Where can you find free high-quality illustrations

When editing texts for a blog, website, or social media profile, we often have to use photos. After all, the image is a complement to the conveyed content, and the image usually prompts the recipient to click on a given link. So, how to look for legal photos that we can use in our work? There are two ways. 

The first is image banks that offer a robust database of photos, stock illustrations, and graphics for an appropriate fee. 

The second option is websites that provide free pictures under a proper license. And remember that free does not mean worse. They often have unusual and interesting photos of very decent quality. 

Unfortunately, downloading images from Google is often neither safe nor legal. Remember - never download pictures using the search engine, only from image banks. However, before you download and use such an image for commercial purposes, carefully check the license agreement. It may turn out that it contains restrictions that will prevent you from using the photo. How to download free stock illustrations and not worry about their license and fines resulting from copyright infringement?

What is the license about

Free picture banks are one of the best benefits of the Internet. Do not count how many times they help you create a presentation during your student days, or save when the entry is ready, and you can only dream about the conditions for taking your photos. It is not worth overusing the ready-made images. It is much more satisfying to create your own, but at the same time, there are a lot of people who are not interested in photography, and for them, these picture stocks are like a godsend.

As the famous rule says - "ignorance of the law is harmful." There is also no exception in this case - if we do not know the licenses and illegally downloaded illustrations that do not belong to us, we can face hefty fines. It's hard to talk about specific sums, but counting on the fact that using photos anywhere on the Internet and outside of it will not cause us any problems is wrong thinking.

Before you start wondering and worrying about what's allowed and what's, we will refer you to our earlier copyright advice. Free banks are based on various types of CC - Creative Commons licenses. Among the pages listed below, you will find the following three symbols:

  • CC0 - means that the author has waived all copyrights and thus enables us to use, copy, distribute, and modify without recognizing his authorship. Most of the stocks below are based on this license.

  • CC-BY - also allows you to copy, change, distribute, present and perform the work, but only if we tag the author each time.

  • CC-NC - In this case, we have consented to all the activities listed above, but only on the condition that the work will not be used in a commercial project, like one that brings us any remuneration.

For example, on the well-known Wikipedia portal, there are photos that we can download. Still, they generally have a CC-BY license, which means that we must indicate the authors and the place from which we downloaded the illustrations.

Of course, sometimes websites update their rules and may change the practices for downloading photos. It is worth checking the license from time to time, visible next to the graphic. Frequently it's not a problem if you need photography for your private use. However, it appears when we plan to use the photo for commercial purposes.

Popular photo sources

You can find pictures on any topic on search engines and databases of photos with convenient sorting.

Google Image Search

In the image search, you can specify the type of license:

  • Creative Commons licenses - allow the use of images, provided that the author is indicated (that is, if you took a photo to your site, write under it or in the footer of the site Photo [author's name]);

  • commercial and other licenses - the source of these illustrations can be both free photo banks and commercial sites.


The primary providers of content for photo stocks are photographers, artists, videographers, and musicians. However, anyone interested in purchasing a high-quality and inexpensive product, both for personal and commercial use, can become a client. These are mainly advertising and marketing agencies, publishers, entrepreneurs, SMM specialists, designers, web admins. 

Stock resources such as Imageselect, the largest independent provider of images, photos, and videos, are great resources for you. Here you will find many editorial pictures and videos without making royalties and with already regulated legal aspects. This digital image bank contains millions of visual content on numerous different topics. To purchase stock illustrations, you must register and create an account.

Imageselect is an ideal platform for finding the most suitable and high-quality images. This website is constantly improving its search engines and successfully combines this with a personal touch. Thanks to this combination, Imageselect can offer its users the perfect image or video content.

Author's photos

If the budget allows, you can order a shooting from a photographer, rent a photo studio and get exactly the result that fully reflects your idea. An easy way to get licensed photos is to arrange with the photographer. That can be your friend interested in publications with a link to his name, and indeed any photographer. Thanks to social media, it's easy to negotiate.

To download illustrations from the Internet, you need to know a few good and proven sites that offer them. A photobank (or photo stock) can be compared to a hypermarket, a platform where sellers and buyers meet. Many files are sold there, such as photos, illustrations, drawings, 3d models, videos, and even flash videos of various topics. Of course, there are many other photo banks on the web that you will undoubtedly be able to find. However, it is worth differentiating between websites that offer poor graphics and the ones that boast professional photography. Imageselect will make it easier for you to find and download the photos you want. Most often, you need to know where to look to save a lot of time.

(Aug 5, 2021) Clemence Servonnat Getting started

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