As we all know, using content from other websites on our own sites is a BIG mistake, both SEO-wise and etiquette-wise. Content does not only include text, but images (and videos) as well.

Today I’ll be discussing why you can’t just use any image you find online on your own site. This includes “free” images from sources like Pixabay, Pexels and Unsplash just to name a few.

I will also direct you to 25 truly free and 100% risk free sources for images, where you don’t have to worry about any penalties for stealing someone else’s work.

Alright, let’s get on with this….


NEXT UP: NOT ALL “FREE” IMAGES ARE ACTUALLY FREE



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RussellO1 Premium
Hey Waian,
I really appreciate your hard work and then taking the time to put it in lesson form to help us all. I have tried some of the sites mentioned by Kyle and ran into payment issues. In addition there was poor picture quality so am grateful for the information about what to look out for on "free" sites. Thanks once more.
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waian Premium
You're very welcome!
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monamassoud Premium
Hi Waian. I went through each and every free photos website you mentioned but only one mentions the category I want: education, digital learning, reading, universities, students, teachers..etc which is freephoto.cc however, the photos I liked are under iStock license.

If you are still searching for more and you come across any website that offers free images on the above category, I would appreciate it if you would add it to the list and let me know please?

The 25 sites you added in your training are awesome. I picked few wonderful images which I'm going to use to replace some of the ones I used on my website.

Super excellent stuff :)
Mona
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waian Premium
Yeah, those categories can be hard to come by....I will definitely let you know if I find any other good sites with the images you're looking for. :)
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monamassoud Premium
Thank you very much :)
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monamassoud Premium
Hi Waian. I went through your training carefully. I've become very worried because I used Pixabay heavily as well as freedigitalphotos. I tried wikipeida commons once or twice but to search for an image there is boring for me.

The way I used pixabay free image is that I look at who created the free image and they say they want a coffee (as the price for using their image I suppose) then I download and use. I attached a screenshot to show you. Should I worry in these cases too?

I agree about Google free images not always free, although they say so, and I did use several images with attribution but now I'm extremely worried.

One of the comments below by Lorna23, she says images on Site Content at WA. Where are they? I tried to search but wasn't successful.

Apologies for the too many questions in one post. Appreciate your insight.

Many thanks,
Mona
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waian Premium
I'd be careful using images from Pixabay and Google free images. It comes with a risk, but if you are aware of the risk and willing to accept it, I don't think it's a big deal. I'd say probably the vast majority of images are safe to use, but there's always the chance some unscrupulous character uploaded stolen images as CC0, which of course hurts everyone involved.

Like I said in my reply to Lorna, chances are if you use a stolen image and the copyright holder comes after you, they'll simply hit you with a DMCA takedown request. If you get this, don't fight it - comply and move on.

As for SiteContent, you can access the images on the Create page: https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/content/create

I've attached a screenshot showing you where to find the images below.
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monamassoud Premium
Thank you Waian :)
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waian Premium
No problem, hope I answered your questions. :)
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Lorna23 Premium
Hi thanks for your post. I was wondering about the images that are in Site content here at Wealthy Affiliate. It says they are free to use and CC0 but then it goes on to say these images are from Pexels, Unsplash, and Pixabay which you say in your post are not safe to use. I'm confused. Can you use the images from Site content safely or not?
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waian Premium
All the same risks I laid out in this post apply, because, as you state, a lot of the images in SiteContent are from those sites.

I probably wouldn't worry too much about it...if you get a DMCA takedown request for accidentally using a stolen image, then just take it down with no fight and there shouldn't be a problem. No one here has received a takedown request by using images from SiteContent (that I am aware of - I could be wrong!), so the risk seems minuscule.

Otherwise, you can play it super safe and stick to the sites in this training.
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DanielMerry1 Premium
Thanks for this, I was just searching for pics today and wondering about safety.
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waian Premium
Glad I could help!
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EdC1 Premium
Great! Just what I need. Thanks for sharing!
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waian Premium
You're most welcome!
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phoeby123 Premium
Excellent post. Thank you.
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waian Premium
You're most welcome.
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randallpaul Premium
Very helpful, I may be editing my images on every post
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waian Premium
Glad it helped!
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NextBest Premium
Hey, I just found this out a couple days ago and figured I should post it here just in case others are looking for an easy access to very high quality photos (over 1,000,000 images).

Wealthy Affiliate has an option to add images in the SiteContent editor and the images are incredible!!!!!!! Happy Blogging!
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NextBest Premium
So these are all safe to use as images on my website? (For display purposes)
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waian Premium
Yep!
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Tarou Premium
Thank you! I always wondered whether or not it was safe to use those images. This info helped me out a lot.
Thanks again.
Have a nice day.
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waian Premium
You are very welcome, Tarou! Glad it helped. :)
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VSinatra Premium
Thank you. Just reading terms of service on one sight a couple of weeks ago...took time. So that you compiled this list researching each one, is truly appreciated. I did have to put credits on my post of some photos. Because I read tos. :)))) thank you for the lists. I am looking to save time and this does help. Yes I will glance...
Have a great day!
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waian Premium
So glad this resource has helped you out, Victoria! Wishing you success!
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ValerieJoy Premium
Thank you very much Ian for providing access to these images.
I appreciate the time it would have taken to research the sites and the terms of use, plus creating the tutorial.
It's amazing that you have done this, and I thank you again.
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waian Premium
You are very welcome, Valerie! I enjoyed compiling and putting this training together. :)
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Nick-at-WA Premium
Thanks Ian, this is valuable information/training.

Nick
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waian Premium
You're welcome Nick, glad you found it helpful!
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wweb53 Premium
The only thing is most of all the places charge for the photos
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waian Premium
Yes, most do, but the 25 I listed here do not. All their photos are royalty free. :)
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BShafferman Premium
how do you feel about bing clip art..
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waian Premium
Bing clip art and images pretty much always have some form of copyright. So, unless you feel inclined to read through all the terms and make sure you use them properly, I wouldn't use Bing images. See the attached screenshot:
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BShafferman Premium
thank you. I didn't see that while I was browsing though them.
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waian Premium
Yeah, copyright notices are generally difficult to spot.
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Very helpful. Thanks
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waian Premium
You're welcome! :)
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AshAlves Premium
Wow thank you
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waian Premium
You're very welcome. :)
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Carol46 Premium
Many thanks , Waian
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waian Premium
You're welcome, Carol!
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accad Premium
Thank you for this great post. I will be having an overhaul of my site images.
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waian Premium
You're welcome! Always good to err on the side of caution.
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accad Premium
Right.
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TheDummyOfWA Premium
WOW!! Thanks so much for doing the research on the free image sites! You did a lot of work to help out the community, and so grateful for this!! :)
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waian Premium
You're very welcome, Terry! I had fun compiling these. :)
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PatsyC Premium
Hi Ian, thanks for taking the time to do all the research and sharing it with the rest of us.

This is a great tutorial :)

Wishing you massive success also!
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waian Premium
You're welcome! Glad you liked it. :)
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MelaniLukito Premium
I found a picture in freephotos.cc with text : by Pixabay@pexels. What is your opinion about that?
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waian Premium
Strictly speaking, I wouldn't use it. And for their own safety, freephotos.cc shouldn't be redistributing photos from Pixabay or Pexels.

HOWEVER, it is PROBABLY okay to use the photo just because the chance of it being stolen is very low. Better safe than sorry though, in my opinion.
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TinaP2 Premium
Thank you this is great advise and good sites.
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waian Premium
No problem. Happy to help!
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jessruth Premium
Thank you! This really helps.
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waian Premium
Glad it helped! Wishing you success. :)
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RinaNZ Premium
Great blog thank you for bringing this too us! Every success to you :-)

Rina
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waian Premium
Thanks Rina. Wishing you success. :)
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AussieJeff Premium
I noticed you mentioned Pixabay. Are you totally sure you can't use these "free" for use Images?
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waian Premium
You can use them, but it's at your own risk. Their terms of service provide no protection for you if you unknowingly use a "free" image that was actually swiped from a paid image source. Read Mel's posts below for more info.
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skmorrow Premium
I am really struggling to find free images of chandeliers for my site. Do you have any recommendations for paid images?
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waian Premium
I have not done much research on paid image sources, but a few I know of that come to mind are GraphicStock, Fotolia, Dreamstime, and iStockPhoto. There are many more, but those are just some of the biggest players. I'm sure you'll be able to find quite a few images of chandeliers, as these sites have hundreds of thousands of images.
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suea Premium
Have been checking out a lot of these image websites and they are great! Thank you for this list. I have another website that you can add to it. www.pippalunacy.com. Pippa Lou provides all images under CCO License to use however you wish, including commercially. Her website is the very first one that I found after setting up my original website on Weebly. You can email her personally if you need to ask her anything, and she will usually get back to you fairly quickly. Nice pictures of dogs, flowers, butterflies, christmas, valentines, landscapes, buildings, objects and some are altered using special effects. Lovely website to visit. Check it out.
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waian Premium
Thanks for the link. I checked it out, and it looks great. I will update my training now. You'll see the site on page 4, under additional sources. :)
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suea Premium
That's great. Glad to help. Have checked out many of the sites you suggest and they are great. Thanks for this training.
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waian Premium
You're welcome. :)
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RestingBear Premium
Fantastic research article. You have done a lot of research on this subject I thank you.
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waian Premium
Thank you. I enjoyed the research. :)
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Dpiper Premium
Waian, I will be taken off my images today! I didn't want to take the chance, therefore I found a play to pay for them but are the images i need.
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waian Premium
Glad you found some you can use. :)
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gbsun Premium
Thank you, this is very useful.
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waian Premium
You're very welcome!
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skipperjay Premium
Thank you Ian!
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waian Premium
You're welcome. :)
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DennisD1 Premium
Thanks you.
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waian Premium
You're welcome. :)
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Thank you for including my website monisphoto in this great list!
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waian Premium
You're most welcome! :)
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mybiz4u Premium
Thnx so much, Ian.
Appreciate your hard work.
Michelle
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waian Premium
You're welcome Michelle. :)
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Knawhks Premium
wow, you're just the man I needed. I just built my first website and uploaded images from pixel because it said free stock photos. once I'm successful I owe you 10k I think lol
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waian Premium
Hahaha. I'll remember... ;)

Yeah, so many of the big "free" sites claim they're perfectly free and safe, but unfortunately that's not so. There's almost always some fine print (in this case in the Terms of Service) that ought to be read before using their service.
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Dpiper Premium
Thanks again, and sorry for the bang at the beginning. However I still haven't found any images for my site at all with the ones you have supplied. At least I learned how to look for it. I will have to check every image I have used?
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waian Premium
No problem. Yeah, unfortunately none of these sites are as big as paid image sites, and therefore you'll have to do some deep digging to find what you need - if it even exists.

Like I said in a reply earlier, you might have to take your own pictures if possible, and the only other option is to purchase them from major stock photography sites like Fotolia.

If you want to risk using "free" images from Pixabay, that's completely up to you, but you can't say I didn't warn you if you do end up in a legal mess.

I wish there was more I could do - another solution, but I don't know of any unfortunately.
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Steve1958 Premium
Thanks very much for this Ian...
Much appreciated!
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waian Premium
You're welcome Steve! :)
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jtaienao Premium
Thank you for the training. Very helpful.
Jerome
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waian Premium
You're welcome Jerome. Glad you found it helpful. :)
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LorrenR Premium
In the training, Kyle mentions wikimedia commons as a good source. What are your thoughts on this?
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waian Premium
Wikimedia Commons is okay, but the images there don't have a CC0 license. You have to provide attribution (and I believe in some cases a link back) to the author of the image.

With these 25 sites, attribution is not required. You can use the images as if they were your own.
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suea Premium
Thanks for this great training and list of free image sites. I have to admit I have been trusting he images from Pixabay and Unsplash until now. But will be more careful from now on.
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waian Premium
You're welcome Susan. Yeah, always be sure to read the TOS of these sites (and any site for that matter)...it will really save a lot of headache.

Wishing you success!
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suea Premium
Thanks. Wishing you success too!
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waian Premium
:)
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Dpiper Premium
I didn't find anything that I could use on my website?
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waian Premium
What's your website about?
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JewelCarol Premium
Awesome resource for royalty free images, thank you Ian!:)
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waian Premium
You're welcome Carol. :)
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Dpiper Premium
I have been a lot of research trying to make sure that they are are free I don't understand why you even say this I have a big question mark I guess I'm going to need the training more than anybody. I've only been working on five or. why would google have an image page?
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waian Premium
Google has an image page, but that's just about the riskiest place to find images for your website.

Here are a few of Mel's posts on the matter, they may clear things up for you:
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Dpiper Premium
oh my God that's exactly where I got all of mine.
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Dpiper Premium
I did and Thank you, I just got upset, because all or most of mine came from googles free images? Why do they put them there if they are not free. To make money in court? lol Thanks and sorry for the hard time.
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waian Premium
Yeah, Google images seem pointless unless people simply want to browse through them online with no intention to use them...I guess that's what they're for - to be looked at, rather than used.
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Dpiper Premium
well this is not a very good time at all for me to hear this
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waian Premium
Better now than later. :) You wouldn't want to risk getting into a legal mess....
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Dpiper Premium
How do you figure that?
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Dpiper Premium
I really don't want to even think about it. Now I have to go pull my site apart. So where am I suppose to get my images?
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waian Premium
Read Mel's posts I linked to in reply to another of your comments. Taking the risk is completely up to you, but I would advise against it. That's why I linked to 25 SAFE & free image sources, as great alternatives to Pixabay, Unsplash, etc.
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Dpiper Premium
Here is one of your free sites? Now I am just trying to show you what I am talking about.
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Dpiper Premium
that was on your first ten pages! http://kaboompics.com/search/
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waian Premium
You clicked a banner ad on KaboomPics. Notice that the free trial is for GraphicStock, a totally different website that is NOT free.

A lot of these sites have banner ads. Just ignore them, they'll take you to a different site that you actually have to pay for. The banner ads are a way for these sites to make money on affiliate commissions.
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Dpiper Premium
not sure what you are talking about what will go check it out also do you do you know where I can get any computer images for my site? I could not find anything under in a your links? My site is about building pc? Thanks Donna
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waian Premium
Most of these 25 sites have images of computers. You just have to type "computer", "pc", "macbook", (anything related to "computer") in a search bar on these sites (most of them have search functionality, but some don't). Otherwise, you can browse by category. Technology or Office categories should have plenty of computer images.

Other than that, your best bet would be to take pictures of your own computer, or the process of building it if at all possible.

Another option is to simply buy pictures if you really can't find any good free ones.

Hope this helps.
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AllanG1 Premium
I'm curious why you say pixabay is unsafe
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waian Premium
If you read the entirety of the training, you'll see that the only way to check if a site is unsafe to use is by looking at the Terms of Service. If it mentions anything about the Website not being responsible for any misuse of the content, then you have no protection in court if you unknowingly used a copyrighted image. Again, read the whole training as I explain this in a bit more detail.
Here's Pixabay's Terms of Service:

https://pixabay.com/en/service/terms/
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AllanG1 Premium
All images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. Attribution is not required

pixabay opening statement on their website. If this is a false statement then TOS is not worth the ink it's printed with.

BTW I read your entire training and I thank you very much. I also read all tos. I also prefer to use my own images when they are relevant.

You should never use any images of actual persons regardless of where they came from and this could apply to some physical locations.

Just trying to be engaging and give my point of view. I find it all very interesting.
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waian Premium
Gotcha. Pixabay is quite misleading I daresay. Read the last two paragraphs in their Terms of Service, where it completely protects Pixabay from any and all claims. You have no protection whatsoever if you unknowingly use a stolen image....

Definitely use your own images whenever possible. :)
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Debs3 Premium
Thank you, Ian!
:)
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waian Premium
You're very welcome. :)
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lynnsam61 Premium
Hi Waian,
I was recently freaked out by hearing from another member how it was possible to be sued even if unknowingly using "free" photos. Thanks so much for sharing; I've checked out a few of these and have this bookmarked.
Erica
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waian Premium
Yeah, that's why I made this training available to everyone here. :) Glad it's been helpful!
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vercmb Premium
Thank you so much for your hard work. Blessings
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waian Premium
You're welcome. :)
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SiobhanP Premium
This is a bumper packed resourceful post - thanks a lot for your hard work in putting it together for us
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waian Premium
You're welcome Siobhan. :)
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SmartBoy10 Premium
Thanks very much. I have bookmarked this page so I can revisit it whenever I need to. Very useful info, Waian.
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waian Premium
You're welcome. :)
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Eartha Premium
This is an awesome resource! Thank you for taking the time to do the research and sharing it here!
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waian Premium
You're welcome Eartha. :)
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Phil-58 Premium
Hi there,
Well done,
Will be very useful
Thanks again,
Cheers........PB
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waian Premium
You're welcome. :)
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Triblu Premium
Well DONE Ian!

You've warned users of the importance of using images properly and to READ the Terms of Service.

A great addition to your very informative tutorial here, is Robert's (aka boomergp08) training on the proper use of Attribution when using free images:
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waian Premium
Thank you Trish.

That is a great training by Robert, thanks for the link. :)
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Bioladave Premium
Wow, thanks so much!
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waian Premium
You're welcome. :)
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tprather4 Premium
Thanks so much for taking the time to go through these sites, and thank you for sharing them, it's a great help!
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waian Premium
You're welcome. Glad to help. :)
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CraigW315 Premium
I appreciate the time you put into creating this list and I am sure that it will benefit many people. Unfortunately, for me, it just reinforces my feelings of paranoia over using images. I just flat out do not use them. My sites suffer for it, but unless it is an image I created myself, I am not willing to take the chance.

One question though: you mention that these site are free "as of this writing." what would happen if you use an image and then 6 months or so later, the image isn't free anymore? You have used it in good faith, and you aren't likely to go back and periodically re-check every image you have ever used...
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waian Premium
I completely understand your paranoia Craig. It's completely up to you whether or not you use others' images on your site. :)

Now, I don't know the laws regarding this, but common sense tells me that if you used an image from one of these sites while it was 100% safe to do so, there won't ever be any problems.

What I meant in the training, is that some of these sites might implement new features in the future that would allow anyone to upload their own photos (like with Pexels for example). Once that's allowed, it makes it very easy for people to purchase images from e.g. Fotolia, then upload them to the free image source, which makes those images appear under a CC0 license, when in reality they are stolen property.

If these sites do update, they will almost definitely update their TOS to give them protection in court if someone unknowingly used a stolen image.

Due to that reason, you should always check the TOS to make sure these sits are still 100% safe to use.

I hope this makes sense, if not, let me know what to clear up. :)
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drcmaint Premium
Thanks for this.
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waian Premium
You're welcome. :)
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PMindra Premium
Hi, Ian.
I'd just like to thank you for taking the vast amount of time that was required on your part to put together this list and revieving all of the Terms of Service, etc.

Well done and very much appreciated.

Cheers.

Paul.
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waian Premium
You're welcome Paul. I figured it was time for something like this. :)
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PMindra Premium
Keep up your great efforts, Ian.

Paul.
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waian Premium
Will do. :)
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HarveyBrown Premium
Great training and I have bookmarked it.
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waian Premium
Thanks Harvey!
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bigrog44 Premium
Thanks for sharing.
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waian Premium
You're welcome. :)
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AngelBcn Premium
Awesome! Bookmarked :)
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waian Premium
Awesome! :)
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Osama1275 Premium
Excellent training and very helpful. Thanks a lot!!
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waian Premium
Great to hear. You're welcome. :)
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BBirol Premium
Hi Ian, thanks for sharing! very helpful!
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waian Premium
You're welcome. :)
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ScottM2 Premium
I'm a little confused where is the training
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waian Premium
You're ON the training. Use the blue buttons at the bottom of each page to navigate to the next portion of the training.
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ScottM2 Premium
Thanks I feel so stupid and I'm wondering why all these trainings are so short
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waian Premium
You're welcome. It's a good thing you asked, no need to feel stupid!
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reanna1 Premium
Bookmarked! Thanks, Ian! :)
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waian Premium
Awesome. You're welcome. :)
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Simowatto Premium
Absolutely awesome my friend lol. I did 1 training on 1 site but u have covered lots and lots lol. Great stuff mate.
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waian Premium
Thanks Simon. :)
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WA2017 Premium
Excellent. Very helpful. Many thanks.
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waian Premium
Good to hear. You're welcome. :)
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sher68 Premium
thank you. This is really helpful to me.
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waian Premium
You're welcome. :)
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Loes Premium
Thank you, very thorough explanation about why you have to be careful using "so called" free images sites. I miss my own website though, that's a pity, because it's free of mumbo-jumbo and truly free to use too
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waian Premium
You're welcome. Is your site freeimages.siterubix.com ? I can't get it to come up, it keeps telling me "this site cannot be reached". I will gladly link to it in this training once it's fixed. :)
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Loes Premium
Yes, http://freeimages.siterubix.com/ I have no problems reaching it, Ian
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waian Premium
Loes, I got it to come up now, and linked to it on page 4 of the training. :)
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Loes Premium
Wow, thank you, much appreciated!
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waian Premium
No problem. Any safe image site deserves a spot in this training. :)
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SadieChan Premium
Thanks. Bookmark it, I used a lot from Pixabay out of convenient.
Some said if you re-edit the features or change the size, the risk is lowered.
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waian Premium
You're welcome. Yeah, if you edited the images the risk would be LOWERED, because it would make it harder for the rightful owner to recognize it (were it a stolen image), however, it's best practice to simply leave sites like Pixabay alone, since they offer you no protection in court should you end up unknowingly using a stolen image.
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johnwnewman Premium
Great tutorial! Thanks :-)
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waian Premium
You're welcome. :)
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Funkydunc208 Premium
Great list which gives us all many more resources. Did you find "unsplash"? It has free images.
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waian Premium
Hi Duncan,

Actually, Unsplash is one of the "free" image sites that isn't safe to use. Read section 12 of their terms: https://unsplash.com/terms

These other 25 sources I list here should have you pretty much covered. Once you see what some of them have to offer you won't miss Unsplash much. :)
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WindyCityUSA Premium
Awesome, thank you for sharing!
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waian Premium
My pleasure. :)
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ZoraGolub Premium
Thank you.
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waian Premium
You're welcome.
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theresroth Premium
Thanks!!!
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waian Premium
My pleasure. :)

I knew a lot of people didn't know where to look when it came to finding truly FREE and SAFE image sources, so I figured it was time for a good training resource. :)
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ZoraGolub Premium
I found some good pics on Pexels.
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waian Premium
Actually, Pexels is one of the sources that is unsafe to use. Read their Terms of Service and you'll see.

I've found some great photos there as well, but unfortunately had to skip them. (I don't even look on unsafe image sites anymore).
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ZoraGolub Premium
I thought it was safe, and it says next to the photo in the text. But I'll read the terms again. Thank you.
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waian Premium
Just because it says it's safe, doesn't mean it is. All the big free image sites SAY they're safe, but in reality almost none of them are.
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