Chances are you’re pretty tired of seeing traditional stock photos of people in suits shaking hands. Not only are they bland and uninteresting, but they also cost money. The good news is that there has been a rise in great stock photo sites that you can use for free – yes, for both personal and commercial use.
In this showcase I put together a collection of 50+ sites with beautiful free stock photos and royalty-free images that you can choose from. Hopefully, they will help you to spice up your future designs.
Do read the licenses carefully though as some of these services and photos may require proper attribution.
Top of the list
One of the most famous websites and go-to resource of millions of users worldwide, Unsplash offers a whole array of high-resolution and creative images. You’ll be amazed at the quality of these images that you can freely use for personal or commercial projects. Here you can also find wallpapers, textures, and patterns, etc.
A free stock photo platform with an intuitive interface, Burst is a global community of photographers and home to thousands of images. The pictures cover everything that comes under the sun, have been categorized under interesting themes and can be downloaded in high resolution for free.
Stock Snap offers thousands of creative and high-res images with hundreds more added weekly. With every image, you can see how many times it has been viewed and downloaded. Though these images are free from copyright restrictions however, it won’t hurt to credit the photographer for his work.
Though Canva is not just a stock photos website, as it offers design templates, wallpapers, and icons etc. as well, however, it does have a humungous quantity of high-quality images with different themes and categories. There are different types
A great online community of professional and amateur photographers, Pexel offers amazing photos images catering to almost every theme. The quality of images is so high that you’ll forget to blink especially knowing that these images are absolutely free to use. But if you’re too blown away with an image, you can donate some amount to the photographer.
Pixabay is a repository for public domain images. It allows you to download any of the photos and use it right away for your projects. The photos found inside are all free pictures licensed under the creative commons public domain deed.
Gratisography is a simple and clean site that provides free images for your personal or commercial projects. The site has high-quality images right on their home page. All you need to do is just scroll through and look for the image that you want, then click on it to download.
FreeImages is a great place to find and download free stock photos. What’s interesting is how they’ve categorized the images, meaning you can search images on the basis of popular images, editor’s picks, photographers or cameras.
StockVault is a free photo community where photographers & artists share their photos and artwork. They offer thousands of pictures and illustrations as well as a large collection of free textures and backgrounds.
Splitshire is a blog owned by Daniel Nanescu, a graphic designer and a photographer. You’re free to use all of his uploaded images for both personal and commercial use. His photos are put into categories such as abstract, animals, bokeh, fashion, food, and many others that you can find in the site’s main page.
Jeshoots is another great site with free high-quality stock photos. You can use the search bar to find what you need or have a browse under categories which features people, animals, food and architecture among other things. If you’re unsure about anything, you can take a look at the FAQ section.
All the images you’ll find on Cupcake are captured by Jonas Nilsson Lee. There may not be as many choices compared to some of the other sites but you can choose from scenery, landscape, objects, and animals.
Kaboompics is a great place to find breathtaking photos for your design projects. You can use the regular search box, look via tags or look under the different categories featured at the top to find the best picture. A new photo is added daily.
This site is definitely one that’s made for foodies. Here you’ll find delectable pictures of food. To browse through the free stock photo options, take a look under ‘Free Download’ at the side menu.
This lovely site is run by a photographer and traveler Jay Mantri. He uploads 7 new photos every Thursday, so there’s plenty to choose from.
Get a free high-resolution photo each day with no attribution required from DesignersPics.com. The names on the photos are pretty generic so you may want to use the category or search option to find things easily.
FreePixels is here to provide you with free high-resolution photos that can be used with any of your personal or commercial projects. Their photos have been downloaded over 3 millions times, and they have more than 5,000 photos that you can choose from. No registration required.
PicJumbo has been operating since November 2013 with the goal of giving out free photos to provide designers with free resources to work with. The photos can be used for any kind of project, commercial or non-commercial. You’re not required to provide attribution, but based on what they are doing, it is a small thing you can do in return.
If you’re looking for pictures with a different point of view, you can give this one a go. Here you’ll find free mobile photos for personal and commercial projects.
This Tumblr blog with free stock photos is run by Snapwire. Snapwire is a site where mobile stock photographers can submit their photos to answer various requests made by others. Snapwire Snaps provides 7 new photos every week.
Life of Pix lets you grab free high-resolution images with no copyright restrictions. New photos are also added weekly to give you an array of choices.
Compfight is an image search engine. You can use it to look for the images that you need quickly. If you want a little demonstration, just click on the ‘show me what compfight can do’ button.
When you can’t get enough
A resource that focuses more on the quality of images rather then their quantity, Createherstock houses creative stock images whose main subjects are black people all around the world. Though most of their stuff is premium, you still get a pack of 180+ images for free.
This website prides itself as an archive of stock photography that you can use for your websites, printed materials and products. Everything on their site is free for you to grab and use, as long as you credit them. Simply browse the site, choose a photo and download it, to get your free stock photo.
New Old Stock is a site curated and created by Cole Townsend. The idea behind this project is to publish old retro photos from Public Archives which are free of known copyright restrictions. So if you’re looking for more retro photos for your project, you know where to look at.
This site takes you on a journey of sorts by providing you with 7 high-quality images every 7 days, to use in whichever way you want. You can do this by subscribing to their mailing list to receive a zipped file containing the images, on a weekly basis. Besides that, you can also grab a few pages of high-quality images right from within their website.
This is another free public domain image site which is filled with photos by photographers who share it for the purpose of easy private or commercial projects. No sign up is required if you’re interested in downloading their stock photos. Just keep in mind that, although this photo is free for you to use in any way you prefer, 4FreePhotos will not be able to provide you with legal counsel or warranties should you need them.
DreamsTime allows you to download high-res, royalty-free and public domain, images for free. There’s a wide variety of images and themes to choose from and if you want premium content, you can take a suitable payment plan. They also have a nice informative blog.
MorgueFile has an elegant interface with hundreds of free images. Interestingly, the website offers a Like Box where when you “like” an image, it’s reference image gets stored for your inspiration. There’s also an option to request a specific image.
This is a photo sharing platform offering a whole spectrum of high-quality images under Creative Commons License. If you are downloading an image, do take a look at the terms and conditions that may vary from image to image.
Superfamous provides you with free stock photos available for download in high resolution. What’s great about it is that you can search under different collections. You may use them as you like as long as credit is provided.
IM Free is a new feature of IM Creator. It’s a curated collection of free resources for commercial use. Make sure to read the license of each image before using as some photos may require attribution.
Here’s another stock photo site that delights. Instead of just searching by categories or licenses, you can also search via the dominant color featured in the pictures. Definitely a handy thing for designers looking to save some time.
Public Domain Archive is not specifically a free stock photo site but they do have an extensive collection of free stock photos without copyrights. With new uploads weekly, you will surely find something that catches your fancy.
This Tumblr blog is a selection of high-quality stock photos for personal and commercial use. As the name itself suggests, this would be especially helpful for startups. And yes, the photos are free.
Photo Pin is a collection of photos under the Creative Commons license from Flickr. Just type what you’re looking for in the search bar and it will show you all the different results and you can even sort them according to recent, relevance and "interestingness".
Get your free membership on the RGBStock website and start downloading your free stock photos. Their huge number of free high-quality photos includes free graphics for illustrations, wallpapers and backgrounds. You’re free to use their photos for your websites, presentations, films or videos as long as you are in accordance with their image license agreement, which can be found here.
Alegriphotos was founded back in 2010 and has been serving free stock photos ever since. The site provides the photos for personal and commercial use under the Creative Commons license. They have a collection of over 3,000 images that can be downloaded right from within their website without any registration.
This is one way to put your email to good use. You will receive free stock photos every month straightaway in your inbox simply by subscribing to this website. This website is made by Allie and David with the goal to "[rid] the world of bad stock photography".
Studio 25’s stock photography gallery is populated with over 6000 photos. They include photos for categories such as abstract, architecture, concepts, food, nature, objects and many more. To download their free photos, you’re required to sign up for a free account on their site.
A Digital Dreamer is a free graphic design resource for everyone in the design industry. The stock photos are 100% free for you to use for any kind of project, including commercial related ones. Just don’t redistribute their photos or use them for any offending projects, e.g. pornography.
There are over 2,000 free stock photos are up for you to grab in an instant the moment you enter the Turbo Photo website. The photos are categorized under 10 different categories such as activities, animals, cities, food and landscapes among many others. You can use any of their stock photos for personal and non-commercial use with a credit link back to the Turbo Photo website.
If you have projects related to travel, PhotoEverywhere is a site specializing in travel-related stock photos. The photos are all free for you to download and use. There are over 3,000 free travel-themed photos that you can choose from. If you own a travel blog, this site is your best partner in crime.
Unprofound is a cool looking site for designers seeking high-quality and free stock photos. It’s also great for photographers that are looking to be a contributor. You’re free to use their photos in any way you like, be it privately or commercially. You’re not required to but if you want to show your appreciation, you can credit the photo back to the site or the photographer who uploaded the photo.
StockMedia is a free creative common stock photo library website. They provide photos and graphics that you can use for any of your design related projects. You can sign up for free to get access to thousands of free photos.
This is another website that you can download free stock photos for use for your projects. They have plenty of photos available in different categories like architecture, fruits, food, drinks nature, landscape, objects, constructions, and transportations. There is no registration required. All you need to do is go to the site and download the image to get your free stock photo.
Need more high-quality photos for free? Well, FreePhotoBank is yet another free resource for stock photos. The photos are licensed under creative common, but you’re required to provide attribution by linking back to the site if you happen to use their photos.
FreeStock features a lot of stunning landscape related photos. The photos are licensed under Creative Common – Attribution 3.0 Unported that requires you to link back to them if you end up using their photos. There is no registration required to download the photos, unless you’re interested in contributing your own stock photos to the site.
Abstract Influence is a forum gallery where the community uploads stock photos that are free to download and use. The terms for usage varies according to the uploaders, but all the photos are free of charge for any commercial or personal design work as long as you follow the restrictions. The categories for the photos include aerial shots, architecture photos, food, industrial photos and more.
FreeDigitalPhotos offers you free and premium stock photos and illustrations. There is a good collection of royalty-free photos for personal and commercial use with an option to buy larger images at reasonable prices.
It’s a place where you can find an ample assortment of images. Their photo gallery is regularly updated and you have twenty different categories to choose from. Do take a look at their terms and conditions before downloading images.
Big Foto has a simple interface yet a wide range of high-quality images that have been categorized by different topics. All images on Big Foto are free to use for personal and commercial projects. They do, however, request you to credit their website, if possible.