The hunt for the free stock photo is over
(Blog post updated.)
Stock photos are necessary to fill in the blanks, to say what cannot be said through words and ensure your website or blog is attractive enough to keep your visitors interested. Thankfully for entrepreneurs, website owners, and bloggers, there are more than enough cheap, or even free, stock photo sites to go around without having to resort to expensive stock photo websites.
To save you time and money, we have put together this comprehensive stock photo list featuring some of our favourite free and cheap stock photo sites. Happy searching!
Unsplash kindly sends you ten photos every ten days on a variety of subjects for free. When they arrive, save them to your hard drive, so you have a library of photos to dip into as you need them. All photos on their website fall under the Creative Commons Zero license which means no credit needs to be given. However a photographer will always appreciate credit if you have the time. Their photos can be used on blogs, websites, book covers, art, t-shirts and more. Browse their free online collections, many of which feature beautiful nature and outdoor shots, and download as necessary.
Pexels upload 50 new photos to their website each day – that is 50 more photos you can choose from each day for your projects, websites and blog posts. All of the photos on their website are free and fall under the Creative Commons Zero license which means no credit is necessary unless you want to acknowledge the source. You can use the photographs for commercial or personal use. Photos range in subject matter and for the most part, you should be able to find something to pretty up your posts.
Barn Images (www.barnimages.com)
Barn Images offer both free photos and paid images although they will send you 50 free high-res images upon registration. The free photos range in subject matter and cover such diversity as abstract, nature, people, animals, arts, and architecture. Premium packs vary in topics and cost $15 for one pack or $55 for access to all packs as well as access to all the premium packs in the next twelve months. Barn Images fall under the Creative Commons Zero license; you can use the photographs for any commercial or non-commercial activity.
Negative Space (www.negativespace.co)
All photos on Negative Space are released under the Creative Commons Zero license which means no restrictions are placed on you regarding use or acknowledgement. You can sort through any of the images by keyword, category, copy space alignment or colour. Photos fall under such themes as people, nature, street, technology, work, business, abstract and art, and the best bit, there is no charge for any of the photos listed on their website.
Since their launch in May 2014, Skitterphoto has been uploading a photo every day for use on personal and commercial projects. All photos fall under the Creative Commons Zero license and no accreditation is necessary. You can check out their newest photo daily or browse the Skitter archive to see what appeals. Some of the categories listed are flora, fauna, landscapes, urban, people, transportation, HDR photography and miscellaneous for the images that don’t seem to fall under any of these.
Jay Mantri (www.jaymantri.com)
Jay Mantri is a photographer who uploads a carefully selected batch of new photos to his website every week on a range of subjects. He has some interesting and obscure viewpoints which make it a refreshing change from some of the standard stock photo websites. All photos are released under the Creative Commons Zero license, and are distributed free of charge. With a mix of indoor and outdoor shots, your blog will look all the better for using one or two of his photographs.
Polar Fox (www.photos.polarfox.com)
All photos on Polar Fox are licensed under the ever popular Creative Commons Zero license which means you can modify, distribute and use for all commercial and non-commercial purposes. Photos are defined under a wide range of categories including wallpaper, wildlife, outside, nature, people, sport, culture, urban and animals to name a few. No registration is necessary; just click on the image or images you like and download immediately to your desktop.
Travel Coffee Book (www.travelcoffeebook.com )
Travel Coffee Book publishes photos on, you guessed it, travel. But be warned you might get hit with a serious dose of wanderlust if you spend too much time looking at the beautiful locations featured on their site. All of the photos are published under the Creative Commons Zero license giving you full rights to do what you want with them. And you can even submit your favourite travel photos to their website for use if you are the sharing, caring type.
Foodies Feed (www.foodiesfeed.com)
Foodies Feed specialises in food photos, and at the time of publication had 11 mouthwatering packs to choose from: coffee, pasta, kimchi, coconut, fruit, burgers, gingerbread, wine, macarons, fish and Czech steak house. Photos can be purchased at 0.08 cents per image or $39 (subject to change) for a one-off lifetime membership giving you access to all the images now and in the future. Any updates will be sent via email so you can stay up to date with all the deliciousness. And once you own them you are free to do with them what you like.
Kaboom Pics (www.kaboompics.com)
Kamboom Pics publishes a range of quality photos on their website for use by “bloggers, website owners, small businesses, freelancers & social media ninjas”. Karolina, a web designer, states that all photos are free to use, and new photos are uploaded daily. For ease, you can search using the search box, hashtags or browse under the categories of abstract, city &architecture, fashion, food, landscapes and other. Creatives will love the variety of the images and the originality of the angles.
All pictures on Gratisography were photographed by Ryan McGuire and are free of all copyright restrictions and payment. You can use these high-resolution gems for all of your personal and commercial projects. Check back each week to see what has been added. For those looking for something a little different, you will enjoy the whimsical section. Stock photos can get a bit tired looking at times, and these shots will add a breath of fresh air to your website.
Picjumbo offer both a free and premium selection. Sign up and you can get a bunch of free photos emailed to you direct or browse the free range which features fun sections like holidays, sunlight, fashion, nature and things. To gain access to the premium collections, there are three payment plans to choose from: $10 a month, $50 for six months or $90 a year. This payment gives you access to unpublished and upcoming images as well as the complete premium history to date.
Adobe Stock (www.stock.adobe.com)
Adobe Stock (formerly Dollar Photo Club) operate under a paid membership. They charge $9.99 for each image, or you can take advantage of their annual plan for $29.99 for ten images with the first month free. You can also sign up for their monthly plan at $49.99 or their mega annual plan, $199.99 a month for access to 750 photos a month. Subjects include states of mind, plants and flowers, technology, social issues, industries, hobbies and leisure, animals and the environment. All photos come with a standard license unless otherwise specified. This means they can be used for websites, web banners, blogs, newsletters, presentations, books, advertising, brochures, business cards, articles, and packaging.
Pixabay publishes images you can upload for free anywhere. In their own words their images “are released free of copyright under Creative Commons CC0”. This means you can download, modify, distribute and use them for both commercial and non-commercial applications. Their website also features vector graphics, illustrations, and videos, alongside the standard stock photographs. Variety is their trademark, and they feature sections such as travel, health, emotions, people and music.
Stocksnap opeates under the Creative Commons Zero license giving you the right to copy, modify or distribute as you see fit. Photos are varied in theme, and you can search by subject name, favourites or popularity with ease. And if you register with them, they will send you a weekly zip file with all the ‘hottest’ free stock photos without you even asking. Admittedly they do have some lovely photos on their site, so take a moment to check them out.
Death to the Stock Photo (www.deathtothestockphoto.com)
If you sign up to Death to the Stock Photo, they will, as a matter of course, email you a collection of stock photos to use in your creative campaigns every month or so. These fall under the Creative Commons Zero license giving you the right to use or distribute accordingly. They also offer a basic premium package for $45 a month which includes 10+ photos every other week, 95+ photo packs (1200+ photos) and unlimited royalty free downloads. Their ‘premium’ premium package costs $180 a year and includes full access to all media for 12 months, 95+ photo packs and unlimited royalty free downloads. And from what we have seen in our inbox, the subjects are as unlimited as their imagination.
Stocksy charge for all the images featured on their website starting at $10 for small images and rising upwards depending on image size and license requirement. All products are sold at the standard royalty-free license which means you can use them for all general, advertising and marketing purposes. You might want to read the fine print on this one just to make sure it meets your needs. Their categories include love, back to the gym, Americana, dinner parties, pink and blue, Easter, start-up and Brazil.
Free Infographic Templates (www.freeinfographictemplates.com)
Offering something a little different from the norm, free infographics templates offer a no fee, unlimited download of professional infographic templates. They come with a royalty-free license and will help boost the visual beauty of your blog posts and articles with hardly any effort at all. Depending on your subject of choice, you should be able to find something to fit your niche and boost your street cred. Also check out Canva and Venngage, both of which have free infographic templates to choose from.
All photos on Superfamous are taken by Folkert Gorter and fall under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. This means that you can use the work for your own purposes as long as you give credit where credit is due. There doesn’t seem to be an easy way to sort the images so you might need to spend a few minutes browsing until you find something you like. For the most part, the style is abstract with a natural outdoor lean.
All photos on Picography are available to use under the Creative Commons Zero license giving you free rein to apply them to your requirements. If you register with Picography, you will also get free photos emailed to you every month to save bookmarking the site. The photos are all free of charge, and while there are no categories as such, you can take your chance and search using whatever keywords you need. Alternatively, you can browse through the 17 pages of images and see if there is anything there to tickle your fancy.
Re:splashed offer 963 (at current count) free HD images for use in your web and design projects. You can filter by tag or scroll down to choose an image that catches your eye. They range in colour, design and subject matter and will refresh and enhance whatever blog post you are currently working on. They cover a range of indoor and outdoor shots to choose from including flora, fauna, humans, landscapes, cityscapes and more. And they are all free!
Public Domain Pictures (www.publicdomainpictures.net)
Public Domain Pictures is a repository for free public domain images. It seems that most of the images fall under the Creative Commons Zero license but double check each image before use just to make sure. To be crystal clear, this means you can copy, modify and distribute for commercial and non-commercial without permission or accreditation. Categories here include background, business, flowers, landscape, macro, objects, animals and people.
Free Images (www.freeimages.com)
Free Images offer a mix of free and premium photographs. Their free images should give you plenty of options considering there are 43,064 images under the animals & wildlife category and 101,563 images under landscapes & nature. This should give you some idea as to the size and magnitude of this site. You may use the images on websites, blogs, social media, advertisements, magazines, books, flyers, packaging and more. Read the fine print for full details. Note if you do wish to buy any images you will be directed to www.istockphoto.com, which charges a minimum of $33 for three credits or $40 a month for ten images.
Free Digital Photos (www.freedigitalphotos.net)
All images on Free Digital Photos are free to use with an attribution, or you can pay a minimum of $3 for downloads (small size) with no attribution, up to a maximum of $10 per image for high resolution. Categories range from people, transportation, architecture, business, travel, backgrounds, holidays and leisure and more. Extended image licenses can be purchased for $75. Again check the terms and conditions for specific details.
Pikwizard is a great new stock photography website with 100,000 high-quality images. 20,000 of these images are completely exclusive to the website and there is no attribution required. Pikwizard prides itself on its high-quality images of people, which are sometimes few and far between on stock photography websites. The website also features a great, easy-to-use graphic design tool.
Oh, and one final site you might find handy…
Take a look at Visual Hunt (https://visualhunt.com)
This site hunts down all sorts of images from across the web, saving you the time and hassle of scouring through the sites yourself. You can set it to find images that are OK for commercial use and which are in the public domain. How good is that?
As you can see, there are plenty of choices out there. Take your time to familiarise yourself with the websites and you will soon learn which ones, in particular, are your favourites, and you can use as your go-to image bank.
Have we missed a site we need to know about? Leave us a link in the comments box and tell us why it’s a good site.