Are you stuck in a rut when it comes to stock photos? It is a common complaint these days. Fortunately, more and more free photo websites have been popping up, giving you many options to find the perfect images online.
There is no need to spend hours searching the web yourself for these websites, as I have compiled a large list of free online image sources that have photos you will actually want to use. The sites are in no particular order and some have extremely niche categories.
(Note: Even though I provided notes about each website, be sure to review the sites’ license agreements to know how the photos can be used and if attribution is required.)
Every week, hundreds of high-resolution photos are added to Stocksnap.io. According to Stocksnap.io, each one of their images is released under Creative Commons Zero and can be copied, modified and distributed, including images that will be used commercially. No attribution is required. They curate photos from around the web, but also have their own network of talented photographers.
2. Unrestricted Stock
Unrestrictedstock.com offers royalty-free photos, videos, and vectors at no cost. As stated on their website, you can do pretty much anything with their online collections. The license agreement only has a few restrictions, which should be checked out before using their stock.
4. Travel Coffee Book
Travel Coffee Book is a great site if you are looking for landmarks and scenery photos. All images are available under Creative Commons Zero. You can also submit your own travel photos to the website.
Unsplash.com is one of my favorite free photo websites and all you have to do is visit the site to know why. As their website states, there are 10 new high-resolution photos added every 10 days and all images are licensed under Creative Commons Zero. Be sure to also check out Unsplash Instant for Chrome. (Tip: Arthur Weill created an Unsplash search, http://www.arthurweill.fr/Unsplash/en, which categorizes the images).
6. Free Range Stock
Freerangestock.com has thousands of free photos available for commercial or non-commercial use. According to their website, the photos are directly from their in-house photographers, archives, and their community of photographers. They request that you include an image credit similar to the following, “Photos courtesy of and copyright Free Range Stock, www.freerangestock.com,” as well as the name of the photographer.
7. Death to the Stock Photo
Buffer, Pinterest, Uber, and TED are among the many companies using DeathtotheStockPhoto.com. You can sign up for their email list and get images delivered to your inbox on the first of each month. The images are available under a Photograph End User License, which basically allows you to use the photos for your own use, but you are not allowed to distribute them.
The morgueFile has a nice collection of photographs that are free for corporate or public use. According to the website, the morgueFile license is for the use of designers and illustrators and it is requested that you give credit to the photographer. If you are planning to use the image in a blog post, it is recommended that you get in contact with the photographer and include a byline with the image that includes the photographer’s name.
9. New York Public Library
The New York Public Library has Digital Collections with over 180,000 items, which are in the public domain. They are now available as high-resolution downloads. According to the New York Public Library, no permission is required and there are no restrictions on use.
Picjumbo.com is a stock photo site created by designer and photographer Viktor Hanacek. The images are free and available for personal or commercial use. There is a great feature on the site that allows you to “test drive” the image, meaning you can get a feel for how it can be used.
11. Jay Mantri
JayMantri.com provides free, breathtaking images that can be used under Creative Commons Zero.
12. Free Refe Real Life Photos
Free Refe Real Life Photos is by GetRefe.com, a site that offers royalty-free images. All photos are free and have a range of themes and imagery.
13. New Old Stock
New Old Stock is a very unique image site in that the photos are vintage and found in public archives. Per the site owner, Cole Townsend, all photos are available for personal and non-commercial use. If you want to use them for commercial purposes, you will need to do some homework by looking into the institution’s rights statement (all of this information is explained on the Rights and Usage page of the website). You can purchase images from pro photo packs on the website, which are available for commercial use.
Gratisography showcases free photos by Ryan McGuire and are offered under the same terms as Creative Commons Zero. As the photographer puts it, there are some common sense limitations to using the photos, but attribution isn’t required.
15. Life of Pix
Life of Pix offers a relatively small, but beautiful collection of high-resolution images, which can be used for commercial or personal use and do not have copyright restrictions. On a side note, if you need videos, check out Life of Vids.
SplitShire provides free stock photos and images that can be used for commercial purposes. These are photos by Daniel Nanescu that have no copyright restrictions. According to the website, these images have been used by The Huffington Post, CNN, and thousands of other websites.
Bigfoto has a gallery of images taken by amateur photographers across the world. Photos are categorized by geographical areas and themes and can be used for commercial or personal use. Images are royalty-free, but in return they ask that you provide a link to the bigfoto site on your website or blog.
StockPhotos.io is a sharing community that has a collection of over 27,000 free photos. According to StockPhotos.io, “only public domain or Creative Commons licensed photos that are allowed for commercial use are added on this site.” They advise you to check the licensing of each photo to avoid legal issues.
You can grab some great high-resolution photos on DesignersPics.com, which are taken by Jeshu John. The images are available for free for commercial or personal use—attribution is not required.
Pixabay has more than 530,000 photos, illustrations, and vectors. As stated on their website, all images are released under Creative Commons CCO into the public domain and can be used royalty-free, including for commercial purposes. Attribution is not required. There is a search feature that makes it easier to find what you’re looking for.
FreeImages.com hosts more than 387,000 free photos and illustrations. Be sure to read the Content License Agreement and also view specific restrictions for each image, which can be seen on the preview screen. You may need to let the photographer know you are using the image and in some cases, you will need to give him or her credit.
Skitterphoto has added a new image every day since its inception in 2014, giving you access to unique high-resolution photos. Skitterphoto images are taken by three photographers and are available under the Creative Commons Zero license. You can find various themes, including landscape, people, transportation, and more.
FreeDigitalPhotos.net has free, small-sized photos (if you want larger files, you have to pay) that can be used for personal or commercial use. There are tens of thousands of images on the site in various categories. If you download a free image, wherever you use it, you are asked to publish an acknowledgement to FreeDigitalPhotos.net and the creator of that image.
24. IM Free
IM Free offers thousands of high-resolution images in various collections. You can use the search box to find what you’re looking for or browse the collections. Photos are under a Creative Commons license and can be used for commercial purposes, but note that attribution to the creator is required.
Foter hosts more than 220 million free Creative Commons images. These images are from numerous online sources (Foter uses Flickr API and searches Creative Commons photos). What makes Foter unique is their WordPress plugin.
With all of the great free photo websites out there, you should be able to find just the image you are looking for. As a reminder, be sure to review the specific licenses on each website to make sure you are using them correctly. On a final note, there are many more free photo sites that exist, so if you have one you would like to share, please post it in the comments section below.