One great resource that brings together many different types of images that you are allowed to re-use is Wikimedia Commons.
“Everyone is allowed to copy, use and modify any files here freely as long as they follow the terms specified by the author,” the welcome page explains.
You’ll find photos of all kinds, from amateur to professional. Some are licensed with Creative Commons licenses, some are public domain. You’ll also see photos with the “GFDL” or “GNU Free Documentation License” which allows re-use under certain limits. Each photo has its own page explaining the permissions and limits. Take the time to review the restrictions before you use any photo.
Next to each photo are icons for easy downloading and linking. The link text includes the correct photo credit and license info.
I found it very easy to use. Rather than download and save a larger size of the photo, I downloaded a small version of the photo to include with the post, then linked it back to the original Wikimedia page.
For most small towns, I found only a few photos. Recreation areas, like state parks, usually had more photos available. The photos come from a global audience and include locations all over the world.
Thanks to reader Alex Morris for suggesting we cover this in our photo resource series. Previous photo resource articles include:
- Finding photos to use online: Flickr Creative Commons
- The US government has tourism photos for you
- and a reminder: If you don’t do this one thing, you might as well delete all photos from your site
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