Public Domain Images
There are some great images to be found; below we have listed some of the better sites we have come across:
|Site:||Resolution (typ.)||Collection Size|
lots of flowers, landscapes and travel images from the creators of pdphoto.org
some lovely old illustrations and etching from bygone books
nicely setup archive of user contributed PD images
|grin.hq.nasa.gov and/or nix.nasa.gov
Great images in nasa is a collection of high resolution space related images.
US Government Photos, wide selection of topics
Photos from american national parks, in photo CD (.PCD) format
|up to 2048 x 3072||1000+|
PD licensed clipart from contributors and via wikimedia commons
|small / varies||?|
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Photo Library
|small / varies||27000|
US Department of Agriculture. animals, crops, research, fruits and veggies - good quality
gallery if PD images from yellowstone national park
small collection, described as PD but credit required
community repository of free use images
federal emergency management agency photolibrary, some useful PD images depicting disasters, floods, forestfire etc
somewhat ordinary in terms of subject / composition quality
US department of defnece image collection
almost 5000 company logos in vector format (for editorial use only)
|adobe illustrator .ai files||5000|
just horrible when it comes to ads, but good categories of reasonable res PD stock
the US national archives, 30 million items (not all photos) organised under various subjects
collection of WWII vintage american posters
small bug growing collection of pd
|varies (up to 24MP)||1800|
small collection of pd, mostly travel locations
user contributed PD site, nice search
vector clipart and tools
|PNG varies, SVG||?|
Disadvantages of using PD Images
- Very limited choice, although there appears to be lots of PD images out there, it's actually quite difficult to find an image suitable for most concept topics (lifestyle, metaphors, images with people suitable for advertising etc.) wide coverage is limited to areas where US Government agencies are involved so there are some good pickings to be found in agriculture, food, minerals etc.
- Stylish, up to date stock images... hmm, no, look elsewhere, or look every hard indeed.
- Most of the images are dated looking or have some technical problems, while you can correct some of these issues in Photoshop it's often better to save time and spend a couple of dollars on a microstock image if your budget allows.
- Unlike Creative commons there is no easy way to search several PD websites at once, and typically each site only has a few thousand images. Unless you regularly need images on a specific topic that is served by one of the PD sites then you will spend a lot of time searching for suitable pictures.