When you are looking for images to use in a paper, presentation, or blog post, it can be difficult to figure out which are available to copy and reuse. (For more about why this is important, see our Copyright Guide.)
The good news is that there are many places online where you can search and be sure that the images you find are in the public domain or have been licensed for reuse.
One of the world’s largest photo sharing websites, and also includes photo collections from major museums and the National Archives. Most images are protected by copyright, but it’s easy to filter to only those images with Creative Commons licenses that allow reuse (just be sure to read the fine print).
Includes 50 million images available for purchase, but you can also legally embed them for free if you want to post online: just use the “Embed” function and copy and paste the code.
New York Public Library Digital Collections
Great for historical, artistic, and scientific images. Just filter by “Only Public Domain” only after you search.
LIFE Magazine Photo Archive
This free, Google-hosted photo-archive is great for finding iconic images from American history from 1860s to the 1970s. Only for personal, non-commercial uses.
Library of Congress Digital Collections
Truly encyclopedic collection of images and documents, arranged by topic.
Huge collection of stock photos, many of them free for use without attribution, even for commercial uses. Just make sure to filter by “Free Files” after you do a search.
Search combined collections of the Newberry library, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Public Library, and more. Good only for educational, noncommercial uses.