10 Great Sources of Free Stock Photos

Everyone loves free stuff, right. Well, if you’re just starting out in business, or have a micro-business with a negligible marketing budget, getting awesome photos to illustrate your store, products or services can get expensive. But, it needn’t be.

All of the images in this montage are payment-free, royalty-free images.

The temptation is to go to Google Images and just rip-off the images you find there. That’s risky, many of those images are copyright protected. That leaves you open to prosecution under copyright laws around the world. There is a safe way of obtaining royalty-free, payment-free stock photos.

Below are 10 great sources of free stock photos. Visit these sites and check out whether there are some images you can use in your marketing materials.

  1. FREEIMAGES.co.uk
  2. FreePhotos.cc
  3. Gratisography
  4. Pexels
  5. PIKWIZARD
  6. pixabay
  7. SplitShire
  8. StockSnap.io
  9. stockvault
  10. Unsplash

1. FREEIMAGES.co.uk

Over 18,000 photos organised in a variety of easy to find categories. The website terms require crediting for the images either as a link for online use, or as a text credit for printed offline materials.

Most of the images are 1152×864,1200×1600, 2500 or 3500 pixels on longest side and the website states that all are 24-bit maximum quality jpeg. File size ranges between 100kb and 3000kb (approx.) depending on the resolution and content of the image.

Website: https://freeimages.co.uk or sister site https://freeimageslive.co.uk

2. FreePhotos.cc

FreePhotos.cc is a free resource where you can find creative commons photos for your website or print projects.

Search for any topic using the search box (e.g. “Dogs”, “Flowers”, etc.), browse results and download. You can mention the photographer if you want, as a token of respect for the work.

Website: https://freephotos.cc

3. Gratisography

This is a great source of weird and wacky stock photos if that’s what you’re looking for. Their licence is simple and straightforward.

What is allowed?

Almost anything you can think of.

You may use Gratisography pictures as you please for both personal and commercial projects. You can adapt and modify the images and get paid for work that incorporates the pictures.

This includes advertising campaigns, adding your logo or text to an image, printed in any size print runs (e.g., book covers, magazines, posters, etc.), on your website, blog, or other digital mediums, and on merchandise as long as the picture itself is not the merchandise.

What is not allowed?

You can’t redistribute Gratisography pictures, including on other stock (paid or free) sites/apps, or give them to other people to use. You can’t claim the photos as your own or imply that Gratisography or any of the models, brands, or anything in the pictures has endorsed you or your product. Gratisography pictures can’t be used in pornographic, criminal, defamatory, hateful, degrading, unlawful, immoral purposes or to promote or sell illegal drugs, drug use, pornography, weapons, or prostitution.

It’s possible that some pictures may be subject to other intellectual property rights, such as trademark, publicity, or privacy rights. Gratisography does not represent or make any warranties that it owns or licenses any of these rights or can it grant them.

If you have doubts, especially for commercial projects, it is recommended to perform due diligence before using a questionable picture.

Website: https://gratisography.com

4. Pexels

A big shout out goes to Suzy Hazelwood for pointing out that I missed this great source of high-resolution, quality, free stock photos. The Pexels licence is really simple and straightforward.

What is allowed?

  • All photos on Pexels are free to use.
  • Attribution is not required. Giving credit to the photographer or Pexels is not necessary but always appreciated.
  • You can modify the photos. Be creative and edit the photos as you like.

What is not allowed?

  • Identifiable people may not appear in a bad light or in a way that is offensive.
  • Don’t sell unaltered copies of a photo, e.g. don’t sell it as a stock photo, poster, print or on a physical product without adding any value.
  • Don’t imply endorsement of your product by people or brands on the image.
  • Don’t redistribute or sell the photos on other stock photo or wallpaper platforms.

Website: https://www.pexels.com

5. PIKWIZARD

A library of over 1 million stock images and videos, over 100,000 of those are completely free images and over 20,000 are exclusive to PIKWIZARD. Royalty free and safe for commercial use, with no attribution required.

They have a good selection of quality images, with an easy to use and effective search mechanism. Premium content is interleaved into the image stream, so if the perfect image for what you are doing is one of those then you’ll need to pay for it.

The PIKWIZARD licence is quite complex, but fairly standard.

What is allowed?

  • Use on websites, both non-commercial and commercial.
  • Use on business cards, business letterheads, brochures, and on business pop up displays for use in trade shows.
  • Use in the artwork for the packaging of any product.
  • Use in multimedia presentations and incorporated into film and video for television and/or internet broadcast.
  • Use as CD or DVD cover art and/or artwork.
  • Use as part of editorial or advertising in textbooks, newspapers, books, book covers, magazines.
  • Use in eBooks.

What is not allowed?

  • Do not use, sell, sub-licence, reproduce, distribute, display, or incorporate into templates, standalone backgrounds, stock elements, effects imagery elements, downloadable files or screen savers.
  • Do not include it in any other media/stock product, collection, set of clips, or library, for distribution or resale.
  • Do not use the content in any way that might be considered defamatory, libellous, obscene, immoral or illegal.
  • Do not use the content to slander, libel to vilify a person, race, culture, religion, country, region, town, village or any other place.
  • Do not produce or otherwise create for resale or distribution, any portion of the content on canvas, paper or any other medium.
  • Do not use any content (in whole or in part) as a trademark, logo or an element thereof.

Website: https://pikwizard.com/

6. pixabay

Over 1,000,000 high-quality payment-free and royalty-free stock images. Attribution isn’t required but is appreciated.

The pixabay license empowers creators and protects the community. Pixabay want to keep it as simple as possible. So, here is an overview of what Pixabay content can and can’t be used for.

What is allowed?

  • All content on Pixabay can be used for free for commercial and noncommercial use across print and digital, except in the cases mentioned in “What is not allowed”.
  • Attribution is not required. Giving credit to the contributor or Pixabay is not necessary but is always appreciated by our community.
  • You can make modifications to content from Pixabay.

What is not allowed?

  • Don’t redistribute or sell someone else’s Pixabay images or videos on other stock or wallpaper platforms.
  • Don’t sell unaltered copies of an image. e.g. sell an exact copy of a stock photo as a poster, print or on a physical product.
  • Don’t portray identifiable people in a bad light or in a way that is offensive.
  • Don’t use images with identifiable brands to create a misleading association with a product or service.

Pixabay also provide some really useful plugins, for Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office and WordPress.

Website: https://pixabay.com

7. SplitShire

SplitShire have a relatively limited number of images, at only just over 1000, but they’re good quality, relevant images.

What is allowed?

  • Website or Mobile App
  • Advertising Materials
  • Image Placeholders for Bloggers or Websites
  • Image Placeholders/Backgrounds in Templates for Sell
  • Part of Template for Sell
  • Social Media
  • Magazines – Ebooks
  • Book Covers
  • Music Artwork
  • Software Applications
  • Personal & Commercial works

Note for Developers: SplitShire images can be included in your final product to sell. Ex. Templates, Photoshop Files, Video Projects, Graphic Templates, Mockups etc.

What is not allowed?

  • You can’t sell the photo as it is. The standalone version, is given to you for free.
  • No third-party stock websites.
  • The use of SplitShire free photos is not allowed in projects that have inappropriate content such as but not limited to any material that incites or promotes violence, racism, any discrimination, prejudice or intolerance toward any individual or group, religion, sexuality, gender, political view.

Website: https://splitshire.com

8. StockSnap.io

StockSnap.io don’t specify how many images are in their library, but there are thousands. A simple search on the tag “people” returned 5864 results.

StockSnap.io employe the Creative Commons CC0 license which allows you to use all of the photos from StockSnap for free without providing attribution to the photographers. Although it is not required, it’s always appreciated when you can provide attribution.

Website: https://stocksnap.io

9. stockvault

Offering over 133,000 images in their library, Stockvault has images for almost every occasion. The library is accessible via a category system like other sites have, but they also offer curated collections of images which save time when looking for a particular group of images.

Stockvault offer images under 3 types of license to share photos; Non-Commercial, Commercial and Public Domain (CC0) so be sure to check the licence requirements for each photo you want to use.

Website: https://stockvault.net

10. Unsplash

Over 1,000,000 images to choose from. Images are organised into categories, tag searchable and available as curated collections.

All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.

More precisely, Unsplash grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Unsplash for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash. This license does not include the right to compile photos from Unsplash to replicate a similar or competing service.

Website: https://unsplash.com

Conclusion

All 10 of these websites sites are excellent sources of free stock photos. By that, I mean images that are payment-free and royalty-free. You should always check the licence agreement applicable to each website, and in some cases to each image, before you use it.

On most of the sites they have affiliate links to premium images, that’s how they make money. If you like the site, and they serve up applicable images, please use their affiliate links once in a while. It helps to keep the doors open for next time.

Should you find a photographer whose work you particularly like, consider commissioning them. They will really appreciate it.