32 Best Sites for Free Stock Photos – The Secret List!
We all love free stock photos. Finding a site with the perfect royalty free images your project needs and for free is like finding gold. But it does take some mining.
A great free stock photo site isn’t just the one that has more photos, or even the one with the better photos… but the one that has safer photos.
Today we put our stock photography expertise to work to bring you this big list with the absolute best free stock image sites to get cool and safe, completely free stock photos!
Unsplash offers over 1.5 million high quality amazing free stock photos with a cool, artsy vibe that screams Instagram image worthiness.
- The artsy & super trendy library
- Useful search tool
- It’s entirely crowdsourced with the quality variations that entails
Unsplash is run by design pros. It has a sleek site, valuable images and a custom license that makes up for the open-to-all submission policy.
Pixabay is a clear example of neat German engineering applied to free stock photography. The site hosts over 1.8 million good free stock photos plus videos, vectors, and even music files.
- The high quality images
- That videos and music are also available
- The library is built on user submissions which affects the overall legibility
Pixabay reviews all submissions, which increases the value and legal safety of their image collections.
PikWizard is Wavebreak Media’s free stock photo site and the expert touch of pro photographers and videographers is everywhere. They offer over 1 million stock images and also stock videos with great commercial appeal.
- All content is submitted by professional contributors
- Cool on-page image editing with DesignWizard
- The library could use a bit more of an artistic edge
PikWizard is as pro as it gets, and for free. A very safe place to find photos that are ready to jump into your ad’s layout
Pexels is a free stock photo site that offers a large collection with hundreds of thousands of free high-resolution photos, some submitted directly and some aggregated from other sites. Pictures are trendy and super-relevant, with a nice artistic edge that makes the difference.
- Super current commercial photos with a touch of art
- Sister site for free videos
- The user submissions and aggregator factor isn’t the safest of methods
Pexels is great resource in terms of photo quality and variety, and their custom license adds more legal safety.
Gratisography is the brainchild of an experimental artist and photographer Ryan McGuire, and the image collection reflects it. It’s the place to find a crazy, out-of-the-box free image.
- Fun-loving style
- Unique photos that fit great in social media posts
- It’s a small collection, which limits your creative options
Gratisography is very original at core and the fact all images are owned by the site owner himself make it very trustworthy.
Splitshire features over 1000 professional images, all courtesy of professional photographer Daniel Nanesou. They’re commercial-ready, cover various popular themes, and the pro factor is definitely there.
- Super trendy images
- Perfect for websites, adverts, blog post, artistic projects…
- It’s a very modest collection in terms of size, with the limitations that implies
Splitshire is a valuable free photo site for commercial-oriented projects. Legally speaking it’s very safe as images and license are developed by a photographer.
Picspree is backed by the renowned Getty Images –experts in royalty free images–, and it shows. The website offers thousands of super high quality and commercially valuable photos in all relevant genres, with the Getty Images trust stamp.
- Superb selection of images
- Ready to use in commercial projects
- Not a lot of photos of people. It makes sense for legal safety but it is creatively limiting
Picspree is partnered with one of the most renowned names in stock photography, with the legal safety that comes with it, and their images are par to any paid site.
StockVault aims at providing high quality images, not just in terms of aesthetics but also regarding technical aspects. And they do, they have over 110,000 of them, all ready to download and use in your work.
1. Commercial license that enables free use for commercial purposes
2. Non-commercial license that means images are free for personal and editorial use only
3. Creative Commons Zero (CC0) that grants free use for commercial projects with no attribution required
- The place to find a technically perfect image
- Big library to choose from
- Not all images are available for commercial use
StockVault has a large library of ready-to-use pictures, and the custom licensing is the safest of all the options they have.
Rgbstock is run by a team of photographers and graphic artists led by Jay Simmons. The site hosts well over 100,000 free quality stock photos that have been vetted for quality and are available for free download.
- Rich, professional library
- They enable direct messaging with image authors to discuss additional rights needed
- The images aren’t as fresh and modern as one could wish
RGBStock is very good if you don’t need the artistic type of free stock images. It is a fast and easy to use website and we love that it is run by photographers.
Burst is a free stock images offered by Shopify. Their thousands of photos are sourced from both commissioned photographers and user submissions. They are intended for e-commerce storefronts but good to use in anything from social media and blogs to websites and ads.
1. Custom License granting free use of images for commercial intent (including products for resale) with no attribution needed. It restricts image compiling and has a sensitive use clause.
2. Creative Commons Zero (CC0) means free usage for commercial purposes without attribution.
- Highly commercial imagery with authentic, trendy style
- Perfect for e-shops
- The two licenses are near identical which adds unnecessary confusion for users
Burst is ideal for online businesses and it’s backed by a leading company in the space. Their images are made for commercial use so there’s the implication that they are legally verified.
Rawpixel has both free and premium (paid) photos available. The free collection counts with thousands of images in the trendy authentic style that sells today. Images are available for all but it’s limited to 100 downloads per user and per month.
- Super trendy, Facebook and Instagram-bound images
- Premium and free libraries share one search tool, so you must remember to enable the “free” filter in results
Rawpixel is actually a proper royalty-free stock photo agency and they know their biz. Their free photos are very safe for that reason.
Kaboompics is the work of photographer and designer Karolina Grabowska, who shot and owns all the over 8,000 images available for free on her site. Her collection has a strong feminine vibe, with a lot of nature and outdoors concepts, and compositions that are made to beautify any Instagram account.
- The images scream “social media” and appear to be pulled from a top Instagramer’s feed
- The site is highly functional with cool photoshoot galleries and a color palette filter
- There is an overrepresentation of some topics while other relevant themes are absent
Kaboompics is a dream come true for those after a new image for social media. The custom licensing directly from the image author makes it also legally reliable.
Good Stock Photos has a very transparent name. It offers over 1,000 stock photos for free, all by designer/marketer Steve Ma. These are images ok’d for commercial use, but they have a strong editorial feel about them.
- The photos show an interesting mix of styles and perspectives
- Great source of images for blog posts and blogging in general
- Not all images are useful for commercial-oriented designs
Good Stock Photos is a goldmine for bloggers and marketers might find suitable images too. The custom license adds to the legibility of photos.
Styled Stock is a very small collection of around 100 images with a clear feminine, modern, and minimalist aesthetic. There is not a lot of info about the site owners, but all the images are available for free download.
- The niche concept of clean, girly photos that is ideal for women-oriented projects
- Advanced features like the color filter
- It’s a super small collection and there isn’t any info about who owns it
Styled Stock is perfect for those designing with women in mind. The custom license is safer than others, but we take some points for the lack of background info on the site and who owns it
Libreshot is the work of photographer and SEO expert Martin Vorel that offers thousands of his fine art photographs free to download and use.
- It’s one of the few sites that offers fine art photography for free
- Many images aren’t commercially valuable and there are no photos of people
Libreshot is unique in its offer of fine art photography. The Creative Commons license isn’t the safest but with all photos being owned by the same person it’s not so bad.
Picjumbo is where tock photographer Viktor Hanacek shares over 2,000 of his professional stock images for free. His expert eye is visible in the commercial-ready style and the way people is portrayed without recognizable features.
- How obvious it is the images are made by someone who knows stock photography
- It can be way too commercial, it could use an artistic edge
Picjumbo is the work of a pro stock photographer and it shows. We forgive CC0 license because all images are his. Should the library be bigger, it’d be a 10.
FOCA Stock features thousands of free photographs and templates by designer and photographer Jeffrey Betts. Images of nature and workspaces are predominant in this highly curated library.
- High-end imagery and curation
- Bonus free videos and free image editor
- Lack of photos of people
MMT Stock has its own forte themes and great image quality, and steps legal safety up a gear by offering images owned by the website’s runner.
Life of Pix is run by digital marketing agency LEEROY and hosts hundreds of thousands of photographer-submitted and carefully curated images that are artistic, high quality, and free for all.
- The artsy vibe of the images
- Great level of curation
- There is a sister site with free videos
- Photographer donations to Public Domain can be murky waters, you still need to verify which rights have they waived
Life of Pix is the place to go for commercial photos with an artistic twist. Public Domain images have no copyright so they’re safer than other options, but it’s up to you to verify them anyway
Stocksnap.io is developed by the same team behind Snappa editor. It offers tens of thousands very trendy photos in high resolution, submitted by users.
- How fresh and current images are, ideal for social media
- The mix of crowdsourcing photos and CC0 licensing isn’t the safest
Stocksnap.io is a great fit for social media images, but you have to make sure all rights are cleared before using their photos.
Reshot is run by stock photo agency Twenty20 and hosts thousands of free stock images submitted by users, the gross of them being Twent20 contributors. The library has the strong, mobile-photography-influenced authenticity feel of their parent agency.
- Super current images, ready to jump onto social media
- The license is ambiguous, both permitting and warning about commercial use
Reshot is very valuable when it comes to photography but when it comes to legal safety in commercial use, it leaves it up to you to clear the necessary rights.
Freestocks.org is a project run by three photographers, who offer a small collection of stock photos with a great artsy vibe. All images are shot by them and two other photographer friends.
- They offer artistic takes on popular and commercially valuable topics
- It’s a limited collection and the CC0 license is not the best
Freestocks has photos that fit great in modern-day advertising. Their licensing model isn’t the best but as the image authors are licensing themselves it’s a tad safer.
Startup Stock Photos has a transparent name. It has a small collection of free images on the topic of startups with diversity at the core. Owned by social media marketing agency Sculpt, most of the photos are by three in-house artists.
- Photos on a very relevant niche topic
- Very basic site, with no search engine
Startup Stock Photos satisfies a very specific need in images. While CC0 isn’t our favorite, the in-house production factor makes it better.
ISO Republic is run by photographer Tom Eversley and provides thousands of high-res, free stock images in most of the top sought-after topics.
- The mix of traditional and trendy stock photography
- CC0 license and user submissions is a bad legal combination
ISO Republic has a rich library for most designers, but you must be punctilious about the licensing.
Fancy Crave is owned by commercial photographer Igor Ovsyannykov. It has thousands of pictures by himself and contributing photographers. It’s a curated catalog that offers themed photo bundles.
- The themed photo packs are a great time saver
- CC0 licensing and user submissions, with its legal loopholes
Fancy Crave is very useful to find inspiration or get a bunch of free photos with the same topic. But you have to be careful when using them commercially.
Foodies Feed belongs to food photographer Jakub Kapusnak and like the name gives away, offers thousands of food-related photos, some by himself and some submitted by users.
- Very rich selection of food photos
- CC0 license and user submissions mix. And the site has lots of ads
Foodies Feed is perfect for foodies everywhere, but if you’re using the photos commercially, make sure to verify the rights are cleared properly.
Freerange tries to honor its name with thousands of free stock photos in all popular categories. Some images are in-house produced and some are submitted by users.
1. Equalicense – Free use for commercial purposes, forbidding resale and mass distribution
2. CC0 – Free use for commercial purposes, no attribution required.
- Varied galleries and categories
- Not many high-res images
- Not a lot of info about site runners
Freerange is a decent offer in free stock photos, the in-house pictures are obviously safer. But they use CC0 license and have lots of photos of people, so you must watch it before using them commercially.
Skitterphoto is run by amateur photographers and offers all kinds of photographs for free, thousands of them. It’s a very eclectic selection sourced from site runners as well as user submissions.
- Interesting mix of commercial and artsy photos
- They have copyright guidelines for user submissions
- CC0 + user-submitted content, not the safest
Skitterphoto has valuable images. Site runners’ photos are safer but hard to identify in the collection. So you have to be on top of the legals.
Negative Space counts with a small collection of free images in various themes and styles. Photos are user-submitted and carefully reviewed to ensure quality.
- Great quality thanks to a good review process
- CC0 license and photos are not reviewed for legal status
Negative Space is valuable image-wise, but legally speaking you need to verify everything before using photos commercially.
Picography offers a small pool of around 1,000 photographs in high resolution, sourced from photographers’ submissions and free to download and use.
- The pro-level style and quality of the images
- It’s a CC0-based site with virtually no info on who’s behind it
While Picography has very good images, the lack of any background info mixed with CC0 licensing isn’t a good combination, legally.
New Old Stock is a Tumblr site offering around 1,500 historic and vintage images curated by product designer Cole Townsend. These are pulled from Flickr Commons listed institutions and free to all.
- Historically relevant images in a curated collection
- Image quality is inconsistent and you have to check permitted uses individually
New Old Stock is super useful for projects needing historic and vintage photos but the constant need to verify permissions is tedious.
Little Visuals was a love project by photographer Nic Jackson, who passed away years ago. His family kept his collection of little under 100 images free for everyone to use, as a tribute to his memory.
- It’s a reel of timeless photos, some are even trendy many years after being shot
- It’s a super small collection and licensed under CC0
We love the moving reasons behind Little Visuals and the quality of the images, but legally it isn’t the best for commercial projects.
Moose Stock Photos is a cool concept that offers free photo cutouts that you can arrange to create your own “custom stock photo” using their free photo creator tool.
1. Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-ND 3.0) that allows commercial use for free but requires to include a link back to their website, and works only for PNG/JPEG files.
2. A paid Custom License that lets you access to PSD files.
- The innovative photo collage concept
- Image collection is limited and the free license demands attribution
Moose Stock Photos is one offer to explore if you want to customize your photo composition for free, but the licensing isn’t the safest.
Design Better and Safer with Free Stock Photos
We hope this list helps you find the perfect match in a free stock photo site, that not only has the ideal royalty-free stock photos for your needs but also gives you the right legal coverage for your business’ sake.
See you next time!