Author Richard Wood
Published: 15 January 2017
There are lots of reasons you might want access to professional quality photography. For a website, blog post, a printed article or advert, or even a homework project. Until recently professional images came at a price. Photographer’s after all are like the rest of us, they need to earn a living. However, there are a new breed of photographers now, that have found ways to pursue a professional career and give a sizeable amount of work away for free. This post lists my favorite and most used free image sites, and the ones I think are the best.
Pixabay is one of my favorite sources, and usually my first stop when I’m looking for material for a new website or design project. Their large collection of 750,000+ photos, illustrations and vector graphics, and over 3000 videos, means they usually have something that fits my brief. All the content on the site has to pass their strict quality control standards, so you could potentially use any file you find. All photos, graphics, and videos are free to use under the Creative Commons licence. Some sites may ask you for attribution, by providing a link back to their website. However, any files you download from Pixabay can be used without any attribution, though I’m sure they’d appreciate it if you did give them a credit.
Pexels was founded in 2014 but has grown quickly by adding 100 new photos a day. They currently have over 25,000 photos in their catalog. Their mission is to empower creators by providing access to a catalogue of free professional stock photography. All images are available attribution free through the creative commons licence. They also have a sister site called Pexels Videos where you can find attribution free videos.
StockSnap has a huge catalogue of free to use professional high resolution photographs. All images are available through the the creative commons licence are are attribution free. Images are from a comminuty of photographers and quality control is good.
StockSnap.io is a sister site to Snappa, an online tool for creating graphics for blogs, websites, social media, and online advertising. It uses a freemium model, so you can use a limited version for free. In fact we did, the featured image for this blog post was created with Snappa. It took us less than five minutes to choose from one of their many templates, find a nice background image, and put the text in place.
Stockpic is another great source of attribution free stock photography. Most of the material is from the owner/founder of the website, but is highly professional and not available else where on the internet. If you’re struggling to find the right image on larger sites I would definitely have a look here. I’ve included one of his shots above so you can see the high quality of his work. Come to think about it I’m not sure why I don’t use this site more often.
A photography community that started out on Tumblr 3 years ago. The site hosts some beautiful photography, and it is all free to use as you like with no attribution required. The contributor list even includes NASA, with probably the coolest selfie both on and off the planet.
Picjumbo was created and is run by Viktor Hanacek, and all photography on the site is by him. He uses the money he earns from picjumbo to travel and take more photos for the website, who can argue with that. Images are available free to use without attribution. Picjumbo works on a the freemium model, charging a monthly fee for access to their premium image collections.
Another great community of photographers giving their work away for free. All pictures are under the creative commons licence so you can use them for almost anything free of charge. There is also a Life of Vids sister site if you need moving images.
Another great source of professional images, signup to get a unique collection of photos emailed to you once a month. You can explore their images on the Death to Stock Instagram page.
If you’re looking for a more quirky image or a different view of the world give Gratisography a try. All images are by photographer and artist Ryan McGuire. His mission seems to be to make people smile, and I’d say he’s doing a good job.
The main contributor is the founder Tom Eversley, but the site is now open to submission from other photographers. It has a small catalog of 1000+ photos, but it’s growing fast with new pictures arriving every day. The website works on a freemium model, with packs of premium photo available for $15 each. All the free images can be used for personal or commercial use and are attribution free.
The focus of Freepik is more graphic design than photography, but they still have some useful pictures on their website. I’ve found them useful for background photos in the past. You are free to use any of the images you find on the website, but must provide an attribution link back to the author on freepik. They do run on a freemium model, you can pay a small subscription free to access premium graphics and use any images attribution free. If you have a copy of Photoshop you can also take advantage of the catalogue of PSD files on the website. These include templates for business cards, calendars, brochures, mockups,icons,vector art, and a lot else besides.
RawPixel have a collection of mostly photos, but there are some graphics as well. This new image site is on a mission to make stock photos cool while give back via the Hope for Children charity. They have some great images so its worth signing up, and take a look at their give back page while you’re there.
There are many more free photography websites out there, but these are the ones that I personally have found to be the best. Please feel free to disagree with me, if you know of another good free image website that deserves a mention just add a comment. I’ll go through the suggestions at some point in the future and update the post with any worthy additions.
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