20 Gov’t Sources of Free Images for Your Blog

abcollageRegardless of where you live your federal, state, regional and local governments can be sources of public domain images and other media for use in your blog. So don’t let the lack of a camera stop you from enhancing your posts with thousands of high quality public domain images. Do be sure to read the Terms of Use on each site as thousands of other free images and media files are available too, provided attribution (copyright) is respected.

arsimageARS Image Gallery -  is provided as a complimentary source of high quality digital photographs available from the Agricultural Research Service Information Staff. You can also search the Image Gallery (in addition to the categories) for an online catalog of more than 2,000 photo images.

Dinosaur National Monument Photo Gallery -  The images are available for public use and as they are in the public domain, all images may be used without reservation.  Any photos that are used should credit “National Park Service.”

Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center - “Earth as Art” – images from aerial photography and satellites Photos taken from the International Space Station (ISS), Shuttle, Skylab, Gemini, and Apollo missions (1965 – present).Maps, Imagery, and Publications. Aerial photographs, satellite images, Image galleries.


EPA Image Gallery – US Environmental Protection Agency Region 2′s image gallery provides free, downloadable JPEG images to the press and public. When using any of these photos in a publication, on a Web site, or as part of another project, please indicate “Photo courtesy of EPA.” Photos may not be used to infer or imply EPA endorsement of any product, company or position.

FBI – Photo Gallery. These materials are for your use in publicizing the FBI. No permissions are needed; please just credit the FBI.

GRIN – Great Images in NASA library of images – a collection of over a thousand images of significant historical interest scanned at high-resolution in several sizes. This collection is intended for the media, publishers, and the general public looking for high-quality photographs.

hubbleHubbleSite – Gallery -  Spacecraft HUBBLE image gallery See the telescope floating through its celestial environment and view astronauts, astronomers, and engineers at work. ViewSpace, a regularly updated multimedia exhibit that displays images, animations and videos based on the latest news from Hubble.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory -  A sampling of photos of the National Ignition Facility high-energy laser systems at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and other facilities. Drawings and photos illustrating the Laser Inertial Fusion Energy (LIFE) commercial fusion power plant concept.

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Reading Room – more than 14 million images. These include photographs, historical prints, posters, cartoons, documentary drawings, fine prints, and architectural and engineering designs. While international in scope, the collections are particularly strong in materials documenting the history of the United States and the lives, interests, and achievements of the American people.

NASA Photography from the NASA Photography Office – These official NASA photographs are being made available via Flickr and showcase what is making news across the agency.

arsimagesNational Institute of General Medical Sciences – Image and Video Gallery - This is a searchable collection of scientific photos, illustrations and videos. Permission is granted to use these products for educational, news media or research purposes, provided the source for each is credited. The material in this collection may not be used to promote or endorse commercial products or services.

National Weather Service – NOAA Photo Library images of scientific accomplishment, technological innovation and community service.  Snapshots of the heritage of the Weather Bureau and today’s National Weather Service, the source of official forecasts, warnings and climate outlooks

NGA Images is a repository of digital images of the collections of the National Gallery of Art. On this website you can search, browse, share, and download images. An open access policy for digital images of works of art that the Gallery believes to be in the public domain. Images of these works are now available free of charge for any use, commercial or non-commercial.

Check out a sampling of photos from the Office of Response and Restoration. All these images are in the public domain and are free to use; however, we would appreciate your providing credit to us, NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration.

Sandia National Laboratories Image Gallery – Members of the media are welcome to download and use these images. Please credit either the photographer or Sandia National Laboratories.

congressimagesThe Center for Legislative Archives (Image Gallery) holds and preserves the official records of Congress on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The records of Congress reflect America’s entire national experience from the First Congress in 1789 to the present. The documents presented here are a small sampling of the wealth of historical records in the Center’s holdings which total over 350 million pages.

The SIRIS Image Gallery contains a sampling of visual records that are part of the Collections Search Center. The Image Gallery includes over 530,000 electronic images from several archival repositories and museums at the Smithsonian. These images may be reproduced, free of charge with the proper credit line.

aris3USFWS National Digital Library – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Digital Library is a searchable collection of selected images, historical artifacts, audio clips, publications, and video, most of which are in the public domain.  Those not in the public domain are intended for personal, private use.

Yellowstone’s Photo Collection – an online photo collection with over 13,000 mountain natural ecosystems public domain images available for use.  These images are in the public domain and may be reproduced, free of charge with the proper credit line.

The National Park Service Digital Image Archives -  public domain digital images of many of those sites, including national parks, monuments, battlefields, historic sites and related areas. All images posted in this archive are free, and may be used without a copyright release from the National Park Service, but must not be used to imply NPS endorsement without permission.

Here’s a bonus:The Los Angeles County Museum of Art houses the largest American collection of art west of Chicago. LA County Museum Makes 20,000 Artistic Images Available for Free Download 

In this article I provided 21 American government sources of free images for your blog. Why not accept the challenge of finding similar free government image and media sources where you live?

Related post found in this blog: Free Images for Your Blog or Website

64 thoughts on “20 Gov’t Sources of Free Images for Your Blog

  1. Pingback: Zemanta Is and Isn’t History | one cool site

  2. Thanks for the resources – just finishing a Lighthouse project making a large chart with Puget Sound Lighthouses on it and needed two pictures to finish the project, finding them was not the problem – but finding ones that were not “all rights reserved” was a problem – and in the Creative Commons License I still get a bit confused as exactly what I need to put in the credit part

    Because of the wanting to get the credit correct and my confusion at times – almost all of the pictures on my site are ones that I took or where I know the photographer and can get permission and I always give credit

    Nice background by the way – I like it

  3. I will try and find out about sourcing images in the UK, as I am snap happy I don’t do much hunting around for images but it would be a good thing to research. This is a great post and I will come back and read again and make notes. Thank you!

    • Hi Joanna,
      You’re welcome. Governments have some excellent historical images, cultural and landscape images that are in the public domain. Sometimes they may be exactly what we are looking for. I like your pictures a lot. I’m smiling as I type this because they do tend to make my mouth water. :) However, I’m not much of a shutterbug. My hubby usually has the camera with him when he travels so I don’t take many pictures.

  4. Pingback: Who is this? A little puzzle! | Zeb Bakes

  5. timethief, thanks for your post about websites with available imaging for public-domain use. Subject to permitted and fair use, I agree that attribution is always a good policy; it’s tantamount to saying “thank this person, and look, they made a great looking image.”

  6. Hello One Cool Site

    Thanks for this compilation – very useful

    [block of signature links removed by timethief]

  7. WOW! Such a wealth of resource you have gathered for us all. It is huge and I cannot thank you enough for this wonderful post. Your blog is surely a treasure house of resources. Thanks a million for this, since I am always in search of good photos for my blog posts. Thanks once again. You are a real treasure for us. Take care and have a lovely weekend.

    • I’ll bet that if you check it out Australia’s government will have public domain images as well. Don’t forget to check under the various state governments as well as the federal ones.

  8. TiTi,
    This is simply awesome!!!
    I always take the longest time to find free quality images for my blog posts…and these sites you mention here will be so helpful. Will definitely save me lots of time rummaging through the internet :)
    Thank you!!!
    So Much Love~

    • Dear Zeenat,

      We are both visual people and I can see that you too spend ages looking at images in order to select the “right” one for your blog posts. I hope you like the images these American government sources produce but I do want to encourage you to find what your own country has as well.

      Love and peace always

      • Thank you TiTi :) I do have a few local resources for images and they do prove good. But you know, there are times when you cant find ‘just’ the right image….thats when we need more resources, and thats when this post of your will help immensely. :)
        Lots of love~

        • Dear Zeenat,
          I can see that you choose each image with great care. I hope you find lots of images that you can use at the source sites that I linked to.

          Love and peace

  9. Yes, even from a govn’t site, giving source credit is good. :)

    I keep on forgetting that other people aren’t has shutter clicking happy as my partner and I. Sometimes I ask myself why am I taking my camera when I’m just biking to the store?

  10. Some other really excellent sites for photos are Wikimedia Commons: commons.wikimedia.org , Foter: foter.com , and Photos Public Domain: photos-public-domain.com . All are really excellent and I use them myself. I really recommend them. They’re great for blog photos.

  11. Being a beginning blogger, I recently started paying very close attention to copyrights. Would you suggest I comb through all my previous posts to make sure I gave credit where credit was due? Or do think, from the moment I became conscience of this, is ‘good enough’?

  12. Thanks for sharing this info. Even if I don’t need one of the photos for a blog, they are great for viewing. It’s nice to get something FROM the Government.

    • Hi there Beverly,
      I’ve only done two posts on free image sources so far but I will be doing more. I hope you have a good time browsing the galleries and I hope you find some images you want to use as well.

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