It’s a visual world out there. Having a catchy image is essential to grab eyeballs for your website, blogs, and social media posts. That’s where a free stock photo helps.
I got the above header image from Pexels, a free stock photography website. Isn’t it gorgeous?
The best part about it: it’s absolutely free to use, even for commercial projects.
Let’s get down to the list of top 5 free stock photo sites. They’re vetted by me to be the best of the lot out there.
As of now, Unsplash hosts over 850,000 high-resolution images across multiple categories. It attracts contributions from a lot of artistic photographers, most of who are highly skilled in their craft. Hence, the images you find on it are quite stylish and consistently top-quality. If you’re looking for some inspiration, don’t forget to check out their Collections. Go here to find some of the best works made by designers using photos from Unsplash. And oh, they add thousands of new images every day!
Pexels sources their free stock pics from an army of contributors and public domain images available elsewhere. To ensure high quality, their curators choose only the top of the crop images. Think of it like a meta search engine for free stock images sourced from all across the web. If you’re a web or app designer, you can also find a vast array of products & device images to display your mockups.
Pixabay hosts over 1 million stock photos, vector graphics, and illustrations. They even have a handful of free stock videos. If you’re looking for an alternative to Shutterstock, this is the closest you can get without breaking the bank. However, the quality of content hosted here is a hit or miss (mostly a hit in my experience). Need some design inspiration and don’t have any topic in mind? Their Editor’s Choice collection is worth having a look.
If I want a quirky photograph, I usually go here first. They don’t have that huge a collection of images to choose from, but some of them are creative (in a weird sense). If you can’t find the image you’re looking for elsewhere, check them out as a last resort. I’m only including them here because they have something unique to offer.
- Canva (free collection)
Better known for their free online image editor (an excellent tool if I may add), Canva also provides a large selection of free stock images. I particularly like their Natural Women collection, since it’s so hard to find non-stereotypical stock photos of women. Not all photos listed on Canva are free, so do read up on their licensing terms.
Bonus: Google Images
This is the good old tried and tested method to find free images. Just go to Google Images and search for what you want. Then click on the Tools button, find the Usage Rights section, and select “Labeled for reuse” option in its dropdown menu.
If you will change the image or use it in some other design, choose the “Labeled for reuse with modification” option. All the images you’ll find now in the search results are free to use.
That’s all there is to it. Go create!