Find graphics to use online: photos, illustrations, textures, backgrounds, videos. Updated 8 December 2018.
LINKS AND ARTICLES
How to Avoid Copyright Infringement – from LegalZoom
Stock Images; A Little Money Goes A Long Way – from Helen Sedwick; make sure you know what you’re using.
13 Sources For Free Public Domain and CC0-Licensed Images – a great list from Sarah Gooding at WP Tavern
Subscription services or pay-per-image services are marked with $.
CHECK EACH FILE YOU WANT TO DOWNLOAD FOR ITS LICENSE INFORMATION.
123RF $ – royalty-free photos, vectors, footage, and audio
AllTheFreeStock – “Get all the Free Stock Images, Videos, Music and Icons in one location.”
Ancestry Images – old maps and historical prints; great for family history sites and genealogical societies
Beachfront B-Roll – unique HD stock video footage and animated backgrounds
bgpatterns.com – create your own tiled patterns using this fun online tool (reload the page to see a new one); from Sergii Iavorskyi
BigStock $ – “Images and Video for everyone;” photos, videos, and vectors
CanStock $ – Royalty-free stock photos
Christian Worship Backgrounds $ – Very inexpensive backgrounds (not all Christian), especially good for churches
Clipart – all free, public-domain clipart of varying quality
Compfight – an image search engine with many free photos but credit must be given; watch for Shutterstock ($) links and know which license accompanies your selections.
Coverr – “beautiful, free videos for your homepage;” 7 new videos per week
*CreativeMarket $ – “a platform for handcrafted, mousemade design content from independent creatives around the world.” Photos, graphics, templates, themes, fonts, add-on, etc. Offers free goods every week
CuteStockFootage – “Free HD Video Footage, Music, Sound FX for All”
Death to the Stock Photo – receive email notifications of “Free monthly photos for all your creative needs.”
Designers Pics – “Free hi-res photos for your personal and commercial use; no attribution necessary.”
EveryStockPhoto – a search engine for free photos; make sure to check the license for every file. Watch for Fotolia ($) links.
Flickr – This link will show only those photos using a Creative Commons license. I’ve found, however, that politely asking permission from the photographer is very effective for other images.
Fotor – Search for free stock photos (with attribution); download or use an embed code. Excellent search capabilities and very clear license information.
FreeDigitalPhotos – free (with attribution) and stock images at reasonable prices
Free HD Stock Footage – a group on Vimeo that shares free video
Free Images [was Stock.XCHNG] – free and stock images with notification or attribution (owned by Getty Images)
Free Music Archive: Music for Video – an interactive library of high-quality, legal audio downloads
Freepixels – free stock photos; watch for links from $ stock photo companies like Dreamstime and Shutterstock.
FreeStocks – “Feel free to use them both in personal and commercial projects.”
Free Stock Music – offers a wide variety of 100% free production music in ten genres
Free-Video-Footage – completely free motion graphics and sound files
*GraphicRiver $ From Envato; graphics, web elements, vectors, icons, fonts, etc. Offers free file downloads each month.
*GraphicStock $ – “Unlimited downloads of stock images.” Also includes backgrounds, buttons, icons, templates, patterns and textures.
Gratisography – “The world’s quirkiest collection of free high-resolution pictures.”
iStock $ – Stock photos, royalty-free images, video and music clips (owned by Getty Images)
Image*After -“The raw base for your creativity;” images and texture for personal or commercial use. Watch for links to Dreamstime ($).
Kozzi Images $ – Royalty-free stock photos, vectors, and videos; 30-day free trial, very reasonable monthly fee, free photo of the week
Little Visuals: 7 hi-res images by email every week
MorgueFile – “Free Photo Archive By Creatives For Creatives; free high resolution digital stock photographs and reference images for either corporate or public use.” (great search function)
Motion Backgrounds for Free – “Download Free Motion Backgrounds and Looping Background Videos” from VideoBlocks
Negative Space – “Beautiful, High-Resolution Free Stock Photos. For personal or commercial use, all of our CC0 licensed images are completely free to use!”
New Old Stock – “Vintage photos from the public archives. Free of known copyright restrictions.”
New York Public Library digital gallery – download or link to thousands of historical photos, prints, manuscripts, maps, videos, and more. Great resource for researchers and historical societies.
North Wind Picture Archives $ – historical stock images and illustrations; must register; great for historical societies and professional genealogists
Openfootage.net – Mostly free creative commons video, textures, timelapse footage, and more, for attribution.
Pattern Cooler – customize pattern files and download seamless background patterns
Pexels – Best Free Photos and Videos in One Place; Creative Commons Zero license
*PhotoDune $ From Envato; stock photographs with various licenses; Offers free file downloads each month.
Picjumbo – “Totally FREE photos for your commercial and personal works.” Beware the search box for Dreamstime ($).
Pixabay – “Free high quality images you can use anywhere.” Photos, vectors, and illustrations; Creative Commons Zero license. Watch for sponsored images from Shutterstock.
Pond5 $ – “Royalty-free footage, audio, images, and visual effects.” Offers some free files, especially historic photos in the public domain.
Public-Domain-Photos – photos and clipart of variable quality; watch for the search box from Dreamstime.
Skitterphoto – Free public domain, stock, and commercial-use photos. Creative Commons Zero license.
StockJo – a “collection of free resources,” this is essentially a list of sites for free items for web design
StockSnap.io – “Beautiful free stock photos;” high-quality; Creative Commons Zero
The Graphics Fairy – vintage images, DIY, and crafty projects
The Old Design Shop – vintage image treasury
TheStocks.im – a great place to start looking for free photos, this site allows you to browse 15 other stock image sites; “The best royalty free stock photos in one place”
Unsplash – “Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos.” Please use their credit lines.
Vector4Free – free vector graphics, all for personal use and some for commercial use.
VideoBlocks $ – “with unlimited downloads of studio quality, affordable stock footage, motion backgrounds, After Effects templates & more”
*VideoHive $ from Envato – stock footage, After Effects logos and intros, Apple Motion templates and more
Videvo – “Free stock footage and motion graphics”
VisualHunt – a supercool place to search for free, creative-commons photos; you can even search by color!
WebdesignerDepot freebies – icons, vectors, fonts, templates, illustrations, PS brushes, mockups, and more.
WeGraphics $ – brushes, icons, mockups, textures, vectors, and web elements
Wikimedia Commons – Free-use (some with attribution) images, sounds, and videos to which YOU can contribute; make sure to check the licensing terms for each item.
Please let me know if you’d like to see other sites on this list or find any bad links. Thanks!
[Thank you, Sridhar and Jeremy, and the many good folks who have suggested additions over the years!]