All these stock photos of men in suits and bespectacled women shaking hands can be pretty tiring. Not only are they boring, but chances are you’ll also find the same stock photos in almost every website you go to. Now that’s a real drag!
As much as we want our website photos to look dynamic and interesting, most high-quality images can be too expensive. Also, doing a Google image search, while free, can lead to a major case of copyright infringement and can even cost you more in the long run.
The good news is, there are websites that offer quality stock images you can download for free. I’m rounding up 12 of my favourite online sources of free quality images.
Pixabay has over 400,000 free stock images all under Creative Commons CC0 license. This means you can use any image without attribution, either in digital form or print. You can also find vectors and digital illustrations in this site.
When you want something that looks more artistic and Instagram-ish, Unsplash is the best website to go to. You can find beautiful high-resolution photos of food, landscapes, vintage cars, office desks, and yes, coffee cups! You can search the website inventory or subscribe to get 10 new images emailed to you every 10 days. All photos in Unsplash also fall under the Creative Commons CC0 license, meaning they can be used both for personal and commercial use.
Pexels has 10 new high-quality photos added to its collection daily. The website curates images from other online sources of free stock photos, like Unsplash. All images are also under Creative Commons CC0 license and can be used without restrictions.
Flickr has been around for quite some time and it’s still a good and reliable source of free stock photos. But Flickr has eight image license categories and you have to know how they are used. Some may require attribution, and some may not permit their photos to be used commercially.
Stocksnap adds hundreds of images to its collection weekly. You can also view popular, most downloaded photos from the trending section of the websites. Like Unsplash, photos in Stocksnap have a more artistic and minimalist appeal, and are free from any copyright restrictions.
The aptly named Death to the Stock Photo is all about giving users different options when it comes to getting quality images. You can register for a free subscription plan to receive a fresh pack of images to your inbox every month, or register for a paid plan to get full access to the website’s entire stock photo library for $15 a month.
IM Free is another source of quality stock photos that curates images from other resources all for commercial use. However, some images may require attribution, so make sure to read the license of each photo before using.
Burst is Shopify’s online source of free stock images. All images are under Creative Commons CC0 license and are therefore free to use personally or commercially, without the need for attribution. Burst is all about helping small businesses create better-looking websites, products and marketing campaigns, which is why most of its photos have that trending business feel, like photos of DIY candles, clothes rack, people using smartphones, and sandwiches among others.
Gratisography has some of the most evocative images I’ve ever seen. All photos are captured by artist and web designer Ryan McGuire of Bells Design, and are free for personal and commercial use.
Picjumbo offers a huge collection of stock images from a wide variety of categories like food, nature, abstract, business, lifestyle, technology and more. Photos are free for personal or commercial use, and most require no attribution. You can also subscribe to receive a collection of photos straight to your inbox.
Pikwizard has over 100,000 high-quality images – all free for use – and more than 20,000 of these images are available only on the site. Pikwizard updates its stock with new photos every day and also has a huge collection of images of people, which could be very helpful if you’re looking for pictures to use on your website pages.
Canva is a free tool loaded with easy-to-use features and professional design layouts that lets you create stunning graphics. But this site also offers a collection of both free and premium images you can purchase separately or use directly with any of Canva’s free or premium design layouts.
See, some creative people are nice enough to let us use their photos free of charge! But while we take advantage of these websites, it is still important to check the photo’s license to avoid any trouble in the future. And most of all, let’s be good netizens and follow proper attribution when asked.
Where do you source free quality images? Share your favourite websites below.