Content is getting more visual and no matter what business model you are following, images will play a part in it. Using free stock photos is a great place to start if you don't want to spend money on paid stock image sites like Depositphotos and Shutterstock.
(This article is regularly updated if you have a site you think we should have please leave it in the comments – last updated January 2020)
I first published this post over 3 years ago and since then, a lot has changed. Originally there were only 12 sites listed here, so I decided it was time to go hunting for more royalty free stock photo sites and give this post a long overdue update.
I'll be adding to this list as I find new free stock photo sites so check back in the future.
Look around the internet; Facebook, Buzzfeed, Outbrain, news sites, etc. are all are getting more visual. You simply need to use good images to catch people's attention these days.
The problem is good quality stock photos can be expensive. I publish up to 5 blog posts a day for my network of blogs which translates to about 10-20 images that my graphic designers need.
That's not including stock photos for tweets, quotations, and social media.
Even with accounts at several stock photo sites, our go-to sources of images are several of the free photo sites listed below.
Of course you could do what a lot of people do and go to Google and just steal images from someone else's site. (Yes, it is stealing!) The chances are you won't get caught, but didn't your mother teach you stealing is wrong?
On top of that, if you mistakenly use an image owned by Getty Images, you will get an email from their lawyers.
- 1 Creative Commons Licence CC0
- 2 Best Free Stock Images
- 2.1 Pexels
- 2.2 Pixabay
- 2.3 Pikiwizard
- 2.4 Unsplash – Free Stock Photography
- 2.5 Death To Stock Photo
- 2.6 Picjumbo
- 2.7 Stocksnap.io
- 2.8 Free Stocks
- 2.9 New Old Stock
- 2.10 Designer Pics
- 2.11 Life of Pics
- 2.12 Negative Space
- 2.13 Iso Republic
- 2.14 Hi Res Stock
- 2.15 Stok Pic
- 2.16 Public Domain Archive
- 2.17 Foodies Feed
- 2.18 All The Free Stock – (Searches Multiple Sites)
- 2.19 The Stocks – (Searches Multiple Sites)
- 2.20 Stock Up – (Searches Multiple Sites)
- 2.21 Visual Hunt – (Searches Multiple Sites)
- 2.22 Kaboom Pics
- 2.23 Startup Stock Photos
- 2.24 Libre Shot
- 2.25 Fancy Crave
- 2.26 SplitShire
- 2.27 Gratisography
- 2.28 FreeRange Stock
- 2.29 Jay Mantri
- 2.30 Stock Photo Editor
- 2.31 Notes and Tips
Creative Commons Licence CC0
So to stop you from getting grounded for a month, here are several sources of great free stock images. Most are available under a Creative Commons Zero licence (CC0), which means they are in the public domain and therefore, free from copyright and the need for attribution and can be used in commercial projects.
All the sites listed below provide high resolution free stock images that are suitable for many uses. I would recommend bookmarking 3 or 4 of them depending on your needs.
You'll find that some deliver photos monthly and some are available to download 24/7.
Enjoy.. and please share this if you find it useful… (Just click the social buttons!)
Best Free Stock Images
With up to 50 new photos a day, Pexels should be one of your must visit sites when you are looking for those perfect free images for your latest blog post or website.
Pixabay has a large collection of hi-res stock photos and it's always worth checking them first if you're in a rush to get your stock photos.
“Pikwizard is a great new stock photography website. It features 100,000 images with 20,000 exclusive to Pikwizard. The website has no attribution required and also boasts a free image editing tool. What makes Pikwizard really stand out though is its high-quality images of people, which are sometimes few and far between on stock photography websites.”
Unsplash – Free Stock Photography
Unsplash is one of my favorite sites when I am looking for images to use on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. They make great backgrounds for quotes etc.
Death To Stock Photo
When I think of the term stock photography, I automatically think of Death To The Stock Photo. I've been receiving their monthly photo packs for over 2 years and they are generally one of my go-to resources for royalty-free stock images. Sign up for their monthly packs, you won't regret it!
I really like Picjumbo's business model for its simplicity. You can download high-resolution images for free or you can subscribe and get all the images in the series delivered to your dropbox. They also have a pack of 800 images for whatever you want to pay for them ($15 minimum).
Stocknap is brought to you by the people behind Snappa, a tool for creating images for Facebook, Instagram, etc. They provide high quality royalty-free stock images and there are some truly beautiful photographs available.
Guess what? Free Stocks provides some great royalty-free photos as well. As with all the sites, the images are from a mixture of professional photographers and talented amateur photographers.
New Old Stock
New Old Stock is unique in this collection as it only has vintage public domain photos. If you are looking for an interesting sepia or black and white royalty free image, then this should be your first stop. Got to love old black and white free stock photos.
Not the biggest collection of free stock photos, but Designer Pics has a well maintained category system that makes it easy to find what you want. You'll find it might be the perfect source for your artsy pictures.
Life of Pics
Life of Pics is focused on lifestyle type photos. This site is a good source for travel blogs and illustrating blog posts with everyday images.
Negative space is another site that I like to use for social media images rather than images for blog posts.
Good quality well categorized hi-res images in a handful of categories.
Hi Res Stock
Hi Res Stock has a lot of very good quality stock images for you to choose from. Some come in zip files with related photos.
This is another site well worth visiting if you have specific needs. Lots of categories that are usually well stocked with images.
Public Domain Archive
Matt has assembled a good selection of Public Domain images that cover a wide variety of needs.
As the name suggests, Foodies Feed provides free images on one topic .. food! I searched for the keyword paleo and got 3 pages of results. If you have a food or health blog, then this should be in your bookmarks for sure!
All The Free Stock – (Searches Multiple Sites)
All the Free Stock is a multi-site search engine for royalty-free stock. Enter your keyword and choose the site you want to search and it will do all the hard work for you.
The Stocks – (Searches Multiple Sites)
The Stocks is another multi-site search tool with several different sources of images available.
Stock Up – (Searches Multiple Sites)
I really like this free stock photo multi-site search tool. Whereas the 2 previous sites need you to choose the sites you want to search, Stock Up searches multiple sites automatically and returns the images extremely quickly.
Visual Hunt – (Searches Multiple Sites)
Visual Hunt is an excellent multi-site search resource. One of its best features: you can search by license types (check public domain for free photos that usually don't need attribution). You can also sort by relevance, interestingness and recency.
Karolina has set up Kaboompics to provide great quality images covering many topics from food to landscapes. There seem to be no limit to use so you can use them as commercial stock photos.
Kaboompics don't have any formal attribution requirements you can share the site on twitter or facebook and I am sure a link back to the site would be appreciated.
Startup Stock Photos
As the name suggests startup photos are aimed at startups, however there seem to be no restrictions of use.
The interface is very simple and probably not the fastest way to find the images you want, just continue to load photo's until you find what you want.
Another site that requires no attribution Libre Shot has a wide and unique variety of stock photo's available.
Fancy crave add 2 new photo's every day and they all seem to be of exceptional quality. There are no restrictions on use and all they as is that you provide attribution when and if you can.
Splitshire have a vast array of free stock image s available for you to use on your next blog project.
Their mission statement sums their philosophy perfectly “Helping you to be awesome out there with free content”
Use them where you want but just don't sell them or use them on inappropriate websites
Want quirky images then you've come to the right place, I've not seen a selection of more quirky images anywhere.. perfect for that special project!
Lot's of great photos on this site covering hundreds of topics. The quality of the stock photos are excellent. It does require an account before you can download
Need free stock photos for you food blog? Then look no further Picfoods has hundreds of high quality free food images. DELICIOUS!
Jay offers lots' of free stock photos for you to download and use with no restrictions, the majority are scenery style images so if that's what you need then head here.
Stock Photo Editor
The latest addition to our list of (Now 32) Free Stock Photo Sites is stock photo editor. Searches bring back a decent amount of public domain results so you should find something useful.
Notes and Tips
While all the free stock image sites we have chosen currently use Creative Commons cc0 it is advised that you read the fine print before using any free images.
It's is advisable that where possible you get a high res image and then edit it for use in social media. you'll find many tools such as Canva and Picmonkey etc that will allow you to edit your images.
You can then post them online using Hootsuite or Buffer or another tool.
Think about where you'll be hosting your images? I wouldn't recommend keeping them on your desktop as you may lose them, personally I ensure that I upload all images to a google drive folder, these uplaods are then available where ever I am.
Using Free Stock Images for your Blog??
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