Assuming that you work on the digital creative industry — designer, blogger, digital agency and so on — you obviously need decent images for every project you are working on. Microstock photo websites like Shutterstock and iStock are the best solution to cover such needs. But, what if you don’t want to spend any money on images? Creative Commons Zero images is the answer.
Creative Commons Zero images are images that are released under the Creative Commons Zero license, or often abbreviated as CC0. Creative Commons Zero itself is one of the forms of Creative Commons license. The point of the CC0 is to allow anyone to use creative works, including images, for any purpose without mentioning the creator of the works. Even if they use the works for commercial projects.
The implementation of CC0 (and Creative Commons generally) is helpful in minimizing the copyright infringement. CC0-licensed products can be the alternatives to copyrighted-products, including images. So, if you are looking for a website to get free images under the Creative Commons Zero license, we have 13.
Pixabay is a good example of how Creative Commons Zero should be implemented. This site is the best alternative to commercial microstock photo sites like Shutterstick and iStock. You can download as many photos as you want from Pixabay, without spending any money. What about the image qualities?
Pixabay is community-driven website. Contributors consist of photographers, illustrator to videographer. Although everyone is allowed to contribute their works, but all works will undergo a reviewing process and only contents that fulfill Pixabay quality standard will be approved. There are three types of image you can find on Pixabay. From photo, illustration to vector. At the time of writing, Pixabay has had about 1.2 million images
The concept of Pexels is quite similar to Pixabay. It is also a great alternative to commercial microstock photography sites with abundant image collections since Pexels is also a community-driven website. Same as Pixabay, images available on Pexels has also undergone a reviewing process so the quality can be accounted for. Unlike Pixabay, Pexels offers photo only.
3. Realistic Shots
Realistic Shots is not a community-driven website like Pixabay and Pexels so the amount of image available on this website is not as rich as both Pixabay and Pexels. The quality of the images offered by Realistic Shots is comparable to Pixabay and Pexels. Images on Realistic Shots are divided into five categories, Architecture, Nature, People, Travel and Technology. Realistic Shots is a good place to get images in the original size. The image files of Realistic Shots are hosted on AWS.
500px has never known as the place to download Creative Commons Zero images. Instead, most people more better known 500px as a photo sharing site just like Flickr. In many cases, photographers also rely on 500px to sell their photos since 500px also provide a marketplace platform. To find CC0-licensed images on 500px you can filter the search results by setting 500px to display only CC0-licensed images.
Magdeleine is also a community-driven photography site so you can also get quality photos from different talented photographers. Photos on Magdeleine are carefully picked by moderators. There are 8 categories available on this site: Nature, City and architecture, People, Animals, Food, Technology, Objects and Abstract.
6. ISO Republic
The project of ISO Republic was started in 2014 by a photographer named Tom Eversley. Even so, the photo collections on this site not come from a single photographer. Tom Eversley also allows other photographers to contribute their photos. There are 8 main categories available on ISO Republic: Food & Drink, People, Technology, Various, Architecture, Nature, City & Urban and Texture.
7. Free Nature Stock
Free Nature Stock is a personal project by photographer Adrian Pelletier. As you probable can guess from its name, this project focuses on offering nature-related photographs. You will find images like waterfalls, fallen leaves, branches, water drops, dew and so on. The photographer promises to update his site daily. Free Nature Stock is a great place if you need high-res photos in original sizes. Adrian Pelletier uses AWS to host his large-sized photo collections.
Same as Free Nature Stock, MMT is also a personal project. The man behind this project is Jeffrey Betts, an UI designer and photographer. This project was started in 2014. Jeffrey also uses AWS to host his photos so all photos on MMT also available in the original size without any compression. A single photo file can sized up to 12 MB. Most photos available on MMT are nature-related, but there are also photos in categories like Office, Workspace, Technology, Urban, Architecture and so on.
9. Startup Stock Photos
Startup doers who are looking for CC0-licensed images can give a wink to Startup Stock Photos. As the name suggests, photos available on this website are startup-related. You will find photos like a man accessing smartphone, laptop on the desk, someone working with laptop and so on. In addition to startups, this project is also aimed at bloggers, publishers, designers and other concentration in creative digital industry.
If you have a food-related project, blog for instance, then you can rely on FoodiesFeed to fulfill your imagery needs. FoodiesFeed is a community-driven free stock photo website. Which means, photos are not coming from a single photographer. Instead, they are submitted by food photographers from around the world. FoodiesFeed has a good navigation as well as a handy search box to makes it easy for you to find the photos you want.
The image collections of NegativeSpace may not as rich as, for instance, Pixabay. However, it is also a community-driven website where you can discover beautiful shots from talented photographers who give their works away for all internet users around the globe. CC0-licensed images in such categories as Travel, Architecture, Business, Landscape, People, Nature and so an can be discovered in this site.
Skitterphoto is free stock photo website created by Netherlands do, Rudy and Peter. The project was released in 2014. The idea of creating the website came after they met some problem to find quality photos on the internet. Skitterphoto itself is a community-driven website. There are tens categories you can find on this website.
The interface of Freestocks.org may not as fancy as Pixabay and Pexels. However, the image qualities are so much comparable to both of them, although not too many. At the time of writing, there are about 1,180 CC0-licensed available on this site. The images are coming from different photographers.