If you've ever tried searching for free stock photos on the Internet, you probably know what a ridiculous hassle it can be.
As a general rule, free stock photos are extremely difficult to find. A huge portion of the stock photo market is owned by professional companies like Shutterstock and 123RF, who charge $20 or more for a single photo. Even when you can find free stock photos, most are low resolution, watermarked, blurry and, at best, uninspired.
Lucky for you, there are a few ways to access high-quality stock photos without any hassle or significant cost.
Here's a lovingly curated list of the world's best free stock photo websites for designers, business owners and anyone else:
Unsplash adds 10 new royalty-free photos every 10 days and they're almost always of breathtakingly attractive beautiful landscapes. Just scroll down the home page to see foggy rivers, faraway mountain ranges or even battered signs in all their high-resolution glory.
Once you register for a free membership at Freerange, thousands of high-resolution stock photos will be at your fingertips at no cost. All of the website’s images can be used for personal or commercial projects. For photographers, Freerange also offers Google AdSense revenue sharing when you contribute.
In addition to thousands of unique images, the site also has about 20,000 CCO photos, most of which have accurate keywords and descriptions.
The team behind the project has also launched another free site specializing in vintage images called Vintage Stock Photos. The content previously required payment, but now you can find more than $25,000 worth of quality vintage photos for no charge.
Pexels is a website that wants to help. Started in 2015, it has grown to develop a reputable stock photo library. Its mission statement phrases their aim best.
"We help millions of designers, writers, artists, programmers and other creators to get access to beautiful photos that they can use freely which empowers them to create amazing products, designs, stories, websites, apps, art and other work. We call it: “Empowering Creators”" — Pexels.com
Pexels is also unique in that it doesn’t only display images located on the Pexels website. It also outsources images from such high-quality websites as Gratisography, Little Visuals, and more.
StockSnap.io has a large selection of beautiful free stock photos and high-resolution images. The site also has a very handy search feature making it easy to browse through the thousands of images available. In addition, the site tracks views and downloads so you can find the most popular photos available.
StockSnap adds hundreds of images on a daily basis and all photos are released under creative commons public domain – no attribution required.
Although Flickr is not dedicated to public domain images, they have an extensive library of high-quality public domain images.
Flickr is and has been for a long time, one of the greatest image libraries on the internet. With over 3 million, high-quality public domain images alone, I doubt you’ll run out of stock photography anytime soon.
Gratisography offers free high-resolution pictures you can use on your personal and commercial projects. New awesome pictures are added weekly and are free of copyright restrictions. All pictures are captured by Ryan McGuire of Bells Design.
#7 Life of Pix
Created by LEEROY advertising agency in Montreal, Life of Pix is a haven for free, public domain photography. Better yet, their Life of Vids website contains even more impressive stock video footage, completely for free!
Pixabay is another image repository which integrates images from other image hosting sites. They attempt to gather the very best of free stock images for your own personal or commercial use. Pixabay also allows easy access to camera search, which allows users to explore images based on the camera used to take them. This is a great resource for both beginner and professional photographers alike.
Picjumbo is a personal favorite of mine due to its easy navigation and extremely high-resolution photos (with no attribution required). This site also happens to sport a great collection of food shots, so if you're running a restaurant or nutrition-themed startup, you might find it worth your while to take a browse.
One of the most exhaustive directories of open-source images, FreeImages is a good place go-to resource when you're working on new web projects. While most stock-photo sites focus on a small niche (usually landscape photography), FreeImages offers thousands of pictures from a diverse set of categories. Most important, it's searchable, which is an incredible time-saver when you're working on a project.
The simplest site on this list, Picography is a scroll-through gallery of random shots offered by a handful of professional photographers. You can't search it but this site is perfect for designers looking for evocative photos.
Burst is a resource from Shopify that provides free stock photos for entrepreneurs. All photos are licensed under Creative Commons CC0 and can be used as you see fit. Burst was launched to help entrepreneurs make better products, websites, and marketing campaigns. Most of the pictures are original photos that were taken in-house and are themed around trending business niches — everything from DIY beard oil to Aliexpress LED sneakers. You can also find more general photographs as well.
#13 MMT Stock
MMT Stock is a collection of high-resolution photos provided by Jeffrey Betts. Jeffrey likes to share photos of computers and workspaces as well as flowers and nature. All photos are released under Creative Commons CC0. It means that you can use the photos in any way you'd like, without asking permission.
SplitShire offers a ton of awesome free photos for you to use without restrictions. Powered by Italian photographer Daniel Nanescu, all of the images available on the website are "made with love" -- and it shows.
From stunning portraits to sleek workstations, we've got a feeling you won't have any trouble finding the perfect photo for your next project or blog post.
#15 Jay Mantri
Designer Jay Mantri has built up an impressive gallery of professional, quality images just for you and me ... and everyone else.
If I had to describe Mantri's photos in one word, it'd be "scenic." But don't just take my word for it. Go see for yourself.
#16 ISO Republic
ISO's Republic's mission is to "provide high-quality images to be used by designers, developers, bloggers, marketers, and social media teams."
And all it takes is one quick scan of the website to know that it is succeeding in doing just that. (So much so that it's hard to believe the images are free)
For those looking for access to more exclusive free photos, ISO Republic invites you to sign up for its email list and receive photos right to your inbox.
#17 Negative Space
Negative Space offers up new free stock photos every week. All of its photos are shared without copyright restrictions, meaning that you are free to use them however you please.
From architecture to technology, Negative Space's continuously growing collection of images is one you'll find yourself tapping into again and again. The best part? It's easy to filter through the gallery of photos, which are sortable by category, copy space position, and color.
Here you can find:
- Multisite image search engine that can be used to find free images for any given subject among photos from over 30 stock sites. The search is powered by Google Custom Search
- List of other photo sites with free images that can be used for your projects
- Collection of FuriousCamera stock images licensed under Creative Commons Zero
Kaboompics has a large database of free stock photos, professionally made, professionally processed. They are highly appreciated in the web and used for the commercial projects.
#20 Free Nature Stock
Built by web designer and developer, Adrian Pelletier, Free Nature Stock provides free public domain images that focus on nature. The site is updated with a new photo daily.
As you can see, there’s a growing number of fantastic resources for stock photography. These websites have become a blessing for designers, marketers, and bloggers. No need to rely on cheesy stock photos anymore!