We’ve explored tools that enable anyone to produce visual content. Our social media management tool incorporates picture uploading since we realize how crucial that aspect is to engaging your followers and fans.
But there’s one issue we get asked rather often: Where can you acquire free photographs that are excellent quality and free to use for your blog articles or social media content?
It’s a question with a lot of varied answers and cautions. Nearly every photograph made in the previous 30 years is still protected by copyright—a protection that grants nearly every creator the sole right to use or reproduce their work. But you can discover a public domain picture, utilize a Creative Commons image that may require credit, or even design your own image from scratch.
In this article, we’ll discuss more than 20 different sources and resources for free photos, encompassing searching image sites, create-your-own-image tools, and more.
Free image terms FAQ
The following words will come up regularly as we study free image sources: Read over the terms and conditions of each site you attempt so you know precisely when and what sort of credit is needed.
What is Creative Commons?
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that encourages the sharing and use of creativity and information via free legal instruments. Various sorts of Creative Commons licenses range from permitting any form of usage with no credit to allowing just limited uses and no alterations.
What is the public domain?
Works in the public domain are those whose copyrights have expired, have been surrendered, or are inapplicable. Finding anything online does not imply it is in the public domain.
What is royalty-free?
Royalty-free photos aren’t always free. In most situations, you’ll have to pay a one-time charge to gain the right to use the photograph. Then you may use it as many times as you wish. The “free” in “royalty-free” just indicates that you do not have to pay royalties to the owner of the picture every time you use it. For a full read on royalty-free photos, check out this guide.
Now, on to the list!
Unsplash has its own license, which effectively allows you to use the photographs for free in any manner you wish (except for using them to construct a competitive website). The site is fueled by a community of approximately 300,000 photographers, from enthusiasts to professionals, who ‘gift’ their photographs to make them freely accessible under Unsplash’s “do-whatever-you-want” with the images license.
Unsplash, which is owned by Getty, is especially useful for discovering exceptionally high-quality photographs; their crew hand-selects every shot and, according to the site, “accepts only the best.”
Burst is a free stock picture marketplace for businesses on Shopify. As is the case with Unsplash, the photographs are given by photographers “with the expectation that users will be able to download, edit, and use them however they see fit.”
Attribution (giving the photographers credit) is not essential; however, as Burst puts it, “our photographers always appreciate a shout-out.”
Pexels runs along the same lines as Unsplash and Burst, where photographs are given by the photographers themselves. Pexels also has its own license, which defines what you may and cannot do with the photographs. You may use and alter the photos for free for both business and personal purposes without credit.
Images on Pixabay are licensed under Creative Commons Zero (CC0), which means you may use them without asking for permission or providing credit to the creator (though it’s always appreciated).
Pixabay provides a gentle reminder to ensure that the material displayed in the photographs doesn’t infringe on any rights. Pixabay now provides various content forms, from graphics to sound effects.
5. Free Images
Free Photos delivers over 300,000 free stock photos under its own license. The license enables a pretty wide variety of applications, while it does identify many prohibited use scenarios (which are very typical for most free picture sites).
Kaboompics uses its own license, which is comparable to Creative Commons Zero except that you cannot redistribute its photographs. There are two things that I enjoy about Kaboompics: one, it enables me to search by color, and two, it gives a complimentary palette of hues in the shot.
Stocksnap uses the Creative Commons CC0 license, meaning its photographs are free to download, tweak, and use for commercial and non-commercial purposes.
Canva is a non-photographer’s response to Photoshop. The online graphic design tool also provides a collection of millions of free and paid stock pictures, all under their content license agreement. One benefit of utilizing Canva is that you can rapidly transform a picture into a bespoke graphic to use on social media or your blog.
You can browse Canva’s collection of pictures by utilizing the search tool in the editor or by going over to Canva Photos.
9. The Life of Pix
Life of Pix includes free, high-resolution images and movies with no copyright limitations for both personal and commercial usage. Life of Pix works with Adobe Stock for additional (paid) stock images.
If you’re searching for something a bit odd, Gratisography should be your first point of contact. It also has its own free picture license, which allows you to do “almost anything you can think of.”
While they offer a very small amount of photographs today, they are high-quality and absolutely distinct from any photos you’ll discover on the other sites on our list.
Vecteezy provides more than 10 million free and royalty-free photographs, yet it’s not just photos you’ll discover on the site. It’s also a wonderful location to seek out things like PSDs, vectors, movies, and templates—particularly handy if you’re trying to develop something of your own using a stock picture as a basis.
The service gives further safety for consumers by ensuring they only sell photographs of people and locations that come with a signed model by the photographer and the model, and you can skip that problem totally if you select one of their AI-generated images.
Vecteezy also features a basic, useful advanced search option. It will enable you to narrow your search by content type (things like PNGs, PSDs, vectors, and videos—useful if you’re trying to alter the picture yourself), license type, and even those created by (or not generated by) AI.
Flickr is an image hosting site where you can discover photographs that can be used and edited for business purposes. This doesn’t apply to all the photographs on the site, however, so you’ll need to make sure you narrow your searches.
To do so, choose “Any license” and then “Commercial use allowed” after finishing your search. Remember to verify the licensing for each picture, since they differ.
13. The Jopwell Collection (by Jopwell)
“It’s hard to be what you can’t see” is a typical theme at Jopwell, a firm that has made it their goal to enhance workplace diversity.
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One of their initiatives is The Jopwell Collection, which they describe as “an album of more than 100 free-to-download stock photos featuring leaders in the Jopwell community—social entrepreneurs, editors, techies, financial analysts, recruiters, marketers, student leaders, and even an Olympian—at work.”
The photographs are free to be downloaded and used as long as you clearly acknowledge Jopwell.
While you’ll find these photographs on Flickr, which I’ve previously discussed, I felt this specific series warranted a special notice. This is a collection of images of women of color in tech, established by the creators of #WOCinTech Chat.
The photographs may be used as long as you credit #WOCinTech Chat or wocintechchat.com. (While the team isn’t updating the album with new photographs anymore, there are over 500 shots to pick from.)
PicJumbo was launched back in 2013 using a variety of photographs that standard stock photo sites had rejected owing to “lack of quality.” Fast forward a decade, and the site provides more than 2.5 million photographs for any sort of use—free of charge with no registration necessary.
You may also obtain fresh, free photos by subscribing to their email. If you have the funds to spare, then check out their premium picture collections, like this one. They even provide vertical photos for Instagram Stories content—or fresh backgrounds for your phone.
Similar to Canva, VistaCreate is a visual design tool that includes a number of royalty-free photos for you to use in your projects (although you’ll have to register an account to download).
Depositphotos is home to millions of royalty-free pictures, videos, and music. While they charge a monthly subscription for downloads, they do provide a selection of free files available for commercial usage under an attributed free licensing agreement.
While iStock, owned by Getty, no longer provides a free membership, their one-month free trial will enable you to continue to use the pictures you download during that time (you’re permitted 10 downloads from their ‘Essentials’ collection).
19. New Old Stock
New Old Stock is a collection of old pictures from the public archives, free of known copyright limitations. The site is a collection of pictures obtained via institutions participating in Flickr Commons and the rules of Flickr Commons, according to their ‘Rights & Usage’ page.
However, it’s worth remembering that the New Old Stock includes the disclaimer that pictures are “at the very least allowed for personal and non-commercial usage.” If you’re confused about whether a picture may be used commercially, choose another of the alternatives on this list.
Morguefile was developed back in 1996 to serve as a free picture exchange for creative professionals and instructors. According to their about page, not much has changed since then (bar the quality of their photographs, of course): “We are a community-based free photo site, and all photos found in the Morguefile archive are free for you to download and re-use in your work, be it commercial or not.”
Morguefile’s 400,000+ photos are open to be used commercially but must be acknowledged per their license.
21. Google Advanced Image Search
Google Advanced Image Search may also be a valuable resource in the quest for high-quality photographs. Here’s how you can locate free-to-use photographs on Google:
- Head on to Google, put your terms into the search box, and push enter.
- Click the ‘Images’ tab at the top of the screen.
- Click ‘Tools’ (a bit to the right of the Images tab).
- Choose ‘Usage Rights’ and then ‘Creative Commons’ licenses.
Bonus choices for non-commercial usage
If you’re seeking photographs you’ll not be utilizing professionally, there are even more possibilities accessible when it comes to free image sites.
This could come as a surprise to you, as it did to me. You may use photographs from Getty on your non-commercial websites for free by embedding them.
Downloading a picture and posting it to your website is still a no-no; you’ve got to embed it. An embed is significantly more obtrusive than just adding a picture to your article; it preserves its own frame, sharing buttons, and branding. Still, for many bloggers, it’s an alternative worth checking into.
CreateHER Stock’s staff has hand-chosen more than 200 high-quality photographs of women of color, from top-notch close-ups to creative background shots. The sole condition is that the photographs are for personal use only. (Do check out their license here.) You may also get new free photos every month when you sign up for their email.
Facebook postings, Instagram posts, tweets, and more
Often, viewers may connect with embedded postings more deeply than static material by following people, liking, or commenting on the posts, meaning credit for the poster is practically baked into the embed.
There are two crucial things to consider here: First, if the material is deleted by the poster, your embedded picture will be replaced with an error notice.
Second, it’s important to make sure you only embed photos from artists and accounts you trust that hold the rights to the image they’ve posted—it’s not too difficult to pass off someone else’s work as your own on social media these days!