Designer / Front End Dev
Stock photography is a necessary evil. Sometimes you just need to purchase a photograph that does the trick. And sometimes you can't really afford to even purchase one or there's no value in doing so. Perhaps like us you write a lot of blog content and want to keep your writing visually appealing without taking out a loan to pay for all that photography?
You need not fret because as the internet matures, more and more people are realising the value of open source and creative commons technology and content, so I thought I'd go on an adventure to find 15 stock photography websites that offer up FREE and creative commons imagery for all of us to benefit from.
So without further hesitation let's get in to it!
This powerful image search engine allows you to search through thousands of free (CC0 licensed) stock photos from 10 different sources. You can even browse by colour or keywords.
Freerange Stock describe themselves as: "Good photos. Totally free." The model is simple: Freerange Stock provide the platform, photographers provide the photography and the ad revenue from the site gets shared. This means that you get free photography whilst the photographers still get paid!
Libre Stock is another image search engine which boasts the ability to be able to search the best 47 free stock photo websites in one place! This is a great place to go if you need to search for something quite specific as you'll have more chance of finding that perfect image.
Morguefile is a website whose positioning statement is: "free images for creatives, by creatives" and what could be simpler than that? This open source mentality is akin to how Drupal developers work so we love the ethos. There are over 350,000 free stock photos available for commercial use. Sounds good doesn't it!
Negative Space is another CC0 images only website. What truly sets Negative Space apart though is the search capabilities. Browse by category, keyword, colour and copy space position. Now that's some serious search power if you're looking for that perfect image to add copy to.
Recapture history. New Old Stock source vintage photography from public archives which are free of known copyright restrictions. Working on a project that needs a vintage photo? This is definitely the place to go.
Pexels also "collects" stock photography from other sites and acts as a search engine for free imagery but what sets Pexels apart from the other free stock photo search engines are the "discovery tools". Probably not the best (but still good) for finding a specific image but great if you want to sift through photos of "flowers that are red" and so on.
I've got absolutely no qualms in saying this is absolutely my favourite free stock photography website. Why? Well, there's just something about 860,000 guaranteed CC0 images and illustrations that does it for me. I know I can come here, pretty much always find the image I require and then use it without copyright headaches or attribution concerns.
SplitShire has a fantastic collection of free images for commercial use and some great tools to discover and browse them as well. The whole website is slick and enjoyable to use. Anything else that's good about it? Sure. How about free stock video as well. You're welcome!
Another massive collection of high-res CC0 images with some great sort and filter options.
A slightly more refined search engine which boasts a modest 14,837 free stock photos across 28 websites. What sets Stock Up apart are the roster of clients who they claim use them which includes: Product Hunt, The Huffington Post, Forbes and The Next Web.
Another user to user stock photography site which boasts new photos, textures and illustrations every day.
Unsplash is another site which is jam packed with what they call: "Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos". The interface is dead simple and you could easily kill several hours knocking around the "collections" area of the site.
Visual Hunt are another search engine and probably the most wide-reaching and comprehensive search engine of the lot. Boasting 354,191,553 Creative Commons Photos and 116,892 CC0 - 100% Free High Quality Photos, you're probably going to find what you're looking for but when you find your image you'll need to double check the licenses to see if there are any terms attached to the image's usage.
I hope you find these stock photography websites useful. It has certainly aided us to document them in one place so that we can come back to it again and again.
If you enjoyed the article, or have any more site suggestions please do let me know in the comments below!