Trying to find copyright free images can be a gigantic pain in the rear. But finding pixabay.com and pexels.com has made it so much better! I mentioned them briefly when ranting about trying to find free fantasy images, but I decided that they really deserve more than that. If you haven’t checked them out yet, I highly recommend it.
Pixabay is a great resource for free photos, vector drawings, and illustrations. Occasionally, I do strike out if I’m looking for something very specific (like free fantasy images that fit the world of my novel *blush*). Overall, however, I generally find something that works. And people are adding to it all the time.
Definitely try a variety of searches before giving up, though. The people uploading images (bless them) may not think to add the same keywords you search the first time. Or the second time. Or the third. So synonyms and other phrases can be really handy.
TL;DR – trying different searches makes it much more likely to find an option closer to what you imagined. And if you find an artist you like, check out the rest of their work. Something perfect for you might just be under a tag you didn’t think of.
Pexels is better for photos than for illustrations or vectors. That said, sometimes, you get more or better photo options with people in them than you do on pixabay.
I’ve also noticed a bit less adult content on Pexels, so if that’s a concern for you, you could try Pexels before looking on Pixabay. Of course, if safe search is on, the risqué images don’t load on Pixabay anyway.
That said, I wouldn’t consider either site a great place to look for naughty photos or illustrations. That’s not their main focus. Plus, the ones there are mostly of women. Very disappointing. 😜
There are other copyright free / creative commons image searches, too. I rarely use them (there’s a lot of overlap). But if you’re not finding what you’re looking for with these 2 and really want that specific image, search for “copyright free image search” or “copyright free image directory,” and you’ll find articles dedicated to the options available.
Even Google image search has copyright settings in the toolbar. I rarely get much from that, but who knows? You may have better luck.
Just be sure to check the copyright rules for wherever you get your images. Some will let you use it for free but only if you credit the artist. Others can only be used for free for non-commercial use (book covers would not be included). That’s one of the reasons I like the pixabay and pexels (no credit required and all uses are free).
Of course, if you can give credit or tip the artist, it’s greatly appreciated. But with these options, you can generally find images for posts and more.
Where do you get your images? Let’s share resources. Writers need to stick together!