Best Free Stock Photo Sites
It’s often been said that a picture is worth more than a thousand words and in the internet age that’s truer than ever before. High-quality visuals enhance your content, captivate your audience, and boost your brand’s online presence.
But, where can you find top-notch, eye-catching images without breaking the bank? Look no further!
Here are ten of the best free stock photo sources for bloggers, social media managers, and digital marketers.
Table of Contents
Currently hosting in excess of 4.8 million images with over 1 trillion views, Unsplash is as much a phenomenon as a stock photography website. Packed with stunning, high-quality photography from over 330,000 photographers, it boasts a photo library of enormous depth and artistry, making Unsplash the perfect resource for finding fresh and unique images.
Unsplash’s recent homepage refresh introduces a more modular design, enhancing user experience with features like rotating “photo of the day,” curated collections, trending searches, and awards. This change ensures that the homepage remains dynamic and relevant to various user interests.
- A constantly updated and curated feed of over 5 million high-quality photos.
- Constant contributions from a community of over 330,000 photographers.
- Personalized homepage experience for different user groups.
- Modular design showcasing a variety of content, including Unsplash+ exclusive material.
- The overwhelming volume of images can make specific searches challenging.
- Some users may prefer more traditional, static layouts over the new modular approach.
Unsplash maintains its free-to-use policy, allowing personal and commercial use of images without mandatory attribution, although it’s appreciated.
Unsplash is an indispensable resource for designers, marketers, and creatives, offering a wealth of high-quality images that cater to a wide array of projects and themes.
Pixabay stands out as a comprehensive creative resource with its extensive media library, offering more than just stock photos. Users have access to a wide array of vectors, illustrations, music, sound effects, videos, and GIFs. This diversity caters to various creative projects, making Pixabay a versatile choice for designers and content creators.
The platform’s user interface is a highlight, boasting an intuitive design that enhances user experience. Its organized structure and straightforward navigation allow easy access to different categories and media types, simplifying the search process
- Wide array of media types available.
- No attribution required, simplifying content use.
- Intuitive design with straightforward navigation.
- Captcha required for every download without an account.
- Limited advanced search filters.
Pixabay’s assets come with a flexible royalty-free license that allows both personal and commercial use, providing a safe choice for various projects without legal concerns.
Pixabay stands as a versatile and user-friendly platform, catering to a global community of digital creatives. Whether you’re designing social media content or looking for unique visuals for commercial use, Pixabay’s comprehensive library and streamlined interface make it a top choice for free stock media.
Pexels library of over 3 million free stock images and videos is curated from a global community and enriched by contributions from other stock photo sites. The range of images is diverse and of generally high-quality making them suitable for a wide range of projects. Pexels integrates well with other applications and offers Chrome, Photoshop, Sketch and Figma plugins —a significant plus for creatives and designers.
Navigating through Pexels is a breeze, thanks to its meticulously organized database. The user interface is noteworthy for its integration of search filters such as color, size, and image orientation. Moreover, Pexels enhances the discovery experience with a ‘discover’ tab, showcasing curated collections and trending images, offering fresh inspiration and the latest visual trends at your fingertips.
- Extensive library of over 3 million images.
- Free access to a wide range of stock photos.
- Well-organized and user-friendly interface.
- Effective search filters for color, size, and orientation.
- Curated collections and trending images for creative inspiration.
- While Pexels excels with broad search terms, users might encounter challenges in finding specific images when the search criteria become more detailed.
Free for commercial and non-commercial use. No attribution required.
Pexels is a treasure trove for digital creatives in search of high-quality, free stock photos and videos. Its vast library, coupled with an intuitive and user-friendly interface. Although there might be some limitations in finding highly specific images, the platform’s strengths lie in variety, organization, and accessibility making it a go-to choice for a wide range of creative needs.
PicJumbo is an interesting hybrid, offering a mix of free stock photos alongside a low cost subscription platform. The free offering provides access to a remarkable blend of artistic photography and practical utility with over 5000 high-quality stock photos, giveaways and a fair number of design resources, PSD files, fonts and mockups.
The paid platform adds another 10,000 photos and access to over 200 collections. These themed photo sets provide access to curated sets of images that share a common style, palette and tone, making it easy to incorporate them into your designs.
Picjumbo’s user interface is elegantly designed, offering a seamless browsing experience. The site features a dark mode option on the front page, that encourages extended use The images are beautifully presented with many thoughtful design touches. Users to can browse its substantial collection of ultra-HD stock photography by category or tag, ensuring a streamlined and efficient search process.
- Large collection of free, ultra-HD stock photography.
- User-friendly interface with dark mode feature.
- Free and premium plan options.
- Ability to easily sort images by “new”.
- Operated by a photographer, ensuring a high standard of quality.
- Limited image library size (about 3,000 images).
- Premium memberships required for access to a broader range of images and features.
Picjumbo operates under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) licensing structure, allowing commercial, personal, or educational use of its images with few restrictions. This flexibility makes it an attractive choice for a wide range of projects and users. However, it is important to be cautious about potential trademark or logo issues within the images, which might have their own restrictions.
PicJumbo effectively bridges the gap between free and premium stock photo services. Its blend of over 5,000 high-quality free images and a rich premium library with themed collections caters to both casual users and design professionals. The intuitive, elegantly designed interface, featuring a dark mode, enhances the browsing experience. While its image library is smaller compared to some giants in the field, the quality, upheld by a professional photographer, and the flexible Creative Commons Zero licensing make it a noteworthy choice for diverse image needs.
Rawpixel emerges as a notable player in the free stock photo market, offering an impressive mix of both free and premium content. This medium to large stock photo store caters to the needs of designers, bloggers, and content creators, providing a carefully curated collection of stock photos and images. The unique aspect of Rawpixel is its focus on creative and engaging content, with every media piece selected by a dedicated team of designers and photographers.
The Rawpixel website offers a user-friendly interface that simplifies the process of finding the right stock images. It features advanced filters that allow users to sort search results by license type, file type, size, and dimensions. This level of detail in search customization enhances the user experience, making it easier to pinpoint the exact type of content needed.
- Extensive range of free HD stock photos.
- Creative Boards feature for accessing user-curated collections.
- Diverse content including paintings, drawings, and sketches.
- 10% of premium subscription fees donated to Hope for Children charity.
- Affordable membership options for different user levels.
- Navigation and site layout may require some improvement.
- The process of becoming a contributor is more involved compared to other platforms.
Rawpixel offers a unique membership structure with a philanthropic twist. A portion of its premium subscription fees is donated to Hope for Children, adding a charitable dimension to the platform.
Membership options include a Casual-Level Membership for personal use and a Business-Level Membership for commercial use, each offering access to a wider range of premium content.
Users can incorporate Rawpixel images in their business websites, blogs, social media, and advertisements, add branding, logos, text, and use images in documents, magazines, and promotional materials.Users cannot sell, share, or redistribute Rawpixel images or include them in image galleries, stock image sites, or templates.
Rawpixel is a comprehensive and socially conscious choice for sourcing free and premium stock photos and other creative media. Its commitment to quality, combined with its philanthropic efforts, makes it a stand-out option for both personal and commercial users. While there are areas for improvement in navigation and contributor accessibility, Rawpixel’s diverse content and user-friendly features make it a valuable resource for the creative community.
Canva goes beyond being just a free stock site; it’s a comprehensive design suite that, when utilized effectively, can produce impressive results. While a subscription unlocks its full potential, Canva offers a plethora of free resources, easily accessible through a search in the ‘Elements’ tab and filtering by ‘Free.’ Often underrated, Canva’s free resources include a vast library of stock photos, videos, and graphics. It also boasts a capable photo editor with adjustable filters and templates for infographics and social media graphics. These tools can be used to create original images or edit free stock from other sites.
Canva’s interface is highly user-friendly, catering both to professionals and novices in design. Its streamlined design process and the ability to easily locate resources make it an efficient tool for quick and advanced design tasks. The platform allows for intuitive navigation, ensuring users can efficiently find and utilize its wide array of design elements and templates.
- Wide range of high-quality free resources.
- Professional-grade photos from renowned photographers.
- Comprehensive design tools including a photo editor and templates.
- User-friendly interface suitable for all skill levels.
- Limited free options compared to paid subscription.
- Some advanced features require a subscription.
Canva stands out as a versatile and powerful design suite, offering more than just free stock resources. Its combination of high-quality images, comprehensive design tools, and ease of use make it an excellent choice for a wide range of design needs. While its full capabilities are unlocked with a subscription, the free version still provides substantial value, particularly for individuals and businesses looking to create professional-looking designs without extensive design experience.
Burst, powered by Shopify, is a comprehensive platform offering high-resolution, royalty-free images from a global community of photographers. Aimed at designers, developers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs, Burst provides an array of beautifully cvurated pictures suitable for websites, blogs, online stores, school projects, social media, client work, and more.
Burst’s user interface is straightforward and intuitive, making it easy to search for and download images. Users can browse through categories or use keywords to find the perfect image for their project. The website’s clean layout and simple navigation ensure a hassle-free experience for finding and utilizing stock photography.
- Large selection of free, high-quality images.
- Suitable for a variety of uses, including commercial projects.
- Easy to access and download images in different resolutions.
- Option to edit, crop, or resize photos as needed.
- No financial compensation for contributors.
Images are free for commercial use with no attribution required in most cases. Photographers appreciate credit for their work, so attribution is encouraged when possible.
Burst offers an impressive range of high-quality photographs, making it an accessible and valuable resource for businesses and creatives. Its ease of use and the variety of available images cater well to a range of needs, from online store imagery to marketing campaigns. While the platform provides significant exposure for photographers, it’s important to note that contributions are unpaid. Burst stands as a strong option for those seeking free stock photos for versatile use.
Gratisography distinguishes itself in the realm of free stock photography with its uniquely quirky and creative collection. Founded in 2011 by Ryan McGuire, a self-taught artist and photographer, the site offers a gallery of whimsical, funny, and sometimes bizarre images. Unlike typical stock photo websites, Gratisography focuses on quality over quantity, hosting a library of over 700+ distinctive images that you won’t find anywhere else on the web.
Gratisography boasts a straightforward and user-friendly interface. It allows users to easily navigate through its diverse categories, including animals, business, fashion, food, and more. Each category features an array of unique and eye-catching images, showcasing the site’s commitment to creativity and visual intrigue.
- Uniquely creative and whimsical stock photos.
- Small but highly distinctive collection of over 700 images.
- Regular addition of new, creative images.
- Free for personal and commercial use with a simple licensing model.
- Limited number of images compared to larger stock photo websites.
- The eccentric nature of images might not suit all types of projects.
Gratisography operates under “The Gratisography License,” similar to the CC0 license, allowing for both personal and commercial use without mandatory attribution. The main restriction is that the images cannot be republished on other stock sites.
Gratisography emerges as a unique and imaginative resource in the stock photography world. It’s ideal for those looking to add a touch of quirkiness and originality to their projects. Whether for personal or commercial use, Ryan McGuire’s Gratisography offers a breath of fresh air to anyone tired of the usual stock photo offerings, ensuring that your project stands out with its one-of-a-kind visual content.
Adobe Firefly is at the nexus of a significant shift in how stock images are created. The advancement in AI-assisted creative tools has opened up a whole realm of creative possibilities and Adobe’s Firefly is an intriguing example of how this new artistic medium is changing stock photography.
Firefly stands out for its integration with Adobe’s suite of products, offering unique capabilities in generating images, vectors, and text from simple prompts. Its training on open-source and Adobe Stock images ensures ethical and legally safe use, particularly for commercial purposes and the fidelity and quality of Adobe’s image engine is improving rapidly.
Adobe Firefly offers an accessible and intuitive interface, catering to both seasoned Adobe users and newcomers. It’s directly available through a web browser at firefly.adobe.com, requiring just an Adobe account to get started. The integration with Adobe Creative Cloud apps like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Adobe Express ensures a seamless workflow for existing Adobe users.
- Integrated creative suite with image, vector, text tools. 3D and video are promised soon.
- Ethical AI model trained on legally safe images.
- Direct integration with Adobe Creative Cloud apps.
- Unique features like text-to-vector generation and real-time collaboration in Photoshop.
- Limited free plan with a need for additional generative credits for extensive use.
- May require a learning curve for new users to fully utilize its capabilities.
Adobe Firefly is positioned as commercially safe, with Adobe offering to indemnify commercial users against legal challenges. This assurance is a key aspect of its licensing, making it a reliable tool for professionals and businesses.
Adobe Firefly emerges as a groundbreaking tool in the realm of AI-generated imagery, particularly for professionals and creatives seeking ethically sourced and legally safe visual content. Its integration with Adobe’s creative tools and the unique capabilities it offers make it an essential asset in modern digital workflows, setting a new standard in AI-assisted image generation.
Like Firefly before it, Leonardo distinguishes itself from standard free stock image websites by offering innovative AI-assisted image creation and editing capabilities. While it complements traditional stock image resources, its unique feature set positions it as a content creation tool, especially valuable for those seeking to ‘roll their own’ brand of stock imagery and customizable creative options.
Leonardo’s user interface is tailored for ease and efficiency, a crucial aspect for users navigating the often complex world of both AI image generation and stock imagery. Its intuitive design is accessible to both professionals and beginners, streamlining the process of image selection and customization. That said there are a LOT more potential options to explore.
- Advanced AI tools enable the creation of unique and customizable stock images.
- Quick image processing, a vital asset for timely content creation in stock imagery.
- Free access with daily token allowances, catering to a wide range of users.
- Additional features in paid plans, providing enhanced capabilities for extensive stock image use.
- Public availability of images in the free version, which might be a concern for privacy-seeking users.
- The extensive options may be overwhelming for those preferring more straightforward stock image sites.
Leonardo AI offers a flexible licensing model, making it a versatile choice for both personal and commercial use. The free tier suits occasional users, while the paid subscriptions cater to more demanding stock image needs.
Leonardo AI uniquely redefines the stock image tool landscape by blending traditional stock image availability with advanced top-tier AI-driven creation and editing capabilities. This mix offers a fresh perspective to the top free stock tools, providing an alternative to other sites and complementing options like Adobe Firefly.
Its user-friendly interface, combined with a range of accessible features, makes it an invaluable resource for diverse stock image applications, from creative individual projects to more comprehensive commercial uses.
In conclusion, the treasure trove of resources we’ve discussed aren’t just run-of-the-mill stock image sources; they’re the crème de la crème, the top of the pops! Whether you’re a professional designer on a quest for that perfect image or a budding creator dabbling in digital masterpieces, these platforms offer you the keys to an Aladdin’s cave of visual wonders. And let’s not forget the cherry on top: those two AI tools we talked about. They’re not just any tools; they’re your creative genie in a bottle, ready to transform your imaginative visions into stunning, unique stock images. So, go ahead, unleash your inner artist and dive into this ocean of top-tier choices. Who knows? The next best stock image on Earth could be one click or one AI-generated masterpiece away! 🌍✨📸
Written by Peter Selmeczy
As the Head of Growth at AutoSEO I love everything about content, SEO, and AI. Hope you like my musings and would love to talk to you in the comments.