The Best Sites for High Quality Free Stock Photos
- Jay Mantri
- IM Creator
This article is the answer to your question of where to find the highest quality, most realistic and engaging photos and images to use free of charge on your website, blogs, and even your print marketing materials.
Yesterday photos 100% free. A couple of the options require attribution before the most part, these stunning pieces of art are yours to use as freely as you desire as you go out into the world and do big things.
Stock photography used to be a way of getting images that you wouldn’t dare even consider if you wanted to look professional and be taken seriously for your work.
Today the tide as dramatically turned with such an outrageous amount of talented photographers who are generous with their works and are sharing modern and stunning shots all over the public domain.
As a graphic designer, I use photography almost every single day. As a social media user, you probably do, too. It is social media that has encouraged a shift to natural and real pictures and finding stock photos to proudly use even as an obscure blog post featured image would be impossible without the following Free Photo Heroes.
This is my list the top 10 Amazing Places to Grab FREE Photos for your presentations, projects, and marketing designs. I have compiled these based on my personal opinion, ranking them in order from “Outerspace Awesomeness” to “Thanks for the Stellar Resource” and I am including a brief summary of the types of photos you can find it each resource. Happy building!
Reshot is a new one to the scene for me. Gorgeous, innovative, non-stocky stock that you won’t believe is free, but it is!
When I first found this beautiful collection of curated free photos, I almost abandoned this blog article altogether just to sit and sunk in the lovely that emanates from this glorious resource.
What catches my attention the most is the beauty inside the beauty of the shots. On the surface, they are unique and outside the realm of normal stock photo quality. In about 70% of the images, as you look closer, you can see the object of the image staring back at you and, in most cases, making a very clear statement that you can’t ignore and don’t really want to anyway.
The images are fun-loving, many of them are elegant and perfect for a high-end blog because of their clean poshness there’s balance out by real human emotion. Other images are incredibly sexy, without being vulgar. Some of the images like the one above, you just can’t believe you got so lucky to find. If you don’t take out anything on this list, don’t do yourself a disservice of missing out on this one.
Free photography in the site leaves me asking just one question, where the heck are talented photographers hiding and why.
This is another one that almost had me scrapping this article and jumping into creating something using their images.
They are not outrageous, they are not outlandish. They are simple, clean, original, and quietly creative. A lot of realism and even some beautiful backgrounds can be found in this freemium stock photo resources. There are also a lot of graphics like logo ideas and mockups for Instagram ad posts that may be just right for your brand.
There is an impressive quantity of pastel images, photos, and backgrounds as well. If you’re looking for something with a soft edge and a bold center, Rawpixel is just the place.
Although the images are free, they do have a daily limit of five free downloads with a free membership. So as long as you’re not looking for a ton of once, the standard free membership should work fine for you.
Gratisography is hands-down the most hilarious stock photography site I’ve ever seen. It deems itself the source of creative and quirky, high-resolution free pictures and is definitely the best resource of creative out-of-the-box images that I have ever seen.
Filled with shocking facial images and a guy in a bunny suit way more often than one would expect to see on any website, the site is definitely the place to find and expressive images that are great for blog posts and e-learning courses that want to take up their students with a little bit of relevant imagery.
I have been following Jay’s beautiful, soulful shots for years. Lately I’ve noticed he’s been incorporating video so I guess he’s expanding his horizons and using his wonderful talents in other ways.
The site has a lot of eccentrically creative perspectives that we really get to see in real life and are simply a delight to see in his curation of free stock photography.
Aerial shots and images of nature as being pieces at everything. His work makes me want to go places and I hope it inspires you to do the same.
Photos are full-on CCO licensed and free of copyright restrictions. He does not even ask for an attribution nor does he uses photos to link-build by putting them on separate click-to-download pages. He just has a gallery of scrollable beauty for you to soak in and create with as you will.
The headline for this resource is “Free Stock Photos For Commercial Use”. Music to your ears, right?. They allow you to do anything you like with their stock except redistribute the images.
Their curation is a high-vibration gallery which I found to have the theme of excitement, flair, and millennial-level youth. The theme feels like a ‘go, seek, find, and rock out’ type of atmosphere which kind of makes you want to hang around even if you’re not trying to find free image downloads.
The site is full of high-resolution photos that do not require attribution, although of course it is appreciated.
When double checking my stock photo resource fact, I came across another article sharing some of the best photo sites on the web. It included sites I’ve known for years except for this one in particular which acidly caught my attention.
Although you do have to pay attention to the licensing rights, this site has truly amazing images that are not only realistic and cover a wide range of topics, but many of them are also emotionally engaging and are so well taken that they inspire my thoughts making me want to create something new just so I can use the photo.
The user interface design of the site is also wonderful. Just being on the homepage is an experience in of itself. And to top it off, they have an excellent filter for the most popular categories that will help you get the pictures you are looking for as fast as possible.
Pixabay may be an oldie, but it’s also an ever-growing goodie. It was another one of the first sites to raise the bar on stock photo quality and it has branched out lately to include more office and startup industry types of photography.
The site touts “stunning free images” of over one million in quantity! Thankfully, there is a pretty good search engine to help you navigate to what you’re looking for more quickly.
Of all the sites I have ever used for free photo downloading, this one could be the most frequently updated curation. Both the videos and photos are generously free for commercial use WITHOUT an attribution required. Pretty nice, right?
They recently even added videos to their offerings, great for website backgrounds or B-roll clips. They also have links to vectors and illustrations which I have not yet taken advantage of, but if you give them a try, let me know what you think!
The great value offered by Pexels is in the crisp high-resolution value of the photos.
Similar to Pixabay in terms of having a good search tool for fast filtering, Pexels offers some real slice-of-life photos with a hint of “stock image” flair that does not necessarily diminish the value of its images.
A closer look at their inventory can produce some ‘is this a stock image or a real image’ emotions and the usability of their stock video selection as good backgrounds can’t be beat since they are free video downloads.
One interesting thing that is unique about Pexels in terms of the producers of this content is the support they offer to their content creators.
Whenever you download an item you get this neat popup that allows you to show your appreciation to the creator by donating, sharing, or following them.
The download window includes a visible photo of the creator and their name, making the interaction a more personal experience and allowing these wonderful artists the opportunity to get some of the credit they deserve.
I first found Freepik when searching for icons to add to my presentation design website. I was looking for something clean and professional looking that wasn’t thick and bulky. They had lots of icons to view and, after spending some time on the site I noticed that they also have free PSD files that you can download as well as free stock photos!
At first, I didn’t think anything of it. I thought they would be the standard old quality. But as I started browsing and as I would see photos pop up in the search when I put in where I was looking for something else, I began to notice that there stock photo quality was nothing to blink at.
If you find yourself in need of a stock photo, be sure to give their collection of look. The majority of their offerings are 100% free. Some of them are what they could call their new premium line. I had access to the premium line quite a few times and the main benefit is that you do not have to attribute any images that you download. It’s all about $10 a month so if you’re working on a client project, it can be pretty useful.
Freepik also allows you to to create collections where you can curate your own favorite free stock images by category for future use or to simply organize their thousands of great and impressive quality stock photography. They also have a like feature in case you’re in a hurry and just want to grow through the images and assigning things you like and go back later when you need them to actually download.
This website was one of the first I found that had excellent beautiful images of people, particularly in their women category. At the time, I was looking for pictures to put into my WordPress website templates. I needed user profile pics that looked like real photos of people that would actually become a part of, say, a social media community.
Since finding their people collection, I have returned to IM Creator many times for great photos of people. They have other categories to explore as well. As an added bonus, I believe almost all of the images are full Creative Commons license which means they are free for commercial use as well as personal use. They do require attribution to the creator in commercial use cases. For personal use, I’m not sure. You can always message and asked if he planned to use the photos for commercial projects.
I hope you enjoyed this crucial list of the best free stock photography sites available online. Finding the right image for every one of your projects, books, articles, or social media post can have a phenomenal effect on the readership and share-ability of whatever you produce.
If you’re creating a website or designing a brochure or taking a dip into the digital publishing realm, each brilliant thing you do can benefit from the attention-grabbing work provided by these outstanding resources.
I hope you find them just as valuable as I have and that they bring you tremendous luck every time you feature an image from a free stock photo provider on this list. Happy building!
Honorable Mentions for Great Free Stock Photography
No photos here but GREAT photorealistic mockups, particularly for computer and device screens and realistic images to put your t-shirt designs on to showcase your products. I think they have a few paid products but it’s primarily free and very good!
An oldie but a good for classic-feeling overlayed images. They make a great effort to make their photography feel timeless and emotional, so they definitely earned a mention.
One of the very first good free stock photo site I ever found. I think they also may have been one of the first to focus on providing quality images that could compete with paid options. Looking at the site now, I can see that availability has grown considerably and they’ve made additions with some creatively exciting options that I have not found any other stock photo platforms. If there was a spot number 11, this site would’ve taken it.
Has some very good basic creative images that would be great fillers for the content and they have some truly excellent background images. The work is very colorful and bright which really makes them stand out in the free stock photography crowd.
So what great free stock resources did I miss?!
Load ’em up in the comments and tell me what you think of the ones I put together for you here.
FIND YOUR WAY…
You’ve got the ideas internally, sometimes it just takes some reassurance or an external push to bring it out. That’s what this blog is about.