Any web designer, blogger or creative person will tell you that visual content is crucial to their line of work. However, beautiful images can be hard to come by and expensive as your shopping cart fills up. In this deal savvy era, people in visual lines of work have one big question: where can you find free, quality images that are free from copyright restrictions?
This may seem impossible, but trust me. Photographers from around the world have banded together to make high quality stock photos free. Get your bookmark tab ready, because you are about to explore 42 incredible sites for free stock photos.
Are the images on these sites really free?
You can never be too careful when it comes to copyright issues, so it’s good to double-check. To answer your question, yep, these images are free. These images are free because they are registered under Creative Commons, require attribution or because the photographer has given the okay. For more information, check out Creative Common’s website.
I recommend reading the website’s photo policies or image link to double-check that you can use the photo. Some photos require attribution. If you are in doubt, follow-up with the copyright holder or contact the site. It never hurts to ask.
My Top 10 Free Image Sites
Creative Commons Search: One of my personal favorite search engines, this is an awesome site to search Creative Commons photos across Flickr, Google, Wikimedia, and more.
Foodie’s Feed: Get free high-resolution food images for the foodie in all of us at this delicious site. You can use the pictures anyway you want, but you can’t sell or resell the pictures. These pics are purely meant to enhance your creative work.
IM Creator: A curated collection of free images for commercial use. The images are high-resolution and stylish too. Keep an eye on whether the photos require attribution since they are curated from various sources.
KaboomPics: Browse through thousands of high quality photos at KaboomPics. The website’s topics and search box should help you find killer shots.
morgueFile: Some of the most beautiful stock image photos can be found on this great site. Great search functionality too.
Pexels: Five new photos per day, stunning photos, and flippin’ fantastic search functionality sums up this website perfectly. This site really is the best website to find free stock photos in one place.
Pixabay: Over 350,000 high quality photos, vectors, and illustrations are at your fingertips at this site. The best part, all the photos are licensed under the Creative Commons.
StockSnap: This is one of my favs! This site is chock-full of beautiful stock photos. Plus, its search functionality is awesome! You can search by relevance, date added, trending, views, downloads, and number of favorites. Take my advice and bookmark this site right now.
The Stocks: Bookmark this site right now. The Stocks is essentially a container site that displays other free hi-res photo websites in it. For example, you can browse sites like Unsplash, Super Famous, and New Old Stock without leaving The Stocks.
Unsplash: 10 new high-resolution photos are added every 10 days to this stunning photo website. There is a little something for everyone here and their search functionality will help you find the pics you’ve been looking for.
More Great Free Image Sites
Death to the Stock Photo: In my personal opinion, this monthly newsletter of photos has some of the highest quality and relevant photos out there.
DesignersPics: While attribution is much appreciated, it isn’t required to use these pics for your personal or commercial use.
Jay Mantri: Start making magic with these free photos. Mantri adds seven new photos every Thursday to keep the site fresh. The only downside is the no search functionality, but perusing through the archive makes up for it.
jeshoots: New, cool, and free photos await you at this site. Their categories should help you find what you’ve been looking for.
Gratisography: These photos can be little unique to say the least, but hey, they are high quality and free. New pictures are added weekly.
Life of Pix: These pics are hand-made with love by Leeroy Advertising Agency in Montreal. Thanks to this agency, you can enjoy free high-resolution photos with no copyright restrictions. New pics are added weekly!
Little Visuals: Sadly, the photographer who managed this site passed away, but his beautiful photos live on through his website.
Magdeleine: Stumble across a new high-res photo everyday at Magdeleine. You will find everything from majestic landscapes to animal shots here.
MMT: Get new commercial use stock photos every week on MMT. The site mostly features nature pics, but you will also find urban, food and drink, and even a few animal pics too.
picjumbo: As if you don’t have enough free image sites by now, here is another great site to add to your list. Between the search functionality and categories, you shouldn’t have a problem finding what you are looking for.
Raumrot: Browse over 500 hi-res stock photos of all types at Raumrot. While this site is registered under the Creative Commons, attribution is required.
Snapwire Snaps: Get seven hand-picked snaps every seven days at Snapwire. Under the public domain dedication, you are free to copy, modify, distribute, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.
SplitShire: Head over to this free stock photo website to get delicious photos for personal and commercial use.
stockvault: A photo site where photographers, designers, and students come together to share images for personal and non-commercial work.
Stock Photos for Free: There are royalty free images for every occasion here. The search functionality is great too!
SumAll: This website specializes in quirky, creative photos and illustrations. Your content will definitely standout with these images.
US Government Photos and Images: The US government created their own list of curated free government images websites. They do warn that some images may be protected by copyright or are licensed, so make sure to double-check the site’s image usage policies.
Wikimedia Commons: Millions upon millions of photos licensed under the Creative Commons are on this wiki site. Happy photo hunting.
Ancestry Images: There is nothing quite like the beauty of older photos. Check out this site for old prints, maps, and portraits.
Animal Photos: Birds, primates, and all sorts of mammals. If you are searching for that perfect animal photo, then this site is the place to find it. All of these cute animal photos are licensed under the Creative Commons license.
CarPictures CC: In my opinion, not the greatest car pictures out there. But I’m sure you will find the car picture you’ve been looking for amongst the hundreds of car photos on this car photo site.
From Old Books: Looking for some older photos? This site has hundreds of old photos scanned from antique books before copyright laws came to be. Non-commercial and educational use is free, but using the photos for commercial use is a debatable price tag.
New Old Stock: Check out these vintage photos from the public archives. These photos are free of known copyright restrictions. However, the search functionality is pretty bad.
PhotoEverywhere: Over 3000+ travel stock photos await you here. The only catch is that a credit (printed use) or a hyperlink (online use) is required to use photos from this site. With beautiful photos across the globe, exchanging a credit or link in a fair trade.
Start Up Stock Photos: Listen up all you cool office worker bees. If you are looking for modern office photos, then this is the site you need to hit up. Quick tip! Use the archive to browse photos quickly or you will have to endlessly scroll to see all the photos.
Superfamous Studios: Design Folkert Gorter knows how to take beautiful nature shots. Go to this site for nature shots of all kinds. The photos are free for personal and commercial use as long as you give Gorter credit.
Free Image Search Engines
Bing: Search for free pictures and clip art using Bing’s image search engine. In a few simple steps, you will be stumbling across free images left and right.
Compfight: This photo search engine pulls photos from Flickr and gives you the ability to filter images that are licensed under the Creative Commons. Make sure you select the Creative Commons filter to discover those free photos.
DeviantArt Creative Commons Search: Need images a little more interesting? Well then DeviantArt might be what you are looking for. DeviantArt is chock-full of personal artwork and photos, but they are not super professional.
Google Advanced Image Search: Google Images is the largest photo search engine in the world, but how can you track down free images amongst the millions? Say hello to Google Image’s advanced search functionality to make your photo hunt easier.
PhotoPin: Search millions of Creative Commons photos using the Flickr API at this website. Easy-to-use, sleek design, and responsive. Two-thumbs up in my book.
So there you have it! There are dozens of free stock photos websites out there to help keep money in your pocket. Feel free to bookmark these websites (I have bookmark folder dedicated to free image sites like these) or come back to this post anytime to snag some free images.
Do you use any free image sites that are on this list? Or maybe I missed some that you would like to add. Feel free to leave comments on your favorite sites in the comment section below.