Photos, we all use em’ right?
So finding the right photo for the right ‘thing’ is super important especially if we don’t know how to use photoshop or canva. Over the last year, I have been scraping together where to find free photos to use. There are some amazing places. Albeit you do have to shrink the file sizes down often if you want to use them on your website. I have heard the rule of thumb is 120kb is the largest they should be.
We all know a great photo enhances your web content. That visualization can describe or show what you are meaning without words.
I started out working online building websites and managing people’s digital media with no money. I Didn’t have a budget to buy photos especially stock photography photos. I didnt know how to edit or change pictures either. Things have changed for me over time. Last year I needed to learn where I could find pictures for free, legally. So I started to make a list.
Over the last few years, a plethora of websites has emerged allowing people to download high-resolution photos for free. These sites offer images that are protected under the Creative Commons (CC) license, meaning they are legally free for anyone to use on websites and blogs (with some conditions, always make sure you read the fine print on the site you are using. They usually spell out their conditions. There’s an explanation at the end of this post of what Creative commons license means
Through my investigation, I found a lot of sites. The ones I like best are in the list below. This is the list I created as a template of where to go for the free pic.
It’s fun to browse around and download photos that I may want to use later. Or course you can get super carried away and if you (or if I) download pictures before I know what I am going to use them for I often don’t ever use them. Mainly because I forget about them. I promise that you will easily find photos or pictures for whatever you are doing from the sites below. I Keep this list handy.
I will no longer make you wait. But do let me know if I have missed any good ones?
Today I wanted to share the resources I use on where I look for photos but I also wanted to show how I look for photos online when I don’t want to take the time to go to one of the wonderful sites listed below.
Ancestry Images offers a free image archive of historical prints, maps and artifact photos, like this print of a New Zealand Maori Warrior from 1817. Ok, wait for a second, I am not sure I thin you might have to pay for these ones. Okay, moving on
Albumari provides an outstanding selection of images across a pretty decent range of categories, including animals, nature, and buildings (and yes there is a section for redheads- we get our very own section). I give this site a 5 star just for that part :). Photos are sourced from the site’s community and are published under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license, which lets you modify and share images as long as you provide attribution to the creator.
Bucketlistly Travel photos that anyone can use. If you need images for a traveling theme, this is a great site for you. They have categorized high-res images by country. Super cool. You can even peruse these if you like to dream of traveling (I love traveling so this one is a fav). And check out the awesome types of photos.
Creativemarket.com This website has a lot going on. This is more of a paid resource but you can find some things for free. You have to go to the free tad, it is at the top of the page (right in the middle). It might not seem like much as there are probably only 6 free things. But download one and see what you get. Yup, you get a whole package of things you can edit and use. They even give you the photoshop files. Now, I promise you, you can get lost on this site as they offer graphics, templates and other super cool stuff. You can lose yourself here and spend time (and some money). I am in love with this site!
Sign up, you will love it, but remember to resize all these photos. You can’t search, but you can sign up and if you sign up every month you’ll receive amazing photos in your inbox every month. And there is a money back guarantee if you the photos don’t float your boat. I am on the free plan and I get some amazing things monthly. I would use the paid variety though, I just
And there is a money back guarantee if you the photos don’t float your boat. I am on the free plan and I get some amazing things monthly. I would use the paid variety though, I just haven’t had time to do everything I want.
Flickr Yahoo owns it. The link is to the free photo download section. To use photos from Flickr for free (without attribution) use the advanced search function. Find & click “only search within Creative Commons-licensed content.”
Here is a quick video. Way easier to see if you enlarge it
Fotolia It looks like Adobe owns this one. This library includes millions of royalty-free images, vectors, illustrations and video footage clips. You can download a number of items each wk but you have to purchase credits to do this, so if your budget is 0 then you might not go here first. As I am still on a tight budget I only mention this one as the pictures are great, but I didn’t buy credits so I can’t really show you more.
FreeImages is pretty good.
You have to sign up. There are free downloads and paid ones. The cool thing is that it is super easy to find free photos and they group them in a way that seems quite intuitive. Plus it looks like you can follow people you like. There are some restrictions. So check the part of the Image where it talks about license Agreement. Pretty cool site and one to keep in your back pocket.
Getty Images now I’ve seen these guys go after people for using photos that aren’t paid for. They clearly do try to strong-arm people into paying through the nose. This being said I don’t condone using pictures you don’t have rights to but people make mistakes. Getty also claims to be the largest repository of high-quality photographs in the world. The quality is usually always great but prices can be high if you aren’t using the free ones. A Getty image can now be used legally for free but you must embed the code embeds the photo in an iframe (includes the Getty logo and links). If you don’t know an iframe is a type of code that takes a piece of content that lives on another website and puts it on your site – Think of youtube and how you sometimes use that snippet of code. Same thing here. The site that hosts the code has complete control over what is displayed they control the iframe code. Think data tracking here without getting into your server data. I have a friend or old acquaintance photographer with a gallery in New York who uses Getty to host his pictures. They are amazing but because I am not sure on how to really utilize the free resources here I wanted to list them, but I usually stear clear because of how I have seen them go after people. they also have video and music which is pretty cool
Google Advanced Image Search. This is what I use all the time. Like all the time. I find it the fastest way to find images. If you’re new to blogging you may not realize that simply finding an image on Google and using it on your blog is a no-no. But Google has an advanced search function where you can search only for images that are legal to use. I have a video here for you on how to search here. Super easy peasy.
Follow these simple steps to find royalty free images using the Google Images advanced search.
- Enter a search term in Google Images search.
- Click the Gear icon, then select Advanced search.
- Scroll down and use the usage rights drop down menu to select free to use or share, even commercially.
- watch the quick video below to help you
Goodfreephotos High-resolution & free to use for any purpose. Make sure you are aware of the sizing of these photos they are huge. So resizing if you are using them on your website. And just a side note~ I couldn’t upload an image after I resized it. I am sure it is me who is doing something wrong. But maybe it will be you too
Gratisography All pictures are photographed Ryan McGuire and free of copyright restrictions. I must say Ryan seems amazingly cool. You can use them on your personal and commercial projects and don’t require any attribution. You should generally click around and see what he is doing, you might even sign up to his newsletter.
Haute Chocolate (Top of my list, or one of the tops of the list!) the women Rachel is exceptional at what she does. I don’ know her personally but I do love, I mean LOVE the stock photo she creates. The Great thing about her site is you can sign up (for free) and get a monthly package of stock photos, you can purchase photos from her site or even have custom ones made as well. If you do get her monthly free photos before you put them on your website check the size. They are often super big files, which will, in turn, slow down your site. Sometimes you can’t even upload them as they are too big. But big file size usually means good quality.- just download, upload, resize download upload.
Every one of the gorgeous photos on this site is creative commons with commercial use, so you can use them on anything. The only caveat is that you must give the photographer credit. I think that’s fair! and the pictures are worth it.
ImageBase You can use these images for anything you want without attribution. The site owner politely asks if you would consider giving attribution and a link to the site. They also have free PowerPoint templates! And look how cool a powerpoint template can look. This site looks simple but it is like a small gold mine in my opinion. But go look for yourself. Free and you don’t need an account.
For creative professionals Since its launching, Tom Eversley, designer, and photographer from England is the main contributor and has published over 1000 images. All the images are high-resolution and free. So use them for those amazing projects. New images are added daily published over 1000 images. All the images are high-resolution and free. So use them for those amazing projects. New images are added daily.
Jaymantri I fell across this one and I am happy to have done so. I would follow this guy on Instagram for sure. There isn’t much to this site and you can tell he is a creative. Basically, you can do what you want it looks like. If you want some amazing photos to look at go here.
Kaboompics – A great place to get breathtaking free pictures for business or personal projects.
LittleVisuals is a unique site, run according to more of small-scale, handpicked approach than most stock-photo sites. Sign up for its email list and you’ll receive seven high-resolution pictures via a zip file every week.
MMT Tagline ‘The Moment Captured. All photos are listed under CC0. That means you can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission. Super amazing. I might not have picked the picture that gives the most accurate view of the site. I suggest going and seeing as a picture is worth a thousand words and this site proves that comment.
This site is a great repository of high res images and yes they are all they’re all completely free. You can Sign up for Morguefile monthly image packs. Every month, you’ll get an email
of free hand-picked “best of the Morguefile” pack of images. Welcome to Inspiration right!
Great name right. Here is another one that is a great resource. Beautiful hi-res photos all free stock photos and distributed under the CC0 license. I know by now you are probably thinking that is enough. But is it. Don’t you want resources of a great number of places you can go to find photos? I do and this is why I am creating this ‘free picture website keeper.’ I am even going to use this- the picture below on a site I help manage. Super excited I found it.
As I create this post. I have to say it has been super fun to pick pictures, see the licensee stuff and download, resize and upload to share the amazing website and photos you can get for free if you are willing to look around. Or if you have a resource like this.. 🙂
New Old Stock is a collection of vintage photos from the public archives, free of known copyright restrictions.
Oliur Rahman – A small collection of CC0 licensed photography by Oliur Rahman, including technology and landscapes.
PhotoPin uses the Flickr API. They search through so many photos. Try typing anything into the search bar, it is amazing. I choose a photo related to the card I will make my mother. Creative Commons photos to use for your blog how can you go wrong. What a great idea to use the Flickr API and weed out photos and licenses. The interface is great. Clean & easy to navigate. Plus you will know what you need to do with each photo regarding using the images as what to do to is printed right beside the download options. So for a novice, this is a great tool. You don’t have to search for what the user rights are, no confusion here. Photo credit: VittoDema Happy Easter via photopin (license)
Pexels All photos on Pexels are licensed under CC0, which is great. And yes the photos are amazing. I like this site, it is easy. You can even search for images by colour. If you are even in doubt go to the FAQ section they tell you everything you could need to know. This is the only site so far where when I downloaded the image the gave me a size and kb site that was usable without resizing. I use this site a lot, just look and you will find things you weren’t even looking for that you love.
Picjumbo rocks. Professional photographer Viktor Hanacek started this site because his photos rejected by other picture hosting sites. One thing about photographers, they know about size and quality. You will be thankful he started this website once you look around. The photos are amazing. You can even search for textures (scroll to the bottom of the page and hit abstract). I mean who doesn’t need a texture photo here and there. All photos here are free for commercial use. I signed up for their emails, did you?
Picography Crafted Ireland by Dave Meier, David is a designer and his stuff is amazing (put an inflection on the ‘a’). I have a good mind to reach out to him and ask about how much it costs for him to design a website. All photos on Picography are provided free of charge and under the CC0 license. Just as they have stated on their site: “use them however you like”e provided free of charge and under the CC0 license “use them however you like.”
Pixabay, if you have ever looked for a free photo online you have probably come across this site. This is one of those ones you keep in your back pocket. It’s not just photos, there are free illustrations and videos here that you can use for your projects. All images and videos on Pixabay are released under the CC0 license, and depending on the size you save you might not have to resize it to use it.
Plus there is no sign-up. This one is great if you are a small business looking for free images around the web.
RGBStock.com RGBStock has a huge selection of high-quality free stock photos, free wallpapers, illustrations, and backgrounds. You do have to sign up so that might stop some people. I did sign up because I love love love the backgrounds you can find. Sexy right?
Snapwiresnaps All photos are listed under the CC0 license. The Url says Tumblr in it so that is a bit confusing. Also, confusing is~you have to click and then right click to download. You might think you are doing something wrong, I did. the images are ‘snaps’ or that is what they are called when you click on the above link. Super amazing photos, you won’t be able to help yourself and you might sign up for the 7 for free. I love the photo I chose, it seems too dreamy to be real but it is real. A real place in time, and a real moment.
Splitshir is next on my alphabetical list of free pic website to go to. This site is great. There is a lot to look at and categorized for you. You can do whatever you want with the photos. I will say downloading an image can be confusing because of ‘God where do you click, there are so many buttons. Click right below the photos as all the green download buttons will start you downloading the extension. Not to say that the exemption might not be great but I already have enough chrome extension to grapple with.
Startup Stock Photos. this site is just okay. Yup, I said it. It has some good images so I wouldn’t discount it. It was created because of a want and a need to keep photos they were taking anyway. It is nice that they put them up and out there to share for free with no licensing or sign up. That part I really like. The photos are good shots for blog posts and work type depictions. All pictures are published under the CC0 license. Take’em, these things are free!
StockSnap.io is great. No more hassle trying to figure out if you have to give credit where credit is deserved. This site has amazing photos. Plus you can sign up to the Snappa and create images like a professional (images with text etc.).
Sign up is free and you get 5 images to download a month, I am not sure if that includes sharing. It is pretty easy, however, maybe because it is early I couldn’t figure out how to change the text part in the image. Reminds me of a Canva type thing. Of course totally different. I would say check it out but I know you won’t be able to help yourself. The Photos from Stock Snap are wicked, so having this other element is quite spectacular. Don’t forget to give proper credit. As I said the images are super creative and I don’t think I have seen higher-resolution.
StockVault This is another site where registration is necessary to use the images. When you try to download a photo you will be prompted. Stick to the free photo section and realize that above and below the middle images are paid images. It is a lovely site and one to keep on the list. You can share and use for personal and non-commercial design work. You’ll find beautiful big images here.
Stokpic This site is run by photographer Ed Gregory. I think he likes butts, lol. I say this as I saw a lot of beach butt shots. The photos are great and I signed up to get free photos sent to me every 2 weeks (I must remember to drag them into my inbox from the promotions or update tab in Google. All photos are under the CC0 license, meaning they are public domain and anyone can use them for any reason they please. You can do anything with the hi-res (high resolution) photos here apart from selling or redistributing them. I have this song stuck in my head, that is why I picked the photo I did. “Come with me, and you’ll find…..”
Tookapic – A platform for starting your “photo a day” project, Tookapic has a marketplace for stock photos and a huge selection of free images.
UnProfound.com The images on this site are free for anyone to use in just about any way they’d like. The site owner states that you cannot redistribute them or sell them.
Unsplash Unsplash is my 3rd pick. They release 10 high-resolution photos every 10 days. All photos that are published on Unsplash are licensed under CC0. These guys are unique. They add 10 photos to the site every 10 days. They’re all free to use. If you subscribe they will send 10 images to your inbox. Super cool
Visual Hunt – Search through over 60,000 public domain photos, and search millions more CC licensed photos with the ability to filter them for commercial use. You can refine your search by color and download in 6 different sizes without needing an account.
Wikimedia Commons Oh, this is my cup o’ tea. Pictures, video, sounds. You have to sign up. “Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository making available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips) to everyone. Their database of 20 million media files (and yes you can contribute). There are fantastic photos in this collection. You do have to sign up, but there is no harm in that.
What is the Creative Commons License?
Hundreds if not millions of pieces of work (photos, songs, video, etc) are available under the terms of the Creative Commons license, and more are added daily.
The Creative Commons licenses relate to the name of copyright licenses released by Creative Commons, a United State nonprofit corporation. Everybody can put their own creations under these licenses.
There are four basic license conditions.
- Attribution (by): Allow others to copy, distribute, display and perform the work and evolved versions of it. They must give the original creator credit for the work.
- Noncommercial (nc): Allow others to copy, distribute, display and perform the work and evolved version of it. They are not allowed to make money with it.
- No Derivative Works (nd): Allow others to copy, distribute, display and perform the work. They are not allowed to change the work into something else.
Share Alike (sa):
- Allow others to distribute evolved works only when they use the same license.
- You can combine the licenses: eg. 1 & 4 combo- called “CC by-sa.” This stands for “Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike.” With this license, other people must give credit to the original creator, and when they make something new with the work they have to give it the “CC by-sa” license.
Additional Resources for free pic websites