They are the lifeline of your content. With so much content being produced and consumed each day, our attention spans have shrunk. And images are the only way content creators can even hope to retain interest.
With this growing demand for visual content, marketers need access to high quality images. But finding the best stock image sites can be a daunting task.
I know. I have been there. And I want to make life a little easier for you. Thank me later!
21 best stock image sites to find free images!
Pexels is a huge directory of free images online, and it is my favorite. It compiles images from many free websites under one roof. It also shows paid images from Shutterstock, in case you want to buy them.
A small one-column site built on Tumblr, Unsplash is a side-project of the Crew team. They post 10 remarkable images every 10 days. You don’t need to register. Subscribe for their newsletter or visit the site and download the images you like.
Photos uploaded on Pixabay are under the Creative Commons license. This means you can download and modify any image without restriction. This site offers high resolution images for download and has probably the best internal search engine.
A website with a wide range of free images of roads, food, fashion, technology and more. You can visit Picjumbo frequently since they upload and organize new photos every day. Their premium membership is cheap too, ranging from $10 per month for bloggers to $39 per month for agencies.
This portal allows you to find resources which you can share or modify. You can also find images for commercial purposes. Registration is not required. Just ensure that both boxes below the search query are ticked.
Flickr has a terrific collection of high resolution photos. You can save these photos or share them directly. Most of them can be downloaded and reused. Attribution to the account which original uploaded the photo is encouraged. You can use ImageCodr to generate an HTML from the Flickr URL automatically.
This website sends 10 free high quality stock photos to their newsletter subscribers every month. Their photos have a monthly theme, and spread across a wide range. For a small fee, you get access to all their previous photos too.
A massive collection, Freepik offers high quality graphics designs like illustrations and vectors for free. Attribution to the site is encouraged. For a small fee, you can subscribe to the premium model where you get even more vectors and can use them without attribution.
Gratisography displays a collection of images by artist Ryan McGuire. You can use these photos without restriction. All the images are displayed on a single page.
A website with over 350,000 free images and vectors. Images on FreeImages are categorized into various types like Animals and Wildlife, Army and Weapons, Outdoor Activities, People and Families and more. Attribution to the website is encouraged, but not mandatory.
Little Visuals has a collection of hi-res photos in both zipped and unzipped format which can be used however you choose. They would originally send 7 photos to email subscribers every 7 days. But in November 2013, 26-year-old Nic who created the site, suddenly passed away. Because of the tragic event, his family has stopped uploading photos in the last year, but hopes to upload his unfinished work soon.
This website is fun. It doesn’t have stock photos, but images of patterns. You get pattern wallpapers spread across the entire browser window. Scroll and scroll through this beautifully designed website and download any pattern you like. These will make great backgrounds for your images.
This free creative commons website has a stunning collection of photos put together by designer Jay Mantri. All photos are available on a single page on this website, and 7 new photos are added every Thursday. You can subscribe for an email reminder when new photos are added.
A delightful selection of stock photos put together. Public Domain Archive uploads weekly images which are free for use. You also get photo packs for categories like Abstract, Backgrounds, Books, Business and more.
O.S. is a collection of vintage photos from the public archives, free of known copyright restrictions. For a small fee, you also get access to vintage photo packs optimized, cropped and edited for quick use.
A comprehensive free image collection of workspaces, desks, laptops, smartphones and whiteboards. You can download photos and use them however you choose. It’s useful for entrepreneurs and startups.
Raumrot has over 1400 photos to choose from, though the site lacks an internal search engine. All photos are free for commercial and non-commercial use. Attribution to the original site is encouraged.
Like Flickr, 500px is also under the Creative Commons’ license. Membership is not mandatory, but you will have to register. Also, do pay attention to the photos’ copyright situation, as not all images on the site will be free to use.
MMT Stock offers a wide range of stock photos primarily related to nature. It was created by UX designer Jeffrey Betts. These photos are superb good for social media and blogs. But they also can be used in innovative ways to pleasantly surprise your partner.
Another incredible selection of high-resolution images, photos of Picography are put together by Irish web designer Dave Meier. Their stock collection is not huge, but is stunning. Subscribe to their newsletter to be intimated when new photos are posted. For a small fee, you can access their premium collection too.
ISO Republic is filled with over 1000 free stock images for web designers, developers, bloggers, marketers and social media teams. Their categories range from architecture to food and drink, nature, technology, people, textures and more.
These photos can be used to design unique creatives for your blog posts and social media updates. You don’t have to go through the hassle of Googling images, and coming up with disappointing results, or copyright infringements. Use and modify images from these websites as you wish, and witness a spurt in your online engagement.
Which websites are part of your online library for free images? Do leave a comment. We would love to hear from you.
(Editor’s note: Most of these sites come with a note asking you to buy the artists a cup of coffee. So, if you are feeling particularly generous, I’m sure it would be appreciated!)