This page looks at alternative websites to find free stock images from.
Do you want to know the perfect website where you can find all the stock photos you need for free? Unfortunately, there’s no “holy grail.” This is because the different websites have different photos on and therefore the best one is the one which has what you need.
You may be thinking it’s a bit strange for this to be listed here first because most images you have to pay for. However, they also have a large freebies section. The images from this website are of very high quality. To start downloading you need to first create an account. Then login and click the ‘Free Images’ grey button near the top. Using the search function to find what you want. Easy to use, and a growing number of pics available.
Over 65,000 public domain photos, illustrations and vectors “licensed” under the Creative Commons CC0 deed. All of the images in their database are manually approved, which results in a very high standard of quality. Nice simple site to use with a search box at the top to locate what you are after. They also have a forum and a blog if you wish to get involved in the community.
You need to create a free account in order to download files. But once done it is a simple case of signing in and grabbing what you would like to use. Nice lightbox feature, lots of images completely different to those on other sites. Check the ‘New’ section for the latest uploads to appreciate the good quality.
Unsplash.com – Fantastic for beautiful photos with lots of choice. Not so good for bloggers who want photographs a little less polished and more amateur feeling.
Pexels – Lots of choice with so many different photographs in different categories. They have some good download options too.
Flickr – Always check the license because they vary from image to image. Ideal if you’re a blogger looking for more amateur photographer type pictures.
Nice easy website to use. Lots of pictures available, although a reasonable percentage aren’t very usable. The categorisation system is terribly poor so rely on the search function, however even that chucks up dodgy results. You need to create a free account to start downloading the images.
And that’s it, take a look for through all of them. It’s often best to use multiple resources. Due to how much choice there is I encourage you to search through the different websites and eventually you might get what you are after. If you don’t then I’m afraid you will have to dip your hand in your pocket and pay a dollar or two for premium stock image. If you need help see our guide to getting photographs at a cheap price.
If you’re not too picky about what you need then I’m sure you will have no issues with availability. Top quality photographs are a must, a good quantity available is also very important.
Once you find what you are after from the above resources. Remember to also stay on the right side of the licenses. Although they are being given away for free it doesn’t just mean you can do what you want. You will sometimes have to credit the copyright owner. And sometimes there is a limitation on how many times it can be used. Make sure you stay the right side of the law.
As you will know, the web is huge. And there are other places you can find files to download. However this page would end up massive. Here are a few words of caution on how you go about your hunting if the above businesses can’t meet your needs.
One thing to NOT DO is simply go to Google Images, do a quick search, and then take what you want. You are unlikely to know the copyright situation. And you could end up using something you have no legal right to, and this can lead to all sorts of trouble.
There is such a vast amount of these websites that picking the best ones is impossible. You only have to look at ProductHunt to see how many people launch their own stock photo collections.
Questions and answers
Here is a question and answer section to hopefully help some frequently asked questions we have received over the years.
Can I use images I download over and over again?
It depends on what type of licensing the picture has. “Rights Managed” consists of photos that are licensed for a specific use, duration or size. Any such restrictions will be lined out in the license. To use these again, you would need to pay additional royalties.
For those that are “Royalty Free,” you can use them repeatedly after paying one fee. These are not in the public domain or free to use. You simply don’t have to pay royalties with these after purchasing the license, no matter how many times you use them.
No matter what sort of rights you hold, the photographer always owns the copyright, so credit should always be given when possible.
Can I use them for commercial use?
This would be an issue you would need to take up with the photographer or copyright owner if it isn’t lined out in the license. The majority are available for commercial use. That’s the beauty of them! However, some “Rights Managed” licenses will be more specific on how their photos can be used.
Where can I use what I download?
They are ideal for using in things like web design, in blog post content, leaflets to promote your business, video stills and even as avatars. Be careful if you want to alter files to suit you. Sometimes you aren’t allowed to, always be sure.