The 30 Best Free Stock Photo SitesBy Nykea Marie Behiel
Digital marketers are under more pressure every day to find a way to do more with less, prove traceable ROI and stretch budgets. When you’re propositioned by technology company after technology company with a new solution that supposedly brings everything together, it can get even harder to manage the ever segmenting funnel. Marketing stacks are turning into piles, and into mountains. We just finished this brand new ebook—101 Free Tools for Digital Marketers. It's hot off the press to help you do better at your job without breaking the bank.
Whether you’re marketing on a shoestring with a small team, balancing a budget of millions backed by significant people power or anything in between, smart marketers are always looking for solutions that scale and new ways to prove value. Adding free tools to your repertoire will help you allot more resources to the things you value. Let's start with some free stock photo sites!
Free Stock Photos
Everyone complains about stock photography. But the truth is, sometimes it is useful and can tell the story. Say for instance, a blog about blogging. We have our own videographer/photographer, but he doesn’t always take kindly to me asking for photos of people staring at a Mac screen with a gaussian blur. Of course, we don’t want to get sued for using images without a license, so here are a few options we use to source out free stock photos.
30 Free Stock Photo Sites
This photo search is really handy because we’re used to Googling everything we need. If ain’t broke don’t fix it, eh? If you click on search tools, you’ll pop up a few more options below—size, color, type, time and usage rights. Select usage rights and then the right license. For us, because we make money off our website and blog, we use labeled for reuse. Alas, here you will find as many pictures of mini goldendoodles as you could dream of. Or whatever you might need for your blog/social/website.
Pixabay has a ton of free stock photos! You can use their search bar to find nearly anything you're looking for. You can also select editor's choice category to get inspiration when you aren't sure what kind of image you'd like to include.
One looooong scrolling page of free stock photos.
There is a couple living out everyone's dream, travelling the world. Lucky for us, while they do it, they are posting their free stock photos to Made in Moments for us all to live vicariously.
Burst is a new free stock photo site with over 1000 high-quality images. They're available under the Creative Commons Zero license, so you're free to use and edit them as you see fit. In addition to lifestyle pictures, they have a collection of product photography that follows trending business niches to help entrepreneurs make better products, websites and marketing campaigns.
These free stock photos are all courtesy of Ryan McGuire, an artist based in Ithaca, NY. They are all high-resolution and come in the categories of animals, nature, objects, people, urban and, of course, whimsical. To download images, all you have to do is click on your favorite. Like I did with this useful one from the whimsical category.
Makerbook claims to be the "largest collection of hand-picked, free stock photos for startups." Their images focus on technology, and are a great resource for software companies.
A funky, LA based company with the work of Folkert Gorter. All stock photos are free to use, just be sure to credit the photographer.
Beautiful photos taken all over the world.
All of these free stock photos are hand made by an ad agency in Montreal, hence the winter scene below.
Sadly, there are no more photos added to Little Visuals, as the founder died suddenly at a young age. If you use these photos, I'd suggest linking to the donation campaign Nic's family set up in his honour.
Like with most of the other free stock photo sites, you can sign up and get seven free images every seven days. You can also visit their site to grab some beautiful images ad hoc.
A popular photo sharing platform, Flickr is another good option for sourcing free stock photos. After you search something, click Any License in the top left and change to the license you need.
A Tumblr run by Daria, all photos taken in her spare time she uploads here for us to use for free. A visual and UX designer, Daria understands the need to create beautiful images and websites, fast.
With more than 10,000 free stock photos, Pexels' photos are all uploaded by users and then hand selected by managers.
Fancy Crave adds at least two new free stock photos every day, all taken by professional photographers. Their main categories are abstract, architecture, food, nature, people, tech, auto and photo packs. The photo packs are a neat addition—they come with 45 images on theme, like this one of nautical images.
The free stock photos on this site are plentiful and have many categories, and aggregates from several places. StockPhotos also makes it easy to repin, like and share photos digitally.
"Two years ago I created SplitShire with the simple aim of giving life to photographs that would have gone into oblivion without any utility." That's from SplitShire's founder, Daniel Nanescu, a graphic designer in Italy. My favourite is the Top Best Photos category.
According to a friend of mine who considers himself a great designer, this is the best website for free stock photos. Not because the selection is vast, but because the photos they have available are lovely. It’s a good site to come to for inspiration as well, because you can filter the photos by recently added, trending, views, downloads and favorites. No fiddling with licenses here—all the photos on this site are free, even if you use them to make $$. If you want a lovely photo of the baltic sea, it might be cheaper to use Stocksnap then to send your photographer to Sweden.
Run by Jeffrey Betts, a UX designer, MMT offers a scrolling page of free stock photos.
A searchable site with thousands of high quality, free stock photos and templates.
This is one of the free stock photo sites that sends you exclusive images via email if you sign up for their newsletter. Aside from that, you can browse online at any time for free stock photos. You can also sort by color scheme and text location options (i.e. leave (negative) space on the left for my blog title).
Free photos for creatives, by creatives.
A rose by any other name. Free images is exactly what the URL proclaims.
The founders of Death to Stock were sick of seeing sub par photography on the websites of cool companies. They have sent photographers all over Canada and the US to collect a bunch of beautiful free stock photos for you to use, though you need to sign up to receive them through email. They also have wallpapers, postcards and tips for photographers.
Tom Eversley, a designer and photographer from England, started ISO Republic in 2014. They have hundreds of photos and add more each week from selected contributors.
A collection of beautiful, high resolution images that you can use however you like.
Aside from having a huge assortment of free stock photos for your use, Phototype allows you to quickly crop a photo for your use case, and see what it looks like with other resolution.
There have been nearly four million downloads of free stock photos from PicJumbo since its inception in 2013. Founded by Viktor Hanacek, an entrepreneur in the Czech Republic, PicJumbo focuses on images that designers need when building websites.
This website is really neat—vintage photos from public archives re-purposed for the digital era.
See? Some stock photos can be nice. They’re not all as ridiculous as this one of Vince Vaughn, which is also free to use from Mashable.