29 Unique Free Stock Photo Sites You Probably Don't Know About
When you are designing your website you want to stand out from the crowd, right? So, you’ll need high quality, relevant and frankly not-like-everyone-else images to create an experience on your website that is true to your brand and to your customer. Now, normally those require extra cost or attribution because images have copyrights. If you want to use an image in your blog or on your website you’d typically need to purchase a license. You cannot just search on the internet for an image and use it. And on top of the many time and budget consuming things you have to navigate when running your business you don’t want to add anything unnecessary to the list that takes away from your resources.
But no worries my friend, the interwebs is an ocean of awesome free stock photography sites. I am sure you’d recognize the names of a few of them like Pixabay, Pexels, or Unsplash. (or maybe not, and that’s ok.) These are amazing and widely popular places to get free stock images. And yes you will find a huge repository there. But do you want to go to the places everyone else goes? Or do you want to find that one unique image that fits your brand and message perfectly, but that you haven’t seen on every other site in your industry? There are less traveled stock image websites that are still just as amazing as those sites that are the highways and byways of free photos. But because they are not frequented by the masses, you’ll be much more likely to find unique images you haven’t seen everywhere.
Now, free photo sites are not all the same. They definitely carry their own flaws but the level of beautiful, high resolution images you can find there is a bigger payoff. Here are some of the main differences you will notice:
Search Capability: Some of them are not sites you can really search for images by content the way that you can on the larger stock sites. There are really great little mom-and-pop sites that you can find creative stock photos but are, simply put, “you get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit” sites. You know what I mean? So, for example, you may get images emailed to you weekly on a subscription or something to that effect.
Usage License: This means what you are allowed to use the image for. All of the sites here that I am mentioning, for the most part, have the CCO, which stands for Creative Commons Zero, or a custom version of that license where you are free to use it but you cannot claim ownership, resell or redistribute the images for personal gain. Another important thing to note here is that the licenses will mention whether they require attribution or not. This simply means whether or not you will need to give credit (in your blog or somewhere on your website) to the creator of the image or website you downloaded it from.
Size or image resolution options: When downloading these free images you will notice that some of the websites will give you a choice of what resolution or size of the photo you would like to download. While others will just give you the largest size available and you will not get the option to choose. Just be sure to look at the size you are downloading to make sure it is right for your project.
This list, while long, still doesn't even have all of the free photo sites out there. As you can see, there are many options depending on how deep you want to dig or how much time you want to commit to this photography curation adventure.
So, let’s dig into what you came here for shall we?
This site is amazing. It also has a huge repository of images and could even be considered more of a resource due to its more robust sorting filters. If you are looking for a sure thing where you are sure to find what you are looking for, StockSnap is the free stock image option for you my friend. I mean, seriously….LOOK at these photos.
StockSnap Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No attribution required.
Don’t let the name fool you. It’s not where photos go to die. (You know you were thinking that. I was.) It could be that the search options on this site are sortof dead due to their limitations, but it’s still an ok location to find blogging or website images you may be looking for if you want to put in the effort. You definitely need to do more weeding through the junk on this one.
MorgueFile Usage License: Custom. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. But no reselling of the images or redistributing them claiming you are the owner of them. No attribution required.
3. Jay Mantri
This photographer creates free gorgeous imagery. That is really what makes this site one of the ones that made this list. It's not a large collection but you won't be disappointed. He posts new images every week. And his images are all shot in beautiful high resolution.
Jay Mantri Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No attribution required.
This is the new Unsplash on the block. It’s monitored and combed through by the lovely staff and they take the time to make sure you don’t get stock image filler garbage where you should be getting the cream of the crop. They really seem to look all over the internet for talented photographers’ work, and usually in places other sites don’t. So you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find there. You will love this site!
Reshot Usage License: Custom. Free to use for personal or commercial purposes. No reselling or redistributing. No attribution required.
5. RGB Stock
RGB Stock has over 100,000 images and growing. I think you'll find something that works for you here. You will need to register but it's quick and easy. High quality images are just a free account away. You can then easily search through their categories that are pretty well organized.
RGB Stock Usage License: You will need to check the license of each image as well since some of them have additional restrictions on them. As always, if you aren't sure, get in touch with the artist.
This one is smaller and it’s harder to do a search for a certain type of content, but beautiful interface with categories for search. However, that’s not to say their images are boring. Definitely a little on the outskirts, and you won’t find the mainstream there. This one is a goodie.
Splitshire Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No attribution necessary.
If you are looking for a corner store of free stock images where you'll find the quirky and off the beaten path, this is the place. There's not really much for a search engine, well not at all actually. But they have a neat little collection free to use as you like!
Picography Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No attribution required.
Here you will find pretty high quality photos for your backgrounds, banners, blogs, and more. There is a great, simple to use search bar and fast download of images. This is a fantastic resource.
ShotStash Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No attribution required.
9. Life of Pix
This is a cool one for bloggers it seems. It’s less business-y and more lifestyle or editorial. It’s a mix of work from a network of photographers in Montreal. It has a large repository and a quality place to find moving images to assist in conveying your message. They even have a weekly feature on their social media on undiscovered talent.
Life of Pix Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal or commercial purposes. No attribution required.
This is the whopper of all free stock image site searches is all in one spot. You’ll notice you will see a lot of the same images throughout your search when browsing a few of the more common stock sites. Those are called aggregators. They pick up photos from other sources and share it all in one place. Well, you’ve landed the big one. This one is going to show you all the things free stock image related. Not only does this site curate from the other big guys, but it also searches the little ones. So you should be able to find pretty much anything you are looking for here. This is great for people are needing something fast and aren’t as concerned about the unique quality of being the only end user of a certain image.
OH! And they have a cool video search option to find stock footage for your site as well.
Librestock Usage License: This will depend solely on the site that you are sent away to once you click on your desired thumbnail image.
11. Foodies Feed
Oh mannnnn if you are looking for 100% free food photos, this is going to be your new favorite hang out. It’s where all the cool kids are. There is everything you’ll ever want and more on this site when it comes to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And dessert! They even have images of drinks, interiors, and more. It’s ideal for anything you need for your blog, website, or marketing materials.
Foodies Feed Usage License: Custom. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No selling of the images, redistributing them, or claiming ownership of the photos. No attribution required.
This is one of those little ones I was telling you about earlier. It’s a small collection and there’s not a lot to choose from. However, they are pretty great when it comes to quality and feel. They are great for blogs, social media, or website use. Something you'll see here is a lot of feeling and connection. If you want images with soul, look here.
FreeStocks Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal or commercial purposes. No attribution required.
Created by Adrian Pelletier, this fantastic collection of free nature stock images is gorgeous. It's a small personal collection that you can search easily. His photos are high quality and pretty amazing for anything you need for a blog or website. His collection is updated daily.
Free Nature Stock Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No attribution required.
This site houses one of the larger collections of free stock images you will find on the web. And they are gorgeous hi-res images. It's all stock owned by web designer Viktor Hanacek. There is a Premium Membership option if you want even more photos, but I don’t know that it’s necessary. There are so many images there for free that I think you’d be hard pressed to need the upgrade.
PicJumbo Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No attribution required.
15. New Old Stock
If you are looking for vintage images, this is your dream site. The curators of this site go looking for all the old photographs they can find that no longer have usage and copyright restrictions. They they share these with the general public for free use. Thank you New Old Stock!
New Old Stock Usage License: Expired licenses. All free to use for personal and commercial purposes.
16. Stock Vault
This is a fairly large repository and is mixed with offerings from Shutterstock (a paid stock image site). There is a mish mash of patterns, textures and graphics as well as photos. Designers may find this site particularly helpful.
Stock Vault Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No attribution required.
17. Negative Space
These are fantastic free stock images that will rock your world more than the standard boring stock images. They are definitely stock images for sure, but they are more interesting. They have categories to aid in your search and there are more images added each week.
Negative Space Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No attribution required.
Re:Splashed is yet another gorgeous collection of unique stock images that you can use for any project. You are able to search for photos with a particular tag easily and they are hi-res images. This site will float your boat for sure!
Re:Splashed Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No attribution required.
Photographer Jonas Nilsson Lee decided to put his work out there in this blog post style collection of beautiful work. It's not a large repository to stock images and there isn't really much of a search engine. But, they are quick hi-res downloads and really quite fantastic.
Cupcake Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No attribution required.
This is a downright gorgeous site and the way they have organized it is exceptional. You can search according to category, license restriction, color palette, and more. These images are full of spirit and tend to be on the moodier side with lighting but are pretty breathtaking. They illicit emotion and that's important for anyone looking to add depth to a website design. Being able to search by color palette is a hidden gem because it can lead to more effective branding cohesion as well. This is one of my favorites.
Magdeleine Usage License: CCO Public Domain. Attribution required on this one.
Another food photography favorite! This is a fantastic resource for those of us who are looking for that perfect food image for a blog or website design. It's definitely a smaller collection, but they are high quality and make you really hungry. Look out. They add new images to the site every week.
ScatterJar Usage License: Custom. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No selling of the images, redistributing them, or claiming ownership of the photos. No attribution required.
22. Kaboom Pics
Kaboom is a beautiful repository of images. It's the work of web designer Karolina Grabowski. These are all hi-res stock images you can search by category. It's the perfect resource for urban images and travel images as well.
Kaboom Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No attribution required (but requested).
Holy artistic awesomesauce Batman! This gorgeous collection done by three photographers in the Netherlands offers a unique look into the eye of the creators of the site. They take all the images themselves and they are definitely something creative and well done.
SkitterPhoto Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No attribution required.
If you are looking for a perfect spot to find images for your online store or eCommerce solution, this is it. There are amazing options here for all types of industries and a wide variety of lifestyle images as well. Burst is a really great resource for small business owners.
Burst Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No attribution required.
A visual artist from New York named Mr. Ryan McGuire is responsible for this lovely option. He alone shoots and post produces each image himself. He adds more images every week and his images are profoundly experiential. He puts a lot of thought into his work for sure.
Gratisography Usage License: Custom. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. He does limit you to uses that do not involve pornographic, degrading, defamatory or criminal uses. ( I think we can all agree to that.) And you may not sell or redistribute his work as stock images. No attribution required, but requested.
26. ISO Republic
An English designer and photographer named Tom Eversley is the one responsible for this creative genius. All the HD images in this collection would be awesome for bloggers, creatives, designers, and marketing pros alike. These photos are bright, intense, and evoke a definite response. There is an easy photo category search at the top of the site.
ISO Republic Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No attribution required.
StokPic is a great example of one of those sites I was telling you about earlier that is a subscription to free images! This site sends you a pack 10 of hi-res free stock images every 20 days directly to your inbox for free. However, you can still go to their site and search through all previously added images as well.
StokPic Usage License: Custom. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No attribution required. Do not redistribute.
Not only is the name great, but its owner is too. Los Angeles based, Dutch photographer Folkert Gorter to be thanked for this gorgeous little collection of work.
Superfamous Usage License: Images are free under CC-BY 3.0 license, meaning attribution and link to the license is required and you should be sure to add if any changes were made to the image used.
Powered by Tumblr, this site is run by UX Designer by the name of Daria. She has weekly updates of photos that are perfect for landing pages, backgrounds or graphic designs. She gets the daily grind of searching for images for her designs. This is for sure a smaller repository of images that's presented in a blog style format, but you most likely won't find these stock images in the mainstream websites.
Epicantus Usage License: CCO. Free to use for personal and commercial purposes. No attribution required.