Are you working on spicing up your WordPress website? Do your blog posts need visuals to help retain your website’s viewers? Images help to make websites and blogs more interesting, because they give your viewers other types of information to process. But with so many copyright laws out there, how can you ensure that you’re not breaking any laws by posting photos from the internet?

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According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of all humans are visual learners, so it’s no wonder that we respond well to visuals. You can pay for images through stock image websites, but this may begin to take a toll. Or, you can rely on open source images, which are free and accessible without copyright laws.

Open source images are available because of the Creative Commons License, which provides a standardized way for content creators to keep their copyright while allowing “certain uses” for their work. What this means: you can use any images that have been issued under Creative Commons. Typically, you’ll still have to attribute credit to the original author, depending on what the author specifies, but it’s free and legal!

Here are 7 places to search for open source images:

  1. Creative Commons Search
    • This is perhaps the easiest way to search for open sources images across multiple websites. You can enter a keyword in the search box, and then click on the website you’d like to search images for. You can also search for images that are made to be used for commercial purposes, and you can also search for images that allow you to modify, adapt, or build upon.
  2. Flickr
    • This is another great source for finding lots of pictures that are free to use. The search functionality isn’t always great, and you have to download the photo yourself, but just make sure you choose the “creative commons only” option when you search and you’ll be good to go.
  3. PhotoPin
    • This is a great alternative to Flickr, and you’ll find lots of great photos – even some unrelated to what you’ve searched for.
  4. FreeImages
    • Formerly known as Stock.xchng, FreeImages is another great way to find open source images. Be aware that you may need to ask permission from photographers before you use these photos.
    • This is a relatively new database, but you can find plenty of high resolution photos here for use.
  6. Gratisography
    • Another site made by a professional photographer, these images are beautiful and free for you to use.
  7. Curated Quotes
    • This database provides many picture quotes, which have become more popular over the last few years especially. Each picture quote comes with its own citation information.