Commons:Free media resources/Photography

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
Jump to: navigation, search

Return to Main page

There are a number of sources of freely licensed and public domain images on the Web.

The presence of a resource on this list does not guarantee that all or any of the images in it are freely licensed and/or in the public domain: you are still responsible for checking the copyright status of images before you submit them to Wikipedia.


See also[edit]


Sources for media

General collections[edit]

  • WPclipart - Public domain clip art and photographs, student-safe but expansive.
  • is a social photo-sharing site, which allows users to select Creative Commons licenses and search for specific licensed media on the search-page.
  • 500px allows user-uploaded photos under creative commons licenses, including by and by-sa. Focus on "artistic" photography; so far very little cc content.
  • Agência Brasil official agency of the Brasilian government, has pictures of Brasilian officials, including on official trips and meeting foreign dignitaries (use {{{Agência Brasil|photo number}}} template)
  • America As It Was - a huge resource for vintage postcards in the U.S., organized by state. Any postcard first published in the U.S. before 1978 without an explicit copyright notice is PD. Lots of photos, aerial views, and maps of many U.S. locations.
  • compendium of Illustrations in the Public Domain 300-page book.
  • Digital documents from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF). (website is in French).
  • - PD according to terms.
  • Flickr (free search) - Flickr is a big photo sharing website. It has many pictures licenced with Creative Commons Attribution License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. (Search both)
    Beware that Flickr is a problematic source – many images are acceptable, but many are not. See details on Flickr below.
  • Free Online Pictures various pictures, especially of France, under a "no rights reserved" license (use {{FOLP|path}} template)
  • photos in high resolution for free use even commercialy (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) License).
  • Gaderinge - A gathering of the best public domain images, free to download. No membership, no restrictions. Organized into many useful categories.
  • - large collection (more than 15,000,000 photos) geotagged of Creative Commons and PD photos posted on Wikimedia Commons, Flickr, Panoramio and Picasa Web Albums searchable by location on the map, source website and license type.
  • GIMP Archive 32,000 Royalty-free photos, organized by keyword.
  • Gnu art - Media by GNU GPL licence.
  • Project Gutenberg 12,000+ books, only a few illustrated, but the number of illustrated books increases from week to week. There are thousands upon thousands of PD images to be had, with a wee bit of legwork and a modicum of serendipity.
    Beware that Project Gutenberg is a problematic source – many images are acceptable for Commons, but many are not. See Commons:Problematic sources#Project Gutenberg for details.
  • (Official Website of President of the Russian Federation) - All materials (fotos, texts, videos, audios, etc.) licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC-BY 3.0 Unported), see template on Wikimedia Commons and letter of authorisation from the Press Secretary allowing use of materials.
  • LIFE images hosted by Google - Huge collection under various copyright status. Many public domain ones, although with false copyright claims.
  • Public Domain Stock Photos - Not a big collection, but valuable.
  • OpenCage's Photo Library - various pictures, especially of Japan. All pictures licenced with Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License in Japanese.
  • Openclipart - Public domain clip art.
  • - fairly random collection, looks like aiming to be a "stock photography" site. Be sure to check the license carefully as they also have NC/ND images! Free registration required to download full-res images (login:commons pw:wikimedia)
  • Panoramio is a photo-hosting site with emphasis on geotagged content, which allows users to select Creative Commons licenses, but doesn't have a search interface for CC-media
  • - Free Public Domain Photo Database.
  • - Random assortment of Public Domain images].
  • Photosynth -many of the Photosynths are under Creative Commons licenses. I don't see any way of downloading the original photos from the synth, so you'll have to contact the uploader.
  • - High quality public domain images - free for private and commercial use. All images licensed under CC0 license.
  • Picdrome is a free pictures gallery licensed with Creative Commons.
  • - Hand picked search engine for free images, searchable by license type. Also includes other free files for designers such as png images, graphics, vectors, themes, fonts, and mock-ups.
  • PicFindr - A "rich internet app" image search that finds free-to-use-commercially stock photography on other websites. Search by tag/keyword and usage restriction (none,permission,attribution etc..) NOT free - paid subscription use only.
  • - Pictures from the Montafon Valley - Collection of public domain photos organized by category.
  • SRU Faculty - Scanned and colorized etchings claimed to be PD images.
If any page or image seems missing, replace in its URI with
  • - has good collection of high resolution free stock photos free for personal and commercial use
  • Trashwiki - many free images (under various licenses) about dumpster diving and freeganism.
  • Yotophoto - Search engine for free licenced photos. (Link is "under construction" as of 2009-02-04.)
  • - a collection of over 83000 free images as of August 2014.
  • Free Stock Images - many unique photos not found on other sites. All are free to use, some are public domain others CC2.0.
  • Freetems - New site with public domain / CC0 photos.
  • Good Free Photos -- Hundreds of photos of state parks, tetures, plants, and more
  • - Large collection of of high quality free stock photos and public domain pictures.
  • Database for Creative Commons Public Domain CC0 licensed Photos.
  • 1 Million Free Pictures All pictures covering various topics are released into public domain. These pictures are originally created by the owner therefore these pictures can be used for personal and commercial use.
  • Topers Photos Toper's Photos is a collection of photos taken by the creator from his trips around the United States as well as from outside the US. All photos in this collection are released into public domain so readers may use these photos for personal or commercial purpose. Photos are classified according to subject such as Animals, Plants, People, Places, Statues, etc,. More pictures are added everyday so this collection is gradually growing in number. Photos are high resolution so you will find high quality images in this collection. All photos herein are dedicated into the public domain.



Archeological finds[edit]

Christianity related[edit]







Check the local laws. See Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag.



Animals and plants[edit]





Extinct animals[edit]






Landscape features (mountains, deserts, craters, etc)[edit]



Space (planets, stars, galaxies, etc) and spaceflight[edit]


US National Parks[edit]



  • (structure diagrams of toxic substances)
  • Will generate (copyright kosher) GIFs or PNGs from molecular description files of may formats. Use {{CACTVSGIF}} for copyright on image page. Valid input formats include: MDL Molfile (or SD files), PDB, JCAMP/CS, CIF (Chiron interchange format, not Crystallographic formats), MDL RXN (Reaction file), RDF (Reaction Data File format), XYZ, SMD4, SMD5, CTX, CACTVS (binary, ascii, cbase), SMILES (including SMARTS subset), Compass, 441, Gaussian/Input, Gaussian/Archive, SCF, SHEL-X, XTEL (XTELPlot input format), Cerius (Ascii exchange format of CeriusII Toolkit), Sharc (SHift ARChives format), Alchemy, Hyperchem, Molconn-Z, Sybyl, Sybyl2, SLN (Sybyl line notation).
  • German mirror to the above:


Historical images[edit]

Check copyright information for the separate items before deciding to use them!

Specific periods[edit]


Historical costumes[edit]




Machine-readable raw map data[edit]










  • PDFnet - Danish site with no copyright.




(may not work)

"Il est permis de copier et de diffuser des copies exactes de cette page ; une telle copie exacte devant surtout garder la notice originale de copyright, l'URL originale, la date de l'original, et la présente notice." (The copying and distribution of exact copies of this page is allowed, but exact copies must always keep the original copyright notice, the original URL, the date, and this notice [that is, the french text, not this translation])


Some chapters of German parties, federal, state and communal level, or politicians release photos under free licenses on Flickr:

Bündnis90/Die Grünen

Die Linke









Middle East[edit]



Português: Por norma todas as imagens estão declaradas como protegidas por direitos de autor. Será necessário ver caso a caso quais as que já estão no domínio publico ou com o Copyright expirado (p. ex. fotografias antigas; reproduções bidimensionais de obras no domínio público).
English: Normally all images are declared as protected by Copyright. It will be necessary to see case by case which ones are already in the public domain or with expired Copyright (e.g. old photographs and reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works).

Puerto Rico[edit]


South Africa[edit]



United Kingdom[edit]


New York[edit]





West Indies[edit]





Pictogram voting info.svg Info Since August 2008, Commons policy allows the uploading of faithful reproductions of 2D public domain works of art, regardless of any claim to copyright made under local law to the contrary.

Logos and flags[edit]


U.S. postage stamps[edit]

While not technically public domain after 1978 (all stamps before that are in the public domain) the USPS has a liberal licensing policy regarding stamps. The United States Postal Service retains copyright to stamps under Title 17 of the United States Code. The Domestic Mail Manual, G013 Trademarks and Copyrights, states that while "The USPS secures copyrights in its philatelic designs and certain publications. The designs of postage stamps, stamped envelopes, stamped cards, aerogrammes, souvenir cards, and other philatelic items issued on or after January 1, 1978, are copyrighted by the USPS under title 17 USC." The USPS licenses certain copyrighted material to the public, however, thus:

The use of illustrations of the designs covered by such copyrights is permitted:
a. In editorial matter in newspapers, magazines, journals, books, philatelic catalogs, and philatelic albums.

For the full document, see:

An encyclopedia is considered a book, therefore, Wikipedia, an on-line encyclopedia, could be considered within this permitted use. However Wikipedia, is licensed under the GFDL, and as such "permitted use" for Wikipedia alone is not enough. It should also be "permitted use" for all derivative works.





See also Commons:Flickr images.

Free search:

Free tags:



Uncategorized links[edit]

U.S. Government sites[edit]

Other sites:

Computer-generated public domain images[edit]

Public domain image meta-resources[edit]

  • (a lengthy list of categorised links to other public domain image sources, many of those links don't work though)
  • (a list of links to sites with public domain clip art)
  • (Yahoo! Creative Commons Search BETA) - try specifying "image" or "photo" and the object of the search as terms
  • A free (libre) image search engine
  • Dover Publications has many, many books of copyright-free illustrations. Search on "copyright-free", "clip art" or "Pictorial Archive". These are hard copy and would have to be scanned, but they cover everything. You have to buy the books or borrow them from the library; the art is free. Here are just a few examples:
    • Plants: 2,400 Copyright-Free Illustrations of Flowers, Trees, Fruits and Vegetables
    • Animals: 1,419 Copyright-Free Illustrations of Mammals, Birds, Fish, Insects, etc.
    • Ready-to-Use Illustrations of World-Famous Places: 109 Different Copyright-Free Designs
    • Ready-to-Use Illustrations of Pets: 96 Different Copyright-Free Designs
    • Ready-to-Use Illustrations of Appliances and Electronics: 98 Different Copyright-Free Designs
    • Ready-to-Use Portraits of Famous People: 121 Copyright-Free Designs
    • Ready-to-Use Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Mammals Illustrations: 98 Different Copyright-Free Designs
    • Ready-to-Use Illustrations of Marine Animals: 96 Different Copyright-Free Designs
    • Ready-to-Use Authentic Civil War Illustrations: 245 Different Copyright-Free Designs
    • Ready-to-Use Bird Illustrations: 98 Different Copyright-Free Designs
    • Ready-to-Use Flower Illustrations: 96 Different Copyright-Free Designs
    • Ready-to-Use Endangered Animals Illustrations: 96 Different Copyright-Free Designs
    • Ready-to-Use Medieval Herb, Plant and Flower Illustrations: 294 Different Copyright-Free Designs
    • Airplanes of the Second World War Coloring Book 46 accurate illustrations copyright-free.
    • Weapons and Armor, 1400 copyright-free illustrations of battle-axes, bows & arrows, cannons, more
    • Transportation, 525 copyright-free illustrations include trains, trolleys, cars, ships, airplanes, many other vehicles.