This may not be news for hardcore self-publishers out there, but the rest of you might be interested in this.

Since I’m designing my own covers, I’ve been looking for free photos online. There are plenty of free stock image places online, but where the resolution was good enough, the image often wasn’t, and where I liked the image, either I couldn’t get a high enough resolution, or the image was shaped incorrectly (mostly landscape where I need portrait).

But when I was designing this cover:

I hit upon the brilliant (if I don’t say so myself) idea of going to the Center for Disease Control and looking for images there. The above photo of the smirking doctor putting on the glove was perfect. He even looks like a model. And it is totally and utterly free, in the public domain, and available at a high resolution.

So now, I’m designing the cover of the third book, and I’m having another problem:

The image is too freakin’ perfect. This beautiful photo of an idyllic farm is all wrong for my dystopian setting. So I need to find a picture of an ugly farm–to contrast with the title–but the photographers for the US government has too much of an eye for beauty.

But trust me: it’s a good problem to have. If pinch comes to shove, I can uglify a photo. It just seems like such a crime.

Anyway, the actual treasure trove is here:

US Government Images and Photos

Not every photo is in the public domain, but most are. Be sure to check.

Happy hunting!