25 Incredible Sites for the Best Free Stock Photos

Written by Sean Flannigan

best free stock photos sites

Really great photos can exemplify the content with which you pair it. Taking photos is great, but time-consuming. If only there were sites full of free stock photos that you could just download and use.

Of course, there are. That’s the whole premise of this post.

Photographers all over the world are lovely enough to share their beautiful images with the world. These images cover the entire gamut of scenes from across the world. Landscapes, portraits, funny dogs, you name it.

Where any kind of licensing restriction applies, that will be noted individually. If a site specializes in a certain type of stock photo, that will be made clear. Many photo sites fall under the Creative Commons Public Domain license, which means they can be used in any way the user desires, with various attribution requirements.

Below, we’ve provided a list of 25 sites that offer a wealth of free stock photos which you can use for a wide variety of commercial and personal purposes.

1. Startup Stock Photos

startup stock photos

This free photo site began as a simple collection of photos that the company was already taking for its own usage. It has blossomed far beyond its original content for startup companies, and now includes a tremendous number of images useful to designers, developers, bloggers, and publishers.

The site tagline is “Take ’em. These things are free. Go. Make something.” However, before you do take ’em, read the Terms & Conditions paragraph.

2. Travel Coffee Book

travel coffee book

The photos here are available under CC0 (Creative Commons Zero) licensing, meaning there are no usage restrictions. Many of the photos are of various geographic locations around the world, depicting cities, buildings, landmarks, and natural wonders.

3. Barnimages

barnimages

Images on this website are still under copyright to the owner, and cannot be re-sold or re-distributed as your own property. It is not necessary to cite the company when using any of their images, but they encourage links back to their website.

The images themselves are comprised of an extremely diverse set of subjects, so nearly anything can be found here.

4. Pic Jumbo

picjumbo free stock photos

Trademarks and brands remain the property of the appropriate photographers contributing to this free site, which has been in existence since 2013. The site has its photos well categorized, which makes it much easier for you to find what you’re looking for, regardless of content.

They also offer a premium membership with packs of premium photos emailed to you each month.

5. Flickr

flickr creative commons images
Photo by Sam Cox

Flickr is an online community of members, many of whom are photographers themselves. These artists retain the rights to their images.

The photos are categorized in terms of content which is safe, moderate, or restricted, and within those broad guidelines, you might find any kind of images. Before using an image, make certain you understand the licensing details. You can filter results by license type to only include Creative Commons images.

6. Albumarium

Albumarium stock photos
Photo by Tom Butler

Images on this site are under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 licensing, which means that owners must be attributed and credited. The kinds of images available fall into approximately 30 categories, so its photographic reach is wide.

7. Free Food Photos

freefoodphotos.com
Photo by freefoodphotos.com

Images on this site are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licensing, which means they can be used for most purposes as long as the website is cited as the original owner.

As you might expect from the site name, the images contained on the site predominantly include content about food and food preparation. Yum!

8. Polar Fox

polarfox stock images CC0

All photos on this site are covered under the Creative Commons Zero license, so you can do pretty much anything you want with them. All images are high resolution and are categorized in one of many different groupings to make your image search faster and easier.

9. Pixabay

pixabay free photos mushroom

There are relatively few categories on Pixabay. The site specializes in cars, love themes, mornings, flowers, nature, animals, religion, health, and music. To use the photos, as with many of these sites, one must abide by terms of service. All images are under the CC0 license, so go crazy. No need to worry about attribution.

10. Unsplash

unsplash free photos
Photo by Edan Cohen on Unsplash

It is not necessary to credit Unsplash photographers or the site itself when you use photos here, although the site does appreciate a link to help its business. About the only thing you can’t do with the many categories of high-quality photos here is use their photos for redistribution. But you wouldn’t do that.

11. Gratisography

gratisography free odd photos

This is one of the few sites which intentionally caters to images which tend to be highly creative or quirky in some way. You’re allowed virtually free reign to do what you want with these images, except for re-distributing them to other websites, or as part of your own package of images. If you need weird, they got you covered.

12. Burst

burst shopify stock photos free
Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

Free photos for entrepreneurs is the specialty of this Shopify-owned site. As it is a joint project with Shopify, some of the licensing coverage also falls under Shopify’s requirements. All other photos are under CC0 licensing and were originally taken by Burst’s own employees. Always be sure to check the specific requirements of the photos you choose.

13. Skitterphoto

skitterphoto stock images suspicious cat

Skitterphoto images have all been created by employees of the company, and all are made available under the CC0 license. You can copy, modify, and distribute all photos without asking permission, and without any ownership attribution. You could start a site entirely devoted to angry cats.

14. Jay Mantri

jay mantri free hd images

All photos on the site are provided under CC0 licensing, and at least seven new creations are posted each week for devoted followers to examine. A number of different themes are included on the site, and photos are searchable to help you locate images of interest.

15. Pexels

pexels free stock photos leaves close up

Pexels offers all high-quality images, and all are completely under CC0 licensing. The photos have all been tagged, and are easily searchable.

You can also use what Pexels calls their ‘Discover Pages’ to help you locate exactly what you’re looking for. There are even stock videos to choose from if you so desire.

16. Negative Space

negative-space-curious-sheep-field-farm-grass-stock-trees-forest

About 15 specific categories of photos are available on Negative Space, and all are available under CC0 license. The site name comes from the fact that the owners like to emphasize photo content which is not normally the primary subject of a photo but is instead part of the background or surroundings.

They aim to create a thriving community of photographers that love to share their work.

17. Magdeleine

magdeleine handpicked free hd images

There are relatively few categories of photos here, and there is only one new one posted daily, so Magdeleine focuses more on quality than on quantity. Images are made available under CC0 licensing and cite attribution is required when using any of the photos for personal or commercial use.

18. Stokpic

stokpic Mens shoes Jumping Grey Background

This site has many images that you’d recognize as more traditional stock photos. There are at least 10 new photos posted to this site every two weeks, mostly from the site owner and photographer.

Creative Commons Zero licensing applies, although the site owner insists that any recognizable individuals depicted in images cannot be shown in any kind of negative context for your own usage.

19. Freerange

freerange stock photos little girl

Photos on Freerange are contributed by members of the site as well as external contributors. Photos cannot be re-distributed, sold, or re-licensed, but can otherwise be used for any purpose, personal or commercial. Unlike many sites, Freerange also includes illustrations.

20. LibreShot

libreshot stock images CC0

This site contains some of the most unique architectural, floral, and still-life subjects anywhere on the web. Covered under Equilicense, they cannot be sold, re-licensed, or re-distributed, but can be used otherwise without attribution for either commercial or personal applications.

21. Fancy Crave

fancycrave images free use brewed-coffee
Photo by Jordan Sanchez

At least two new photos are posted to this site daily, and many of the photos have to do with subjects that actually inspire cravings or desires in the viewer. Images can be used in any way, but the site owner requests that the site be attributed as the artist.

22. SplitShire

SplitShire photos free commercial use stuffed squid

There are no commercial restrictions applied to usage of these photos, all of which are lovingly created by its Italian owner. This owner-photographer does not allow the photos to be sold as your own, or used in any kind of application which contains ‘inappropriate content’. SplitShire also has free videos available.

23. Life of Pix

lifeofpix high quality images free auditorium-seats

A whole group of very talented Canadian photographers has contributed these high-resolution images to the site.  They can be used for any personal or commercial application. Licensed under CC0, the photos can be used freely, as long as approval by the owner is not implied or stated.

24. New Old Stock

newoldstock vintage free stock photos cardplayers

This site specializes in vintage historical photos, many of which are in black-and-white. A lot of the photos have made it to the site via the public archive of Flickr Commons.

The site owner does not require any attribution for himself or the site. It is advised that individual photos be checked for potential copyrights and other licensing restrictions.

25. Death to the Stock Photo

death to the stock photo free images
Death to the Stock Photo

The free option on DTTSP is not immediately obvious. If you scroll ALL the way to the bottom, you can provide your email and sign up to get free photo packs sent to you monthly.

All photos on this site remain protected by copyright, but you do have the freedom to use the photos in almost any way while citing DTTSP as the owner. The photos cannot be re-distributed as part of any package that you sell or give to others, and they cannot be claimed as something you own.

Conclusion

There are so many sites on the internet which provide high-quality stock photos for free.  It almost seems unnecessary to ever pay for them.

When you need a photo, you are sure to find what you are looking for in one of the above sites. Most sites have a wide variety of categories to choose from. Others tend to prefer to specialize in just a few specific themes. Whatever you want, you can certainly find a go-to site for your stock image needs.

Before making use of any of the photos you find on these sites, be sure to check the specific licensing which covers all images found on the site. The licensing arrangement will almost always be provided as a tab selection, or at least on the sitemap, where it can easily be perused.

By observing a few precautions which the site owners ask of you, you’ll be able to make use of some of the finest photographic creations available anywhere on the world wide web.

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