How do I get Free Images for use in App Development

When I began my App Development Career, I too had the tendency to look for Free Images on Google Images. However, I soon learned that, doing so may not be a good idea, as most of the Images found on Google Images search result are copyright protected and are not allowed to be reproduced in apps, websites or other kind of projects. So how do we go about searching for Free Images? In this post, I will outline some of the free image sources as well as the right way to search for free images on Google.

free image from pixabay
Free Image (credit: Pixabay)

Free Images or Premium Images

If you are just starting out your development career and don’t have the kind of budget to spend on premium photography or stock photos, then chances are that you rely on finding free Images and Graphic assets on Google Search.

While it is alright to use Free Images which give you the right to use them in your Development projects, some of the Free Images found on websites are more limiting in nature and don’t allow commercial usage. Which means that, you won’t be able to use such kind of free images in your Commerical Apps (apps that are monetized in any manner – ads supported, paid or having in-app purchases).

Leagally acquiring or purchasing licences of Premium Stock Images is the right approach if you want to avoid all the legal tension, as well as to find best quality images for your projects. However, this may not be always an option, specially given the limited budget or almost no budget, we individual developers tend to have when starting out fresh.

Looking for Premium Stock Images for use in Apps?

Royalty Free Stock Photography From $1

So, how do we acquire free to use images, which can be used in any commercial app as well? The answer is Public Domain Images, CC0 images and other free image licenses such as (CC 3.0) which specifically allow commercial usage in return of attribution.

Free Image Sources

At Super Dev, we regularly share sites which provide absolutely free images and stock photos mostly licensed under CC0 or CC 3.0. All the image sources listed in these posts are great way to start looking for sites offering free images for your own commercial projects.

If you ask me, I always tend to use Pixabay which provides over 300,000 free photos, vectors and art illustrations. Pixabay also allows you to search in their catalog which is also great and a better option than to search on Google Images, in my opinion.

Another site, that I like for getting great high quality free images is PicJumbo. They provide an easy to browse category of Free Images and all the pictures are allowed to be used for commercial work.

With all great free image sources mentioned above, and many more found in the list of free Image Sites, I am sure that you will be able to find the one that your desire to make your app or project shine.

However, in case your search didn’t end there, find below how you can use Google Image search in the right way to find commercial use free images.

Using Google Image Search for finding Commercial use Free Images

When you search with your keyword on Google Images, Google presents you with search results which include images of all kinds of licenses. However, you can tell Google to limit your search result to only those images which allow commerical use.

In order to do so, go to Advanced Image Search and type in your keywords. Then proceed to the bottom of page and for the field titled “usage rights”, select “free to use or share, even commercially” as shown in image below and then click on “Advanced Search”

finding free images on google

Advanced search setting for commercial use images

Even when you follow the above approach for finding free to use images on Google Search, do make sure to read the license present on the actual site, as many a times, these search results may lead you to copyright protected images too.

I hope, you were able to find some great sites in this post to find free images for your app development needs. Do keep in mind the importance of license associated with images and choose the ones that allow you to use them in commercial applications.

Kanishk Kunal

Kanishk is a Software Engineer turned Online Entrepreneur who has created many successful apps and websites. He devotes most of his time punching his keyboard and swiping his smartphone. Follow him on Twitter @kanishkkunal

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Hi Kanishk. I ‘m making an android photography app. I need some people image (some beautiful face model) to make screenshot on googleplay. I find some great image in pixabay (CC0 Public Domain), i really worry about copyright license. Does Google Play accept people images from pixabay?? if they require license, I could use link in pixabay to prove my case. Thank you so much for sharing knowledge, it’s really helpful for me.

    1. Hi Tuan. You may want to check out my other post Free Tools & Resources for Web Developers where I have written about an online library (UI Faces) of real people faces that you can use in your project.

      As far as I know, whenever you are using images containing faces of people, you would need a consent from these people to be used in your product/branding images. However since I am not an expert in this domain, it will be better to take legal advice from experts.

  2. Choose attractive images for apps is really a very necessary part of mobile app development process. To attract consumers any app developer want to choose that type of image that people should charmed by its first look and definitely download that app. So choose an image is a necessary as well as some difficult work. you have provided useful information that from where developers can get perfect images for apps. you are helping developers in perfect manners by providing this type of informative posts.

  3. Hi Kanishk. I am currently developing an app and have found some great free computer wallpaper photos online. Are these an option? I have not seen any small print about them only being able to be used for personal wallpapers but I do want to make sure I am not moving in the wrong direction. Many thanks!

    1. Hey Marnie, If the site don’t state that the wallpapers are free for commercial use, then they probably are not. You can try contacting the website administrator and take his permission before using them in your app.

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