A picture tells a thousand words, we’ve all heard the expression. Who doesn’t love a gorgeous image to add meaning to their posts, articles or social media? You may be a pro photographer or a passionate amateur so you have what ever images you want at your finger tips, even so, sometimes it is quicker & soooo much easier to just grab a stock image.
Of course you may prefer to pay stock library subscriptions (I’ve listed a few of my favorites on our productivity tools page) but you’ll also find there are lots of free image sites – some are engines which gather images from lots of libraries, others are individuals libraries. My life ambition is to create the ultimate list of free stock image sites.
No matter where you get your images, remember to check the copyright license before using them …CC0 is the most flexible license but if you’re unsure of the license, my advice is just don’t use it.
little side note: this list of 50+ free stock libraries is a permanent work in progress, if you have a favorite free image site please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the post so we can add it.
⭐⭐⭐ If you’re looking for antique prints Ancestry Images is sure to satisfy. The site architecture is very deep so either scroll through the ‘browse image/all images & prints’ pages, search or logically navigate through the indexes til you find the category you want.
One of the things I do like about these images is they have been scanned at 300dpi so they are high quality.
– copyright & allowed uses
⭐ If you are wanting original “non-stock” free imagery, Barn Images is your go to! You will find only quality photography that’s fresh, with nothing that duplicates the stock photography you’ll generally find elsewhere.
With new images added every weekday, you will be sure to find something you love that is a stand out compared to others.
⭐⭐ Categorised into country of origin, the images on BigFoto are not always brilliant quality but take the time & you may find that gem your seeking! With patience, I found some interesting textures & shapes.
Oh, turn your mike off because the site pays for itself with a dreadful sales voice over grrr!
the british library
⭐ The British Library has released a collection of pictures to the public via Flickr.
Choose from different albums – Architecture, Fashion and Costumes, Castles and so many more – these illustrations are all copyright-free.
⭐ Every Pixel is a stock image search engine, letting you compare between stock image sites and pricing, it even lets you filter to only find the free images, making sure you have the best quality.
This site is purely a database for comparison, please make sure you check the licensing on each image depending on site.
free digital photos
⭐ FreeDigitalPhotos free stock photos and illustrations which are produced by a community of professional stock photographers and digital illustrators. These tiny images were free, but if you need larger images you have the option to buy larger images from $4.20AUD.
Signing up for an account may be worthwhile if you use this site a lot, or for one-offs you need to accept their Ts & Cs, provide your email address & fill out a security challenge catchpa.
– Terms & Conditions
⭐ You can choose from a wide range of photos in the Free Images site – from Animals & Wildlife to Textures & Patterns. However, registration is needed to be able to download the images.
Attribution is not required for photos but is required for audios and videos.
⭐ Free PNGs is an all new image stock based website primarily dealing with free and premium PNG images. With over 33,000 PNGs available, the possibilities are endless, you can even purchase a complete album for around £3.99.
There are 100’s of free PNGs uploaded weekly. All free PNGs are sourced from the public domain or have been uploaded by the users of FreePNGs directly, which means YES you can upload yours too, but be sure to check out the terms & conditions.
– Terms & Conditions
free stock images
⭐⭐⭐ Powered by Dreamstime.com, to download watermark-free images at Stock Free Images you will need to register, and you can only download web-sized images at 72dpi for free. High-res images can be downloaded by paying a one-time fee which means you can use that image as many times as you want.
– Terms & Conditions
⭐ Foodiesfeed is a resource of free, realistic food images in high resolution and free digital goods related to food.
I find the site painful because you have to click the accept cookies just about every time you click something but if you get tired of that & want to buy packs of the foodie photos it is only $5. So free = painful, paying is a no brainer if you do a foodie blog.
⭐ Function is a design portfolio of web designer, Liam McKay. Site contains not only free photos from Liam but from other photographers as well.
⭐ Getty Images recently took the decision to allow non-commercial sites to embed some of their images for free. You still can’t download images & use them & embedding images is a bit intrusive but if you are a non-profit there are some great images you might find useful for your posts.
⭐ Gratisography images are those of New York visual artist Ryan McGuire. He adds new 300 dpi images weekly categorised into new pictures (top left cornet) animals, nature, objects, people, urban & whimsical. They are free to download & use but you are welcome to buy him a coffee.
good free photos
⭐⭐⭐ GoodFreePhotos.com has over 16000 photo categorized mainly by location. The site specializes in photos of state parks, national parks, national landmarks & historical sites. There are also business, tech, animal, plant, and food photos. All photos are free to use for any purpose. A lot of the photos were taken by the site owner who also takes requests for specific photos.
– All free photos on this site are public domain. Please consider giving a credit hyperlink to https://www.goodfreephotos.com if you use the photos on this site using the attribution code in the below box. It is not required but it’d be much appreciated.
⭐⭐⭐ ISO Republic Is a free photography resource for Creatives. You can sign in or just click no thanks & you can go straight into the site.
Photos are categorised into Architecture, Food/Drink, Nature, People, Premium (packs of group images for a price), urban, technology, textures & various.
⭐⭐⭐ IM Free is a curated collection of free web design resources, all for commercial use.
– check licenses for individual images
library of congress
⭐⭐⭐ The Library of Congress Collection has a lot to offer – history buffs will have a kick browsing through this website.
Rights advisory has to be checked for downloading of materials as some of the publication rights are restricted.
Little Visuals is a small collection of scrumptious photos, many of them hero shots … but there is a sad story attached …
Announcement: “Those of you who look at Little Visuals and any new visitors will be aware there have been no further uploads for over a year now. Sadly the young man who created this site died suddenly in Nov 2013. His name is Nic he is 26 and we are his family. Nic is one of far too many young adults who’s death comes under the heading of S.A.D.S ( Sudden Adult death Syndrome ). We are now fundraising in the hope to provide a number of schools or sports areas with portable defibrillators in Nic’s memory. With this in mind we would like to ask if any of you that view his site and download the images would consider a small donation towards the Hand on Heart Charity. We hope to update this site in the near future with previously unpublished photos.”
⭐ Discover everyday a fine selection in the Life of Pix featured section
– License CC0 use them any way you want
⭐ MMT offers free large high-res photos which can be used for practically anything as the owner has already waived his rights to the photos, so you can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.
MMT contains mostly macro photos of flowers, leaves, technology.
⭐ Moveast is a collection of photos taken by João Pacheco, a Portuguese travelling East. All photos are for free.
NASA image & video library
⭐⭐ NASA Image & Video Library is a wonderful selection of amazing images from aircraft to space and everything in between, these will sure enhance your creative senses.
Be sure to have a look at the Media Usage Guidelines in regards to these images as some can be used freely and some cant.
⭐ Pexels.com is a beautiful gridded site with gorgeous high quality photos. Every month at least 1500 new high resolution photos are added to the library. All photos are hand-picked from photos uploaded by users or sourced from free image websites.
⭐ Picjumbo is a free stock photo site for personal and commercial use – no registration is needed. Photos are grouped into categories like business, food, people & so on.
There is a premium plan where you can pay a minimum of $10 / month and receive unlimited downloads and access to Premium History.
– faqs & terms
public domain archive
⭐ Public Domain Archive contains public domain high-resolution images which can be downloaded royalty-free and with no attribution required.
Premium images are also available at $10 per month. With premium membership you can download bulk images and you will be free of advertisements.
raw pixelRawPixel is my goto site when I need funky, on-trend images. Before you can download you have to sign up for an account but what I really love is the simplicity. Click on the image you want & it auto downloads .. no clicking to & fro on this site!
Totally free for commercial use with model releases. licence
REFE real life photos
⭐ refe photos is part of a paid image bank but they do have a number of images for free. You have to put them in the shopping cart so they can send you emails, presumably to on-sell. But, lets face it, not much comes for free these days!
One thing I do like about this site is, if you don’t want animage that has been used all over the web, you can see how many times an image has been downloaded!
⭐ snapwire snaps 7 free beautiful photos every 7 days. License and commission photos from 200,000 of the world’s most talented photographers.
⭐ Splashbase get high-resolution, public domain photos for free.
Free downloadable videos also available.
⭐ Splitshire is photographer Daniel Nanescu had hundreds of images collecting dust on his hard-drive until her started uploading them toe splitshire for free. They can now be seen on media website such as Huffington Post & CNN as well as book covers & thousands of websites. If you want more pay just under $10 USD for a zip file of 500 of his photos.
⭐⭐ Stokpic is photographer Ed Gregory’s baby. What started off as a site for his own work, he now invites photographers to submit their photos for inclusion. Another site where you can have 10 images emailed to you each fortnight.
Although the photos on the site are CC0, he does not allow the photos to be sold or redistributed this means the photos you download will not be on other libraries or sites.
⭐⭐⭐ tookapic has thousands of free photos available. Keep in mind they’re not licensed under CC0. You can download them and use them for free in unlimited commercial and personal projects. There is one condition – you need to attribute the author and link back to either the photo page on tookapic or to stock.tookapic.com.
– check each image
⭐⭐⭐ ultra HD wallpapers Get new HD wallpapers optimized for phones and desktop backgrounds. Variety of topics with high quality images available by courtesy of talented artists.
– check each image
⭐⭐⭐ 123rf is only free if you take the small images (300x450px) otherwise you purchase credits & pay per image size.
Image finders are engines which collate your search results from a number of sources
⭐⭐ wylio membership is a requirement but it is free.
It uses the Flickr API (applications programming interface) to return searches but is not endorsed or certified by Flickr. Because it is pulling images from many libraries, by sure to check attribution requirements before using images you find using this engine.
⭐⭐⭐ Compfight is a Creative Commons site which makes use of the Flickr API for all of its photos but is not affiliated in any way with Flickr.
all the free stock
⭐ AllTheFreeStock is an image finder which searches multiple sites including EveryPixel, Photoshack, Pexels, Unsplash, Librestock for images listed under the Creative Commons Zero license, so you are free to use these images in commercial projects. As the name says AllTheFreeStock boasts being a single place where you can get free stock images, videos & icons all in a single location. The images are all CC0 so you can use them in commercial projects, however the videos, sound effects & icons are various licenses so check before you use them. One of the things I love about this site is they have links to free mock-ups – great for showcasing your designs.
the pattern library
⭐If you are looking for patterns, The Pattern Library is definitely your go-to site. The site contains a compilation of amazing patterns which can be used freely.
the startup photo library
⭐⭐⭐ The Startup Photo Library is a collection of images which shows the diverse life of startups in Melbourne, Australia.
Gorgeous photos but make sure you read the license; it is pretty comprehensive and requires attribution.
the stocks 2
⭐ Royalty-free photo sites such as Pixabay, Pexels, Jay Mantri, Gratisography can be accessed via The Stocks 2, not only photos but royalty-free video sites as well like Vimeo Free, Videezy, Mazwai, and so many more. With the addition of free fonts and recommended colors with hexacode, audios, icons, fonts and colors this is your one-stop shop.
We’ve taken 4 of our most popular articles & put them into a book for you to download & have at your finger tips.
- where to find FREE stock images: the ultimate list
- stock images: you get what you pay for
- understanding copyright (in particular CC0)
- who else is using that image : reverse image look-up
This is an incredible 28 page resource which we’ll continually update.