If you’re struggling to find free stock photos for your blog or social media content, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve spent the time to compile the most comprehensive list of high-quality photography and graphics for your business.
If you’re an online entrepreneur, I’m sure you value content marketing and know it’s a fantastic way to build that “know, like, and trust” factor for your business. Obviously the blog posts or social media posts have to be high quality, though, right? After all – we’re committed to excellence and we don’t do stuff half-assed. But you might find yourself wondering where to find free stock images?!
Before I talk about some of my favorite resources for finding free images, I want to make sure you are aware WHY it’s important that you use stock images or royalty-free images.
No, you can’t just search for an image on Google search and use that.
Ever heard of copyright? You don’t want to get in trouble for publishing someone’s photo on your blog (even if you credit them!) if they haven’t given you permission to do so. What if they find out you did that? Well, the best that can happen (on the bad spectrum) is they ask you to take it down. The worst? They sue you.
There are a ton of articles about people getting sued but thankfully there are also plenty of articles about blogger beware, educating fellow bloggers and business owners from using other people’s imagery in their content.
Here are a few great articles to check out about the topic:
- Blogger Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Photos You Don’t Own on Your Blog by Roni Loren
- How using Google Images can cost you $8,000 by Kari DePhillips
- How to NOT Break the Law While Marketing by Adria Saracino
So where CAN you find free images to use for your blog? Don’t worry, I’ve got you!
Here are some fantastic sources for getting great imagery for your blog and some social media content, in no particular order.
1. Take your own photos
Surely, the best way to never get in trouble is to simply take your own photos. This takes out all the stress and confusion about copyrights and everything else. For my wellness website, Sensual Appeal, I always tried to include only original photography (since I’m a photographer and all) however as I introduced contributing writers to the website, I had to forgo using this option for each post. I still try to include as much original photography as I can but it’s just simply not realistic all the time.
If you enjoy photography or are good with design, I definitely recommend you go this route for your imagery. It will not only make you stand out from the crowd but also ensure you don’t get sued for stealing other people’s imagery.
That picture up there is from my nightlife & event photography days. If you’re a solopreneur, chances are – you are busy busy BUSY! I can definitely relate. And taking your own photography may not align with where you’re at right now and that’s totally understandable.
Thankfully, there are other ways to get awesome imagery for your blog and social media. Check out the rest of the resources below.
2. Flickr – Creative Commons
One of my favorite websites back in my photography days was Flickr. Not only was it a great way to connect with other photographers and get inspired to continue creating but also to get my work found by publishers. I remember the first time I had one of my photos featured on some website – I was SO excited. Granted, my work was NOT creative commons licensed but I was so thrilled that I didn’t even care.
That is NOT to say it’s okay to use people’s photography that is copyrighted. If you use imagery from Flickr make sure you only consider the images that have a “creative commons” license and you can check the specifications of each.
Make sure to check for the license type and follow the rules.
PicJumbo is definitely my favorite website to find beautiful free images. They have some of the awesomest photography around and their website was one of the first I came across that was doing the whole “anti-typical stock photo” service. And it’s FREE!
Typically you have to pay for stock photography (like iStockphoto and Shutterstock) and the images usually look very… stock-y. Like, you can tell they are “stock” (for commercial use) photos. PicJumbo was one of the first websites I came across (not sure if they were actually first or not) that went against the ugly stock photos and made their beautiful photography accessible to anyone.
PicJumbo was created by Viktor Hanacek – designer who understands the importance of high quality images in a designer’s life. New photos are uploaded daily. There are a ton of gorgeous photography available for free, even for commercial use, with no restrictions. There is a paid membership for $6/month if you want even more from Viktor.
Gratisography is another one of my favorites – their free images are just gorgeous, super high quality as well and are sure to make your blog content stand out from the crowd. The only thing is that you can’t search for it or browse through categories so if you’re looking for anything specific, it might take you a while.
Gratisography is a personal project created by Ryan McGuire of Bells Design. Their beautiful high-resolution images are added weekly, completely free of copyright and have no restrictions.
We’re getting more into the uncategorized goodness – Unsplash has some gorgeous imagery, mostly of landscapes and they are dramatic and intense and oh, so beautiful. I haven’t seen too many pictures of people but I feel like it’s perfect for blog posts about society, relaxation, or crazy dramatic things that happen the world.
Unsplash was created by Crew, which is a matchmaking website for web developers. They post 10 new photos every 10 days, there are no restrictions so you can use them however you want, and they are free of copyright. And if you’re a photographer, you can submit your own work to be featured as well.
6. Little Visuals
Little Visuals is another website that delivers beautiful high quality photography, mostly landscapes and environmental shots – quite moody but artistic and well done (at least what I’ve seen). They have a search bar but it doesn’t seem to be working well as each time nothing seems to be found.
The site itself is very minimal with a single column that delivers beautiful free images just like Unsplash. It also features an email subscription which will deliver 7 new images (as opposed to Unsplash’s 10) every seven days. So they’re basically doing the same exact thing as Unsplash, just more frequently. There are also no restrictions on the photography so you can use it however you want without copyright.
7. New Old Stock
If you like the vintage style images, you will enjoy New Old Stock. They provide free vintage imagery that you can use on your blog or social media – that’s definitely something that will help you stand out from the crowd as you don’t see vintage in content marketing very often.
This is a Tumblr site so you can subscribe to it through that. Each of the images is free of known copyrights so you should be fine using it for your own purposes.
8. Death to Stock Photo
Here’s a cool name – Death to Stock Photo is more of an exclusive membership where you can sign up to their list and then you get an email with a zip file of the free stock images you can use. They’re all about putting an end to the ugly typical stock photos and encouraging bloggers and publishers to use higher quality, gorgeous imagery instead. The reason why a membership is cool is that not everyone will be using these images on the internet. Once they’re out for the month, they are out and you can’t get them anywhere else. This makes it easier for you if you’re afraid that you’ll be using images that everyone else has the potential of using.
Their mission is to “make the internet more beautiful”. Death to Stock Photo is an email subscription that sends you free curated photo packs every month, each of the photos come without restrictions so you can use it however you wish.
9. Table19 Stock
Another site that’s similar to Death to Stock Photo is Table19 Stock which is a membership site that delivers handpicked photography delivered straight to your inbox every month. I’ve only been subscribed for 2 months so far (and I think they are fairly new in the free stock images world) but I’ve been pleased with the quality so far.
The website is definitely one of the prettier ones out there (I’m obviously super highly visual and I like gorgeous sleek design more than minimalism). If you’re too impatient to wait a month and want to see the entire gallery of images they have released so far, you can sign up for their paid membership at $10 per month.
Pixabay is yet another website where you can find fabulous photos that have no restrictions. Lots of goodness here.
When you navigate to any of the photos you find, they will tell you how you are able to use the photo (if it’s free for commercial use, etc) and another cool thing (well, if you’re a a photographer) is that they tell you what settings the image was shot with. So it’s a nice little extra bit of knowledge for us photo nerds.
Another gorgeously designed website (oh yes, I like the colors) is SpliShire which provides free images to use in your content similarly as PicJumbo except they don’t seem to be updating it quite as often.
SplitShire is a free stock photography website created by Italian photographer, Daniel Manescu, and all of the photos are his own. He’s quite the good artist there, I definitely enjoy his work. All of the images on the site are free to use without any restrictions so go wild!
12. Life of Pix
Life of Pix is network of photographers added on a weekly basis that contribute to the site’s free stock photography gallery. The images are gorgeous and high-quality and I’m sure you can find something you’d need there. It’s similar to New Old Stock and Little Visuals in that there is no search option.
If you’re a photographer, you can contribute your own work to the gallery as well. All of the photos are free of restrictions so you can use them however you want.
13. Free Good Photos
The website for Free Good Photos isn’t super fancy in terms of design but it’s very helpful if you’re looking for travel photography (as well as some animal and plant photography) to use in your content. The cool thing about this website is that the images are categorized by location – so if you’re looking for images of different countries or states, you can get that here easily.
The photography is all taken by the same person (couldn’t find his name for some reason) and you can use them freely but he does ask that you give him proper attribution by linking to his website.
14. IM Free
IM Free is a free design resource and it has their galleries categorized by genre. If you want people pictures, you can get that; if you want food, you can get that. What makes it different from the other websites out there is that it is geared for designers and also has design templates as well.
IM Free is a part of IMcreator, a free website builder. I’m not very familiar with it so I will leave it at that.
For more high quality images, check out morgueFile. They have free stock images for use in your projects, whether they are commercial-use or personal-use. It’s designed kind of like a social networking site in a way too, where people can favorite and like different photos as well. Adds that social component.
Plus, it tells you how many times an image has been viewed – so if you’re afraid of using the same images as everyone else, this could be a good indicator of whether it’s a popularly used image or not.
[updated Nov 2014]
16. The Pattern Library
The Pattern Library is literally one of the most fun and trippy websites.. you just scroll through and a new pattern (free to use!) slides in. It’s really fun and the patterns are all great, professional and high quality. This is technically not for images or photos but if you’re a graphic designer, you can definitely use some new patterns in your life, right?
Or… just sit on there and look at the eye candy. I don’t know why I just spent 5 minutes scrolling on there. It’s just so fun!
17. Superfamous Studios
The Superfamous Studios is the Los Angeles-based studio of Dutch interaction designer Folkert Gorter. As an online publisher of large collections of literary and visual content, he is an avid promotor of people’s creative contributions several of which he co-founded. You can read more on the website.
The images themselves are high quality, gorgeous, and seems like most are of nature and landscapes but with an artistic flair.
18. Free Refe Mobile Photos
There’s not much said on the Free Refe Mobile Photos website about it but the photos are pretty darn great. They do seem to belong to a company called Refe which sells packages of images that are either curated or not, on a monthly basis so you can opt for that if you choose.
I dig these though, worthy of checking out. Why are they called mobile? I don’t know. Maybe they’re all taken via a mobile phone? If they are, dang – that’s one high quality good camera phone. But I guess that’s the times we’re in today.
You can download free single images on Snapographic but they ask you if you’d rather download an entire zip of the photo pack for some money. Many of the images are black and white which is nice since there’s mostly only color ones at the others we mentioned.
You can use this high-resolution pictures on your personal and commercial projects for free. All pictures on the website snapographic.com were captured by Thomas Mühl and free of Copyright Restrictions.
20. Lock and Stock Photos
Lock and Stock Photos is another website filled with lovely curated photos for your use for free. There are only a couple of photos per page and each one is marked with several tags which kind of looks like there’s a paragraph about each, except it’s not. I wish there were more on the page so there was less scrolling and clicking involved but that’s alright.
The images are all different – some are very very good some are just okay. But overall nice and high quality free stock photography on this one worthy of checking out.
21. Snapwire Snaps
I really like Snapwire Snaps because their free stock photos are really good. You get 7 new photos every 7 days, a process we have seen before in some others, but you can also download them on the site directly. The photos are great, vibrant colors and I really like that they give credit and links back to the artists (as a photographer myself, I appreciate when a site does this, of course)
It’s good stuff. They so also seem to have a website where you can purchase more affordable royalty-free photography.
I like the website of Raumrot, it’s very visually focused and it has a nice header. You know me, the visual nerd. They also have some great images to use in there too. I wish the photos were bigger to view at first but it’s okay – it’s good stuff regardless.
They are all different styles ranging from retro to vintage to vibrant colors and more, and each one was “made with love.” Aww 🙂 The image you click also seems to then take you to a Flickr album to get more from the photo set. Or at least that’s what happened to the few I clicked through. Pretty nifty although I wish I could see them all right away. Oh, the curious me 😉
23. jay mantri
This website contains all the photography done by Jay Mantri. He releases new photos every Thursday and allows for any kind of usage, no restrictions. The photos are mostly of his and his friends’ traveling, there are a lot of buildings, some food, and some urbanscapes, street photography, and nature.
I think it’s pretty cool that he also says the concept for the site has been inspired by Unsplash. It’s nice to give credit where it’s due and this dude’s clearly a genuine honest guy so I give him props.
24. Foodies Feed
For all the food bloggers and foodies alike (and health coaches too) this site might be pretty perfect. Foodies Feed is filled with nothing but photos of FOOD! There are free food pictures galorie, and they are all high quality photos that can be used without restrictions.
A cool thing about this website is that it shows you photo packs – so you can get a bunch of different angles of a series, all for free! I love it. I’m definitely gonna be using it for my wellness blog’s food posts that don’t include my own recipes. Yay for free stock photos 😉
Here’s one of the most beautiful and serene landing pages to welcome you onto the site – Magdaleine rocks it. Every day, the website posts hand-picked free photos for your enjoyment and usage. The photos all seem to be nature focused and there’s some great art in there, I also like that the give full credit to the artist including their social media handles.
A cool thing that this website has that I didn’t see others do is that next to each image you can see a color palette. It shows you the predominant colors that the photo has, which can come in handy if you’re creating designs or a landing page with the photo as the focal point. Good stuff.
Picography is another website that provides lovely high resolution free photography to download easily without restrictions that I can tell. If you’re a photographer yourself, you can also submit your own work to be featured.
There are a lot of nature photos, landscapes, and some nice and pretty street photography with a bit of a romantic flare. There’s plenty of sunsets and whatnot, which is a nice touch.
Another one with some gorgeous photos is Libreshot. Photos are licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0). All the artist asks is that you just indicate the author (LibreShot.com) and you can do with photos whatever you want.
There are a lot of photos with nice muted colors so if that fits your brand feel, you might find a lot of great imagery to use for your blog on there.
My latest obsession – Kaboompics. I am in love with this girl’s photography. Not only is she from Poland (my home country) but her work is amazing. A lot of girly photos, lots of computer/business related imagery but in general there is all kinds of genres in there and they are all simply beautiful – nicely styled.
I almost didn’t wanna share this one because it’s so good, I wanted to keep it to myself. 😛
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