Web design is incomplete without photography. That’s why it’s such a shame that we’ve all become so accustomed to those terrible stock images of people wearing suits grinning at the camera or shaking hands. These stock photos tend to be cheesy in addition to being expensive.
But here’s the thing: you don’t have to use them!
There is an increasing number of websites with incredible stock photographs to take advantage of, absolutely free of cost. Most of these photographs can be copied, modified, distributed, and commercially used without having to ask for permission, since they are not under copyright restrictions for the most part. However, some of them might still require attribution.
Here is our curated list of the best websites for free stock images.
1) StockSnap.io (released under creative commons public domain)
With thousands of lovely high-resolution photos to choose from, StockSnap.io is an invaluable website. Plus, it has a useful search feature that makes it incredibly easy to browse through the huge selection of available images. It also tracks downloads and views so you can easily find the most popular images. Hundreds of photos are added to the site daily, and you can use them without attribution.
2) Unsplash (released for free under the Unsplash license)
One of the best resources for stock pictures on the internet, Unsplash has a large collection of free high-resolution photos on offer. What’s more, the team at Unsplash carefully examines new submissions in a thorough vetting process, selecting only the best to feature on their homepage.
3) Pexels (licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license)
Another source for free stock photos, all photos on Pexels are tagged properly. This makes both search and discovery quicker and easier. The site’s search function is extremely well-designed, and the pictures are separated into categories for the user’s convenience, like ‘nature’ and ‘art’ and ‘city’.
4) Burst by Shopify (Some photos licensed under Creative Commons CC0 and others fall under Shopify’s own photo license)
As a Shopify resource, Burst offers free stock photos for entrepreneurs. Its images are especially meant to help entrepreneurs as they create better products, services, websites, and promotional campaigns. The pictures are mostly originals, taken in-house. They are themed around business niches like DIY hair oil and sneakers you can buy from Aliexpress. While you can also find more general images, this makes the site invaluable for new entrepreneurs who might not want to drop a pretty penny on high-res and relevant photos.
5) Reshot (free to use)
For that personalized touch, head over to Reshot’s immense library of handpicked unique stock images. You won’t find these free photos anywhere else. Another great resource for entrepreneurs, the website especially caters to freelancers and startups who want more than just your garden variety cheesy stock photos. They’re free to use editorially and commercially without attribution.
6) Pixabay (released under Creative Commons CC0)
Need art illustrations or vectors? Head over to Pixabay. It also provides a large selection of free stock images.
Pixabay offers a large collection of free stock photos, vectors and art illustrations.
Whether you need pictures for a commercial or personal project, you can’t go wrong with the high-res images from Gratisography. The pictures are taken by Bells Design’s Ryan McGuire, who adds new pictures every single week, free of copyright restrictions.
If you’re a food blogger, you’re going to love FoodiesFeed for its thousands of gorgeous and realistic food pictures. And of course, they’re high-res and free. These fantastic photos are conveniently split into different categories for the viewer to easily sift through. If you’re willing to pay an affordable price, you can also get high quality packages that would come in handy if you want exclusive images for a particular project.
9) Picography (released under Creative Commons CC0)
Picography’s free stock pictures are all submitted by Dave Meier as well as sundry other photographers. They’re high quality images that are sure to brighten up your website. From quirky little adorable pictures to classy scenic shots, this site has it all!
10) MMT Stock (released under Creative Commons CC0)
Want pictures of flowers and nature? How about interesting imagery of computers and work spaces? If any of this is what you need, Jeffrey Betts is your man. His photos are released on MMT Stock, and can be used absolutely free of charge.
11) Kaboom Pics
Whether you need abstract pictures or images of fashion, food, cities and landscapes, you should visit the Kaboompics website. Kaboompics has enough stunning photos of different aspects of life that you can use for free. However, you can’t sell or redistribute them. Plus, people who subscribe to the site get free goodies! The wide range of photos makes it the perfect place to browse around for eye-catching images that are sure to attract viewers.
12) New Old Stock
For vintage looking photos, look no further than New Old Stock. The images collected here have a distinctive style to them, and are mostly pictures of a bygone era. The black and white pictures are excellent for use if you’re looking for something that captures a sense of history.
Flickr? Really? Well, yes! The fact of the matter is that Flickr can be an incredible source for certain pictures. Look for images under the Creative Commons license, and you’ll find some absolutely fantastic pictures of objects and locations. Once you find the right photo, don’t forget to look at the uploader’s copyright rules, so you know if you need to attribute the picture.
14) Snapwire Snaps
This is actually a Tumblr blog, but it’s one that holds a remarkable selection of high quality pictures that can be used without the need for accreditation. It has a diverse array of images, from pictures of people to images of landscapes, meaning there’s sure to be something of value in there for you.