Finding quality free stock photos for your social media updates and blog posts can be time-consuming. And going the premium stock route can be pricey.
Lucky for us, more and more talented photographers (and image aggregators) are becoming generous with their works of art. But with so many great websites to choose from, finding the right (free) image you actually want to use can be a challenge.
Although there are probably hundreds of websites that provide free images to use however you want, I find that it’s best to stick to a handful to save you time and effort. Besides, since most of the images are CC0, a lot of times, the same image can be found in multiple websites.
Here the 12 that I often use for my graphic design needs (plus examples of images from some and how you can use them in social media).
Pexels has efficient tools to help you find that perfect image. It is run by Bruno Joseph, Ingo Joseph and Daniel Frese. At least 50 new high quality stock photos are added to the website daily. If you’re looking for free landscape photography, look no further than Pexels.com.
In my opinion, it’s one of the best free stock images websites there is. The images are tagged and categorized nicely, something not done by a many of their competitors.
Pixabay was founded in 2010 by Hans Braxmeier and Simon Steinberger. It is a database of about 670,000 high quality photos, images, vectors and art illustrations.
Pixabay has good search capability and is regularly updated by active photographer, who you can “follow”and donate to if you’re feeling generous.
Pro Tip: Sign up to avoid the constant capcha.
Another “pioneer,” Death of the Stock Photo was founded by Allie Lehman and David Sherry in 2013. This was after the two photographers realized that it was challenging for creatives to access high quality images to promote their work.
The agency has since attracted over 430,000 email subscribers through the quality and professional images. You can choose between a free and paid subscription.
You can say Unsplash helped started it all. A project of Crew company, it is arguably the most reputable and widely used source of images and illustrations for start-up bloggers and social media users.
It was started as a side activity for Crew company but later became a core marketing project of Crew. 10 new awesome photos are added to the website after every 10 days for users across the world.
As much as I appreciate Unsplash, using their website is challenging and the images are poorly categorized. I often just check their Pixabay account instead of downloading images direct from the website.
Picjumbo is a collection of high resolution fashion, technology and nature photos. It’s also an ideal source of images and vectors for individuals with nutrition, food stores and restaurant start-ups.
This website was founded by photographer cum designer Viktor Hanacek in 2013. Apart from photography, Viktor handpicks and modifies the the most beautiful images from the web. Picjumbo offers premium membership.
Gratisography is one of the most reputable agencies for public domain photos. High resolution photos are added weekly into the website.
If you see beautiful, eye-catching photos used on various blogs, chances are, it’s Ryan McGuire’s work. Ryan’s images are perfect for SlideShare covers, just like this one:
Barn Images was founded by Roman Drits in 2015. Since then, other photographers have also begun to contribute to it’s growing collection of images.
It is a favorite site for enthusiasts of animal, object, lifestyle and sports stock images. It offers other unique varieties of free stock images for social media and business ads.
Roman also actively maintains the Barn Images blog and often shares pretty useful social media and marketing resources.
Stockpic won the hearts of many with gorgeous and unique photos taken from beautiful places all over the world.
Ed Gregory started the website after he decided to give away his photos free. What’s more, Ed is actively seeking out photographers to sponsor. The sponsorship is funded from donations and the website’s advertising earnings. Approved applicants receive $500 “to help them on their creative journey.”
Kaboompics was founded by Karolina. She is a Polish designer with an eye for highly creative images in all categories. She has a passion for landscapes, fashion, technology among other awesome categories, perfect for lifestyle, career, and food bloggers.
Life of Pix was founded and owned by Leeroy Advertising Agency. It is based in Montreal and partners with Life of Vids. The two entities donate high quality images and videos for commercial and personal use without any attribution.
StockSnap.io offers unique high resolution stock images for personal or commercial uses. Hundreds of photos are added weekly in to the website. The selection, captured by professional and experienced photographers, are interesting and versatile.
If you want to browse through the most popular photos, the website makes it easy for you as they have a category for most downloaded images.
You can also check out Snappa, an easy-to-use graphic editor from the founders of StockSnap.
I found this awesome resource purely by chance and I’m so glad I did!
CreativeConvex is from Chaitra of PinkPot Design Studio. You get a free photo pack when you sign up for her newsletter. The collection of photos is not as varied or as big as DeathtotheStock or PicJumbo (and I don’t think that’s what Chaitra aims for), but her photos are so elegant – perfect for lifestyle bloggers!
Just a reminder…
These websites offer images under the Creative Commons Zero (CCO) or the Public Domain license. The images are free for both personal and commercial use without attribution so you don’t have to fear copyright related lawsuits. BUT be sure to always check the licenses.
I’m sure there are other wonderful websites for free stock photos out there. Let me know your favorites in the comments!