Whether you’re developing a website, writing an article or simply need some flair for your social media announcements, stock photos are useful.
For a source of high-quality, specialized images, we’ve identified the best free stock photo websites.
Top 11 websites to get high-resolution free stock photos
If you’re on the search for a source of free stock images, we’ve got you covered. These are the best stock photo sites that provide high-quality stock photography, completely free to use.
Unsplash offers a selection of free stock photos on a variety of topics, for any industry.
Whether you’re looking for images of animals, fashion, or nature, Unsplash has something for you.
With over 1 million hand-selected photos, Unsplash holds one of the largest collections of free high-resolution images on the internet.
Unsplash features one of the best image search mechanisms of all the sites on this list. Allowing for search by color, size, and what is trending right now.
The Unsplash license falls under Creative Commons. This means anyone can download and use their images for both commercial and non-commercial purposes with no attribution required.
All of the photos in the Unsplash library are high-resolution images perfect for web design.
With hundreds of thousands of high-quality free stock photos and free stock videos and a dedicated community of talented creators, Pexels is popular with bloggers, social media managers, and web designers alike.
Few stock photo sites have as large a library of high-resolution free stock photos, images, and graphics. All of Pexels free photos are available for commercial use with no attribution required.
Their images fall under the Creative Commons license. That means that all stock photos are free to use and modify.
Gratisography offers a broad selection of high-resolution free stock photos as well as a variety of quirky collections to pick from.
In terms of numbers, the choice of images is modest compared to other stock photo sites. Yet, Gratisography prides itself on providing free stock photos that are unique and unconventional in high resolution.
As with most distributors of free stock photos, Gratisography employs the Creative Commons license. So you can download and modify the photographs without any photographer attribution required.
A great place to find beautiful free stock photos, Pixabay boasts a large collection of high-resolution stock photos and videos.
Pixabay is distinct from the competition in its collection of vector art and illustrations.
The site is ideal for most commercial work and personal use, blogging, social media projects, and is constantly updated with new photos.
Anything you download from Pixabay is completely free from copyright restrictions even for commercial use under the creative commons license.
Another large distributor of free stock photos is Morguefile. This site offers collections of images, as well as a browser to view content from popular paid photo sites, such as Shutterstock or Getty Images.
One unique feature of Morguefile is the option to request a particular theme, subject, or item to be photographed and added to the database.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, the site will help you out.
Morguefile’s pictures fall under the Creative Commons license. You’re always free to make something new out of them.
With hundreds of high-quality royalty-free new photos added every week, Stocksnap is a fast-growing source for free stock photos.
The categories and tagging system makes it simple to find beautiful free stock photos in your niche in the collection.
Stocksnap moderates its submissions to ensure that only high-resolution images of at least 920 by 1280 pixels make it into the image collection.
As usual, all of the free stock images on Stocksnap are high-resolution and come with no photographer attribution required. Though it is appreciated by the community if you intend to post the pictures on blog posts and everywhere else.
7. ISO Republic
ISO Republic differs a bit from other sites for stock images in that most of the images fall under the creative commons zero license.
This means that the creators of free stock photography have completely opted out of copyright. As opposed to the standard licensing whereby the photographer still holds the copyright on the pictures.
This ranks the collection on the site as among of the most open resources for high-resolution free photos on the internet.
The site organizes the most used images and resources into collections of high-quality photos and designs targeted at specific niches.
One such is a ‘designers toolkit’ which features creative images and designs without the need to search the site for something more abstract.
Unusually, Little Visuals collection of pictures is the work of a single dedicated photographer – Nic Jackson. His beautiful high-resolution image collection alone has amassed more than 3.4 million users.
Sites with many more photographers would struggle to amass an audience of this size and it is a testament to the quality of the photos he created.
The collection is small in size but all of the photos on the site are of excellent quality and free even for commercial use.
If you need a free resource for landscape and nature shots for your next blog post then this website should be at the top of your list.
Featuring thousands of free images, stock photos, illustrations, and vectors, Picspree is the perfect resource for high-resolution photos for your next marketing campaigns on your new sites.
All of the images on Picspree are free to use with no attribution required and the image collection is definitely more focused on commercial use.
Picspree categorizes its stock images as perpetual, worldwide, unlimited, and non-exclusive. This means that every free stock photo in the collection can be used in any way you like for as long as you like.
In addition to its expansive collection of free stock photos, Picspree also offers a premium photo collection of high-resolution photos from selected partners and photography businesses.
This service is called iStock and is a subsidiary of Getty Images. These are not free photos but are still available for commercial use without paying any royalties.
10. Life Of Pix
Life of Pix is among the best resources for free and creative stock photos on the internet.
The collection is not as large in size as a site like Pexels, but it puts a focus on the people behind the image.
Life of Pix offers free photos with no image attribution necessary but it does attempt to put the people more in the spotlight by promoting a creator of the week and allowing you to search by the photographer name as well as by keyword.
In return, this site has amassed an image collection of rare quality for online photos.
The photos themselves are well organized by categories and the slightly more creative touch makes them perfect for people in need of more relatable imagery to match the words of a new blog post.
Finally, Stockvault offers free high-quality stock images and photos targeted for commercial purposes.
The collection of pictures has less of a design focus and leans a bit more on simpler images. All the free stock photos on the are of high quality and would be suitable for personal use as well.
Still, the way that photos are bunched into a photo pack targeted at a specific niche suggests a more business-first focus.
As per, there is no image attribution required but images are listed according to their specific licensing requirement.
On Stockvault not all images fall under the creative commons license. Some are listed as being specifically for commercial or non-commercial use and the kind of license that an image has will show you what you are allowed to use the image for.
For its most popular images, Stockvault occasionally reverts to some photos from Shutterstock – a platform where all images must be paid for even when there is no attribution required.
Fortunately, there are enough free photos on the site to suit all needs without having to pay for photos from any affiliate websites.
What is a stock photo, and are they really free?
A regular photo might be something taken to share with friends, or as self-expression. Such photos lack quality control, which usually makes them unusable for businesses.
Stock photos, however, are taken to be sold and used for content for an article, video, or visual design.
A system is in place for stock photos – they must be clean, of good quality, and feature varied topics. The same model might pose as a person of many occupations and in different scenarios.
There are three main types of stock photo licenses:
- Rights managed. This indicates that a person can purchase one-time rights for a picture or collection. The rights do not mean that the images have no copyright restrictions. Additional rights might need to be purchased to allow modifications or distribution on a blog post for example.
- Royalty-free. Such a license allows a customer to use photographers’ work for free, or make a one-time payment. You can acquire the rights to use the image however many times you wish, usually for an unlimited amount of time. Platforms such as Getty Images or Shutterstock work on this model.
- Public domain. Under the creative commons zero license, an image is in the public domain. Listing photos under creative commons zero is a way for the copyright holder to opt-out of any copyright restrictions and ensure that the image is completely free to use.
Why should you use free stock photos?
Using free stock photos saves money, gets instant results, and gives you access to a wide variety of content.
Most often, stock photos act as a visual aid in text-driven content such as blog posts. Photos are important in content like this as a search engine will favor visual content in its search returns as it is seen to be more user friendly.
For that reason, stock photos are incredibly popular in content marketing campaigns. A bonus of this is that some stock photographers are becoming more creative in order to adapt to the needs of businesses that are easily the largest consumers of stock photos.
By visiting a stock image website, you no longer have to worry about the search for the perfect model, backdrop, or equipment for the photoshoot.
Whether you’re working on posters, announcements, articles, web design or social media posts, you can find a stock photo to use.
Sometimes it’s more efficient to pick and choose between already existing options rather than make something yourself.