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The Color Computer Library

Photography Library

Are you looking for a photo to use in your design, art, website, published work or other personal or commercial project? Or perhaps you are looking for an eye-catching photo to use for your computer desktop background. The following websites offer countless photos in a variety of categories. Most files on these websites are in the public domain and/or licensed under a Creative Commons license, meaning that they are free to use and share, privately and commercially. Copyright laws are a bit complicated, so you may want to read the fine print and do your legal research before you use any photos on these websites in your published or commercial work. That said, for the most part, photos from the following sources can be freely used for your work:

PD Photo

Jon Sullivan from San Diego, CA, offers his collection of public domain photos on this website. Most of these photos are in the public domain, but Jon states that some photos are not, so be sure to read the license associated with each picture for any restrictions.

Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia

Wikimedia Commons is a media repository used by authors of Wikipedia articles and for other Wikimedia Foundation projects. It offers over 4 million media files, the vast majority of which are photos. The website offers a search box or you can browse by topic. You can likely find a photo or image related to any topic that might interest you. All files are free and either in the public domain or licensed under a free license such as Creative Commons or Gnu Free Documentation License.

Creative Commons Search

Creative Commons' website helps you to search for millions of photos on Flickr and other websites that are free and openly licensed. Check boxes are included for specifying that you want content that you can use for commercial purposes and/or content that you can modify, adapt or build upon. If you find a photo that you want to use, be sure to review the licensing information for that photo to help you to determine if you can freely use the photo for your application. is a public domain stock photo collaboration. This website project was created by designers for designers. A unique feature is the ability to select and/or browse photos by basic colors, i.e., red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple and even white, the latter being for photos that do not fit in to the other color categories. Designers can sign up to upload their photographs and receive a free online portfolio gallery website.


Openphoto offers thousands of photographer submitted photos. Photos are either public domain or licensed under an open Creative Commons license, meaning that they can be used and shared freely as long as reasonable restrictions that have been put in place by the photographer are followed. Licenses and any restrictions are clearly stated for each photo. is a large collection of public domain photos put together by international photographer, Sam Mugraby.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides free access to their searchable photo archive of wildlife, plants, U.S. Wildlife Refuges and other scenery. These photos are in the public domain and can be used freely for most any purpose. You can also use Google as an alternative means to access their library by including "" as keyword in Google's search box.

For photos of historical, cultural and natural interest, you may also want to check out the Historical and Cultural Images section of this website.

I'm always on the lookout for great free, shareable photo resources. If you know of any websites that should be included in this list, please e-mail us.


GIMP - The GNU Image Manipulation Program

You've found a great photo or image, but now you may want to touch it up a bit. A great tool for that is GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), a free software raster graphics editor. With this software, you can adjust color, brightness and contrast of images. You can also sharpen images and transform them with a variety of special effects. GIMP helps you to resize and cut an image down to the portion that you want to use. GIMP also has many other features that make it as useful and powerful as other popular graphics editors such as Adobe Photoshop. The difference with GIMP is that it is free and developed and maintained by volunteers. You can go to the GIMP website to download and install your own copy.


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