There are tons of free pix on the internet available for you to steal. The problem is that someone actually owns the copyright to them, and if that someone finds out that you have stolen their picture, they can call any number of legal services who specialize in coming after you to collect either a fee or damages… or both. And if you dare to “borrow” a picture of a Disney character or a Star Trek item, both Disney and Paramount will chase you to the ends of the earth to drag you to court and take every last penny you have!
And even some pictures you might take yourself, could get you in trouble. For example, if you snap a shot of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame building and use it, they will come after you as they claim they own the image of their building. It is the same with the Vietnam Women’s Memorial on the mall in Washington, DC. Of course, most of these issues come up when people use pictures for a commercial project, not just a QSL card, but sometimes it does not matter how it is used. They claim you don’t own it and so you OWE them use fees.
It does not happen often but it only has to happen ONCE to you and you will wish you took our advice to make sure you own the rights to whatever photo you have.
That is were the following organizations come in. These are stock photo houses that have millions of pictures that you can have for free or buy the rights to for single use at a nominal cost of twenty or thirty dollars and sleep well knowing you can’t be sued.
Most often these houses require an account with an up-front deposit… not something you want to do with a one-off picture. Thus, we can get the picture for you on our account and add the cost and a small admin fee to you bill.
There are tons of sources of free pictures. Often local chamber of commerce organization have free pictures you can have for their city, as do many government agencies, federal and state parks, and corporations. All you have to do is contact someone and ask!
Finally, there are tons of “scams” out there who promise free pix, but it is just a teaser to get you to open an account. Read the fine-print before you sign up!
“Over 2 million free high-resolution images brought to you by the world’s most generous community of photographers.”
“Shutterstock helps creative professionals from all backgrounds and businesses of all sizes produce their best work with incredible content and innovative tools, all on one platform.” Their pix cost between $20 and $50.
iStock by Getty Images
“People trust Getty Images as a source of quality visual content they can use with confidence. We take pride in providing resources and information to build knowledge on issues which not only drive our business, but which impact everyone.”
“Find the perfect high-res, royalty-free, stock image to enhance your next creative project. Their pix cost between $20 and $50”
“Using cartoons in professional / commercial print or digital projects is increasing exponentially. Cartoons can attract and entertain, not to mention make a statement”
Library of Congress
Here are two links… we are not sure of the difference as we have never dealt with them directly.
Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository making available public domain and freely licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips) to everyone, in their own language. It acts as a common repository for the various projects of the Wikimedia Foundation, but you do not need to belong to one of those projects to use media hosted here.
The link below lists twenty-one sites that have free pictures but only one of them is known to us. Thus, read the fine-print when using pictures from any of the resources listed.