Top 9 WebSites for Free Stock Images (and a Worthy Mention)
Multimedia • Nov. 18, 2022
In a digital world, stock images let us visualize everything we’re thinking of, and writing about, and it makes every bit of content visually appealing, and more interesting. It can even help retain the reader’s attention and improve marketing efforts.
While some stock images can cost a fortune and can be a privilege to use, there are as many free stock images that are as quality and yet they can be used for personal and even commercial purposes.
Below, you can find top sites for free stock images that you can quickly start using even today, so keep on reading!
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Top sites for free stock images
With so many different platforms where you can get free stock images, we chose only the best ones that offer a wide variety and versatility so you can find free stock images for almost any purpose.
1. Unsplash.com – Best for publishers & creators
Unsplash is marketed as the go-to place for everyone who’s looking to find visuals on the internet. With a simple search engine, you can find visual content and graphics provided by Unsplash, but also by creators from around the world.
Original sizes of images on Unsplash are often slightly over 5000 pixels and yet you can get them in small, large, and large dimensions. You can save preferred photos in your own collection if you make an account, but you can also download the images straight to your computer without needing an account.
What’s also unique about Unsplash is that you can upload a photo of an existing photo to find similar stock photos to the one you have.
And if you’re a creator, Unsplash is a go-to place to submit your photos and work as you even get a chance to win the Unsplash Award that’s given to some of the best stock image creators every year.
Of course, Unsplash is free to use, however, keep in mind that there are sections on the website (above the image search results) which seem like stock photos but are actually an ad that leads to a paid stock platform. Other than that, everything else you find directly on the Unsplash platform is free to use.
2. Pixabay.com – Best for versatility
Pixabay is a free stock image website where you can find almost 3 million stock-free photos.
All stock images on Pixabay come in a high resolution that can be used for various purposes. While some of the stock photos are provided by Pixabay, most of the stock-free images are shared by the talented community. When it comes down to stock images, you can also find different types, including vectors, photos, illustrations, and even GIFs.
What’s different about Pixabay is that not only does it include stock-free images, but it also includes videos, music, and sound effects.
A powerful search engine helps you find stock images you can download in less than a minute. With popular search picks provided by Pixabay and categories, you can quickly find photos that will fit your needs. On top of that, Pixabay also offers the “Explore” section where you can find the editor’s choice, popular images, collections, and popular searches by other users.
There’s also a blog, forums, artists, and cameras that you can browse to find more content or artists who will fit your stock image style and preferences. You also get the chance to upload your own stock photos, but you’ll need to register to do so while downloading images is absolutely free.
3. Pexels.com – Best for photographers
Pexels is a stock-free image platform with a clear mission to help you tell your story with the help of visuals you can easily find at Pexels.
From there, you get to use images on blogs, promote your products, print marketing material, share content on social media, and more.
With a very decent search engine, you can find free stock photos by typing in a keyword that will represent what you’re looking for. You can also get help from trending terms, or exploring and discovering photos on various pages for users introduced by Pexels.
There are dedicated pages such as popular searches, leaderboards, photo discovery, and more. What’s interesting about Pexels is that it features challenges where you can join the challenge such as the Pexels Cup to submit your best photos on the given topic for a chance to win a Pexels prize.
All stock photos can be downloaded in various sizes, and Pexels even gives you a chance to download a custom size of a certain stock photo. While you don’t need to always credit the stock photo providers, you get a chance to follow them, donate, or save their work in your collections.
4. Canva.com – Best for finding and editing stock photos
Canva is known as a design tool, but not everyone knows that Canva features its own section where they provide stock photos that you can use on your projects.
Therefore, you can register on Canva only for the purpose of finding decent free stock photos. All you need to do is start a new project from scratch (or use any of the suggested templates), and in the left menu, click on Photos.
In the Photos sidebar, you get to search for millions of stock photos where you can refine your results by available filters, but also use suggestions to make quick searches.
The only thing you have to keep in mind is that not all stock photos you find in there are free, but there are very unique and decent stock results that you can easily download in various format types.
The ability to choose between various format types is one of Canva’s advantages that you might not find on other stock platforms. Plus the ability to make a design straight away (in case you need to) is another benefit that other stock platforms don’t have.
5. Flickr.com – Best for non-standard stock images
Flickr is a stock platform that provides a variety of free stock images, but you have to keep in mind that not all of them are free. However, Flickr’s biggest advantage is the ability to inspire people by providing all types of photos, not only stock-free photos.
Most photos are provided by people around the world and we have found that from all stock platforms, Flickr allows you to do a deeper search and find specific types of photos you won’t be able to find elsewhere.
The platform is very easy to use and with a simple yet powerful search engine, you can find hundreds and thousands of photos.
One thing to keep in mind is that Flickr has various license types and we highly recommend you use the “All Creative Commons” license to find your photos after doing the search so you get photos with the most rights for use.
6. Freepik.com – Best for digital designers
Freepik is a stock platform that features both free and paid stock photos so that’s one thing you have to keep in mind. We recommend clicking on the ‘Free’ field when using the search engine to find desired stock images.
What’s unique about Freepik is that it provides all types of stock assets, including vectors, and illustrations, but also others that aren’t easily found on other stock platforms, such as mockups, templates, fonts, text effects, and more.
There is also a wide range of PSD files and 3D assets. By using the well-optimized search engine, you can find desired results in seconds.
However, on top of the engine, you’ll also have access to collections, categories, trending suggestions, and search suggestions to help you find specific results from a database that’s as large as millions of photos.
If you’re a creator, Freepik is also a popular website because it allows creators to sell their work through the platform.
7. FreeImages.com – Best for variety media types
FreeImages is one of the simplest stock-free platforms where you can find pictures and visuals that you can use for your projects, blogs, or to visualize your content for any purpose.
Licensing is done right so users can find and download free stock images and yet use them for both personal and commercial purposes. For example, vectors that you can download on FreeImages can be used for printing your own products (such as T-shirts).
Alongside a simple search engine that is very specific and yet easy to use to find desired results, you also get categories to search through such as photos, illustrations, vectors, or even PSD files.
What’s unique about FreeImages is that it features clipart and icons which is something you might not be able to find on every stock-free image platform.
Keep in mind that there are also premium stock photos and assets, and even ads that redirect you to a paid-only stock image platform. However, everything else besides that you can find on the platform is free to download.
8. StockSnap.io – Best for commercial use
StockSnap is one of the most refreshed stock platforms that have CC0 images added daily by users and artists from around the world. All stock photos on the StockSnap platform are free from any copyright restrictions.
All photos you find on StockSnap are free and you can easily find specific ones using a search engine provided by StockSnap, but also from suggested categories, popular choices, and trending sections.
The only thing you have to keep in mind is that StockSnap photos are free, but there are certain ads that refer to a different paid stock platform. But as long as you stick to the StockSnap platform, you will be able to get free stock photos of high-quality, ideal for use for any type of purpose.
9. Burst.shopify.com – Best for business & marketing use
Burst (by Shopify) is fairly different from other stock platforms listed here because it’s made for marketing and business purposes.
Therefore, on Burst, you can find stock assets that fit purposes such as real-time commercial videography, over-the-top streaming services, and even TV-quality assets.
The goal behind Burst’s stock assets is to help you improve your engagement, and provide your users with top-quality stock assets and images, but also to help you broadcast and publish better, and even make a better brand.
Therefore, at Burst, you can find stock images and assets that will help you provide incredible visuals for the top-level needs of a business, but also content that will help you engage with your audience and improve your marketing results.
Worthy mention: Softorino PicFindr
While all of the stock platforms above are online directories, Softorino PicFindr is unique because it is an app that you can download to your computer.
Once installed, this app helps you search and download stock-free images. It connects to trusted-only stock platforms such as Pixabay and Pexels which provides an advantage since you get a bigger selection of photos at once while doing a search in only one place.
There is an unlimited download, you can keep an unlimited number of collections within the app, browse from over 3 million stock-free images and use them in any project (even commercial one). You can also set images & photos as your desktop picture right from within the app – there’re tons of 4K wallpapers ready to be downloaded.
PicFindr is free to download, but at that moment it’s for Mac only. The app has a paid version that unlocks more benefits, and yet it only costs $2.92/year which is a great catch!
What makes a stock image?
Stock image is any type of image that’s taken with a clear intention or thought in mind that can be used for a certain project or purpose.
Are stock images effective?
Stock images can be very effective, depending on how you use them. Most free stock images are free to be used for commercial purposes so you can use them to help monetize your content.
What are standard quality types of stock images?
The most standard quality types include JPEG, PNG, and even SVG formats and resolution can range from SD and HD, typically having anywhere between 300 to 1800 dots per inch for the best quality that’s even printable.
What about usage rights on free stock photo platforms
Stock images can make a huge difference in the way you digitally present your content. While most stock images and assets have to be paid for, luckily, there are sites where you can get free stock images that still come in a high-quality.
These stock platforms where you can get free stock images usually provide Creative Commons Zero (CC0). These types of stock images can be used without needing direct permission from the creator/artist.
However, giving credit to the author is appreciated and recommended. Therefore, under the CC0 license, these images are copyright-free and they can be used for various purposes. While most can be used for both personal and business purposes, each platform will have its guide to help you know what you can do with free stock photos you download.
Of course, the only downside to this is that one free stock image can be used multiple times in many different ways, but if it’s not related to your purpose in any way, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Yet, on the other hand, any of these free stock platforms feature databases that host about 2 to 3 million stock images (at least), and yet most of these are provided and contributed by authors from around the world.
Therefore, you can expect a great range of stock images, even though they’re free, and yet plenty of ways to use these without many restrictions.
Lastly, to help your search, a tool such as Softorino PicFindr makes the whole process so much safer, easier, and more efficient which is something we highly recommend trying out!