With human brains processing images 60,000 times faster than text, good photos are vital for grabbing attention and getting your message across. But what do you do if you don’t have enough visual material? Get it for free from one of these free stock photo websites!
Free business stock photos
iStockphoto.com (by Getty Images) and Shutterstock.com are the most well-known paid stock photo sites. You can find pictures of virtually anything here — but at a hefty price. Also, many of the stock photos are just too, well, “stocky.” Think over-the-top typically American pictures of absurdly happy people with unnaturally white teeth.
Luckily, there are alternatives. We’ve compiled a list of ten sites with free stock photos for your convenience:
Vecteezy has an extensive library of nice free stock photos. There are a few benefits that make this website stand out against other stock photo sites. First, the site has a more robust search engine that allows you to filter photos by color, orientation, style, number of people, age of models, and more. Second, Vecteezy provides signed model and property releases for all free photos where needed. This protects users (and their designs) from any legal liabilities – a detail often overlooked by other free stock photo sites. Finally, Vecteezy’s content team members manually review each photo submission for quality. This means their photo collection is expertly curated, ensuring a high bar of quality.
Freepik is a powerful search engine that helps users find free high-quality stock photos, and other graphic resources such as vector images, illustrations, and PSD files. Millions of graphic resources are available to download and can be used in any personal or professional design project. In addition, Freepik’s search engine has powerful filters helping to find any type of resource, orientation, color, style, etc. Freepik users can download graphic resources formats compatible with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.
This site is also somewhat different. The photos are not curated and not as professionally produced as on Unsplash or Gratisography. You’ll find pictures of random people and everyday objects, kind of like your aunt Sally shared her Google Photos stream with you. Morguefile is not the place to find big header images, but if you need a simple free photo of a kid brushing his teeth, this is the free stock photos website for you.
This site has a very large database of high-quality images. It’s somewhat more oriented towards business and marketing than Unsplash, which is often helpful for content marketers and bloggers. Another big advantage of Pixabay is that they also offer free vectors and illustrations.
Stockvault is another great source of free stock photos, wallpapers, and even textures. The collection is only about half the size of Unsplash, but it’s well-curated and has daily new additions. This site also has a good search engine and is well-organized for browsing by category.
We can't do a post on free stock images without mentioning Pexels. Their vast, well-organized collection of free stock photos is one of the best curated on the internet. In addition, they have free stock videos! Pexels is the go-to image source for many bloggers.
Run by a 24-year-old photographer who was tired of getting his photos rejected by major stock sites and decided to create his own, PicJumbo is now a thriving free stock photo community with a big selection of beautiful free photos.
Rawpixel claims to have the most diverse collection of stock photos in the industry — and it may be true. They also have vectors, PSD mockups, and public domain content like famous Japanese wood panel prints. Their paid option contributes towards Hope for Children.
More than a just a simple stock photo collection, Reshot is a community with a mission. They aim to give emerging photographers a platform to share their creativity with those who need it. Their curated collections are extensive, stunning, and completely free.
What about usage rights on free stock photos?
Nearly all images on these free stock sites have a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means you can copy, adapt or distribute the images — even for commercial purposes — without requiring author consent. In other words, do whatever you want with them!
Read more about this on the Creative Commons website.
Still have trouble picking the right images? Read our five tips to help you choose your images. Also, take a look at this post on Free Stock Video Footage Websites.