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Image Search Engines: A Collection of the Best on the Web

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Images are one of the most popular searches on the Web, year after year. We use them as part of a project, to decorate our websites, blogs, or social networking profiles, and for so much more. Here is a collection of just a few of the best sites for finding images online.*

Image Search Engines

  • AltaVista Image Search: Use AltaVista to find images of all kinds on the Web, including photos, graphics, or banners and buttons.
  • Google Image Search: Google's huge database will help you find pretty much any image on any topic that you can think of.
  • Picsearch: Find images, photos, animations; I like the "Most Popular Pictures" feature.
  • Ditto.com: Ditto's been around for a long time. Very extensive collection of images, photos, art, and more.
  • Yahoo Image Search:Use Yahoo's Advanced Image Search to really narrow down your searches. You can filter by size, coloration, site/domain, and more.
  • Ithaki Image Search Engine: searches across Cydral, Google Image Search, YahooImages, Dino, Alltheweb and Picsearch for images.

Image Search Sites

  • ImageAfter: "You can download and use any image or texture from our site and use it in your own work, either personal or commercial." Wide variety of images here.
  • Stock.xchng: This is the first place I go for images on the Web. There are varying licenses with each image, but most are completely fair-use.
  • Flickr is a great place to go to find a huge array of different photos. Make sure you check if the photo you want to use is available; not all Flickr users give this kind of permission.
  • YotoPhoto: All free fair to use photographs and images.
  • Corbis: Search through stock photography and pictures.
  • Fabfotos.com: High quality photography collection; includes only sites with high quality submissions.
  • Getty Images: Huge database of searchable images from various leading brands. You can narrow your search to include only royalty-free images.
  • Hubble's Greatest Hits: Amazing pictures of space objects as collected by the Hubble telescope from 1990-1995.
  • University of Colorado Garst Photographic Collection: Amazing collection of over 20,000 images put together by the Garsts as they were filming for Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom television series.
  • American Memory Collections:Photos and Prints: From the Library of Congress. Collections include Ansel Adams photography, Civil War, and Presidents and First Ladies.
  • Smithsonian Photographic Collection: "Search or browse through selected images from Smithsonian collections."
  • Classroom Clipart: A source for free downloadable clipart, searchable by topic.
  • George Eastman House: Search through a wide variety of photo and image collections, including motion picture and technology collections.
  • TimeLife Pictures: Powered by Getty Images. A fascinating collection of photos and images included in both Time and Life magazines.
  • National Geographic Photography Collection: Includes photo galleries from this acclaimed magazine, gorgeous wallpapers, photo of the day, and more.
  • JSC Digital Image Collection: From the site: "This collection of more than 9000 NASA press release photos spans the American manned space program, from the Mercury program to the STS-79 Shuttle mission."
  • NYPL Digital Gallery: The New York Public Library's collection of free digital images. "NYPL Digital Gallery provides access to over 337,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the collections of The New York Public Library, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more."
*Note: please read the fine print before using images from any of these image search engines or image search sites. Different photos and sites have different usage licenses, which can possibly restrict your use of their image.

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