Whether you’re looking to make an eye-catching cover for your self-published novel, or to spruce up your blog with some new graphics or just wanting to include some images in your posts, finding images you can use online can be a minefield.
You can’t just search Google Images and post the first picture you come across that suits your needs, especially not if you’re in any way making a profit from your website, or using the images to promote your work or your brand. Images are licensed and belong to the rights holder. It’s a form of theft to use images without permission.
However, there are a number of great sources for royalty-free, creative commons images online that mean you don’t have to break the bank in making your blog or your brand look great.
What is a Creative commons CC0 licence?
A CC0 licence is the blogger/selfpublisher’s best friend. Any picture distributed under a CC0 licence can be legally used for any purpose. That includes for commercial gain. You can modify the images and you don’t need to attribute them back to their original creator (although doing so doesn’t hurt!)
Any image under a CC0 licence is ideal for your blogging/publishing needs. It’s the next best thing to taking the picture yourself.
Where Can You find CC0 images?
Pexels is my favourite website for finding CC0 images. Every image on the site is under that licence and they are usually of really high quality. The library isn’t enormous, but it’s growing all the time, with a few new photos added almost every day. The site is searchable, so you can easily find images to suit your topic. And if you create a free account you can ‘favourite’ images you like for later.
Unsplash is very similar to Pexels (and I think there’s some crossover with their content). Again, the website is searchable and you can create an account and favourite images. They also do a ’10 Images to your Inbox’ service where they email you a selection of photos every day.
I discovered this site fairly recently, so I’m still poking around and exploring myself. It features vintage images from years gone by – the kind that have come out of copyright and into the public domain through the passage of time. They aren’t so great for editing due to the quality of the images being lower (they are very old after all!) but some of them are really interesting on their own and could be ideal for creating a vintage feel.
Another one I’m fairly new too. Again, you can create an account, favourite images and search for something to suit your needs. The images aren’t on an automatic scroll down, you have to physically click on to the next ‘page’ which is makes it a little less easy to use than Pexels or Unsplash, but not massively. The images are a little more… kooky too. Not in any way a bad thing. The images are very stylised and interesting – so you might just be able to find your perfect graphic here if you’re looking for something unusual.