The Best Places to Find Free Stock Images for Your Website
A picture paints a thousand words, or so the old adage goes. Images can tell a story in a quick glimpse more than endless paragraphs on a page. This is even backed up by data that shows 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.
Online, visuals are even more important. Research has found 46 per cent of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of a company.
But how do you find the right images for your website? Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available. If you’re tired of the usual boring stock photography and cliche pictures that cost too much, check out the round-up below. This is a fairly comprehensive collection of my go-to sites for whenever I’m searching for a stock or feature image. These quality images are by real photographers who take photos of real people and beautiful scenery.
If you do download from any of these sites, make sure you check the license associated with any of the images you use and always credit the author.
Unsplash is usually the first site I visit when I’m looking for an image. It features hundreds of beautiful photos in a variety of styles, from landscapes to product images.
Ten new images are uploaded to Unsplash every 10 days. All images on Unsplash are covered under Creative Commons and have no copyright, which means the photographers have dedicated their work to the public domain and waived all rights to the work worldwide under copyright law.
My only gripe with Unsplash is that it’s not possible to search the image archive to quickly find what you want.
The Creative Commons website features a handy search tool that allows you to look for free images on several third-party sites, including Google Images, Wikimedia Commons, Flickr and Pixabay.
The search tool includes options to look for images available for commercial purposes, and images that are available to modify, adapt or build upon.
This site offers a quick way to search multiple sites containing professional and amateur photography, video and illustration.
picjumbo offers free images for commercial and personal works. The site includes a category listing, which makes it easy to filter the types of images you’re looking for and quickly find what you need.
There is a wide variety of different high resolution images covering food, nature, people, technology and fashion, among other categories.
All photos are free to use, but the author asks for attribution.
Free Refe is a collection of natural looking and modern photos from the premium Refe website.
The photos are mostly of high resolution street scenes and landscapes that are all free to download and use.
This site is a free version of the Refe site.
IM FREE is a curated collection of free images, all for commercial use.
The photography covers a wide range of subjects, including people, technology, sport and fitness, and education.
The images have been sourced from different third-party sites, such as Flickr, so make sure you check the licenses on individual images before downloading and using them.
If you’re looking for quirky images to spice up the content on our site, Gratisography is the place to go.
The site offers a free high-resolution collection for use on personal and commercial projects. All images are free of copyright restrictions.
Unfortunately, the site doesn’t feature a search function so you will need to scroll through the images and pick out what you want.
Picography offers beautiful, natural-looking photos that are free of copyright restrictions.
The site is similar to Unsplash in its design and the inability to search images for specific keywords.
Jay Mantri is a relatively new stock photography site, which has been around since March. It features natural-looking photos, mostly of outdoor city and coastal scenes.
The photos have been made available for free under Creative Commons and come with no copyright restrictions.
Public Domain Archive offers a one-stop-shop for finding free public domain images. The site has been created as a repository where the site’s author archives free, high quality images he finds across the internet.
The site is easy to navigate and includes categories that allow you to filter the kinds of images you are searching for to you can quickly find product images, landscapes and other kinds of photography.
Magdeleine is a free high-resolution photography site that features work submitted by photographers. The photos generally features a vintage style.
Some great features of this site are the ability to search for images, filter images by category and even look for images by dominant color. All photos are also tagged.
The images are mostly photos shot outdoor, but there are also some product images.
Photo Pin has been designed to help bloggers find photos for their posts.
The site uses the Flickr API and search Creative Commons photos that are available for free. It’s quick and easy to search for any kind of image. Keep in mind that most of the images are by amateur photographers for the quality is often lacking, though it’s not hard to find a quality image that fits your needs.
Pixabay lets you find and share images that are free of copyright restrictions. All pictures are available to download under Creative Commons public domain dee CC0.
The license lets you copy, modify, distribute and use the images, even for commercial purposes and without attribution.
The site includes sponsored images from Shutterstock.
Where is the Best Place to Go for Free Images?
Finding the perfect image for a post or a site header depends on the kind of image you want. Each of the sites I’ve mentioned above offers different kinds of images and caters to different styles of photography.
It’s best to search several of these sites and once you’re familiar with the styles and image subjects they offer you will know which ones best suits your needs.
Many of the sites in this collection have been created or are curated by photographers and designers who were frustrated with the lack of stock images available for their work.
As I mentioned above, my go-to site for images is Unsplash. The high-resolution images offered there are top-notch and there are new images uploaded every week covering a variety of different subjects. Plus, the images are always stunning.
IM FREE is also a great site and covers a wide range of subject matter.
There are a few other quick ways to find images, which I haven’t covered above. Wikimedia, Google Images and Flickr all offer search functions that allow you to search for free images that are available for personal and commercial use.
Compfight and Little Visuals offer some great images, and Compfight, in particular, lets you easily search for any kind of image topic. Foodies Feed is a fantastic site for designers looking for images for restaurant and hospitality sites.
If you’re not in a rush to find an image, Death to the Stock Photo is a service you can join for free and you’ll receive weekly emails with access to collections of high-resolution stock images.
Whatever kind of image you’re looking for, there is a plethora of free resources available to help you build your site.
The sites above provide high-resolution, professional and stunning photography and other images perfect for commercial and non-commercial uses.
Feel free to bookmark this post – chances are you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for on one of these sites.
Do you have a go-to site for stock photography? If there’s a site you use that hasn’t been mentioned in the list above, please share it in the comments below.