Free Stock Photo Sites to Make Your Website Sing
We all know what stock photography does to a website – it reduces credibility. As soon as you see a fake expression or a picture that is just a little too posed, you think “stock photo”, and right there, you’re distracted from the message on the webpage.
Lately, some photographers have started taking great shots – of views, activities, objects – and are giving them away, under a Creative Commons license –
specifically “CC0 License” that allows them to be freely shared.
✓ Free for personal and commercial use
✓ No attribution required
Some sites have a download feature; others are a right-click and Save Image process. None of them feature hotlinking – pasting the URL of the photo – which is good because it’s not an SEO-friendly practice.
What’s great about these photos is that they have a spontaneous feel, and inspire the visitor to want to learn more. Many of the following sites have a ‘flavor’, although many of them have a wide range of categories.
Take an inspiration break and browse these favorites:
Pexels is home to about 30,000 images in a broad array of subjects, from cars to weddings to animals and concepts. The photos are large (over 2500 pixels wide) so you have plenty of room to crop and edit.
Pixabay, sister to Pexels, featured a bit more advanced search functionality, and includes video, We can filter results by type (vector graphics also available), orientation, category, size and color. This site also includes vector graphics and videos, for a total of about a million assets.
PicJumbo was created by a photographer-web designer (when he was 14. He’s now 22.), so he has a concept of what will work well on a website. Last image count was about 3 million assets with a decidedly European flair. This site features free photos in abstract, food, travel, business, and also features a Premium subscription plan to have photos of the category you choose to be delivered to your inbox once a month.
Unsplash is a hands down favorite with web designers, and has grown very quickly. Many of their high quality photos are used by Elegant Themes in their website examples.
A subdomain, madewith.unsplash.com features examples using Unsplash photos linked to portfolios on dribble, Instagram and Behance that is great for gathering inspiration.
Splitshire features high quality photos and video stock. The site is a little ad-heavy but navigating to see the assets you want is not difficult. The Mockup category has some great shots of screens and devices for you to use to showcase your work on desktop and mobile devices.
Life of Pix is a great community website with over a hundred featured photographers. Also a bit ad heavy, this site features photographs and videos that also have an eclectic European flair. They have recently partnered with Adobe Stock – which is to say they are an affiliate. The photos and videos featured on the website are still free.
A smaller site, this collection seems to be exclusively photos of people starting business. So, a lot of shots of laptops, whiteboards, meetings, coffee shop working. If you are looking specifically for photos in this one genre, you could check them out.
Very abstract concept site with free photographs in a variety of offbeat genres (you’ve gotta check out the Animals category). Many of these photos have filters applied, so tweaking them with your own might be a bit difficult.
This site features travel photography only, in stunning shots from around the world. The photo file sizes are quite large at 240ppi, giving you a lot of real estate to play with when resizing for your use. This site could use a grid layout and a back to top button – all the photos are presented large – so be prepared to do a lot of scrolling. An nice upcoming site with great shots.
Best described as ‘travel food photography’ this site is just 3 years old and was started by Jakub in Eastern Europe, who loves to travel and shoot food pictures and the variety is wide and, well, global. All the shots are environmental, so be prepared to adjust for lighting and some contrast on some shots. Jakub’s slightly ad-heavy site also features a premium plan and a Food Magazine blog feature, showing the work of various photographers and their concepts.
Lastly, Librestock is a hybrid site that searches 47 other free stock sites and shares results on one page. You may filter out any contributing sites by clicking “Filter Websites” under the search bar.
We’re pleased to present these resources that use good quality photos that are free of pretense and commercialism – and to promote the work of great photographers with a desire to give the world beautiful images.