You might be asking “What does a horse in roller skates have to do with free stock photos and other images?” Nothing, really. But I bet it caught your attention!
If you’re like most people, the blog posts, Facebook updates, or tweets you notice most are the ones that include eye-catching images. There’s plenty of proof showing that content that includes appealing photos or other images will result in more engagement than content without the images.
Unless you have a serious interest in photography, or are a graphic artist you may not have that many images of your own to include with your blog or other online content. And snagging an image from just anywhere can get you into a heap of trouble with the copyright owner. So you may be wondering where to get quality stock photos without spending an arm and a leg. There are quite a few websites to turn to for free photos, illustrations, and other royalty-free images, and here are some of my favorites:
This website is jam packed with all sorts of images! They have photos, vector images, backgrounds, wallpaper, and more. In addition to the free images, they do have many that, when clicked on, take you to an image from Shutterstock. Those are not free.
Burst (by Shopify) offers stock photography by category, all free for commercial use.
How would you like to get some great photos in your inbox every month? When you sign up at Death to the Stock Photo that’s just what you’ll get. Their images can be used for commercial use, your blog posts, social accounts and mockups. If you like what they send you, and want more, you can sign up for a premium account.
Many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license, and you can browse or search through content under each type of license. Be sure to read through the different types of licenses before using any photos. In some cases the owner allows their photos to be used completely free while others have various stipulations for use.
This has become my first stop, especially when I’m looking for photos of pets. Their stock photos and illustrations are available in several sizes, with the smallest version being royalty-free. In exchange for free use, you’ll be required to add an acknowledgment listing FreeDigitialPhotos.net and the image creator. If you’d rather not post the acknowledgement, you can pay for the photo.
Freerange Stock was formed with the goal to provide quality stock photos for commercial and non-commercial use. For free. All images are either shot by Freerange Stock, drawn from Freerange archives, or contributed by a talented community of photographers.
Royalty-free stock images for both Commercial and Personal Projects under the CC0 license.
If you want something a little out of the ordinary, this is where you’ll find it! The photographer, Ryan McGuire, is super generous and offers his high-resolution photos free for personal and commercial use. And, he adds new photos weekly.
These are cute graphics, primarily for teachers or others who work with children. There are plenty of cats and dogs too, which people in the pet industry may find useful. All of the images are created by one artist, who offers them for “printing, classroom lessons or activities, scrapooking, craft projects, or to decorate your blog or website!”
All of the photos on Pexels are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means all of their photos can be used free for any legal purpose whethr it’s for personal or commercial use, without having to ask anyone for permission. Pexels adds at least 70 new high resolution photos every week.
Download free stock photos, backgrounds and free high-resolution images for personal and commercial use.
Picspree is a helpful resource of free stock images for the creative community to use in any project. All images are free to use, with no credit or permission needed, meaning they are ready to use even in commercial projects.
Stunning library of over 1 million stock images and videos. Royalty free and safe for commercial use, with no attribution required.
Pixabay is a repository for stunning public domain pictures, including stock photos and copyright free vector graphics. You can use any Pixabay image without attribution in digital and printed form, even for commercial applications.
The images Public domain images are explicitly placed in the public domain. You can use all public domain images from this gallery for whatever you want, use it freely for personal and commercial use.
All photos published on Reshot are free to use, both for commercial and noncommercial purposes. Reshot provides the world’s best emerging photographers with a beautiful platform for sharing a sampling of their best work for free use in creative projects. Creatives in need of visual content can freely explore and license some of the world’s best imagery.
All photos on Skitterphoto are free to use for any purpose. You may download and edit photos and even use them commercially.
Need photos of people and computers or other electronic devices? If so, you might find just what you’re looking for here. They don’t have a ton of photos yet, but the ones they do have are definitely worth looking at. Like Unsplash, these photos are free to use, but attribution is required. See the Creative Commons link on their website for more info.
Hundreds of high resolution images added weekly. Free from copyright restrictions. Images on StockSnap are governed by the Creative Commons CC0 license.
If you’re looking for some killer scenery shots, make sure you look at Unsplash. They have other photos too, but their outdoor photos are exceptional. As their website says, the photos are free to use for whatever: “All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.”
Updated June 4, 2020
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Whether it’s from one of the above websites, or somewhere else, before using any images make sure you know what you can and cannot do with them. Read the terms of service where photos are available for your use. Many of them are licensed under Creative Commons. If you’re unsure how you can use them, ask!
Do you have any favorite websites that you go to for images?
photo courtesy of Gratisography
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