs - are much more compelling, especially if you’re looking
for an unusual background image.
site search has an annoying habit of returning photos that have nothing
to do with your keywords. But keep trying, and whether you’re looking
for animals or objects, people, places or arty, near abstract shots,
you’ll find a suitable high resolution shot here.
10. Free Digital Photos
There are just a few
images here - searching for “cat”, say, returns only 13 photos - and
only the relatively low resolution (around 640 x 480) versions are free.
Free Digital Photos
requires a credit if you use one, too. It does have some excellent
shots, though, and could be just what you need to spice up a personal
11. Free Photos Bank
The Free Photos Bank
site provides a typical range of free photos - people, animals,
landscapes and so on. They’re better at abstract shots, though,
backgrounds and digital artwork, so this is a good place to start
looking for those more unusual images. There’s no registration required
so downloading is easy, whatever you’re after.
As the biggest photo sharing site on
the web, used by some of the world’s best photographers, your image
search really isn’t complete without a quick check of what Flickr has to offer. Not everyone allows their photos to be used commercially, though, so visit the Advanced Search Page,
then check “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content” and
any other licence-related options you need before you begin. And when
you find a photo you like, check on the right-hand side for a link like
“Some rights reserved”, and click it for details on what you can - and
can’t - do with the shot.