8 Websites That Will Supercharge Your Online Communications


As communications professionals, we have a never-ending thirst for images that support the public affairs products we create. Below I’ve created a list of nine websites that provide royalty free images. Many of these sites allow unrestricted use of their images. In short, you often can use their photos as you please, as long as you are not breaking the law. Since websites often change their use policies always check the sites to verify whether the site creator has made any change

Many of these sites also allow you to purchase photos in addition to the ones that are available for free. Others allow you to sign up for weekly image feeds.

Creative Commons – Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that allows the sharing of photographs and other media for noncommercial purposes. One of its best features is that it links to several top sites for royalty-free images. All you have to do is type in the keyword and click the button for the site you wish to visit, and Creative Commons will bring up images relating to your keyword search from that site

Freeimages – As a user or contributor of this community of 2.5 million registered members you can gain access to 400,000 photos. From milk to “MLK” (the abbreviation for Martin Luther King), you’re sure to find many great images on this website.

Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System  (DVIDS) – DVIDS is the U.S. Department of Defense’s media hub. It facilitates journalist interviews with military personnel and provides newswire services to media. In the area of photography, DVIDS naturally focuses on themes relating to defense and the armed forces. Almost without exception, government publications, including photographs are royalty free.

Picography.co – Provides access to photographs free of charge and under the Creative Commons Public Domain CC0 license.

Travel Coffee Book – This site provides a wealth of travel-themed images that are available free of charge and under the Creative Commons Public Domain CC0 license.

Animal Photos – Animal Photos’ pictures range from the well-known (i.e., cats) to the exotic (i.e, avocets). All images are royalty free.

Snapographic – Snapogrpahic operates under the tagline “Free Stockphotos for personal and commercial use.

Jé Shoots – Allows royalty-free use of images. You can modify images as you like. Just don’t sell photos from this site as your own work, the website’s creator requests.

FoodiesFeed – This site offers thousands of royalty-free images relating to food.

Where do you get your royalty-free images from?

All opinions are my own and not those of my agency or the federal government as a whole. Follow me on Twitter: @JayKrasnow

Jay Krasnow is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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LaRel Rogers

Thanks for sharing Jay! Sometimes I can spend a good 20 minutes finding that picture picture for my blog post image and I can’t wait to try out these sites!

Jay Krasnow

I’m glad you find my posting useful. I use Pixabay (via CreativeCommons) most frequently. Let me know how it works out for you!

Paul Robinson

No such thing as DVMDS. Look at the site again, the system is named “Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS). There are also thousands of Defense-related images available from the military service sites (af.mil, army.mil, navy.mil, marines.mil) and the top-level Defense website defense.gov.

Scott Horvath

One big one that’s not listed here is pretty much any Federal Government website. Many have their own online galleries filled with Public Domain or U.S. Government Works photography, videos, etc. Of course not everything is free for the taking as even government sites will sometimes use content from CC or have special, limited-use, permissions for certain imagery but that information should be associated with the image in some way.

Of course, I’ll be biased and say that we have ~10,000 images and ~1,000 videos in the USGS Multimedia Gallery (http://gallery.usgs.gov) and 99% of them are Public Domain free for use.