You’ve been searching for hours…combing through page after page of standard stock photos that just aren’t quite what you’re looking for.
Or maybe you’re on a budget and don’t want to spend money on overly-used images from big-name stock banks. We get it. And there’s a solution for you.
In the past few years, the internet has blown up with talented and generous photographers who are committed to making sure that everyone has access to free, high quality images in the public domain.
We have gathered a list of the 20 best websites that offer completely free stock photos for you to use in whatever project you have going on. Whether you’re a blogger needing a photo for an article or a designer creating social media ads, it’s never been easier to access some really great imagery without having to pay high subscription fees.
Disclaimer – PrintingCenterUSA cannot be held responsible for any copyright violations that may arise from incorrect or inappropriate use of any images downloaded from this list. You download and use images at your own risk and are entirely responsible for understanding licensing restrictions and applications.
Let’s Dive Into Our List of the Best Free Stock Photo Websites!
- Unsplash offers a unique database of more than half a million images that cover categories such as Nature, Travel, Technology, Black & White, Long Exposure, the Milky Way and even Pugs. The quality of photos that you will discover on Unsplash is more than enough to set it apart from other stock photo sites. Take a look at their website and you will see a wide variety of topics and artistic styles – and hundreds of new images are added weekly! License Info: The site has its own custom Unsplash License, which is very similar to the CC0 License in every way except using Unsplash photos for image compiling. Photos are free and can be used both personally and commercially with no attribution required (although it’s appreciated if you can).
- You can easily get lost scrolling through all the rich and colorful photos to be found in StockSnap.io. The site operates on a tag-based category system, which allows you specify certain traits in the photograph you’re looking for. For example, instead of searching through 12,000 photos in the “people” category, you can cater your search to only show you the photos that are of “children” and who are “happy.” Whether you need a car, a rainy morning or someone sipping a cup of coffee – they probably have it at StockSnap.License Info: All images on this site are released under the CC0 License. You are free to download, edit and use in personal and commercial projects with no attribution.
- Burst is a stock image platform created and powered by Shopify, meant to be a resource for business professionals, entrepreneurs, bloggers, designers, developers and more. They offer a vast library of interesting, versatile and high-resolution images that can be used for anything – your blog, an online store, website ads, social media campaigns and more! The images cover popular topics, such as business, fashion, fitness, products and more. License Info: Some photos are licensed under the CC0 License and others fall under Burst’s own photo license. You are free to use photos in any way as long as you follow Burst’s Terms of Service, which includes not using photos for anything illegal, defaming any identifiable person, implying endorsement and more.
- Gratisography is not your normal stock photo site. Here, you’ll discover a fun, artistic and often humorous array of photographs covering categories such as urban, whimsical and animals. If you’re looking for something that stands out and makes a statement – look no further. License Info: All photos on Gratisography are taken by photographer Ryan McGuire. He has a custom license similar to the CC0 License that provides images free to use for personal and commercial purposes. He does include a sensitivity clause and advises due diligence when choosing photos that might require extra rights (model releases, trademarks, brands, etc.).
- Pexels has hundreds of thousands of high resolution images, Photoshop and WordPress plugins, a Chrome extension and more. Pexels’ stock photos are interesting, colorful and creative in a variety of categories, such as business culture, space, wildlife, architecture and even vector mockups.License Info: All images are free to use under the custom Pexels License, similar to the CC0 License. You can modify and edit photos as you like. You cannot sell unaltered copies of a photo, imply endorsement, compile images or portray identifiable people in an offensive manner.
- With over 1.5 million free stock images and counting, Pixabay offers one of largest online collections of photos, video, vector graphics and illustrations. Scrolling through the Editor’s Choice is sure to leave you inspired. License Info: All images on this site are released under the CC0 License. You are free to download, edit and use in personal and commercial projects with no attribution.
- If you are looking for something with a little more of a retro vibe, head to New Old Stock. It has thousands of vintage and historic images from the public archive all in one location via Tumblr.License Info: Images belong to the Public Domain (no known copyright). Not all images are allowed for commercial use and some require attribution. Each photo includes a link that will give details about specific requirements.
- The name says it all…Foodies Feed is about bright, gorgeous and realistic pictures of all types of tasty-looking food. There are more than 1,000 photos divided into categories such as healthy, close ups, in hands and more. License Info: All photographers agree to release their images to this site under the terms of the CC0 License. Free usage for personal and commercial use and not attribution required.
- ISO Republic caters to providing high-quality, professional photos to creatives. There are over 3,000 images to choose from (the textures and abstract categories are especially mesmerizing). The simplicity of their category list and an easy-to-use search bar makes looking through ISO Republic’s photos easy and hassle-free. And, they’ve even launched a new stock video section!License Info: Contributing photographers agree to provide images under the CC0 License and allow personal and commercial usage without attribution. Users are asked to follow Terms & Conditions that layout extra ground rules for things such as model releases, brand awareness and more.
- Kaboompics has over 8,000 vivid and deeply beautiful photos that cover everything from home décor to fashion to travel and food. You can filter your search based on color and each downloaded image comes with its own color palette, which is extremely convenient for artists and designers alike.License Info: Photographer Karolina has her own custom license that grants free usage of her photos with some exceptions that include a sensitivity clause, reselling and redistributing unaltered photos and using photos that contain brands and trademarked subjects.
- Life of Pix (and its sister site Life of Vids) has a pretty large and trendy collection of cool, artistic images and videos for use in all sorts of marketing projects. Be sure to check out the “Desk” category for some fun and fresh images of office and computer setups – it’s the perfect inspiration you need to bring new life to your blog or ad! License Info: Photos are a part pf the Public Domain. There are no copyright restrictions but mass distribution is not allowed.
- The photos that you will find on Picjumbo are refreshingly creative and realistic – you won’t find any “staged” stock images here. There are over 2,000 high-quality images that cover popular themes, such as Food, Fashion, Abstract, Holidays and more. New photos are added daily, and you can opt to have images and photo collections emailed to you as they are released to the site.License Info: Photos are available under the CC0 License but users are warned about due diligence about using brands and trademarked subjects.
- A little different than other, more traditional photo stock sites, Death to Stock emails subscribers a photo packet that includes 20 photos within a certain category once a month. If you have a bit of a budget, Death to Stock offers two different paid subscriptions that provides access to extra photos and resources. License Info: Death to Stock has its own custom license that allows for almost type of usage. A few restrictions are claiming an image as your own, using an image in an offensive manner and more. Death to Stock does collects model releases for all photos that contain identifying people.
- Fancy Crave offers some truly stunning and remarkable photography. Every photo has a unique and modern style that will definitely catch your attention. Two new photos are added every day, so things stay fresh and you’re sure to find the perfect photo for your project. License Info: Images are offered for use under the CC0 License with a few restrictions, such as selling and redistributing images, using images for illegal or offensive purposes, using trademarked subjects or brands without the appropriate permissions and more.
- From Animals to Food and Landscapes to Sports, NegativeSpace has a little something for everyone with a variety of images from a community of photographers from around the world. The photos are interesting and offer a different perspective on popular topics (hint: check out the typography category for some fun pictures of signs and sayings). Content is updated constantly so it’s a good idea to keep checking back if you’re looking for that perfect photo. License Info: All images on this site are released under the CC0 License. You are free to download, edit and use in personal and commercial projects with no attribution.
- There are so many gems to discover on Skitterphoto. They have images that represent the standard stock photo categories (industry, food, business) and also an assortment of refreshingly unique topics (antique cars, castles). You can see how many times each photo has been downloaded before as you browse through several hundred high-quality, beautiful photos.License Info: All images on this site are released under the CC0 License. You are free to download, edit and use in personal and commercial projects with no attribution.
- Freerange Stock offers thousands of photos and illustrations in a variety of categories. A lot of the images you’ll find are produced by in-house photographers, but they also accept submissions from a growing community of creative photographers who wish to share their talents with the public. This means that all the photos you’ll find have different feels and styles – from abstract to artsy to natural. License Info: Some images are under the CC0 License and all others fall under Equalicense – which allows free usage for commercial purposes without attribution and forbids selling, redistributing or relicensing any images. You cannot sell products which derive their primary value from the image.
- PikWizard offers photographs of impressive quality in a variety of subjects. They are particularly strong with photos depicting people in a natural, realistic setting. It’s also a great resource of stunning nature and landscape photos. If you need design help, this site also offers use of an online design and photo editor. The free version is limited, but most of the images and templates and very cost effective.License Info: PikWizard has their own custom license that allows free usage in commercial projects along with a sensitivity clause. The site does offer third party images, which fall under the CC0 License. PikWizard warns that these images may still require a model or property release and it is up to the user to obtain those through the original source.
- True to its name, you will find straightforward and candid images at Realistic Shots. But there’s nothing boring it – every photo is high-quality, vibrant and interesting. The site stays updated with 7 new photos added every week! License Info: All images on this site are released under the CC0 License. You are free to download, edit and use in personal and commercial projects with no attribution.
- Styled Stock offers a small collection of mostly desktop and accessory scenes that have a decidedly feminine style. Every photo is very modern and clean, with pops of color that create a vibrant and minimalist effect. These photos are perfect for fashion, lifestyle and beauty professionals for use in blogs, website content or social media.License Info: The copyright is still held by the author/owner but images are allowed to be used for commercial and non-commercial purposes. You are free to adapt and edit without attribution.
What You Need to Know Before Using Free Stock Images
Let’s go over some issues that often come up when using free stock photos. As with anything that seems too good to be true, most things that claim to be free…aren’t. Or at least not without a catch.
What is a Creative Commons License – most websites that offer free stock photos are licensed under Creative Commons (CC) and will specify how artwork can and cannot be used. The most common license type that you’ll see is Creative Commons Zero (CC0), which is the least restrictive and allows an image to be used commercially and non-commercially without attribution. There are other variants of the CC license, which can require anything from following a sensitivity clause to obtaining model releases. There are also rules for using images that depict trademarks and copyrighted items. Just make sure to read through each photo’s license carefully and follow the rules.
So, as you can see, it’s possible to find free stock images that are authentic and realistic! Peruse through any of the above sites and you’re sure to find awesome photos that are perfect for your print and online marketing projects.
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