Free Image Databases

on Friday, February 19, 2010

Need images for your website or brochure?

There are many resources out there that provide free images for websites and print publications. Low resolution images are best for the web, as they greatly reduce file size and thus download time, and are typically 72 dpi (dots per inch). Print publications need much higher resolution, and require a minimum of 300 dpi.

Here is a quick rundown of five excellent free image databases. Please observe copyright notices and requests for credit lines.

The Bugwood Network ( lots of free pictures of, well, bugs and wood, but lots of other nature, agriculture, and whole ecosystem photos as well. Various Creative Commons licenses apply to different images, so be sure and check on the CC license of a specific image. You must register as member to get high resolution images, but membership is free.

Communications and Creative Services (CCS) Photo Resources ( Over 2000 images. Login is CoopExt, password will be provided by Help desk. The Asset>Information menu will provide you with the applicable credit line to use.

CREES ( has photos in all topic areas from Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service. Free and comprehensive.

Natural Resources Conservation Service ( has a very nice searchable database. Requires a credit line in publication or webpage. Images may not be distorted or altered.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory ( has a collection of photographs related to renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Low resolution images - useful for the web - for free. High resolution images cost $42. Acknowledge DOE/NREL for all images used, and give appropriate credit.


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