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Maybe you’re an aspiring photographer The Top 5 Photography Tips For Absolute Beginners The Top 5 Photography Tips For Absolute Beginners Fueled by a desire to take better photos, last year I got myself a nice DSLR for Christmas. I'm certainly no photography expert - but I did take the time learn a few tips I... Read More looking for inspiration. Perhaps an up-and-coming entrepreneur trying to find stock photography to add to your website How To Build Your Own Website In Minutes Without Any Coding Skills How To Build Your Own Website In Minutes Without Any Coding Skills As the Web grows, and it does so dazzlingly fast, the need for a web presence is becoming more pressing. In many parts of the world, you simply must have a web presence in order... Read More . Whatever your profession, it’s never a bad idea to have some stock photography websites at your disposal. That’s why we’ve compiled the five best stock photography websites online to ensure that you have access to millions of free stock images instantly.

We’ve even included two bonus sites – read all the way to the end to check them out!

How Free Is Free?

There’s a question of how free “free” is. Some websites allow you to download pictures for private use —  e.g. background wallpapers — but will disallow images for commercial use. This includes instances as business cards, websites, or posters. The websites below are protected under Creative Commons CC0.

The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law. — CreativeCommons.org

The following websites either support, or are fully composed of, CC0 images available in the public domain. The owners of these images have allowed users to modify, edit, and use their images without copyright backlash.

cc0
Image Credit: WikiImages

Two things concerning common courtesy when using CC0 images. One, although you do not have to give credit to the creator, it’s recommended that you do in order to publicize the artists’ efforts. Two, these websites often have a Donate page or splash screen. If you use free image hosting sites often, consider donating to their cause.

1. Unsplash

Unsplash is a side-project started by Crew, an online marketing agency dedicated to making your design dreams a reality.

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unsplash
Image Credit: Patrick Tomasso

Besides providing free stock photography, Unsplash also showcases graphic design work How to Be a Profitable Online Graphic Designer How to Be a Profitable Online Graphic Designer If you're a graphic designer struggling to turn a profit, all is not lost. Here are some tips for getting your freelance career back on track. Read More done by users with their MadeWith section.

2. Pexels

Pexels is a website that wants to help. Started in 2015, it has grown to develop a reputable stock photo library. Its mission statement phrases their aim best.

We help millions of designers, writers, artists, programmers and other creators to get access to beautiful photos that they can use freely which empowers them to create amazing products, designs, stories, websites, apps, art and other work. We call it: “Empowering Creators” — Pexels.com

Pexels is also unique in that it doesn’t only display images located on the Pexels website. It also outsources images from such high-quality websites as Gratisography, Little Visuals, and more.

pexels
Image Credit: Camille Staehler

Best of all, Pexels screens their images to ensure the highest quality images available.

Note: You can also download high quality stock videos through the site.

3. Flickr

Although Flickr is not dedicated to public domain images, they have an extensive library of high-quality public domain images.

flickr
Image Credit: Bernard Spragg

Flickr is, and has been for a long time, one of the greatest image libraries on the internet. With over 3 million, high-quality public domain images alone, I doubt you’ll run out of stock photography anytime soon.

4. Life of Pix

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve spent hours at a time scouring through the beautiful pictures on Life of Pix.

lifeofpix
Image Credit: David Trawin

Created by LEEROY advertising agency in Montreal, Life of Pix is a haven for free, public domain photography. Better yet, their Life of Vids website contains even more impressive stock video footage Public Domain Project Offers 10,000 HD Clips For Your Video Projects [Stuff to Watch] Public Domain Project Offers 10,000 HD Clips For Your Video Projects [Stuff to Watch] With so much footage available, you should grab a decent video editor and set to work recycling that old footage. Read More , completely for free!

5. StockSnap

StockSnap provides an excellent and extensive library for free stock imagery. With hundreds of high-quality photos added weekly, StockSnap isn’t your casual photography outlet.

stocksnap
Image Credit: Asaf R

Created by the good people at Snappa, every single image in StockSnap is free for you to use. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better image repository.

BONUS 1: Pixabay

Pixabay is another image repository which integrates images from other image hosting sites. They attempt to gather the very best of free stock images for your own personal or commercial use.

pixabay
Image Credit: WikiImage

Pixabay also allows easy access to camera search, which allows users to explore images based on the camera used to take them. This is a great resource for both beginner and professional photographers alike.

cameras

BONUS 2: Wikimedia

Wikimedia provides a truly stunning image repository, spanning everything from lush landscapes to historical events.

wikimedia
Image Credit: Cecil Stoughton, White House Press Office (WHPO)

Touting over 34,000,000 freely usable media, including videos and sounds, Wikimedia is a necessity for graphic designers, photographers, and artists looking for free, high-quality images. Wikimedia is also part of a much larger organization dedicated to free images, education, and information.

Watermarks Be Damned!

Through the concerted effort of a select few, it’s now easier than ever to view, enjoy, and use high-quality stock photography 12 Best Sites to Get Royalty-Free Stock Photos 12 Best Sites to Get Royalty-Free Stock Photos Looking for royalty-free stock photos? We did some research and found the best websites with the greatest variety, quality, and freedom available. Read More for free. Remember, there are some measures of common courtesy that shouldn’t be avoided for the benefit of the creators. That said, enjoy the best, free stock photography the online world has to offer!

What are your favorite online resources for free stock photography? Let us know in the comments below!

Originally written by John McClain on 26th July 2009

  1. Franck
    November 15, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    Hi,
    Just to let you know that I'm sharing more than 4000 downloadable photos on Flickr, all available for free under the CC0 license :
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/cc0/
    Franck

  2. J.
    November 8, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    Thank you for this found just what I was looking for, it took of doing buyt I've a great image and am making it into a Wattpad book cover.

  3. stockword
    September 2, 2016 at 7:16 am

    stockword.net
    100000 free "signs" images

  4. Hemantkumar
    August 15, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Hey John...!!
    Thanks for this awesome info, you have made it really easy to understand. I'm sure it will help out lots of people looking for free stock photos sites.

    Thank You :)

  5. Anna Phipps
    June 12, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Theres also Pixabay

  6. Giorgio
    November 17, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    ...and here is my "Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike" photo site: http://fotodispalle.com

  7. Pablo Calvog
    November 7, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Great Post!! In http://bookgraphy.com/free-images you can download thousands of high quality free photos, available for personal and commercial use with model an property releases.

    • tony
      August 31, 2016 at 7:40 am

      This is not free

    • John
      September 1, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      Hi Tony!
      Please, check it again. ALL this images are FREE!! And are thousands!!
      Click on the images and you will see it.

  8. Sketch Jar
    September 8, 2015 at 11:03 am

    I am started a personal project called http://www.sketchjar.com using CC0 rules.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 8, 2015 at 11:48 am

      This is actually really cool! Are you hand-picking the photos every day?

      But I don't see high-res versions of the photos. Since it's CC0, I assume there is no attribution needed for these?

      • Sketch Jar
        September 16, 2015 at 5:21 pm

        Yes Mihir ..that is correct . Bit by bit we would like make it a big success :)

  9. Amine Belkapi
    August 2, 2015 at 1:56 am

    I use http://www.bitpine.com its fast and has tons of cc0 and public domain photos and designs

  10. freeimagebay
    May 4, 2015 at 11:49 am

    http://freeimagebay.com is a great place to find free images without copyright restrictions and no registration requirements. New images are added daily.

  11. John Deevy
    March 17, 2015 at 2:04 am

    For completely free photos for personal and commercial use with no attribution required check out http://www.upicm.com Great images and most are not available elsewhere.

  12. Tobias
    February 11, 2015 at 8:51 am

    http://creativecommons.photos is olso a great website for find creative commons photos. The images are licensed under Public Domain license, so they are free for use.

  13. ?ooper
    December 13, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Here are the most recent:

    d92240e2ef4fe7fe18c8b088639001393eb02082
    e236913c355cc3d5b772197f4e5b9630b53cb204
    0befca400b56b17c975369b60e39c95981f5e517

  14. ?ooper
    December 11, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Invitations to quickly understand. Here are the most recent:

    7646012a4f1eb853f5f6699b0b42f365e598fb00
    d7d9a53db659e7d8ffe0c4b27d100a1426d84c6d

  15. ?ooper
    December 10, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Free photostocks – it’s good. But they definitely lose paid. Shutterstock istokphoto and – apart from the competition. However, all this is expensive. But there is one site that helps all who wish to download at a substantial discount from pay photostocks. This site is called shopdiz.biz. Several times used the services of the site – everything honestly.However, registration on this site – only for an invite. Here are three free invitation:

    946fdb8b7a5ee846cf94ec455b4092ac45de0ae7
    d458147465c935cfcd423abf95630d722c53db05
    706326f64ca49aeca3ecd024eded80b7dbb7f98c

  16. Michael Garmahis
    January 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    My version of Top 10 Free Stock Photos Sites

  17. dissertation
    December 20, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Excellent web site the great work don keep it up

  18. Sacha
    December 12, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Number 6:
    other free quality photo on niffylux
    http://www.niffylux.com

  19. AllOurStock
    October 29, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Plug here, but I really think you’ll like this one. It’s a completely 100% free stock photo, design and vector website.

    Our site, allourstock.com is not spammy, it’s built around a nice, easy-to-use functional layout with easy drag-and-drop interface, and has a lot more planned for the future. Currently we have about 500 images but we have a database of over 7000 yet to be added and growing everyday. I personally shoot photos myself and create custom designs as well. All are available for person OR commercial use, most of which do not require attribution.

    check us out on twitter as well, http://www.twitter.com/AllOurStock

  20. G.A.L.E.S.L.
    September 10, 2009 at 10:31 am

    (BTW the above and below comments are just about reuse permission, I haven't yet had time to check the quality and variety of the photos themselves)

    Some of the sites mentioned in the comments:

    Morguefile - NOT copyright-free actually, but a very permissive license, so I'm pretty sure I can use their stock. Allows commercial use, no crediting required. Looks like I might be using Freerange and Morguefile.

    Photovaco - minimal info on their site, basically just this from their front page:

    We provide free stock photos with high resolution for both personal and commercial projects. You can use our free photos in websites, video, TV production, forum, blogs, school projects and print medias including newspapers, magazine, books, CD covers. OK, let's say, you can download, edit and use all photos anywhere and anyhow you like except for abuse.

    Fotolia - as original poster said, you have to pay. Yes, the prices are probably reasonable for many people, but I would have to pay out of my own pocket, which rules it out for me.

  21. G.A.L.E.S.L.
    September 10, 2009 at 10:15 am

    I create online exercises for use through an LMS, for a private university that charges tuition. So I appreciate sites with photos that allow commercial use, and thanks for these links.

    Some comments upon further investigation of these sites.

    Freerange - NOT copyright-free actually, but a very permissive license, so I'm pretty sure I can use their stock. From their license page:

    License Summary: You can do nearly anything with the images, commercial or not. Just don't redistribute them - this means don't host the images or repackage them, just post a link and let others download them, just as you did.

    {i.e. you can't make your own clone of freerange, imo}

    Stockvault - NOT copyright-free actually, CC BY-NC-SA license. Poison for my situation: no commercial use (e.g. private university that charges tuition), viral Share Alike clause.

    Freedigitalphotos - NOT copyright-free actually, but a fairly permissive license, so I can use their stock if I provide a credit and hyperlink to their website.

    Stock.xchng - NOT copyright-free actually, but with somewhat permissive licenses. I've used their stuff before, thinking all I had to do was credit Stock.xchng. But upon further research it seems a little more complicated than that. First, photos are covered by a variety of restrictions; most of them are "Standard restrictions", which are the ones I used. But some have more restrictions: be careful.
    Secondly, the usage summary seems to indicate I have to credit each individual artist (not the site) AND notify them too. That would a *real* pain for me.

    Flickr CC content - NOT copyright-free actually, but with a variety of Creative Commons licenses. Of the 5 licenses there, the ony one I'm sure I can use is the CC Attribution License (BY). And that requires me to credit each individual artist per their requirements. A pain.

    In short, none of these sites are offering truly copyright-free photos (i.e. public domain). But they all offer copyrighted photos with a license allowing some re-use if you comply with certain conditions.
    For me, the "free-est" is Freerange (commercial use, no crediting required) and I think I'll be using it in future.
    Next comes Freedigitalphoto, which requires a credit & link just to the site.
    Flickr & stock.xchng offer some possibilities but frankly the requirement to credit each individual artist (or even notify them!) means I won't bother.
    And Stockvault is out of the question for me: not only no commerical use, but also the viral "Share Alike" factor that means the exercises I make that include such a photo also become CC BY-NC-SA. My employers would not be happy with that!

    Please note I'm not an expert, so my understanding may be wrong. And please note that I have specific needs; yours may differ, so a license that's bad for me might be good for you.

  22. Saw Htoo
    August 24, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    For free photos, check out

    http://www.photovaco.com

    All photos are high resolution and absolutely free to use for both personal and commercial projects.

  23. Online Cash
    July 30, 2009 at 3:47 am

    Its a great collection of lovely photographs available online. I always look for some useful photos for my website, now you made my task easier by providing these websites.

  24. Yvette Francino
    July 29, 2009 at 7:22 am

    Great list! I've been looking for this! Thanks!

  25. UPrinting
    July 29, 2009 at 2:18 am

    Cool! Thanks for sharing these sites. After all, no one wants to be accused of being a photo thief... if there's such thing!
    Have you heard of http://www.sxc.hu?

  26. Tim Lenahan
    July 29, 2009 at 6:32 am

    Is Morguefile.com down for the count?

  27. Andy Commons
    July 27, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    I enjoy http://www.fotolia.com. Not free, but $1 - $3 for photos I can legally use in my websites.

    • Aristarkhos
      July 29, 2009 at 5:47 am

      I agree with Andy. Fotolia suits those who are willing to pay a very nominal amount for their images. Legal and economical. The image gallery is very good too.

  28. Tim Lenahan
    July 27, 2009 at 8:56 am

    OOPs, seems Morguefile's down! "morgueFile is experiencing technical difficulties, we are working on the problem." - straight from the site!

  29. Keith Kmett
    July 27, 2009 at 7:27 am

    I second Morguefile.com for great high-res shots!

  30. Tim Lenahan
    July 27, 2009 at 6:24 am

    How 'bouts Morguefile.com?

  31. Lee
    July 27, 2009 at 2:55 am

    Nice sharing. Great post. You can share your article at: ArticlePinger.com to gain more views.

  32. Tristan Bethe
    July 27, 2009 at 2:53 am

    You might want to check out imageafter.com as well. Free for use in commercial projects

  33. Patrick Braga
    July 26, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    EveryStockPhoto.com is also a great free resource for stock photos.

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