10 Best Free Stock Photo Websites
Updated: Aug 16
High-quality, beautiful images are necessary for a successful blog. But if you’re a small business, you might not have the budget to pay for custom photos each time. Luckily there are a number of sites that allow you to find and download stock photos for free.
This post includes a list of Crisp Text's favourite 10 free stock photo websites. These have the photos you need to ensure your blog reaches it's visual potential.
A Quick Note on Licenses
Many of these sites provide photos with a Creative Commons Zero license. This license lets you use the photos for free for either commercial or noncommercial purposes without paying royalties or having to attribute the work to the photographer (although you can!). You can also edit and change the photos.
Please note that we’re not legal experts and this is not legal advice. To be safe, check out the actual license page for CC0 here. Licenses can and do change. In general, for each photo you use, be sure you know which license it is under and what that means.
Pixabay is a German company that sources its images from its users. They have a huge collection of over 1.4 million photos. In addition to the photo library, their site features a forum as well as a blog. Photos here are typically high-quality, ad agency type photos, although the quality can be somewhat variable.
Images in Pixabay’s library have a Creative Commons Zero license, which means they can be used for free in both personal and commercial projects. You have the option of donating to the photographer, but it's not mandatory. They encourage you to give credit to the photographer, but, again, this is not required.
Burst was created by the same people that created Shopify and explicitly aims to provide small businesses with photos they can use in their marketing materials. That’s why, in addition to the regular categories that they have, they also have custom curated collections of photos for e-commerce stores, like those selling men’s fashion or cosmetics.
All burst images are free to use for personal and commercial purposes.
Unsplash began on Tumblr as a blog where unused photos from custom photo shoots were offered for free. It has now grown significantly and hosts over a million free photos, most of which come from individual contributors. Besides having a powerful search, they have also conveniently sorted photos into collections. The photos are modern and youthful.
All images on Unsplash are free for personal or commercial use. You don’t need permission or to attribute the image to the photographer.
Pexels provides authentic and modern images for free. Photos uploaded by users and then chosen by hand by Pexels staff. They’re tagged, and sorted into convenient categories for easy discovery. They have several hundred thousand images.
Photos are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero license: Free to use for personal or commercial purposes, free to modify, and attribution not required.
5. Life of Pix
Life of Pix has a large library of free high-resolution images. All images are uploaded by their community of photographers. Images are artsy and edgy. Their sister site Life of Vids has free stock video for those of you interested in video content.
All photos are free to use for any purpose with no copyright restrictions.
Gratisography is perhaps the web’s quirkiest collection of free high-resolution stock photos. These photos will make your blog or marketing materials stand out. The library is somewhat smaller than other sites, but images are curated by staff and very high quality. These photos are colourful and slightly strange.
You can use all photos on this site for your personal or commercial products.
7. Fancy Crave
This site features mostly stunning images of landscapes and travel destinations, although these include architecture and design photos as well as. Photos are taken by Fancy Crave photographers and edited by hand before they are posted. While the library is relatively small, the quality is very high.
All photos that are accessible to you are free for personal and commercial projects. However, they don't make all their photos freely accessible. If you purchase a subscription, you can have access to more photos than you can access without a subscription.
8. Pik Wizard
We like Pik Wizard for its large collection of high quality, unique photos. It also features free stock videos as well. One other unique feature of this site is that it allows you to edit images for free using a web application called design wizard. One downside for us about this website is that it has some limited functionality when an ad-blocker is enabled.
Another is that the licenses are a little more complicated: they are different for each photo. Make sure you check what the license is for each of the photos you choose.
9. Negative Space
Negative space is made by photographers for creatives. It invites photo submissions from amateur photographers, giving them a space to share their work and get noticed. You’ll see a large variation in the types and quality of photos on this site.
The site has many photos that are Creative Commons Zero licensed, meaning you can use them free for personal and commercial use. However, some photos are under different licenses. Double-check yours to be sure of the license.
Last but not least, we love Canva. Most of the photo editing we do at Crisp Text is done using Canva. But besides being a powerful photo editing platform, Canva also provides a number of free photos to use. They also have a number of design resources and learning tools. If you're new to design, check those out.
Free Canva photos can be used for personal or professional purposes. You cannot redistribute the photos or sell them to other other stock photo platforms.
Those are our favourites! We hope they help you get started on your creative projects. Just remember to be sure about the licenses of the photos you're using to avoid any legal issues.
Need some more help getting your blog going? Get in touch and we'll point you in the right direction.