Free stock images for are a great way to create inexpensive ad campaigns, make your website more visual appealing, or just spice-up your social media account. However, there’s a downside to using free stock photos – everyone’s using them; thus, they’re all over the internet. When you’re promoting your business or a product, you don’t want to come across as cheap. If you want exclusive rights to a photo, you need to purchase an Extended license from an inexpensive premium stock photo site.
In this post, you’ll find the list of the 26 best free stock photo websites. Over the years, I’ve tried every website and used their photos either for Pinterest pins or my blog. This list is in descending order based on my experience with this website – image quality and quantity, website usability, and image variety.
What are free stock photos?
Free stock photo is any photo that is licensed under a Creative Commons license. This license gives you the right to use a stock photo for free, without the need to pay any fees, unlike the Royalty-Free license.
There are several Creative Commons licenses that differ in permitted uses and whether or not you need to attribute the author. Additionally, the basic Creative Commons license serves only as a basis for free stock photo websites that then change the license to their likings; thus, you should always carefully read the license of the website you’re using to download photos.
The majority of websites listed in this article offers their images under CC0 license, meaning that you can use their photos for anything, from commercial intents to your personal businesses, without the need to attribute the author or the website.
No matter which license you find, you can NEVER resell the photos. By downloading a photo, you’re getting a permission to use the photo and not the ownership itself. The ownership of the photo still belongs to the author and copyright to the website.
The same applies for all other stock media, including but not limited to videos, illustrations, vectors, music, fonts, and templates.
Unsplash is one of the most well-known free stock photo sites out there with over 2 million high-quality stock image. It has been featured in The Verge, TechRadar, and Marketing Wire, and praised as a “the secret weapon for seekers, and creators of unique images”. Unsplash also has a free iOS app.
All photos on Unsplash are released under the Unsplash license and completely free to use. You are welcome to attribute the author and Unsplash, but you’re not required to do so. Like with any other CC0 license, you can use images as you please, but you may not sell them or claim to be the owner.
You can also become an Unsplash Contributor for free and have your photos shared worldwide.
Recently, Unsplash introduced a new feature called “Unsplash for Brands”. The beta program is currently full, but if you have at least $50K budget, you can join the waiting list.
Go to Unsplash.com »
Pixabay houses a large collection of free stock images, videos, and music released under the Pixabay License, a form of a CC0 license.
This German company offers more than 1.3 million stock images, almost 80K vector graphics, 220K illustrations, and nearly 16K videos. In November 2018, Pixabay (and Pexels) became a part of Canva – a free and premium online design platform.
Go to Pixabay.com »
As I already mentioned, Pexels became a part of Canva in 2018. This company, founded in 2014, offers hundreds of thousands of free stock photos licensed under Pexels license.
At the moment, Pexels has a running photography competition, Pexelspalooza. You can upload photos in several categories and compete for the prizes worth $15,000.
Go to Pexels.com »
Reshot is one of the newest free stock photo sites. Considering it was founded in 2018, it has already accumulated a respectful number of high-quality photos. Unlike other similar websites, Reshot only uploaded inspiring and meaningful photos instead of crowding its library with cliché stock photos, that you can find everywhere.
Make sure to check Reshot license.
Go to Reshot.com »
Since it was founded three years ago, Foodiesfeed raked together almost 4 million photo views, over 1.6 million downloads, and get 110K+ visitors every month.
Go to Foodiesfeed.com »
Stocksnap offers high-resolution free stock image under its CC0 license, that gives you the freedom to use the downloaded images for almost any purpose, including commercial intents.
Stocksnap excels in image search options thanks to its smart filters that make finding the right image surprisingly easy.
Go to Stocksnap.io »
Canva is one of the most popular online design platforms with a simple to use editor. Canva offers both premium and free stock images that can be used for all intents. Free media is licensed under Canva’s CC0 license, that allows the use for commercial and noncommercial purposes without attributing Canva or the author.
Go to Canva.com »
8. Burst (by Shopify)
Burst is a platform by Shopify that offers free stock photos for websites and commercial use, under Royalty-free and CC0 licenses. Burst covers a wide variety of categories, but since it doesn’t have as many stock photos as some other sites, such as Unsplash, you might not always find what you’re looking for.
Go to Burst.shopify.com »
Although Picography doesn’t boast with the largest collection of photos, all of them are high-resolution and professional-looking. The most popular searches in Picography are business, people, technology, and scenery. Over the years, Picography has served millions of customers looking for free stock images under CC0 license.
Go to Picography.co »
Just about everyone has heard about Flickr, but not everybody knows that you can download free CC0 photos from Flickr. Not all, but some users on Flicker choose to offer their work under Creative Commons license. However, Flickr offers different images under several Creative Commons licenses.
Go to Flickr.com »
11. Free Nature Stock
Free Nature Stock offers photos and videos published under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. All the media on the website has been created by Adrian Pelletier. You can use his photos for anything that you want, other than reselling them. Adrian’s photos are mostly wildlife and landscape photos with simple motives that can be used as a part of backgrounds.
Go to Freenaturestock.com »
12. ISO Republic
ISO Republic is an independent website offering a mix photo and videos under a CC0 license. ISO Republic recently went through a major update that has brought thousands of frees photos and videos, as well as improved website functionality, making it easier to find quality stock media.
Go to ISOrepublic.com »
13. Death to Stock
“Make the Internet Beautiful” is the slogan of this unique (free) stock photo agency. Death to Stock is both a free and premium stock photo site. You can subscribe to its email list and receive 10 free premium images every month, or you can subscribe and receive unlimited downloads starting at $12/month. Considering a more complex download system, Death to Stock offers image under several different licenses.
Go to Deathtostock.com »
Gratisography is a free stock photo site founded by Ryan McGuire. Although photos on Gratisography resemble the usual stock images, they usually have some sort of a twist. Ryan himself describes them as “quirky…beautiful…arresting”. You can use the photos for almost everything. Learn more by reading the license.
Go to Gratisography.com »
Picjumbo is mostly a free stock photo site, but you can also purchase a subscription to get access to exclusive stock photos. All images on Picjumbo are of exceptional quality, comparable to huge premium stock photo agencies. Unlike on other similar websites, you can download all photos at once.
Go to Picjumbo.com »
16. Kaboom Pics
Kaboom Pics offers a variety of high-resolution photos that are easily comparable to professional stock photos from premium agencies. A super search-engine is filled with features that not only allow you to search by keywords but also with colour motifs and several other filters. Before you download images from Kaboom Pics you should read its license.
Go to Kaboompics.com »
17. Life of Pix
Life of Pix is a modern-looking website with quite some variety of free stock photo, but the overall usability of the website is low. The excessive animations make looking for information difficult, to say the least. Nonetheless, you can use images for commercial intent without the need to credit the authors.
Go to LifeofPix.com »
All images on SkitterPhoto are public domain and are free to use for any purpose other than reselling. You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission. Although photos on SkitterPhoto are high quality, keyword search sometimes returns unexpected results. For example, searching for “camera” returns several results of birds, sheep, and flower fields.
Go to Skitterphoto.com »
19. Little Visuals
Little Visuals is now a mostly inactive website. The owner, Nic Jackson, tragically passed away shortly after creating Little Visuals, a website with his photos uploaded under CC0 license. Over the years, his website has received 15.5 million image views from 3.4 million users and has 130 thousand subscribers. Although Nic didn’t manage to upload a lot of photos, he still contributed a nice collection that you can use for free.
To pay respects to a fellow photographer, this post’s thumbnail image is from Nic’s website, Little Visuals.
Go to Littlevisuals.co »
20. New Old Stock
Every stock photo site has current photos, but what about the old ones? What if you want to write about the past? New Old Stock photo is a free stock website packed with vintage photos from public archives, free of any known copyright restrictions. New Old Stock also offers packs of images that are sold from $5 up to $35 per pack.
Go to Nos.twnsnd.co »
Picfree is an awesome free stock photo site full of both simple and artistic photos. Its license gives you the freedom to use photos for either personal or commercial purposes. Backed by Getty Images, Picspree has a clean design and easy-to-find image search options. Based on the recommended categories, Picspree is an invaluable resource for small businesses, blogs, and professionals.
Go to Picspree.com »
22. Styled Stock
Considering a neatly designed website and tasteful photos, Styled Stock has awesome photos for any blogger or social media influencer that loves clean and visually-appealing designs. While Style Stock’s collection doesn’t impress with the number of photos it makes up for it with the quality – you can use virtually every single photo and still make your designs look unique.
Go to Styledstock.co »
Superfamous is a website by a Dutch designer Folkert Gorter that offers artistic, near-abstract aerial shots of landscapes and reliefs, with an occasional erotic image added to the mix. Images are available under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license, meaning that you can use his work for your own purposes, as long as you credit the author.
Go to Images.superfamous.com »
24. Jay Mantri
Jay Mantri posts 7 new Creative Commons CC0 photos every week. His work mostly consists of landscape and patterns, such as clouds, fences, and architecture. His desaturated (and often black and white) style is perfect for backgrounds.
Go to jaymantry.com »
25. CreateHER Stock
CreateHER Stock is a website centred around Black or Melanated women. It’s a mostly premium stock website, but you can also get a couple of hundreds of freebies. If you choose to subscribe to their email list, you’ll regularly get new free images.
Go to Createherstock.com »
At the time of the writing, FreeImages has a collection of 382 thousand free photos and illustrations. Some photos on the website are very professional looking and look a lot like regular stock images, while others look like quick snapshots from a smartphone.
Best free stock photo sites | Conclusion
This concludes my list of the best websites to get free stock images from. There are some with enormous libraries of several millions of images (Unsplash), but I also included those with only a couple hundreds of images, that can still be a valuable source due to the quality or style of the images.