There are thousands, if not millions of images on the Internet. For example, Google is a top image library for just about any image. Type in what you’re looking for in Google Images and you’ll see an endless supply of images. The only problem is the majority of these images are not free for personal or commercial use. If you do not own the right to an image, you must always provide credit to the original owner – otherwise you’d be stealing. The cost of stealing images that aren’t yours could cost you your reputation and be a big financial burden if legal action is taken.

There’s absolutely no need to copyright images. There are many sites that offer free stock photography for online use. We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 image libraries – and they’re absolutely free!

1. Wikimedia Commons
https://commons.wikimedia.org
Wikimedia, a subsidiary of Wikipedia, is an online database of 27,633,340 freely usable media files. All content is owned by contributors to the site. Anyone can contribute to the online database so long as they’re a registered member. You can search for images, sounds, or videos, browsing by topic, location, and image type, to name a few.

2. Free Digital Photos
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
Find a wide array of royalty free photos for business, personal, and educational purposes on Free Digital Photos. These images are ideal for use in advertising, social media pages, and website design. Their community of professional stock photographers and digital illustrators add new daily images. No registration is required.

3. MorgueFile
http://morguefile.com/
With MorgueFile, you can search their enormous free stock photo archive for just about anything. And, if you become a member of their site, you can upload your own credited photos to share with others.

4. Flickr
https://www.flickr.com/
If you download an image on Flickr you MUST give credit to the owner by:
• keeping intact any copyright notices for the work
• crediting the author, licensor and/or other parties (such as a wiki or journal) in the manner they specify;
• including the title of the work
• the URL for the work if applicable
• if you are making a derivative word or adaptation, in addition to the above, you need to identify that your work is a derivative work i.e., “This is a Finnish translation of the [original work] by [author].” or “Screenplay based on [original work] by [author].”

**You must also ensure you are searching by Creative Commons Only, found within the License category on the main search page.

5. Free Photos Bank
http://www.freephotosbank.com/
If you’re looking for abstract backgrounds and patterns, Free Photos Bank is your go-to place. Search by categories including Technology, Architecture, Nature, Food, Objects, Miscellaneous, Transportation and Life. In their advanced keyword section, you can also search by keyword for a more accurate image search. And did I mention that no registration is required?

Have you used these free stock photography sites for your small business? Tell us where you get your images from in the comments below!