Posted by Olivia dela Rosa on December 12, 2014
A Curated list of the Best Free Stock Photo sites with Beautiful Royalty Free Images for personal or commercial use.
Let's admit it: Getting photos for our designs can be a somehow daunting task. If you're a designer, don't you just hate it when you see amateur-level, tacky, and cliché stock photos on a website? A great project deserves a good set of images to match with. That is why we took the initiative to curate a list of places where you can find the best free stock photos online.
If you find our list useful, it would be great if you share them to others! Happy bookmarking!
Morguefile offers a searchable database of over 330.000 Free high resolution images that you can use freely. Images are mainly contributed by designers and illustrators. The term morgue file refers to the place where materials are kept post-production. Images listed under the Portfolio section are the copyrighted images and have to be approved first, while images under the Free Photo Section are available for download for free.
Categorized and handpicked stock photos that you can use for free. If you are looking for free stock images that follows a high artistic standard, you might find Raumrot very useful.Free for commercial use - attribution to the creator is apreciated. Raumrot is not the largest Free Stock Photo site, but it has incredible pictures and is very userfriendly - which is the reson why we featured it. As of December, the site currently has around 521 photos and growing.
Every Stock Photo a search engine for images. It searches through several other free stock photo sites a. This site provides a large collection of free stock photos - over 24 million Free photos - and its interface is organized and very easy to navigate. Each image is featured in a thumbnail and additional information is displayed, including the license and restrictions to the image. To download the images, registration to the site is required. The top row of pictures are commercial, if you are looking for the 24 million free images, skip the top row.
Almost 300,000 free stock photos, vectors, and Illustrations that you can use for commercial purpose. If you're going to use the images, no attribution or link-back are required.
Splashbase compiles photos from different sources and displays them on a clean, easy-to-navigate website. Its sources include Startup Stock Phots, Gratisography, Get Refe, Travel Coffee Book, Jay Mantri, Superfamous, among others. Images are under CC0 license too and can be used for any purpose, either for commercial or non-commercial use, without the need to give credit to the creator of the image.
Some of these sites have stock photo collections that are so big, it would take you days to sift through each one. Luckily, there are some that have search engines to help you filter down your image search and help you get the right kind of photo you need.
Please note: many of these photo search enignes display commercial images on top of their results. You may need to scroll down to find the royalty free images.
A volunteer-run site that acts as a repository of over 16 million free images and video files for Wikimedia Foundation. All contents of the site is free to be copied, used, and altered as long as the user follow the conditions given by the author and proper attribution is given. But to easily search for public domain listed images, type in "PD" before the keywords on your search.
All images from this website is under a CC0 license, making it possible for anyone to use any images from the website for any purpose - personal or commercial - without the need of asking permission and you can redistribute and use the image without mentioning the author or link back. To access all of the free photos, you have to register first to the site.
To access its huge image archive, you have to register first to the site. Don’t worry because registration is fast and easy, and the images offered are available freely for both commercial and non-commercial use. When you search for a specific image, it will display the free stock photos available for download, as well as the paid commercial ones you can purchase from its affiliate sites. As a courtesy, attribution is appreciated.
Good Stock Photo is a product of design firm Spark Up Arts. It is a site where you can get great stock photos that are owned and were shot by the site’s creator, Steven Ma. You can use the images freeyly for both commercial and non-commercial purposes, and attribution is not required but appreciated.
Stock Photos for Free is an online source of over 100,000 stock images with royalty-free license. It is owned by the stock video company Video Blocks, and all the images are mostly still frames from videoblocks.com videos. The site is continually adding more photos taken by professional photographers into the site, and you can use them both commercially and for non-commercial purposes.
Aside from free stock photos, this site also offers free textures and Photoshop tutorials, which are just some tools that are very helpful to a lot of designers. Though some of the images it offers are from Shutterstock (which requires a certain fee), there are still a lot of free stock photos to choose from, as it currently has over 51,000 images available for downloads and counting.
PhotoPin makes it easy for anyone to add images to their blogs. Through the use of Flickr API and Creative Commons photos, you can search for the image that you need and download it along with the attribution link. Take note that the first two rows are sponsored images from Shutterstock, while the rest are available for download to be used under certain restrictions.
Beautiful free stock photos that can be used for both personal and commercial use. Same thing with most stock photo search engines in that the sponsored images are separated from the row below, while the free stock photos are listed above it. Public domain owned images are listed separately. Free images are under the CC-BY 3.0 license, making them free to be used for any purpose, even commercially, with the condition of providing attribution to the author.
Here are websites that provide a really wide collection of free stock photos, wherein you can directly download the photo for whatever use. Some of these sites have terms and conditions of use, such as attribution or registration requirement. You also have to check if the photos are licensed under public domain and are available for either personal or commercial use, or both. You will notice that there are certain restrictions to these sites though, but with the quality and number of photos they offer, it's all worth it.
With over 100,000 images uploaded, finding photos for your private or commercial projects is easier with RGBStock. To access its full library and download the free images, you need to register first. Take not however to double check the licenses of individual images you are about to download, as some have additional copyrights or restrictions to them. As advised by the site, contact the creator of the image if in doubt.
All high-resolution images on this site are owned and taken by Ryan McGuire, a New York-based visual artist and creator of Bells Design, and they can be used for both personal and commercial purposes. New images are added weekly and all photos are released into the public domain.
Beautiful imagery is what makes this site really valuable. Jay Mantri offers hi-res stock photos for free on his website listed under CC0 license, meaning the images have been released to the public domain so you can use them however you want (even commercially). Additionally, seven new photos come in every week.
Living up to its name, this website is definitely a foodie’s feed because of its selection of food-related images. It does not use any Creative Commons licenses so all images are available for download and to be used for any purpose. The site is updated weekly and you can also find photo packs or collections of different images taken from a single take.
Currently running with over 1,400 photos, Pexels is another amazing source of stock images that are under CC0 license, allowing the images to be downloaded for free and be used even commercially. The site serves as a platform source of images from other websites that offer free stock photos and has a beautiful interface.
Powered by Tumblr, New Old Stock is a site that is devoted to curate all vintage images that don’t have any known copyright restrictions since they already expired.
Picography is another great online resource to find hi-res stock photos under CC0 license. Images are listed under the public domain, making them free to download without any restrictions or need to cite attribution or link-back. Though Picography's collection is currently limited (less than a hundred), it boasts of many high-quality and noteworthy ones that would look great on any website.
Daniel Nanescu shares all of his hi-res images for free on his stock photography website Split Shire. For full access and daily delivery of photos in your inbox, you can also sign up for a premium account for a really low cost. Attribution not required but would be appreciated by the author.
Just like its name, this website offers stock photography of modern workspaces. Images from this website are under CC-BY 4.0 license, making them available even for commercial use though proper attribution and a link to the license should be given.
More hi-res (“jumbo”, get it?) no-attribution-needed (though proper credit would be nice) images are available on Picjumbo, a website that offers free stock photos owned by Web designer Viktor Hanacek. You can use the images for free, eitjher for personal or commercial use, and details about its permissions are clearly indicated on each page. You can also sign up to become a premium member that will deliver premium photo packs straight to your inbox every month.
A personal favorite, Superfamous is a great stock photography source by Dutch interaction designer Folkert Gorter. Images are free under CC-BY 3.0 license, meaning attribution and link to the license is required and one should indicated if any changes were made to the image used.
Images are high-resolution and free to be used personally and commercially. Owned by Thomas Mühl, the photographs are released to the public domain, free for personal and commercial use. Also photographs do not require attributions but backlinks are appreciated.
Bigfoto is a website that started in 2000 that provides high-resolution images for free to be used either for commercial or non-commercial purposes. Link-back though is required.
We also found more sources where you can get free beautiful and stunning stock photos. Most of them are still under licensed under Creative Commons public domain which makes it possible for you to use the photos without asking permission, but it wouldn't hurt to research and double check.
Photographer Jonas Nilsson Lee decided to create a portfolio website of his works and shared them for free through Cupcake. Images are under CC0 license, free to be downloaded and used even for commercial purposes.
ISO Republic is a fairly new website, just started September 2014. All images from this website are free from restrictions and can be used for personal or commercial purposes. Limited collection but gorgeous, very high-quality images from this site.
Another (fairly) newcomer is Life of Pix. Every week, new free hi-res images are added to the website and can be used freely, whether for personal or commercial projects. Since it just started around May this year, it still has a limited, though growing, collection of stock photos from its network of photographers.
Unsplash promises to give you 10 free, high-quality images every 10 days. The entire stock photo collection is under the Creative Commons Zero license so images are entirely free and you can use it for any projects, whether personal or commercial. High-quality high-resolution images from its own network of photographers are available for easy download.
From this website, you can search through high-resolution images free to be used and shared, taken by someone who only introduced himself as a “Portuguese guy moving east”. Images from Moveast are under CC0 license though so they are free to use in any way you want, whether for personal or commercial projects, without the need for attribution or ilnk-back. Images are, of course, all travel-related and very professional-looking in a photojournalistic kind of way.
Free high-quality public domain images that can be used for any purpose, whether personally or commercially. New images are added to the site every day, taken by three Netherlands-based photographers.
Since April of this year, Travel Coffee Book has been fillng up its site with wonderful, high-quality images from all over the world, with its photographers submitting content from countries like Chile, Italy, and China. Powered by Tumblr, this site collects and shares public domain listed images of travel photos, landscapes and sceneries.
Kaboom is the work of web designer Karolina Grabowski. It is a source of free full-resolution stock images, which you can use even commercially. Attribution is not required but Karolina says she would appreciate if you credit her for the images. It also features some of the most common photo categories, like architecture and landscape, fashion, and food among others.
Magdeleine’s site in itself is already beautiful, but navigating through it is better. Aside from the gorgeous collection of photos that can easily be browsed by categories, you can also search for images according to their restrictions (public domain and attribution required images). Another great feature is that you can find images using their dominant colors, which comes in handy if you are looking for something really specific for your design.
The beauty of IM Free is that it offers itself to the public as a one-stop shop for all our Web needs. It offers not only free quality images but also helps out with creating websites as well. Stock photos, buttons, icons, and templates are just some of the products that it offers to the site, and please take note that although most are free, attribution and link-back are required.
And there are those that reaches out to you by sending you new stock photos straight to you inbox. You can choose if you want to receive weekly or monthly stock photos when you sign up on any of these sites. Once you register, they will send you a new batch of photos in a zip file format.
Sign up for Stokpic and 10 free hi-res stock photos will be delivered to your inbox every 20 days. Images are free of restrictions and can be used for personal or commercial projects, and attributions are not necessary but very much appreciated.
Valentin Dri, photographer and creator of Authentic Snaps, promises to bring you 5 free photos every week, free to be shared for personal and commercial use. If you sign up for a premium account though, you will get more perks, such as 30-plus additional photos and access to previous and future packs (wow).
Register to the site and you will be receiving 7 hi-res images every 7 days. All images are listed under the public domain so technically you can do whatever you want to do with them (except sell them) and are sent through zip file format.
The creators of Death To The Stock Photo started out sending photo packs to their friends and network of creative professionals who needed photography services. Since then, they realized that there is a high demand for quality images and that is how the site is founded. Death To The Stock Photo offers free high-quality images, and if you go premium you will receive more and search through of their collections.
An advocate of the open source community, Lock & Stock Photos owner AJ Montpetit created his website to share free stock photos under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareALike license. That means attribution is required as a way of giving back to the creative community.
As you browse through each site, you will see and realize the value of stock photos in your design life. In many ways, these sites will make your job easier and much more visually inspiring. How about you - what is your favorite source of stock photos?
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Hi, Also check out http://www.goodfreephotos.com for thousands of unique public domain photos, especially travel photos.
Posted on January 22, 2015 by Yinan Chen
I was looking for HQ stockphotos and stumbled upon this page. thanks for posting this amazing list. Highly appreciated! You guys just made my day!
Posted on December 20, 2014 by Melissa
Awesome list of sites! Used several of these in the past. Unsplash definately is my favorite although i expect to find some great ones here as well. Found some amazing quality images already and im bookmarking this page. Here is one addition that i recommend: http://goodstock.photos
Posted on December 20, 2014 by Mike
thank you for sharing this great list! As a graphic designer im always looking for stock photos and was not aware they are available for free (i've always been buying them)
Posted on December 19, 2014 by Alexis
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If the format you submit is off or your grammar is in question, Tiny Prints will call you, asking for clarification.
Not many companies pay such great attention to detail. Their selection is extensive, quality is high and their prices are the best. I highly recommend ordering from them.
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