If you have ever needed a good stock photo for your website, blog, newsletter, poster or anything else, you probably have realized how many sites there are out there that charge a lot of money to download a single photo.
Granted, if you need stock photos of really high quality on a regular basis, subscribing to one of those sites is probably worth it, but if you only need a couple of images once or twice a year, why pay all that money? There are a lot of free stock photo sites that have large enough collections, so you’ll probably find what you are looking for.
In this article, I’ll list out seven of my favorite that I use for my own blogs and also for my clients. If you have a favorite free stock photo site listed here, please let us know in the comments. You’ll also see some articles on the web like “50 free sites for stock photos”, but a lot of them have very tiny collections. I’m trying to stick with just a couple where you can find more images.
All of these sites use the Creative Commons CC0 license, which means you can download the images and use them for personal or commercial benefit without any attribution. It’s pretty cool!
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Pexels is my favorite site for finding free stock photos. The images are all in very high resolution, which means you can use them for some really giant prints if you wanted.
Most of the files are well over 10 MB in size! In addition, you get information about each photo like which camera was used to take the photo and what software was used to edit it.
Pixabay has over 1 million images that you can download for free. What I like about Pixabay is that they have some better searching options than Pexels. You can search by media type, orientation, category, color and by size.
In addition, you can get fancy and use AND, OR and NOT operators to create some very specific searches. The resolution is not as high on Pixabay as it is with Pexels, but it’s still enough for most web and print requirements.
StockSnap.io is similar to Pexels in terms of the resolution of the images being very high, but it has fewer images overall. They also have search options, but it’s mostly by date, trending, views, downloads and favorites.
This lets you basically find the most popular photos quickly. You can also click on the categories page and browse images that way. If you need really high-resolution images, this site is another good option.
Unsplash and the last two sites I mention have much smaller collections than the sites I listed above. You won’t find as many images and as much variety, but the actual images themselves are still of very good quality.
On Unsplash, you can get detailed info about each picture also (camera model, shutter speed, focal length, ISO, etc.), if that is something that interests you.
NegativeSpace only has a little more than one thousand free stock photos, but image quality and resolution are both very good. There isn’t much in terms of search options or information about the photos, probably because they don’t have all that many images.
Freely Photos is another small site with a couple of hundred free images that you can use. The photos are a little different than the rest of the sites, so if you are looking for something a little more unique, then this site could be helpful.
Makerbook is a stock photo site that has images specifically for startups. So, if you need some stock photos for your new startup and want to look cool and hip, then this is a good site to visit. They don’t have a lot of images, but all the ones they have are very startup-ish.
As I said, there are many other free stock photo sites, but these are the main ones I like because I can actually find something useful. Remember, you can use all the images from these sites in any way you like without having to worry about getting permission. Enjoy!