By now, you should have used my online blueprint to select a great niche, find targeted buyer keywords, set up your blog and started writing your first killer content using these ninja blogging tricks.  After you have nailed the content,  you just need a couple of attention-grabbing, drive-the-point-home free legal images.

So, are you gonna’ be a zero?


Are you gonna open up Google images and copy and paste?

‘Cause that was everyone else does…. And it is way easy and convenient and free. I’ve got news for you.

It’s possibly illegal.

At a minimum, it is careless and unwise. It could get you a nasty copyright infringement letter from a lawyer or a fine or a ban or even jail time.

Or do you wanna be hero?

Keep reading and find out how to use free legal pictures, properly cite the source and spread some love…


I am not a copyright infringement lawyer. I don’t know any. I am not a lawyer.  What you’re about to read is not legal advice.

It’s a kick butt list of places to look for free legal images (and a few paid sources as well) that you can download, modify, and use.  Don’t give yourself an anxiety attack over it but develop some habits early on in your blogging career that will keep you out of copyright prison and may even develop some goodwill on the Internet by following the proper etiquette.

15 Places for Free Legal Pictures to Download

Each site on this list has different rules and requirements so be sure to perform your own due diligence before using any of the sites, any of the free legal photos or any free legal clipart images.

Free Public Domain Images

If you do use a public domain photo, please consider giving credit and linking back to the original owner’s site. This isn’t required, but it’s a very courteous.  Just something like, “Photo courtesy” will do, with the name of the site as a hyperlink.  You can no follow these links to save link juice.

A word of caution: it looks like even public domain pictures (pictures where the owner/creator has not sought copyright protection for the work) might still cause trouble.  If the image contains copies of other copyrighted work, people or trademarks, then someone might get territorial.  For instance, I might post some photos of a trip to a local amusement park into the public domain but other people appearing in the photo or theme park logos or characters are still possibly protected.

Over 96,000 images and photos.
Create a free account and download images for personal and/or commercial use.
As with all of the sites on this list, read the license for each image and for each site before downloading.

These photographs that can be freely copied, distributed and modified.  The site contains about 1300 unique images at the time of this writing.  The travel collection is the largest collection and contains some stunning images.

5000 free photos and 8000 free legal clipart images. The administrator seems to travel a lot and there are great photos of Yosemite and San Diego area landmarks.

Thousands of public domain images. Check the license of each image as some may differ.
For instance, I found this image of a beautiful San Diego sunset here.

free-legal-image-point-lomaPhoto courtesy of


Search Engines for Free Legal Photos and Images

A search engine for free stock photos across the Internet. It searches over 20,000,000 images from several sources. Each image has a specific license so be diligent and careful.

Not exactly a search engine.  It is more like a dashboard to help users find content that fits commercial or reuse criteria across many different search like fotopedia, YouTube, Flickr, Google Images and many more.

This allows for users to search Creative Commons Flickr images for use on blogs and creative projects.  Some results will be sponsored (you pay for the image) and some will be free.

Other Free and Paid Sources of Free Legal Images

This is my favorite.  I use it several times a week.  It offers the same images as many other more expensive sites. And they have a selection of free photos that changes everyday.

Over 5500 Free stock photos. Make sure to credit with a link to the site or preserve the logo on the image.  Some links will take you to paid sites so be careful what you click on.

Check out the free section first.  They have very affordable options as well.

This site offers royalty free photos, art, and vectors for a very affordable prices.  It is possible to purchase credits and then images for as little as $0.72-$1.80 for a 4″ images.

It looks like a pretty pricey option.  It can cost as much as $15 per image. I can almost always find the same images for less than $1 on

Even pricier that Shutterstock.  It would have cost me $30 to download just one image.  It was going to be a large image.  Larger than I needed to add to a blog post but it was the only option.  I managed to download the same image from the same artist for $1 on  You are beginning to get the point…

14.  Stock.xchng
Search over 400,000 images.

15.  Can Stock Photo
Royalty free images are available.  I found some really unique images like the thief above.  They claim to add over 10,000 photos per day.

Glossary of terms related to Free Legal Images

Copyright infringement – involves misuse of an image.  It can involve going beyond the letter of the license, adapting or modifying the image without permission, missing the copyrighted image with other images, mimicking the image with another photographer, using all of part of the image without permission.

Free legal images – free legal photos, images, pictures, and clip art that is available online for download for free.  The license is free (you often register for the account, you will see many ads while browsing) or the image is in the public domain.

Royalty-free legal images – this doesn’t mean that they are free. You will often need to pay a fee to get a non- exclusive or exclusive license to use the image.  Users can then use it almost any ways, any medium, and for a length of time. See this Wiki explanation.

Exclusive license –  Only the holder of the license can use the image.

Non-exclusive license–  There can be more than one user of the image.  for example, on royalty-free sites, many users will download and use the same image.
Public domain images-pictures where the owner/creator has not sought copyright protection for the work.  It is hard to tell unless you find it on a public domain site.

If you have even more questions, check out this awesome FAQ resource about how to legally use photos online.

Let’s put a bow on this…

Lesson #1:  Use images but be careful about where they come from.

Lesson #2:  Use free when you can and buy affordable images from when you need to.

Lesson #3:  Read the licenses and citing requirements and comply.

So, now you know how to do better and where to go to find free legal pictures.  I’m not gonna lie.  I was haphazard with “using” images before doing  some research.  And I still don’t do everything perfectly.  But I am definitely working on being a hero and not a zero.

Set up your blog, fill it with helpful content and pow-pics (that are legal!).  Follow my blueprint to start your military spouse blog on the right foot. And make sure to play by the rules.

Use the comments down below to let me know if you find anymore cool sites or if you have questions.

And, don’t leave without entering your email address so you can get more tips like this one sent directly to your inbox.

Niquelle Wright

P.S. Would you be a hero to your family if you learned how to turn a blog into a gig that puts real money in your pocket?

Find out how I’m doing it and how to partner with me and let’s elevate you to hero status