Everyone knows it brightens up a web page to have a photo or two. It’s obviously fine to use your own photos, but you may not be a whiz with a camera, or may sometimes want to use a photo of something that’s not so easily obtainable. This is where stock photos come in.
Good quality photography can come with a hefty price tag. If you don’t have a lot of cash to spare, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of websites you can download images for free. Here are 10 of them.
Pixabay offers a massive selection of images – more than 310,000 images in all. This includes illustrations and vectors as well as photos.
How to download: Find the image you want and click the Download button for the size you want. If you register, you will avoid typing in captchas.
Usage restrictions: Images are in the public domain, but may still be copyrighted – read their blog for full usage rights. You can attribute images if you want to, though it’s not strictly necessary.
freeimages has another large selection of images. The photos tend to be quite large in size, which is great if you are using them for graphic design purposes.
How to download: Create an account, search for the photo and download it.
Usage restrictions: Most photos come with standard restrictions, but some ask that you contact or credit the author before their use.
The everystockphoto site aggregates photos used in other sources (e.g. Flickr).
How to download: Search for a photo and click on it to see the full size version to save.
Usage restrictions: Check the everystockphoto help page. Each photo has its own license agreement, so read carefully.
Morguefile styles itself as “the free photo archive for creatives”. The photos are of very high quality, and are intended for use in creative projects.
How to download: Search the Free Photos archive, click on a photo to view it in a lightbox and use the Download button to save it.
Usage restrictions: Adaptation of the work is encouraged by the Morguefile license. If you are using an image as-is, you should credit the original photographer.
5. Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons is a good source of photos on academic or educational topics.
How to download: Browse by topic or search, then when you find an image, click to download and view the size you want.
Usage restrictions: License terms are individual to the image, so read carefully. Read the Wikimedia statement on reusing media for full information.
6. Free Stock Photos.biz
Free Stock Photos.biz has photos from a variety of sources and clip art.
How to download: No registration required; search for a photo. When you find one, use the Download button to get the size you want.
Usage restrictions: Check the terms for each image, and also read the FAQ.
7. Split Shire
Split Shireis run by Italian photographer and web designer Daniel Nanescu.
How to download: Find the image from the list of categories and download it.
Usage restrictions: You cannot redistribute the images. You don’t have to attribute them, but it’s a kind gesture.
8. Free Range Stock
Free Range Stock has large images, at least 2400 x 1600px in size.
How to download: Register, log in, search, download. (Watch out for Shutterstock photos at the top.) You are encouraged to leave a comment and follow them on Twitter. Photographer credits are encouraged, but not required.
9. RGB Stock
RGB Stock has a wide selection of photos and backgrounds for personal and commercial use.
How to download: Register, log in, search, download. You are encouraged to leave a comment and follow them on Twitter. Photographer credits are encouraged, but not required.
Raumrothas gorgeous hi-res photographs licensed through Creative Commons.
How to download: Find a photo, click on the link when you hover over it which takes you to the Flickr page. Then you can download it.
Usage restrictions: Read the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license. Attribution is shown in the caption below.
And for even more free stock photos, check out…
Stockphotos have compiled a brilliant list of free stock photo sites. What I like about their list is that it gives you an indication of the number and quality of pictures you’ll find, as well as the “license safety” – that is, any potential legal troubles you might fall foul of if you use images without checking the licensing carefully.
Canva’s blog has some more sites to find free images. Canva is a fantastic tool for creating graphic designs of various types (social media headers, business cards, flyers etc.) I created this infographic on the Web using Canva.
Pikwizard has a library of free stock images including many of people.
Hope you found this post useful. If you have know of any more places to find free stock photos for your website, please share them in the comments!