There are plenty of reasons to use Public Domain Images. Reasons such as wanting to edit photos but not taking photos, wanting to visually present your point but not have a picture on hand, or even simply wanting a legal image you can use right now. The benefit of these images is essentially anyone is allowed to use them. They are free, and they are immediately available assuming you have a good enough internet connection to download them.
There are different kinds of public domain images though that you need to be aware of. Some are digital recreations of famous pictures/paintings, some are original works, and others are just old images from a different era.
When I say new, I don’t mean like all of these images were taken 10 minutes ago. It just means that they are recent and are likely taken with digital cameras and are deposited for public use on these websites. So this is where you’ll likely find cool pictures with different techniques, modern inventions, and in general more photos/manipulations than illustrations.
Life of Pix is a simple photo blog gallery with free public domain images. That’s really all there is to it. You’ll see an array of styles in the photos taken, subjects varying from the beach, animals, and simple things like planks of wood. Life of Pix also is really easy and no hassle when it comes to downloading.
Pixabay is a great resource simply because it has a huge catalog. The second you open their page it asks you to search. So you should come here with a purpose and specific picture you’re looking for. Pixabay is quite often my choice when it comes to new public domain images.
This and the next section may seem similar, but the difference is that “Old School” refers more to old eras and style of pictures/illustrations. It is more a representation of an every man than the great historical artistic achievements of the time that “Historical” will be.
Reusable Art has a great, straightforward, and simple layout and is just very easy to navigate through. Searching through their catalog would be similar to visiting an old neighbor’s yard sale.
Viintage on the other hand has a very cool, kind of groovy feel to it. The website feels like you’re in a diner from any particular time and these are the types of posters you would see on the walls. On top of that, it just has very cool illustrations in general from older eras.
The Getty is a bit of a pain to navigate through. However, it is generally worth it if you want historical public domain images. This would include old famous photos, paintings, sculptures, and crafts. You will need to register an account and just have to deal with the website. It is a bit of a hassle, but you cannot argue with the available library of images provided to you.
The National Gallery of Art is also another great resource for historical images. This site has a very in depth searching system if you know exactly what you’re looking for.