Wikimedia Commons is a media repository containing over 63 million files that are free for anyone to use. Anyone can also contribute photos, audio, and video to it. Contributions of quality images are welcome, and there is a monthly photo contest anyone may submit images to.
All of the media is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License and may be copied or used by anyone that follows the terms set by the author.
Wikimedia Commons is a tremendous resource and opportunity for an experienced or aspiring photographer. Submitting images to Wikimedia will help you get found and noticed as a photographer. Images that are on Wikimedia perform very well in searches, especially very unique and specific images. If you have the same image on your own website , and on Wikimedia, the Wikimedia image will almost always show up higher in the search results.
For example, do an image search for “Sundial on Windsor Castle”. The first image that appears is one that I submitted to Wikimedia 3 years ago for a photo contest. The image is also on this site.
As you can see, as of the date of this post, it is still the first image that shows up. As with any image, the file name is important and should be very specific. The Alt text, meta data, and description should also match.
I recommend that all photographers become part of the Wikimedia community and contribute images, and participate in the monthly photo contests.
Your contributions will help you become discovered, and will help your images perform well in searches. Most importantly, you are contributing your work to a Global Community and providing educational content.
The sundial is not just a one off, try a search for “Saturn V Stage 3 Engine”, and my image on Wikimedia appears first. Same with “Engine HMS Warrior”. Not every image will be always be first, but the more specific the image, the better it will perform. Try “Rainbow over Denali National Park”, or “HMS Warrior Main Mast” and both appear in the top row. When you click through, the author’s name appears in the file information.
Wikimedia Commons is also an excellent resource for students to find high quality images that can be used without copyright concerns.