For many projects it is important to ensure that images used are copyright free. Listed below are some of the websites that can be used to obtain such images.

  • Sciences
    • Wellcome Collection
      • Archival Images – connects science, medicine, life, and art. To find images, go to the Collections tab, and then type in within the Search bar that says Search the catalogue. Underneath it, you have the option of selecting Library catalogue or Images, and this ultimately depends on if you want journals and books within your search or just images (all images have a citation).
    • NASA Image
      • NASA contains many copyright-free images and videos of space, scientific equipment etc.
    • Servier Medical Art (SMArt)
      • SMArt is an excellent resource for anatomy, biology, and medical illustrations.  You can download specific items or entire sets of images. The material is covered by the Creative Commons 3.0 license, meaning you can share and edit the material as long as you give appropriate credit.
    • Somersault 1824
      • Somersault is not free, but rather “pay-what-you-can.” The images are PNGs with transparent backgrounds so they can easily be dragged and dropped.  The work is covered under the Creative Commons 4.0 license meaning it can be shared and adapted for non-commercial purposes.
    • Public Health Image Library (PHIL)
      • PHIL is a database of images from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, USA.  The database includes photos, illustrations, and videos, many of which are available in high resolution.  Images are often in the public domain and free to use, but it is requested that you credit and notify the content provider.
    • Scienceimage
      • This science photo library of over 4000 free images is from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia.  Categories include astronomy, microscopy, and nature photography.  The images are mostly photographs and micrographs which are free to download and use as long as you give the original author credit.
    • Pixabay
      • Pixabay is a good source of free science stock images (with the option to pay for higher-resolution photos). There are some high-quality diagrams of cells and DNA as well as pictures of scientists at work.  They are free to download and use.
  • Artsy
    • Pexels
      • Pexels is another source of stock images, including some interesting science stock photos.  They are free to use for any reason and do not require attribution.
    • Adobe Stock
      • Adobe Stock is full of high-quality images.  There are numerous 3D illustrations that are detailed, artistic, and scientifically sound. For this reason, a basic Adobe Stock membership is $30 USD per month.  However, you can sign up for a month-long trial and download up to 10 images for free. You have to enter your credit card information, but if you cancel within the first month you won’t be charged.  A $1.35 “pending” charge appeared on my credit card account, but it disappeared within several days. 
  • Fine Arts
    • Smithsonian Institute
      • Many digitized Images and 3D models will be right at your fingertips! Type into the search bar what you are looking for, and let the scrolling begin.
  • Social Studies/ History
    • WorldImages
    • Flickr
      • A fantastic collection of scans from the British Library of over 11,000,000 public domain pictures. Each tab within the website gives you an array of images and themes that you are looking for. You can also use the search bar to look up specific images.
    • New York Public Library 
      • There are over 30,000+ images to choose from.  Click on the link Search Digital Collections which will take you to the page where you can find what you need. You can look through the albums provided or use the search bar to have faster results.
    • Library of Congress, Washington DC
      • There is an array of image collections that you can choose from. You can just pick the category that you are looking for, and after you select a collection, multiple links will pop up (or just one saying View All).
    • Metropolitan Musedoum of Art 
      • This site is very easy to find images. You search things up in the search bar, and within the search bar you have the option to pick the field that you want to find what you are looking for. Right below the search bar you also have many other options to choose from to filter down your search, and find a quick image without having to scroll for a long period.
  • Websites with all themes and categories you are looking for
    • Google Images
      • Using this option, you can search for images by usage rights. Search the images that you want to use, then click on Tools option near the search bar, then select the option Usage Rights. There are options to filter your picture search based on how they are going to be used.
    • Free Images
      • This site is one of the best sites to locate free stock photos and contains thousands of free images that can be used by virtually anyone. While many of the pictures are free, some of the images do require written permission first.
    • Flickr: The Commons
      • Flickr: The Commons Flickr: The Commons is a section of Flickr containing pictures with no copyrights from The Library Of Congress, Museums, Smithsonian Institution, and Flickr users.
    • MorgueFile
      • A great website to locate high-resolution digital stock photography. The site offers thousands of free images, almost all of which have no restrictions or agreements attached.
    • Wikimedia commons
      • Good old Wikipedia made the list! It contains over 45 million files that are categorized and searchable. Images can be in the public domain or covered by creative commons licenses; find out which license applies in the Licensing section of the image page.
Getting copyright-free images