Finding images that you can use online can be ridiculous. People throw around the term “royalty-free” and many people automatically believe that “oh, it’s royalty-free. I can use it however I want.”
THAT IS NOT THE CASE
Royalty-free simply means that you don’t have to pay a license fee every time you use the image. A royalty-free license does NOT guarantee that you can sell it to other people, use it commercially, or use it in printed documents like brochures or fliers.
That’s why I love Public Domain images.
Public Domain, or CC0, are images that the creator has given up all rights to the image and that you are free to use it however you’d like.
You don’t have to give credit, you can use them commercially, you can use it in templates, you name it!
There are several stipulations on most Public Domain websites that you must follow if you use their images:
1. Do not use pictures for unlawful, pornographic, illegal, or other immoral purposes
2. You may not claim ownership of any picture in its original or resized state or grant exclusive rights licenses as they are
3. Pictures may contain additional copyrights, property rights, trademarks, etc and may require additional licenses.
4. Written Model Releases may not have been collected, so it is up to you to find out, if needed.
So, here’s my complete list of image sites that will let you use their images commercially and without having to credit the source (aka attribution)!
Note: SplitShire is NOT Public Domain, but it has a very open license for use in templates, personal, or commercial projects.