Updated 2/29/20 with more photo sites.
One of my most popular blog posts was 8 Places to Find Free Images. I’ve intended to update it for longer than I’m going to admit.
I’m especially excited to revisit this topic for a couple of reasons. The rise of stock photography and the desire for quality images means there are more options now than there were then. There are also more options for diverse photos that go beyond the standard slim white lady doing yoga in her light filled home studio. Although there is still so much room for improvement, I’m excited to share these new free stock photo resources!
Before you jump to the list
Let’s get some common issues out of the way before we dive into the list.
First, just because a photo is on the internet, doesn’t mean it is ok for you to use. That means you can’t do a google search and save images you like to use on your own blog or website. You also can’t go to someone else’s website and take their photos.
Second, because there are so many stock photo sites, you may see the same photo on multiple sites. Let’s assume positive intent and say the photographer who owns the rights to the images uploaded the images to the different sites. But let’s also protect ourselves and make a note of which site you found which image on and when. The easiest way to do this is to make the photo site and the date as part of the image file name you save on your computer.
Third, be aware of licenses and what you can and can’t do with the photos you download. Stock image websites clearly layout the licensing and restrictions – either on the individual photos themselves or on a “Terms and Conditions” page.
You can learn a little more about different licenses here.
Fourth, when I compiled the first list of free stock photo sites, I excluded any that charged money for photos. This time, I’m including a few paid sites because the popular sites are so popular, I’m seeing the same photos used by different businesses. I’d like to encourage you to look at different sites and consider purchasing photos to reduce the risk of choosing an over-used photo, and support the image creators.
This guide is organized into sections of All Free, Some Free, and All Paid. Some sites, even the paid sites, offer free photo packs in exchange for your email address and I’ve made a note about that where applicable.
Unsplash – In addition to a standard search feature, you can also browse “Collections” of topics curated by users.
Pexels – Modify searches in both Pexels and Unsplash by adding a color or other term to your search.
Stock Up – This is a neat newer option. Instead of searching sites individually, you can search over 30 stock photo sites at once from Stock Up. All photos should be free and usable, but always check the licensing.
Allgo - Plus size stock photos can be hard to find. This is a great collection of fun photos of individuals, groups, and couples hanging out and having fun. Photos are free and credit is requested, but not required.
Nappy – Their tagline is “Beautiful, high-res photos of black and brown people” and they deliver. The photos cover a range of topics and ages.
Public Domain Review - You won't find glossy fashion photos, but you will find thousands of images from across the centuries that are now in the public domain. Side note: 2019 is a big year for items coming into the public domain after a 20 year pause (yes, 20 years!) - read more here and here.
Foodies Feed - If food is your game, then you'll want to check out these free food photos.
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Some Free, Some Pay to Use
Pic Jumbo – Plenty of free photos as well as a premium membership option starting at $10/month.
Every Pixel – Similar to Stock Up, Every Pixel searches multiple stock photo sites for you. Over 51 sites are searched and results are both free and paid photos (or modify the search to just free or just paid images). Image results can be streamlined by color and image orientation (vertical or horizontal) as well as by photo, vector, or graphic.
Death to the Stock Photo – There is a $12/month annual membership or a $15/month membership. You can join their email list to get occasional free photo packs via email.
Envato Elements – Offers stock photos, stock video, music, templates, and fonts. $33/month or $98/year. You can find monthly freebies on their freebie page.
Stocksy – I love the search features here. You can search by location, ages of people in the photo, number of people in the photo, gender, and ethnicity. You can also search by photo orientation. Images start at $15.
Diversity Photo – The photos feature a variety of people in different situations. Photos start around $25
Eye for Ebony – Photos are sold in very reasonable bundles focused on a single topic. Prices start at $10 for 25 images. Sign up for their email list to receive a pack of stock photos.
Representation Matters – This site offers body and ability diversity as well as ethnic diversity. Photos start at $5. You can sign up for their email to get monthly packs of photos.
Tonl – You can search by topic or browse categories. Photos start at $20 or a monthly plan of $29 for 15 images.
Create Her Stock – Focusing on women of color. Membership starts at $10 month. You can sign up for the email list to get access to previous collections of photos.
SC Stock Shop – Highly stylized flatlays and object photos. Prices start around $19/pair of photos or join the membership for $25/month. You can get a pack of free images by signing up for the email list. I love the option to shop by color or collection.
If you have a favorite place to get diverse and unique stock photos, please let me know!
And if you are looking for free stock video resources, free stock music resources, or a collection of resources to make your brand stand out - follow the links to check out those blog posts!
Musings about marketing, social media, and small business.