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100+ AMAZING Free Stock Image & Photo Resources for 2018


By Thursday September 27

Free stock photo websites provide the visual content needs of startup entrepreneurs, bloggers, marketers, designers, journalists, and students who barely have the budget for premium photographs.

These image resources are also a good place for photographers and artists to showcase their talent and launch or boost their career.

This comprehensive guide explains image licenses, lists down free stock photo sites, and answers frequently asked questions about copyright.



Creative Commons vs. Public Domain: What is the Difference?

Before using any stock photo website, it is important to understand the two commonly used licenses: Creative Commons and public domain.

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons refers to copyright licenses that simplify how content creators assign rights and restrictions to their images.

As this blog post puts it, a Creative Commons license "helps you communicate to the world on how you would want your image to be used."

Here are the six main Creative Commons (CC) licenses and their meaning:

  1. CC BY - The most generous of all licenses, it allows using and changing the image even for commercial purpose. It requires attribution to the copyright holder.
  2. CC BY-SA - Having the same terms with CC BY, this license has an additional requirement: If any change is made to the image, it must be licensed under the same terms as the original.
  3. CC BY-ND -  The image is free for commercial and non-commercial use, as long as the creator is properly credited. It can only be published without any change to the material.
  4. CC BY-NC - This license has the same terms with CC BY, except that it bans using the image commercially.
  5. CC BY-NC-SA - Having the same terms with CC BY-NC, this license has an additional requirement: If any change is made to the image, it must be licensed under the same terms as the original.
  6. CC BY-NC-ND - The most restrictive of all licenses, it only allows users to download and share an image with appropriate credit. Modifications and commercial use are prohibited.

What is Public Domain?

Public domain, also referred to as Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, is a license in which the creator waives all rights to his or her work under copyright laws. This means a public domain image is free for commercial use without attribution and asking permission from the creator.

105 Free Stock Photo and Art Image Websites

The stock photo sites listed below offer free photos under the public domain or CC0 license for personal and commercial use, unless specified otherwise. This list also includes free stock photo aggregators and resources for historical and art images.

1. 1 Million Free Pictures

The "1 million" refers to the website's goal: to put 100 amateur photos daily into the public domain for the next 30 years, for a total of 1,095,000.

2. ABSFreePic.com

An easy way to get free high-resolution photos, ABSFreePic.com does not require any registration, attribution, and permission to use its images.

3. Albumarium

All images here are licensed under CC BY 2.0, so giving proper credit to the photographer is required.

4. AllTheFreeStock.com

AllTheFreeStock.com is a digital library of images from various free stock photo websites, including EveryPixel, Pixabay, and Unsplash.

5. Ancestry Images

A great resource for historians and genealogists, this free image archive features over 35,000 prints, portraits, maps, and artifacts from the 17th to 19th century. All images are free for non-commercial use only, requiring a link back to the website.

6. Animal Photos!

This is a photo collection of different bird, mammal, primate, and rodent species. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 or CC BY-SA 2.0, each image on Animal Photos! requires attribution.

7. AVOPIX

Home to over 150,000 free stock images, AVOPIX allows downloading a picture without registration.

8. Bara-Art

This site contains free high-resolution photos from Bara Cross, a designer based in Brno, Czech Republic.

9. Barnimages

The creators of Barnimages, Latvian photographers Igor Trepeshchenok and Roman Drits, provide "non-stock" photos that redefine stock photography. Although their images are free for personal and commercial use, they are not under the CC0 license, which means the copyright belongs only to the photographer.

10. BigFoto

This free photo site has a sitemap (instead of a search bar) that sorts images according to location and theme. BigFoto offers all photos for commercial use, in return for linking back to the site.

11. BucketListly

Thai travel blogger Pete Rojwongsuriya has published on his blog 7,000+ pictures shot in over 60 countries worldwide. His travel photos are free for non-commercial use only. Giving appropriate credit and linking back are required when using a photo from the blog.

12. Burst

Created by e-commerce company Shopify, Burst offers thousands of free stock photos that entrepreneurs can use for their websites and marketing campaigns. The images are under the CC0 license or Shopify’s own photo license.

13. Car Pictures.cc

For anyone looking for photos of specific cars, this free automotive photo site is a helpful resource. It sorts photos according to car make (Audi, Chevrolet, Ford, etc.) and licensed under CC BY or CC BY-SA.

14. CC Search

A Creative Commons project, CC Search is a repository of over nine million photos from 500px, Flickr, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Public Library, Europeana, and Rijksmuseum. Some images are public domain; others have CC BY 2.0 license.

15. Cepolina

Cepolina is a collection of 20,000+ photos shot mostly in America, China, India, and Europe, with themes such as art, nature, food, vehicles, technology, people, and objects.

16. Death to The Stock Photo

To access free photos monthly via email, users need to sign up as a member. Death to The Stock Photo has its own image license.

17. DryIcons

Made for web developers and small design companies, the site's icons, website templates, and vector graphics are free to use under DryIcons' own license, which requires a link back to the site.

18. Cupcake

Sweden-based Jonas Wimmerström makes his high-resolution photos available under the CC0 license on his free stock photo site.

19. DesignersPics.com

This site features stock photos with themes such as business, food, architecture, wildlife, and more. Jeshu John, an artist based in Kochi, India, took the photographs.

20. Dreamstime

Dreamstime prides itself in being the world's biggest stock photography community with more than 19 million users and 86 million photos, illustrations, clip arts, and vectors. To download photos, a user needs to register for a free account.

21. Epicantus

Built by visual and UX designer Daria Nepriakhina, Epicantus has a wealth of high-resolution photos that startups can use for blog posts, mockups, and landing pages.

22. Europeana Collections

Europeana allows access to over 50 million digitized artworks, artifacts, and other items with art, music, fashion, photography, and more as themes. The collections come from European museums such as the Louvre and libraries such as the British Library.

Some images can be used for free, as they are released under the CC0 or CC BY-SA license. However, others are copyright-protected and cannot be reused.

23. Everypixel

Everypixel is a search engine that compiles over 1.5 million images from 22 free stock photo sites, including Pixabay, StockSnap.io, and Picjumbo. It features an image reverse search and customized search filters that allow finding photos based on color, orientation, image type, etc.

24. everystockphoto.com

Like Everypixel, everystockphoto.com is a search engine for finding free stock images from multiple sources all over the internet. It indexes about 30 million images under 10 free licenses.

25. Fancycrave

Fancycrave helps small businesses, bloggers, designers, digital marketers, and students find suitable photos for their mockups, blog posts, newsletters, and other projects.

26. FindA.Photo

This website sources about 10,000 pictures from various free stock photo sites such as Barnimages, Startup Stock Photos, and Unsplash. Photos can be searched by color, category (aerial, bokeh, landscapes, long-exposure, etc.), and source.

27. Focus Fitness

This fitness site, with a page dedicated to free stock photos, is ideal for fitness bloggers who need pictures of people exercising and eating healthy.

28. FoodieFactor

FoodieFactor collects more than 1,200 free food and drink stock photos and makes them available to everyone, especially food bloggers.

29. Foodiesfeed

FoodiesFeed is another free stock food photography resource that food bloggers and enthusiasts must check out. Thousands of mouthwatering, high-resolution food photos can be downloaded for free.

30. Foter

Calling itself as the "most popular public domain stock photo site," Foter offers 335 million free Creative Commons-licensed images with themes such as art, business, nature, and vintage.

31. Free Images

Free Images hosts over 350,000 stock photos, mostly of nature, architecture, arts, and animals. To download photos, one has to register for a free membership and sometimes, get permission from the copyright owners or provide an attribution.

32. Free Nature Stock

Free Nature Stock offers pictures of waters, sunset, mountains, plants, skies, and trees shot by Adrian Pelletier. He adds a new photo almost daily to his free photo site.

33. FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

This website provides stock images without registration, but the free ones have only a small size (400 x 300 px) and require attribution. Larger versions without attribution can be downloaded for a fee starting at US$ 5.

34. Freely Photos

Spiritual bloggers, small businesses selling Christian merchandise, and churches will find this free stock image site useful. Photo collections include prayer, worship, bible, Easter, Christmas, and men's and women's ministry.

35. FreeMediaGoo.com

Made by a developer for developers, FreeMediaGoo.com has free stock photos and illustrations on categories such as aviation, beach, food, finance, building, and animals.

36. FreePhotosBank

This online resource provides easy access to free photos without registration. But it requires giving credit to the photographer and prohibits modifications on images.

37. FreePhotos.cc

A good place to find Creative Commons-licensed photos, FreePhotos.cc collates free images from various sources such as Burst, Little Visuals, and Foodiesfeed for easy preview and download.

38. Freepik

Freepik caters to designers who need free photos, vectors, icons, and other graphics for designing websites, banners, and magazines. Most images are free for commercial use. Proper credit must be given to the creator.

39. Freerange Stock

All images on this site, licensed under Equalicense, come from Freerange Stock's in-house photographers and contributions from a photography community.

40. Freestocks.org

Offering something different from traditional stock photography, Freestocks.org features fresh and updated images captured by its team of photographers and contributors.

41. Glyphs

With over a thousand photos, this site features mostly travel and home & garden photos. Images are free to download without registration. But to embed a photo on a website, a user needs to sign up for an account.

42. Good Free Photos

Over 25,000 high-resolution, copyright-free, and royalty-free photos can be downloaded for free. The site sorts images by location for travel photos and species for plant and animal photos.

43. Good Stock Photos

A digital marketer and web designer named Steven created this site containing his free stock photos. Each photo has a short yet detailed description.

44. Gratisography 

Gratisography aims to be "the world's quirkiest collection of free high-resolution pictures," offering copyright-free photos that cannot be found elsewhere. Ryan McGuire—an artist, designer, and photographer—founded the site and provided all its photos.

45. HubSpot

HubSpot is better known as a digital marketing platform, but it also dabbles in free stock photography. Its compilation of 550+ photos, mostly business and holiday-themed, are free to use for marketing campaigns. To access HubSpot's stock photos, one needs to sign up via email.

46. IM Free

More than just a stock photo site, IM Free provides web designers, developers, and small businesses with curated images, templates, and icons for website building. Although everything is free for commercial use, attribution is required for some photos.

47. ImageFinder

Another stock photo aggregator on this list, ImageFinder gathers and displays almost 20,000 Creative Commons-licensed images from various free photo sites such as Good Free Photos and Picjumbo.

48. ISO Republic

Thousands of CC0-licensed images are available for creative professionals to download for free. The creators of ISO Republic are the same people behind the stock food photo site FoodieFactor.

49. Iwaria

Iwaria makes it possible to discover the real Africa through free photos of African people, landscapes, food, and animals.

50. Jay Mantri

Although Jay Mantri rarely publishes new photos nowadays, his image archive is still a good source of free travel, landscape, architecture, and food photos.

51. JESHOOTS.com

Prague-based web designer Jan Vašek founded JESHOOTS.com to share free stock photos and mockups for personal and commercial use. Every image comes with descriptive captions.

52. Kaboompics

Created by a graphic designer, website builder, and photographer named Karolina, Kaboompics features over 8,000 free stock images, the most popular of which are related to lifestyle and interior design.

53. Large Photos

As its name suggests, Large Photos is a resource for anyone who needs high-quality images for large-size printing. The stock photos come from its in-house photographers and contributions from its photography community.

54. LibreStock

This search engine allows free and quick access to 48,000+ images from popular stock photography websites such as Pexels, StockSnap.io, and Gratisography.

55. Life of Pix

Life of Pix features CC0-licensed, high-resolution photos from its community of photographers. Every week, the site is updated with a new set of stock photos.

56. Little Visuals

Little Visuals' creator passed away in 2013, so the site is no longer updated. Still, it is a great source of stunning landscape photos, captured mostly in England and Germany.

57. Magdeleine

This free stock photo website features beautiful, high-resolution images of nature, cities, people, animals, and more. All photos are licensed under CC0 or CC BY-SA.

58. MMT

MMT is short for Moment, a free stock photography site featuring nature, cities, landscapes, food, and macro shots. The site's creator, New York-based UI/UX designer Jeffrey Betts, captured all the high-resolution pictures.

59. Moni's Photo

A photographer named Moni shares her collection of CC0-licensed, high-resolution photos, mostly of nature, architecture, and food. Flatlays, bokeh, and other photography techniques can also be found here.

60. Morguefile

Morguefile serves as a platform for community-based free photo exchange. It features more than 350,000 free stock images shot by amateur and professional photographers.

61. Moveast

Created by Portuguese designer João Pacheco, Moveast is filled with free breathtaking travel pictures shot in various locations, including Portugal, Spain, South Korea, and Indonesia.

62. MyStockPhotos

This free stock photography site compiles over 500 pictures of people, buildings, animals, flowers, and landscapes.

63. nappy

To improve the representation of black and brown people in media, nappy provides free high-resolution pictures of this underrepresented group. It features black and brown people doing what others normally do—working, eating, traveling, and enjoying hobbies.

64. National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art has a digital collection of over 5,000 artworks—including paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs—that are free to use as long as credit is given to the artist.

65. NegativeSpace

This free stock photo website is a platform for photographers to gain exposure for their work by sharing their images under the CC0 license.

66. New Old Stock

New Old Stock is a great source of copyright-free vintage pictures. Each photo comes with a link to the original Flickr post, so the user can check its Creative Commons license.

67. New York Public Library Digital Gallery

The online gallery has more than 700,000 digitized art and cultural items from the New York Public Library. To access copyright-free photos, choose “Show Only Public Domain” on the Browse page.

68. Openphoto.net

An online image sharing platform, Openphoto.net contains Creative Commons-licensed photos that require attribution to photographer Michael Jastremski. 

69. Pexels

One of the popular free stock photo websites today, Pexels offers free CC0-licensed images for personal and commercial use.

70. PhotoPin

PhotoPin compiles Creative Commons-licensed photos into one place. Designed for bloggers, the site makes it easy to download photos and give credit to the owner. Each photo is available in a wide range of sizes.

71. PhotoStockEditor

This free stock photography site contains high-quality, public-domain images of animals, nature, people, gadgets, food, and drinks.

72. Picjumbo

The website was born after photographer and designer Viktor Hanacek got rejections from various stock photo sites due to quality issues. Picjumbo now boasts of having millions of downloads since its launch.

73. Pickupimage

Most photos here are landscapes, seascapes, sunset, and architecture. The stock photo site also includes more than 2,000 clip arts and icons.

74. PicMelon

PicMelon hosts curated copyright-free photos for bloggers and designers. Themes include animals, food and drink, nature, technology, and holidays.

75. Picography

A go-to source of free high-resolution images, Picography features nature, wildlife, and street photography.

76. Pixabay

One of the most popular free stock photo sites today, Pixabay has more than 1.5 million images, illustrations, and vectors. Users can filter their search according to camera models and photographers. A free registration is required for downloading full-sized images and uploading files.

77. Pond5

Pond5, an online marketplace for filmmakers and other content creators, has a page dedicated to free, public domain photos. However, most image sizes for the free versions are rather small.

78. Public Domain Pictures

Hosting over 200,000 CC0-licensed stock photos, Public Domain Pictures allows free access to images with a decent size. Access to full-sized photos requires a registration and a fee.

79. Rawpixel

Rawpixel offers free and paid photos, vectors, and mockups for personal and/or commercial use. Up to 100 images can be downloaded for free in a month. Unlimited downloads cost $5 monthly for personal use and $29 for commercial use.

80. Realistic Shots

A catalog of free, high-resolution stock images for personal and commercial use, this site is a great source of nature, architecture, people, and travel photos.

81. Reshot

Reshot sets itself apart by providing unique, "non-stocky" photos for editorial and commercial use. The free images come from individual contributors and photography communities.

82. Rgbstock.com

Launched in 2010, this free stock photo site now has 100,000+ images and 400,000+ registered users. It also has a helpful forum section where people can chat and seek help regarding photography.

83. ShotStash

StockStash creators aim to provide carefully handpicked free stock photos for personal and commercial use. Every image has a short description that makes identifying its location or items easy.

84. Shutteroo

Australian web designer and photography enthusiast Klaye Morrison shares her photos for free through this stock photo site.

85. Skitterphoto

Skitterphoto features captivating shots from two photographers in the Netherlands, Rudy Rudy van der Veen and Peter Heeling.

86. Skuawk

The CC0-licensed, high-resolution photos from Skuawk come in themes such as landscape, business, people, music, and sports. They can be downloaded for free without registration.

87. Slon.pics

Cyprus-based graphic designer and photographer Kirill M shares his photos and illustrations that are free for personal and commercial use.

88. Snapwire Snaps

Snapwire Snaps lets users search for copyright-free stock photos. It also has a paid service where brands, agencies, and companies can request custom visual content for their marketing campaigns.

89. Splashbase

A search engine for free photos, Splashbase sources images from popular stock photo sites such as Unsplash, Skitterphoto, Gratisography, and MMT.

90. SplitShire

SplitShire allows easy access to almost 1,000 free stock photos without registration. It features abstract, automotive, fashion, food, street, nature, and other kinds of photography.

91. Startup Stock Photos

This free stock photo site features images of people working, making them suitable for tech startups, websites, and blogs.

92. Stock Up

Built by web designer and developer Steve Benjamins, Stock Up aggregates almost 30,000 stock photos from 30+ free photo sites, including Burst, Free Nature Stock, and JESHOOTS.com.

93. StockPhotosforFree

With more than 100,000 free stock photos, this website gets stills from the HD videos of its parent site VideoBlocks.com and high-resolution pictures from professional photographers.

94. StockSnap.io

A well-known resource in the stock photography world, StockSnap.io features an easy-to-use search function and a huge collection of high-quality images.

95. Stockvault.net 

This site collects and displays more than 120,000 free stock photos, vectors, and graphics by and for photographers, designers, and students. The images are released under a public domain, commercial, or non-commercial license.

96. Stokpic

Photographer Ed Gregory makes his shots available for personal and commercial use through his stock photo site. A few images are licensed under CC0, while the rest carry Stokpic's own license with several restrictions.

97. StreetWill.co

Like New Old Stock, StreetWill.co offers free vintage photos, mostly of people, buildings, landscapes, and seascapes.

98. Styled Stock

Featuring chic and girly images, Styled Stock caters to female entrepreneurs who need stylish stock photos for their business website or blog. Most of the free images show beauty products and fashion items.

99. Travel Coffee Book

This site is a great source of stunning, high-resolution travel photos from across the world. They are all free for personal and commercial use.

100. Trunklog.com

This website showcases free stock photos by Magnus Jälthammar that he hardly ever uses.

101. Unrestrictedstock.com

As the name implies, the stock photos, vectors, and videos on Unrestrictedstock.com are copyright-free and royalty-free.

102. Unsplash

Unsplash has more than half a million high-quality stock photos—with more added daily—from over 90,000 photographers.

103. Visual Hunt

Visual Hunt curates 300,000+ Creative Commons-licensed and 100,000+ public-domain stock photos from various online sources such as Flickr.

104. Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons has one of the biggest stock photo collections, with more than 49 million free media files from contributors worldwide.

105. WorldImages

With about 100,000 photos from the California State University IMAGE Project, the WorldImages database is a valuable resource for students and faculty. Because the images are under the CC BY-NC 2.5 license, they are free for educational and non-commercial use with proper attribution.

Copyright is a legal protection that provides the rights of a creator to an original work. Copyright laws exist in many countries to protect their citizens' intellectual property.

The creator may file a lawsuit and demand monetary damages against liable parties due to copyright infringement.

For any violation of image copyright, the following people are usually held liable:  

  • The person who stole the image, whether intentional or not
  • People who authorized the copyright infringement such as the editor and manager
  • The person who published the image, with or without knowledge of the infringement
  • Other people involved in the infringement

4. Can I Resell Public Domain Pictures?

Just because an image is licensed under the public domain does not mean its use has no limits. Selling public domain pictures is one of them.

Other restrictions on public domain or CC0-licensed image use include the following:

  • Claiming the image as one's own work
  • Implying or stating any kind of endorsement by the creator or any brand or person shown in the image
  • Using the image for unlawful purposes such as crime, pornography, prostitution, and sale or promotion of illegal drugs

5. What Does "Commercial Use" Really Mean?

Even Creative Commons has no clear-cut guidelines on what constitutes commercial use. It just states that images with non-commercial licenses cannot be used for "commercial advantage or monetary compensation."

It is best to ask the copyright holders or free stock photo website owners to clarify what they allow when using their image commercially.

 

 

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