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Best Websites for Free Stock Images

1st November

5 Top Free Sites for Stock Images

Plus 30 more with every kind of imagery you’ll ever need

When showcasing your business online, powerful images are essential. You could hire photographers, models and backdrops to get the perfect picture but that is unrealistic and impractical for most businesses. So how do you obtain the images that you want, with the right subject matter, style and tone, every time you need one? Quality stock photos, that’s how.

James Whittall: “Imagery can sometimes be a particular pain point for us and our clients. They are used for everything from web design to social media management, content creation and blogs to advertising campaigns. Good imagery can make a great website and bad imagery can equally break one.”

There is plenty of well known professional stock photos site that we do use regularly such as Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, Alamy and Getty Images to name but a few.

To make sure you never again have problems finding the right images for your project, we’ve compiled a list of our top five favourite free stock images sites complete with a brief overview of each. Between them, they cover a vast array of diverse subjects and categories meaning it is possible to find the perfect images, for free and for commercial use too. However, they will vary in their usage requirements, so before you start browsing and using the images, it is important to be aware of how copyright licensing works and the restrictions.

1. Unsplash

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? No

Website: https://unsplash.com/

There is a lot to love about this website. Founded in 2013, Unsplash started as a Tumblr blog but has grown into a huge stock photo library containing over 1 million high quality and carefully curated images shared by a large community of photographers. Creators are not paid for their images but thousands of professionals choose to use Unsplash to showcase their skills and art to a wider audience. The eye-catching high-resolution photos are all free and don’t require attribution or membership. You can choose to join up but it is not essential. All in all, a hard source to beat if you are looking for quality and choice.

2. Pixabay

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? No

Website: https://pixabay.com/

Pixabay is a web designer’s dream, with over 1 million free photos. Another bonus is that it also hosts a great range of vectors and illustrations. The site is easy to navigate and has a clear search functionality with categories, making it really simple to find what you’re looking for by both keyword and file type. Although membership is not required, sign up is free and will allow you to bypass the captcha in future, as well as giving you access to the highest resolution files.

3. FreeImages

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? Sometimes

Website: https://www.freeimages.com/

FreeImages are actually owned by Getty Images International who are also behind iStock. Unlike their other sites, however, this gem does not charge for pictures. As you would expect from such big players, this site boasts a huge gallery of over 400,000 high-quality images. Offering pictures from a diverse set of categories, this is a go-to resource for many bloggers.

4. Pexels

Searchable? Yes

Attribution Required? No

Website: https://www.pexels.com/

Started in 2014, this site has grown into a large library of free to use photographs which include some stunning pictures. However, quite a lot of photos are actually hosted by Pixabay, rather than Pexels, which means you get redirected to Pixabay when you go to download an image, which is a little confusing, although the photos are still free to use.

Despite this, the website is clear and very straightforward to use, with lots of different search options and a ‘discover’ feature, helpful for when you need inspiration or a starting point.

5. Gratisography

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? Appreciated

Website: https://gratisography.com/

Last but not least in our top five sites is this fantastic offering created by photographer Ryan McGuire. Although it is a small stock photo gallery in comparison to many others, it deserves a place here because of its captivating collection of unique and quirky shots that are great for projects requiring something slightly different. The images available are high resolution and professional quality. No subscription required.

Still not found the stock images you’re looking for? Here are 30 more sites to try:

6. Negative Space

Searchable? Yes, but a little confusing

Attribution Required? No

Website: https://negativespace.co/

Not exactly an independent as it is actually owned by Shutterstock. It is a smaller site but does offer some high-quality photos without any copyright restrictions for you to use as you wish.

However, until you get used to it, it can be confusing to find the free images because many of the search results will redirect you to Shutterstock’s own website and to photos only accessible through subscribing with Shutterstock.

7. Getrefe

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? No

Website: http://getrefe.com/

A smaller but growing gallery, Refe concentrates on offering natural, unaltered real-life photography, which includes some breathtaking landscapes.

Most of their images are free and simple to download, although some photos are priced with a small one-off fee. In these cases, the price is made instantly clear on each individual photo before you download. You can choose to sign up if you wish, you don’t have to. Images can be used royalty-free for both personal and commercial purposes.

8. Life of Pix

Searchable? No

Attribution required? No

Website: https://www.lifeofpix.com/

Life of Pix offers high-resolution images for personal and commercial use with new content added each week. The images are donated from Canadian firm Leeroy Advertising Agency and its network of photographers based in Montreal.

9. Picography

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? No, but encouraged

Website: https://picography.co/

Easy to use and find images, Picography is a simple gallery with beautiful images. The random shots offered come from a handful of professional photographers, selected by photographer and designer Dave Meier. All images are free for both personal and commercial use. There is no option to subscribe, just simply find, download and use the photos you like.

10. Wunderstock

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? yes

Website:https://wunderstock.com/

This site does not actually own or host photos, instead it works as a photo search platform, trawling Flickr and other third party sites for visuals available for broad use under creative commons licences, meaning it can access millions of images. It is useful for when you want to find something specific. Free but they do state to always credit the photographer when using works. You do need to carefully check the licensing for any photo you wish to use as not all are available for commercial use.

11. Little Visuals

Searchable? No

Attribution required? No

Website: https://littlevisuals.co/

A small but thought-provoking selection of images taken by the late Nic Jackson who sadly passed away in 2013. His family continue to keep the images publicly available and free to use.

12. IM Free

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? Yes

Website: http://imcreator.com/free

IM Free is part of IM Creator, a site offering free web design and build resources. They have a large selection of free-to-use available photos but most of these are actually hosted on third-party sites such as Flickr, so attribution is a must. As they don’t host their own images, broken links are common and searching can be a bit slow and time-consuming.

13. Freerange Stock

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? Sometimes

Website: https://freerangestock.com/

Free Range stock requires a membership but sign up is free and fairly straightforward. The site offers a huge range of photos and graphics, although not all are of high quality. However, it is very easy to search for particular subjects.

14. Magdeleine

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? Sometimes

Website: https://magdeleine.co/

Beautiful and professional-looking photos all available in high-resolution, every image on the site is stunning, although the overall feel of the collection is somewhat dark, ethereal and brooding so if you are looking for bold and bright pictures this may not suit your needs. The search feature on Magdeleine is simple to use and is unique in that you can search for an image by its dominant colour. You can also switch their website background between light and dark as you view photos. Not all the images are attribution free so be sure to check the license before use.

15. MorgueFile

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? Sometimes

Website: https://morguefile.com/

Morguefile is one of the oldest and simplest sites on the list. Simply click on the desired image and download from the same screen without having to sign up, it’s that easy. It contains over 350,000 images covering a wide range of topics, although because it’s intended as an ideas and reference source for creatives, rather than a stock photo library for general web usage, you may need to sort through the selection for the higher quality photos.

16. New Old Stock

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? No

Website: https://nos.twnsnd.co/

If you are after vintage images then this collection of nostalgic photos curated by Cole Townsend from public archives across the world may be what you are looking for. There is a range of images free from known copyright restrictions which feature historic events and bygone eras, providing a quirky, nostalgic feel. Obviously, due to their age, not all of these photos are of the best quality, but a select few are available in high-resolution.

17. Photo Everywhere

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? Yes

Website: https://photoeverywhere.co.uk/

With a selection of over 3000 travel stock photos, users can search for images based on geographic location. With no sign up required, it’s perfect for any travel blog or website.

You can also purchase images for a small fee to use without attribution, through Photo Everywhere’s sister site, ValueStockPhoto.

18. Pic Jumbo

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? No

Website: https://picjumbo.com/

Picjumbo was created by web designer and photographer Viktor Hanacek and offers a wide collection of high-resolution images for personal and commercial use. A wide range of images which are all categorised, perfect for web design, sliders and apps. The site is very quick and simple to search and download. You can also sign up to the premium membership for access to additional images and direct delivery to your inbox, although this is not free. They also have plugins available for Sketch and Photoshop.

19. Stokpic

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? No, but appreciated. 

Website: https://stokpic.com/

Set up by photographer Ed Gregory, Stokpic features an impressive gallery of images covering a wide range of subjects and genres. The beautiful, professional and high-resolution photos are clearly categorised with an easy search functionality.

You don’t have to sign up but there is a premium membership available which provides access to additional images sent directly to your inbox.

20. Superfamous

Searchable? By category

Attribution required? Yes

Website: https://images.superfamous.com/

Dutch artist Folkert Gorter and his graphic-design peers at Superfamous curate this small collection of incredibly high-resolution images with an emphasis on texture, form and patterns, perfect for use in website design or as desktop backgrounds. Although you can’t search by keyword, you can search by category.

21. SplitShire

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? No

Website: https://www.splitshire.com/

Splitshire provides free stock images from photographer Daniel Nanescu for personal and commercial use. Ideal for web designers, bloggers and graphic designers, all images are incredibly high quality.

22. Startup Stock Photos

Searchable? No

Attribution required? No

Website: https://startupstockphotos.com/

“Free photos for startups, bloggers, publishers, websites, designers, developers, creators & everyone else.” The team began by simply uploading photos they had already taken for their own projects and has let it snowball from there. They specialise in photographing ‘’startup focussed’’ workplace scenes while trying to avoid cheesy shots. The downside is that their website has no active search function so you may be left scrolling through for a while.

23. Jay Mantri

Searchable? No

Attribution required? No

Website: https://jaymantri.com/

Every Thursday, seven new images are added to the site and made freely available for personal and commercial use by designer Jay Mantri. Although the size of the gallery is quite small, all of the images are high resolution and showcase beautiful photography.

24. Pickup Image

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? Not usually, but double-check

Website: https://pickupimage.com/

Pickup Image offers a large gallery of free public domain images. They contain a lot of high-quality photos, particularly landscapes, although some images miss the mark and their tags can be irritatingly incorrect. Their website provides very little information about themselves or contributors but it is easy to search with features allowing you to search for the most popular or by geographical location. No attribution is necessary, but be sure to check the individual images.

25. RGB Stock

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? No, but double-check

Website: https://www.rgbstock.com/

RGB Stock is a huge gallery of over 100,000 free stock images for any use. Again, similar to other sites which don’t pay fees to contributing photographers, it contains a mixture of high-quality photos but some that are not so brilliant. You must set up a free membership to be able to download images but the site is very easy to navigate and search.

26. Libreshot

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? No, but appreciated

Website: https://libreshot.com/

Martin Vorel is the well-travelled photographer behind Libreshot.com (formerly freepix.eu). Featuring a diverse range of subjects, the detailed and high-resolution images are all photographed by him and freely available for both private and commercial use.

27. StockSnap.io

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? No

Website: https://stocksnap.io/

StockSnap promises to deliver ‘’an ever-expanding collection of the best, most beautiful stock images for free,’’ by offering the images ‘’under a single simple CC0 license that lets you do what you want with all our photos, with no attribution required’’.

The site does indeed offer thousands of quality images with hundreds more being added each week. The site is easy to navigate and search, with an additional trending feature so you can see what is popular with other users.

28. BigFoto

Searchable? Yes

Attribution required? Check individual photos

Website: https://www.bigfoto.com/

This site has been around since 2000 (and indeed looks like it is still in Y2K), offering images shared by amateur photographers around the world, all of which are available free for both personal and commercial use. The website now looks a little dated and as expected, some images may be grainy and not able to compete with the quality of other sites on this list, but there are still some eye-catching photos available for use.

29. Burst

Searchable? Yes

Attribution Required? No, but appreciated

Website: https://burst.shopify.com/

Powered by Shopify, this free stock image resource is aimed specifically at start-ups and small businesses, even offering other helpful marketing resources and information alongside their library of professional-looking, high-resolution images.

30. Reshot

Searchable? Yes

Attribution Required? No

Website: https://www.reshot.com/

In their own words, their aim is to produce ‘’non-stocky’’ images and their gallery is full of interesting, original and unique high-resolution images. Their search function is sparse in features, offering just a keyword search, no categories or any other choices but it is still easy to use if you know what sort of subject, emotion or main colour you are looking for.

31. Foca

Searchable? Yes

Attribution Required? No

Website: https://focastock.com/

Founded by photographer Jeffrey Betts, this collection of his own photographs is free to download for both personal and commercial uses. The site is easy to navigate and has several nifty features to aid searching for inspiration or the perfect picture.

32. Freestocks

Searchable? Yes

Attribution Required? No, but appreciated

Website: https://freestocks.org/

A constantly growing collection of free stock images put together by a small team of five photographers featuring some lovely pictures with a natural, unstaged feel. The website is easy to navigate, browse and search.

33. Isorepublic

Searchable? Yes

Attribution Required? No, but encouraged

Website: https://isorepublic.com/

Not only do Isorepublic offer good quality, high resolution, free stock images but they also have a good range of stock videos available which are free to download and use. The site also features an informative blog full of helpful ideas.

34. Kaboompics

Searchable? Yes

Attribution Required? No, but appreciated

Website: https://kaboompics.com/

Run by photographer Karolina Grabowska, who specialises in lifestyle and interior design shots, Kaboompics features a large library of detailed and elegant images focused around these wide subjects. The search features are very detailed, allowing you to search by specifics such as picture orientation and main colour theme.

35. Pikwizard

Searchable? Yes

Attribution Required?

Website: https://pikwizard.com/

Pikwizard has thousands of high-resolution, royalty-free images available for both personal and commercial use. Their contributors seem to be particularly good at capturing people in natural-looking poses, rather than the unnaturally staged images you often see across these sites. They also offer a wide range of background photos and videos.

How does a Creative Commons licence work?

A Creative Commons license allows artists and photographers to share their copyrighted work for public use. Artists can choose how you use their work. When using some photos, you may be required to link back to the photographer, also known as an “attribution”. Attribution is simple; if you include one of these photos on a web page, you need to add text that credits the photographer, for example; “Photo by John Smith” and be sure to include a link to their website, if they have one. Some photos won’t require attribution. Some photos will be available for commercial use while others restrict the usage to personal projects only.

It is very important to check the license for each image you use. If you go ahead and use or copy an image without meeting all the requirements stated, then you may be infringing copyright laws.

Conclusion

All these sites provide a huge variety of free stock images available for both personal and commercial use. Professional-looking photos can contribute to how successful your blog post or website is, and it’s easy to do it for free! Just remember to always check the license requirements first to avoid trouble. A photographer can simply drag an image of theirs into the Google search bar and find all the sites it has been used on, so it is important not to use images outside of the stated rights and permissions.

If you know of any other free image sites that should be on our list, let us know. Don’t forget to share this post on social media!

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