25 Places to Find Free Photos You Will Actually Want to Use

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25 Places to Find Free Photos You Will Actually Want to Use

Are you stuck in a rut when it comes to stock photos? It is a complaint heard often these days. Fortunately, more and more free photo websites have been popping up, giving you many options to find the perfect image.

There is no need to spend hours searching the web yourself for these websites, as I have compiled a large list of free photo sites that have images 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.)

1. StockSnap.io

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 images, 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.

3. Superfamous

Superfamous.com features eye-catching images by Folkert Gorter. They are subject to the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license and can be used for your own purposes, as long as you give credit.

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.

5. Unsplash

Screenshot of Unsplash photo site

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.

8. morgueFile

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.

10. Picjumbo

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.

14. Gratisography

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.

16. SplitShire

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.

17. Bigfoto

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.

18. StockPhotos.io

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.

19. DesignersPics.com

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.

20. Pixabay

Pixabay photo site screen shot

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.

21. FreeImages.com

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.

22. Skitterphoto

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.

23. FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

25. Foter

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.

Final Thoughts

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.


Image Credits

Featured Image: scyther5/Shutterstock.com
All screenshots via Mindy Weinstein. Taken January 2016

Mindy Weinstein

Mindy Weinstein

Founder & President at Market MindShift
Mindy Weinstein is the founder and president of Market MindShift, a digital marketing agency. She is also the SEOToolSet® trainer at Bruce Clay, Inc. and... Read Full Bio
Mindy Weinstein
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  • Eoin Healy

    Some great collections, but from a developer or designer point of view, having to put an attribution to the photographer is not something you want to do, which many of the sites you listed ask you to do. Some of them you have to try and figure out who the photographer is, My favorite from this list would be Pixabay..very few restrictions on what the photos can be used for and no link back or mentions of the website are required.

    • Gaizka

      I understand your point of view. I feel the same. However you need to think about the photographer as well. He might have uploaded the photo there because he want to promote himself. As I don´t pay for those is something that I accept.

      However, I didn´t know about Pixabay, I will take a look at it. Thanks!

    • Kelsey Jones

      I agree, Eoin. Pixabay is my current favorite. Unsplash has similar “loose” requirements too.

  • Freerange

    Hi there – thanks for including Freerange Stock. I would like to point out that while we love it when users attribute our images to us (I think all sites do), it is absolutely not necessary and not a requirement for use. Our listing here is somewhat ambiguous.

    • Mindy Weinstein

      Thanks for adding that comment! It definitely helps eliminate ambiguity. I came across that a lot—where it was encouraged to give attribution, but not a requirement. Your website has a lot of great collections of images that I hope everyone checks out.

    • Mindy Weinstein

      Thanks for adding that comment! It definitely helps eliminate ambiguity. I came across that a lot—where it was encouraged to give attribution, but not a requirement. Your website has a lot of great image collections that I hope everyone checks out.

  • Tiffany Czarapata

    This is so great!  Thank you for sharing.  I use graphics a lot, so this is extremely valuable for me.

    • Mindy Weinstein

      You’re welcome, Tiffany!

  • Bianca Lyka Nagac

    Thanks for posting this! I only know Free Images and to be honest, the images that I am looking for aren’t there sometimes. I am not a professional photographer but of course I need images for my blog posts. I really appreciate this one!

    • Mindy Weinstein

      You’re welcome! Finding images can be a challenge, but hopefully this list helps you going forward.

      • Bianca Lyka Nagac

        I actually am using some photos from this list on my next blog post. 🙂

  • Mindy Weinstein

    Abhishek, I am glad this list helps you!

  • Steve

    Superb list! Thank you for pointing out the New York Public Library. That link alone was worth the price of admission for me!

    • Mindy Weinstein

      You’re welcome! That was very recent regarding the New York Public Library. They have a great selection to review.

  • Bailey Kosky

    so unhappy to listen to concerning very little Visuals’ owner demise, however glad to ascertain they’re planning to leave the location up with all his stunning pictures! good way for his work to measure on.

  • Julie Scheurer Graff

    I love the “that you’ll actually want to use” in this title. There are so many sites out there with just yuck photos. Pixabay is by far the most useful for me.

  • kenny marks

    What about taking Screen shots of YouTube Videos? I heard this is ok as it would create a brand new image that doesn’t belong to anyone.

    • Mindy Weinstein

      Hi Kenny, in general, I believe screen shots are okay if you include the website and the date it was taken. However, I can’t answer for certain regarding YouTube videos.

  • Bala Srinivasan

    These website it very helpful for my marketing business and i will have look all website and thank you so much for sharing worth site names.

  • Florian JoomGeek

    He hop la ! Bookmarked :p

  • Transport George

    Great list Mindy! This can help me easily find images for my blog posts.