Free and affordable images: safe resources for University web authors

Unless there is a very specific image you want to use that is absolutely necessary for the purpose of your webpage and the expense can be justified, for most purposes on the University website, you will not need to use images that require significant payment to copyright owners for rights to use them. To ensure you are not inadvertently using an image illegally, here are some resources you can use that will help to ensure you can reuse digital images legally in your web pages.

Do remember that even if artists allow reuse for their work free of charge, they still retain intellectual property rights over their images and you will be obtaining their permission to use their images under the terms of the websites concerned. It is only fair to at least acknowledge their ownership of the images you use, even if you are not paying for them.

Selecting photographs for use in the University website

The quality and placing of photography is a very important feature of the University's corporate web design. Photographs for use on the University website need to be of specific dimensions and composition depending on the kind of template they are to be used in. If you are unsure of what kind of image you need, you should contact the Web Team to discuss your requirements and we may be able to locate suitable images for you.

Photography under University copyright ownership

The University regularly commissions photography for use in promotional publications, including the University website. We have an extensive and growing archive, many of which can be viewed on the University’s online archive, Assetbank.

Morgue File

The Morgue File site contains photographs freely contributed by many artists to be used in creative and commercial projects by visitors to the site. To acknowledge the artist's accomplishments, who still retains ownership of the images he/she has released for use under Morgue File’s terms and conditions, and out of courtesy to the photographers who have granted permission for the free use of their work, you are asked to credit the photographer when possible, but this is not required. You do not need to register on this site to download images from their archive.


Fotolia is a huge image bank of free and affordable royalty-free photos and illustrations for web or print. Many of its images are free, and others are available from £0.63p. Note that ‘royalty-free’ is not the same as ‘free’; it means the image can be purchased without limits on the time it is used for or on the number of uses that are made of it. Again, acknowledging the photographer or artist would be courteous. You need to register as a member to use the site, but membership is free. You must purchase Fotolia credits if you need to purchase images from the site. Credits cost at least £0.63p each depending on how many credits you buy at once, which can be from 10 to 2000 at a time.


stock.xchng is a community of professional photographers and amateur enthusiasts who offer their works for public use free of charge or at minimal cost. You need to register to use the site and download images but membership is free.