Photography is one of the crucial parts of web design. Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text, this means that your creative content plays a major role in engaging your followers. Recently, stock photography has developed a bad reputation due to cliché pictures of men in corporate suits shaking hands or those of absurdly happy people receiving a loan from a bank. Regardless of this type of content, the truth is that free stock image websites create a competitive environment for photographers. These websites are constantly on the lookout for those who possess the perfect framing, motives, and lighting techniques.
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Over the years there has been a growing number of mind-blowing websites with exceptional imagery offered free of cost. Our digital marketing agency here in Chicago has done its own research to better inform you on the websites that offer free stock images to embellish in your blog pages and give you that wow factor.
While visiting the following websites, you will find photographs that are free of copyright restrictions or licenses. Regardless, we strongly suggest that you read the terms and conditions of each website you visit so you know when and what type of attribution is required.
What are Creative Commons?
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that allows users to share knowledge and creativity through free legal tools. There are several types of Creative Commons licenses. Some allow offer no restrictions or required attributions, others allow only certain uses and no changes.
What is Public Domain?
Public domain is a summary of works with expired, forfeited, or inapplicable copyrights. However, keep in mind that just because something is on the internet doesn’t mean that it is also in the public domain.
What is Royalty-Free?
Images that are “royalty-free” aren’t necessarily free. It means that you don’t have to pay royalties to the owner every time you use an image(s). However, you usually do have to pay a one-time fee for rights to use the image if you’re planning to use it as many times as you wish.
Free Stock Image Websites
Now that we have clarified all the perplexities about licensing, let’s get back to the subject of our article. Here are our top picks for the best free stock image websites.
StockSnap.io has a huge database filled with beautiful free stock photos and high-resolution images. Their search feature enables easy browsing through countless images available. You can also search for the most popular photos since the website tracks both views and downloads. With hundreds of new photos being added every day, they are all released under creative commons with no attribution required.
This website offers free high-quality stock images licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. All of their images are nicely tagged, and easy to search for and discover through the website’s discover page.
Unsplash is one of the most popular free stock image websites. The website harbors a huge collection of free high-resolution photographs released under the Unsplash license. Their team of professionals goes through new submissions daily and features only the very best images on their home page.
Burst (by Shopify)
Shopify launched Burst to help entrepreneurs embellish their product pages, websites, and marketing campaigns. Their photos are also free, with some being licensed under Creative Commons Zero and others falling under Shopify’s photo license. While you can find more general photos on this website, most of them were taken indoors to serve different business niches.
Reshot has a large library of unique handpicked free stock images that are free to use both commercially and editorially, with no attribution required. In the introduction of this article, we mentioned how the internet is full of cliché stock photos. This website was built to fight that trend with amazing images made for startups, freelancers, and makers alike.
Pixabay provides a collection of free stock images, vectors, and art illustrations licensed under Creative Commons Zero.
FoodiesFeed is a perfect fit for food bloggers as it offers thousands of free high-resolution photographs of different kinds of food.
This website features amazing pictures captured in high resolution by Ryan McGuire of Bells Design. New photos are added every week. They are free of copyright restrictions and perfect for both personal and commercial projects.
Freestocks.org provides numerous high-quality images. All of them fall under the Creative Commons CC0 license.
Pictography is a website filled with amazing free stock images released under Creative Commons Zero. Photos are submitted by Dave Meier and many other photographers.
Canva is an online graphic design tool. However, it also offers free stock photos that can easily be turned into a custom graphic that can then be used on social media or your blog pages. Whether you gravitate towards mobile-first web design or desktop websites, Canva should have a special place in your toolbox.
Getty Images provides photos for you to use on your non-commercial websites for free by embedding them. However, downloading pictures and uploading them to your website is not allowed. Embedding pictures is very different than simply adding them. Embedded pictures keep their own frame, share buttons, and branding.
PicJumbo entertains a large library of various pictures that you can use for free with no registration required. If you choose to subscribe to their newsletter, you can get new free images every so often. We are bending the rules lightly, but with a bit of extra budget to spare, you will gain access to their premium photo collections. Here, you can even find vertical images perfect for your Stories content.
This website uploads a ton of new free stock images every week which you can access by signing up for a free membership.
StyledStock is oriented towards female entrepreneurs. They offer a collection of feminine stock photography free for both commercial and personal use.
The web offers a ton of amazing free stock image websites, along with new ones every day. Whether you are a designer, marketer, or blogger, there are so many options to choose from. Not having to rely on cliché stock imagery is certainly a blessing. Stock photography is gaining positive recognition. We love it, our clients and visitors love it, and your visitors are sure to love it too.