6. Gratisography

Gratisography’s collection is, in a word, incredible. Built by the talented Ryan McGuire, an artist and web designer, this site features some of the most evocative images on the web and they requires no attribution whatsoever.

Searchable? No
Attribution required? No

http://www.gratisography.com

 

7. FreeImages

One of the most exhaustive directories of open-source images, FreeImages is my go-to resource when I’m working on new web projects. While most stock-photo sites focus on a small niche (usually landscape photography), FreeImages offers thousands of pictures from a diverse set of categories. Most important, it’s searchable, which is an incredible time-saver when you’re working on a project.

Searchable? No
Attribution required? Sometimes

http://www.freeimages.com

8. Little Visuals

LittleVisuals is a unique site, run according to more of small-scale, handpicked approach than most stock-photo sites. Sign up for its email list and you’ll receive seven high-resolution pictures via a zip file every week.

Searchable? No
Attribution required? No

http://littlevisuals.co

9. New Old Stock

New Old Stock is a collection of antique photos, many taken by government agencies or discovered in estate sales. You can scroll for hours without growing bored.

Searchable? No
Attribution required? No

http://nos.twnsnd.co

10. Picography

The simplest site on this list, Picography is a scroll-through gallery of random shots offered by a handful of professional photographers. You can’t search it but this site is perfect for designers looking for evocative photos.

Searchable? No
Attribution required? No

https://picography.co

11. Getrefe

If you need architectural or landscape photos fast, GetRefe is ideal. There are no frills, no categories on this site, just beautiful, natural images taken by a series of photographers traveling throughout Europe.

Searchable? No
Attribution required? No

http://getrefe.tumblr.com

12. Jay Mantri

One of Southern California’s finest designers, Jay Mantri offers this eponymous collection, Jay Mantri, with free, inspiring photos that’s updated every Thursday.

Searchable? No
Attribution required? No

http://jaymantri.com

13. Public Domain Archive

Eclectic vintage pictures join ubermodern scenes at Public Domain Archive, an expansive online collection of images, many with striking symmetry and muted colors.

Searchable? No
Attribution required? No

publicdomainarchive.com

Attribution and licenses explained.
When you do a Google Images search, the resulting photos are not necessarily ones that you’re free to immediately use. In most cases, the photos are still covered by photographers’ copyrights.

If you’re looking for photos to use for a design and want to keep yourself out of copyright trouble, you need to locate websites that explicitly define the copyright license of each image. For all the sites listed above, the license is generally pretty easy to find. There’s typically a description of the license on every page or at least a link to a description. Here are two license types you’re likely to find on these sites:

Creative Commons zero means that you can use the photos in any way you’d like, without asking permission.

Creative Commons with attribution means that you can use the photo in any way you want, as long as you credit the creator of the photo.

Attribution is simple: If you include a photo on one of a web page, add text that cites the photographer (“Photo by John Smith”) and be sure to include a link to his or her site, if there’s one.

Be sure to check each website’s license page for specific details.

A version of this article first appeared on PlatoWebDesign.com.