Skip to main content
Bowdoin College Library Ask Us!

Public Sociology - SOC3325: Where to Find Images You Can Use

Stock Images

Pixabay - Huge collection of free stock images. Searchable and browsable by color, category, size, and orientation. Also includes illustrations and vector graphics.

Flickr - User uploaded images with CC licensing (check individual items for more information) For easier searching of these images try:

Multicolr - Search flickr CC images by color. Choose up to three colors to search flickr's CC images and search within results by keyword.

The Commons - Public domain images from participating public photography archives available in flickr. See the list of institutions here

Creative Commons -  Search through Creative Commons registered images from a large variety of sources. 

Disabled and Here - "Disability-led effort to provide free and inclusive stock photos shot from our own perspective, featuring disabled Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) across the Pacific Northwest."

Salam Stock -  "A community of artists who contribute Muslim and Islamic related media, sharing digital views of the Muslim experience."  While much of the media on Salam Stock requires licensing, this link directs to the images that are free to use.

All Go Plus Size Stock Images - Images from Michael Poley of Poley Creative of "plus-size people doing normal things." 

The Gender Spectrum Collection: Stock Photos Beyond the Binary - "Sock photo library featuring images of trans and non-binary models that go beyond the clichés. This collection aims to help media better represent members of these communities as people not necessarily defined by their gender identities—people with careers, relationships, talents, passions, and home lives. Please credit The Gender Spectrum Collection in your captions."

The Jopwell Collection -  "More than 100 free-to-download stock photos featuring leaders in the Jopwell community – social entrepreneurs, editors, techies, financial analysts, recruiters, marketers, student leaders, and even an Olympian – at work. Images are free to download, copy, distribute, and display so long as you visibly attribute “Jopwell.”" Also from Jopwell:

The Jopwell Collection: Jopwell Campus Collection

The Jopwell Collection: Jopwell Intern Edition

The Jopwell Collection: Latinx Photo Collection

#WOCinTech - Stock images of women of color in technology fields. Photos of "female software engineers, database engineers, a developer advocate, a Fintech entrepreneur, network engineer and more."

Nappy - "Beautiful, high-res photos of black and brown people. For free." You do not need permission nor do you need to give photo cred when using these photos, however, we strongly recommend it. Use the format Photo by @username from

Unsplash - Large collection of stock images that is searchable by keyword and browsable by topic or curated collections. Even though attribution isn’t required, Unsplash photographers appreciate it as it provides exposure to their work and encourages them to continue sharing. ex: Photo by creator on Unsplash

Pexels - Large collection of free stock images, searchable by keyword and browsable by collection. Attribution is not required. Giving credit to the photographer or Pexels is not necessary but always appreciated.

Black Illustrations - "Beautiful illustrations of black people for your next digital project." Many illustrations require payment, however they have some free packs:

The Movement Illustration Pack - "Justice for ALL. This one is for the activists. The ones on the frontlines. The ones protecting our ideals and standing in solidarity as we fight for racial equality. Thank you. All of these images are for personal and commercial use."

The Office Hustle [Medical Pack Included!] - "Images include folks enjoying a coffee, in an office environment discussing start up activities, video chat, conversations and a plethora of other images to add a visual style to your digital project. It also includes the medical pack with images including doctors, patients and so much more. We include black people of all shades, body types and hairstyles to find the perfect fit. This pack is, and will always be, completely free."


But wait, there's more!

*This is just the beginning!*

Many other museums, libraries, and others have images that can be used with permission. Ask your librarian if you aren't finding what you need, or feel free to take your own photos (and consider licensing them under Creative Commons!)

Free Images from Museums, Libraries, etc.

George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives - "The George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives Image Gallery features images of Bowdoin College campus, people and events from the early Nineteenth Century to the present." Each image includes the recommended citation.

Bowdoin College Museum of Art - Items from the collection that are in the Public Domain may be freely downloaded for study or publication. Please use the following source credit when reproducing or citing a work: "Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine"

Metropolitan Museum - Images of Artworks in the Public Domain Explore more than 406,000 hi-res images of public-domain images of artwork in the Public Domain in The Met collection, which can be downloaded, shared, and remixed without restriction. Limit your search to Open Access or look for the Open Access icon at the lower left of the image.

NASA -  Access to many of their images, audio files, videos and other media, which are generally not copyrighted and freely available for use. NASA should be acknowledged as the source of the material.

National Gallery of Art - More than 53,000 open access digital images up to 4000 pixels on the long dimension are available free of charge for download and use. NGA Images is designed to facilitate learning, enrichment, enjoyment, and exploration. Images of these works are now available free of charge for any use, commercial or non-commercial. Users do not need to contact the Gallery for authorization to use these images. Gallery encourages users to include the following credit with any use of one of its open access images: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

Europeana - Collections from thousands of European archives, libraries and museums to share cultural heritage for enjoyment, education and research. Provides access to millions of books, music, artworks and more, and can be filtered to those items that can be used without permission.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - As government images, almost all of the images in this collection are in the public domain, though the website states that you must credit NOAA if you use one of their images.

Getty Open Content Program - "Currently, there are over 100,000 images from the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute available through the Open Content Program... Images include paintings, drawings, manuscripts, photographs, antiquities, sculpture, decorative arts, artists' sketchbooks, watercolors, rare prints from the 16th through the 18th century, and 19th-century architectural drawings of cultural landmarks. We are adding more images as high-quality digital files become available." The Getty makes available, without charge, all available digital images to which the Getty holds the rights or that are in the public domain to be used for any purpose. No permission is required. Attribution is requested ex:Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.

Studio Ghibli - More than 400 images from Studio Ghibli films have been released for use for free. 

Wellcome Collection - "The Wellcome Library in London made 100,000 art and medicine images available online for open use. This collection is where to look for offbeat, bizarre photos including medical art of all types including manuscripts, paintings, etchings, early photography and advertisements. The images here are absolutely fantastic. The images may be used for commercial or personal purposes, with an acknowledgement of the original source (Wellcome Library, London)."

LIFE Magazine Photo Archive - "Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google. Images include famous personalities such as Marilyn Monroe, Charles Lindbergh, etc. as well as photos of American history and Americana. " Can be used with attribution for non-commercial purposes. 

Museum of New Zealand - "The Museum of New Zealand has recently made over 30,000 images available for download and re-use in high resolution as a part of its Collections Online library. It's best to search this page after first checking the "with downloadable images" check box so that you only get results that are free for download. Each image specifies its license, many of which are remixable and have no copyright associated with them at all."

U.S. National Archive - The National Archives and Records Administration offers a fantastic library of photographic images including photos of Churchill and Roosevelt, Nixon and Elvis, JFK and Jackie, World War II photos, and many many more historical photos. Generally, materials produced by Federal agencies are in the public domain and may be reproduced without permission.

Smithsonian Open Access - Images of the collections of the Smithsonian Institute that have been made available for free for non-commercial use. 

U.S. Geological Survey Photographic Library - In the course of their various geological studies and explorations, persons in USGS employ have documented volcanic explosions, mining projects, and dams. This website contains 30,000 photographs from 1868 to the present. Generally, materials produced by Federal agencies are in the public domain and may be reproduced without permission.

Bowdoin College Library
3000 College Station
Brunswick, ME 04011
Ask Us!
Send Feedback/Report a Problem