The Ultimate Curated List of Free Stock Photo Sites

Resources

Fortunately, it’s been a long time since we’ve said goodbye to the cold and inhuman stock photos. Those where we see an unreal family running on a green perfect grass or a team of doctors who are all Beverly Hills 90210 good looking models.

A few years back many free images projects started to emerge. Great sites like Unsplash or Picjumbo arrived to our lives to make us believe again in images that can be professional, high resolution, modern and at the same time don’t make us go broke.

Every designer, blogger or website owner needs high quality photos. If it’s for a stunning welcome section on a site, for a product mockup, a neat banner, a simple post or a social media graphic; a well and thought picked photo has the power of enhancing our message.

Here’s a curated list of excellent free stock photo sites from a group of 50+. These are full of authentic and storyteller pictures taken by photographers all around the world.

The sites listed here were carefully selected (by me) by measuring the quality of the photos they offer, how useful they can be in all kind of web projects and the way one can browse their collections.

Warning: once you get into these sites and start browsing their collections you won’t be able to stop downloading photos you like, because they have really good photos. So, take your time, prepare yourself a tea and make sure you don’t have a meeting coming anytime soon 🙂

1. Pexels

Pexels - Photo by Kaique Rocha

Pexels – Photo by Kaique Rocha

Pexels collects images from their users plus different sites such as Unsplash, Gratisography and Little Visuals and bring them all together in one place.

You can search photos on Pexels by a keyword search, by color or even browse each photographer’s profile if you specially like his photos.

License type *
All photos at Pexels are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, meaning that the pictures are completely free to be used for any legal purpose, for personal and commercial use.

2. Unsplash

Unsplash - Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography

Unsplash – Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography

A beautiful and insanely growing photo treasure that has now the possibility to browse the images by curated and user generated collections. That makes the work of looking for images much easier. And it’s also a great way to collaborate within users.

My personal favourite collections at Unsplash with neat and useful photography:

License type *
“Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos”. All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero. You can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission.

3. Kaboompics

Kaboom - "In front of desk with Macbook Air"

Kaboompics – “In front of desk with Macbook Air”

Elegant and modern free photos by Karolina, a web designer from Poland. You can search there images by popular categories such as Abstract, City & Architecture, Fashion, Food, Landscapes or make a keyword search.

License type *
You can do nearly anything with the images, commercial or not. Redistribution is not allowed without permission.

4. Gratisography

Gratisography

Gratisography

A cool and totally crazy stock images site for braves only by Ryan McGuire. If you’re looking for that slap-in-the-face-in-a-good-way image, here you’ll find the perfect pic.

Gratisography images are one of a kind, bold and audacious, with impressive colors. You can browse them by categories or by using the search bar.

License type *
The Gratisography images are under the Creative Commons Zero with common sense limitations. They’re free to use for personal or commercial projects.

5. BossFight

BossFight - Boots, stairs, staircase

BossFight – Boots, stairs, staircase

A single location for great stock images and photography that are free to use for personal projects, blogs, websites, and other digital collateral.

You can browse the collection by categories such as Tech, Objects, Nature, People, Animals, Food, City and Buildings.

License type *
All photos published on BossFight.co are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes.

6. Startup Stock Photos

Startup Stock Photos

Startup Stock Photos

Startup Stock Photos was started as an outlet for photos @estrattonbailey and @wearesculpt were already taking on a regular basis. Now it’s grown to be much more than that, a cool collection of startup/tech related pics that is serving designers, bloggers and all kind of creatives around the world.

There’s no search in this site, but you won’t need it. Scrolling the feed is pretty much what you’ll want to do.

License type *
Photos on Startup Stock Photos are licensed under the CC0 license, which means you can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

7. Streetwill

Streetwill.co

Streetwill.co

Free vintage photos to use any way you want. A lot of food and crushed black pics. Browse the entire gallery or type in your search.

License type *
As in most of these sites, Streetwill photos are also under the CC0 license.

8. New Old Stock

New Old Stock - Filming a television program (1965)

New Old Stock – Filming a television program (1965)

New Old Stock features vintage photos from the public archives on Flickr. The pics are optimized, cropped, and edited for quick use. A real treasure (and @javistuff’s personal favourite).

License type *
The images at NOS are free of known copyright restrictions. All photos are at the very least available for personal and non-commercial use (you’ll need to check the institution’s rights statement through the link to the original Flickr post for each photo).

9. StockSnap

StockSnap---CQI990NSLK

StockSnap

StockSnap curates the best stock photos from around the web and they also upload photos from photographers within their network. The end result is a big repository of beautiful stock photography you can sort by Views, Trends, Downloads and Favourites or browse by popular tags.

License type *
All photos on StockSnap fall under the CC0 license. That means you can copy, modify, distribute any photo on the site, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

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10. Life of Pix

Life of Pix - Abandoned Warehouse Skateboarder

Life of Pix – Abandoned Warehouse Skateboarder

A nice feed of original high-resolution photography. New photos are added weekly. You can browse the feed or navigate the galleries such as Animals, Beach, City, Food, Industrial, Desk, Nature and more.

Bonus track: Life of Vid

The twin brother of Life of Pix. Features a collection of free videos, clips and loops like this one:

License type *
Images and videos at Life of Pix and Life of Vid have no copyrights restrictions. They’re under the CC0 license. You may use them for personal and commercial use.

11. Free Nature Stock

Free Nature Stock

Free Nature Stock

If you’re looking for nature photography, this is the place to go. One new photo is added every day, all captured by Adrian Pelletier. I prefer to browse the archive of the site as you can see more pics at a time.

License type *
All photos published on Free Nature Stock are licensed under Creative Commons Zero. You are free to use the photos however you want, even in commercial work, without the need for permission or attribution.

12. Moveast

MoveEast

Moveast

A journey of a Portuguese guy moving around the world and capturing the most amazing pictures of places, people, food and activities from different countries. Not only will you want to download these images, but you’ll get inspired and you’ll want to travel to all those places too.

License type *
All photos at Moveast are free to use them wherever you want (CC0 license).

13. Photo Collections

Photocollections---Old-School

Photo Collections – Old School

Photo Collections is a beautiful free stock photography site. It doesn’t compile a huge collection so far, but each photo offered there is really special. Most of the pics here are nature related, but you’ll find also categories like Abstract, Food & Drinks, Transportation and People.

License type *
All photos at Photo Collections are licensed under Public Domain. You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

14. Death to the Stock Photo

Death to the Stock Photo - Artist Pack

Death to the Stock Photo – Artist Pack

Death to the Stock Photo offers free photos by email every month. Their goal is to help more brands and creatives create rich digital experiences that elevate their visual aesthetic. And they accomplish it.

It’s worth waiting for the monthly email because the photos you’ll get are one of a kind. They convey an emotion, a place, a real and authentic moment. And not just that. The emails themselves are very special too as they started to include stories about the people behind the image packs.

You won’t be able to see the pictures till you start receiving them by email, so here’s a demonstration of a few of the photos included in past deliveries (make sure you subscribe):

License type *
Death to the Stock Photo site has its own license model. You can read the “Plain English License” here or the full one here. The core of it is that you can use the photos how you please, but don’t redistribute them. You can’t claim the photo as your own nor use it in a way that would embarrass or defame DTTSP.

15. Jay Mantri

Jay Mantri - Wood Top Stools

Jay Mantri – Wood Top Stools

Last, but not least: a site with beautiful pictures taken by the designer Jay Mantri. You can navigate the feed on the homepage or jump to the archive page where you’ll get to see more pictures at a time and probably find yours faster.

The collection includes captured moments and atmospheres in gorgeous photos.

License type *
The images at Jay Mantri’s site are free and licensed under the CC0 license.

Time to say thanks

I hope you find this curated list useful. I’ve tried to feature those sites that offer beautiful and functional imagery but also where photos are easy and pleasant to search.

I cannot imagine the web and social media today without good quality and realistic images, so thanks to all those photographers around the world who do a great job and offer it to the community for free.

I’ll be happy to see how you’re using those images.
Share it with all of us!

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* Note: Please, check each website for specific details about licenses and make sure you attribute properly when attribution is required.

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