Using high-quality photos makes for better web designs. Whatever types of stock photos you’re after, you’ll most likely find a resource here that can make your job a lot easier.
It can be hard to find stock photos that look good and fit right with your designs. Often, browsing one stock photo website isn’t enough to find the right set of images. So, we decided to create a roundup of some of our favorite websites for sourcing unique free stock photos.
24 websites to find free stock photos
Here are 24 stock photography websites that offer a wide range of images you can use.
Stock photos can be pretty cheesy. We’ve all seen those generic representations of office life, with stiff standing office workers interacting in a manner that in no way resembles real life. Reshot differentiates themselves from the rest and describe their images as “handpicked, non-stocky images.”
Filling your designs with photos that have a bit more humanity — and avoiding stock photo clichés — will make your designs more personable and memorable.
Unsplash may be the most well-known resource for free stock photos. With an active community of photographers continually uploading new material, there’s no shortage of images free to use for personal and commercial use.
Unsplash boasts a huge inventory of high-resolution images and makes them easy to find with the search box, which leads to a host of relevant images. But what’s special with Unsplash are the curated collections.
Having these libraries of thematically related images gives you a better starting point if you already have an idea in mind of what you’re looking for. Scrolling through the associated photos in a collection also lets you discover photos that you may have missed if you were searching by keywords alone.
Unsplash has many high-quality photos, but the site’s popularity can be a detriment. Some of these images pop up in blogs and websites over and over. Like this photo below. I think most of us are familiar with this individual’s satisfied grin across the web.
When looking for photos for your own projects, try to find unique images that you haven’t seen everywhere else. With such a large selection of photos to draw from, you’ll no doubt find something fresh from Unsplash that you can work with.
Pexels is another go-to for designers, with a bounty of brilliant visuals. Where some free stock photo sites suffer from an abundance of mediocrity, Pexels delivers consistently high-quality images. With a user-centric focus and a friendly ranking system, photographers have the incentive to upload only their best work.
Pexels does a fantastic job of promoting their photographers. The leaderboard gives you direct access to check out the collected works of some of their greatest contributors. They also set up challenges for photographers to participate in, putting out calls for photos based around themes or subject matter, with the opportunity to win prizes for their work.
Pexels distinguishes itself as a showcase for brilliant photos and videos and makes it a more active experience for photographers on their platform.
Whether you’re an aspiring photographer or a designer in need of photos, Pexels has plenty to offer.
From the same company responsible for the music licensing website Artlist.io comes Artgrid, a subscription-based service for stock video footage.
If you’ve ever worked on a video project, you know that a shot list can get pretty involved and that shooting always seems to go past schedule when you’re trying to get everything in on the day of the shoot. Licensing footage from resources like Artgrid saves time by providing b-roll and other footage that you can use when editing your video projects.
With a multitude of footage in 4K and even up to 8K, Artgrid has no lack of well-shot video. The platform smartly organizes the clips: With videos grouped together by shot type, camera movement, and location, you don’t have to fumble around to find what you need. It’s all available in just a few clicks.
Videos complement a website’s content and enhance its design. Artgrid gives you the raw footage to make putting these together a less labor-intensive process.
5. Icons 8
With photos, vector graphics, icons, and even music, Icons 8 has plenty of free media available on their photo platform Moose. What’s especially cool here are the photo collages. You get to pick and choose people, objects, and backgrounds to make a composite image on your own. The results can be pretty spectacular, giving you customized photos without much effort.
Another great aspect of Moose are the photos of diverse people. One of the problems many stock photo websites have is a lack of representation, and this library gives you a great cast of individuals you can choose from. You can search by activities like dancing or sentiments like happiness. These photos let you add a bit of warmth and humanity to your web designs.
Along with images of people, Moose offers many other categories full of stunning work, including nature, travel, and even patterns. No matter what you're looking for, Moose provides a huge library of stock images, with a focus on authenticity, making it one of the better stock photo sites out there.
StockSnap, a royalty-free, Creative Commons license image website, is another bookmark to add to your list of free photo libraries.
With commonly used photo categories like business, school, nature, and travel, you have quite a few options of high-resolution photos to choose from. Some of these do link out to Shutterstock, which can be a bit annoying. But StockSnap has enough available for free to keep you busy.
It’s hard to believe that all of the awesome royalty-free photos on Kaboompics were snapped by just one person. Karolina Grabowska is both the artist behind the lens and the one responsible for this impressive resource of free stock photos. All of the photos are brilliant and crisp with details, with a sheen of photo editing polish that gives them a sense of consistency. There’s not a lackluster photo to be found here. And with huge media outlets like CNN, BBC, and Forbes all having used her photos, she has a well-deserved great reputation.
Kaboompics also offers the corresponding color palettes posted alongside the photos, giving designers hex colors they can use. This helps so much in creating layouts that will complement these photos.
Kaboompics goes beyond most free stock photo websites, with a sense of artistry and a helpful spirit that any creative will appreciate.
8. Shopify Burst
Looking for another free portal to libraries of royalty-free photos? Burst has a wide variety of images you can use for your personal or commercial web design projects, all without copyright restrictions. Whether you’re looking for photos of cute animals or need something a bit more serious like work-related images, Burst has several options.
In addition, they have an entire section of their website dedicated to online business ideas, with photo kits you can use to help build your own. As part of Shopify, Burst aims to give aspiring entrepreneurs the tools they need to launch their own online stores. They provide a lot of valuable information, resources, and high-quality photos people can use to get started.
With over 1.7 million images, videos, vector art, and music, Pixabay boasts a wide collection of stock visuals and other media you can use for your own projects royalty free.
With so much in one place, it would be easy to get overwhelmed. Thankfully Pixabay provides an advanced search feature, letting you narrow down what you’re looking for and refining the search process. With a vast selection and a smart way to find what you’re after, Pixabay should be one of the first places you go to when looking for free stock images.
On iStock, you get what you pay for: curated collections of photos brought to you by the esteemed Getty Images.
The photo library is vast, and along with these top-shelf professional images, iStock also offers illustrations, videos, and audio. You can purchase credits or monthly plans, depending on your needs.
If you’re on a tight budget, iStock may not be the most affordable option. But with well-shot photos full of details and gorgeous lighting, they go beyond run-of-the-mill stock photos, capturing all of the finer points that elevate photography to an art form.
Another option for those on a budget is the royalty-free website Picspree. They do offer a premium level that links out to iStock photos, but Picspree provides a multitude of great photo options here that won’t cost you anything.
Picspree’s mix between passable and more stunning photos means it may take you a bit of sifting through the galleries to find photos you want to use. This isn’t to say they don’t have high-quality images — some of their better collections are landscapes, travel destinations, and architecture. And an added bonus is that they make it super easy to contribute and upload photos of your own.
Picspree is a less trodden website, and that comes with its pros and cons: It may take you a bit more time to find the right images for what you need, but you’ll end up with photos that you haven’t seen everywhere else.
Gratisography describes what you’ll find on their stock photo website as “quirky, creative, always free photos.” And we can all agree that these are 3 great selling points.
You don’t have to go any further than the business category to see that they deliver on this promise. With a tie-wearing cat, gorilla hands on a keyboard, and someone in a bunny suit reading a newspaper, these aren’t the uninspired stale stock photos that you’ll find everywhere else. They’re offbeat with just the right amount of absurdity.
Gratisography may not be for everybody. But if you’re looking for stock photos that break through the confines of clichés, you’ll find plenty to like.
Build complex interactions and animations without even looking at code.
13. ISO Republic
ISO Republic is another Creative Commons license stock photo website, with a ton of images you can download royalty free. With any stock photo site that deals with public domain images, you will find a spectrum of low- to high-quality photos. But even at the lower end of things, the photos are still pretty decent. All of these images fall into distinct categories, and the organization on the site is solid. As another copyright-free resource for images, ISO Republic is well worth checking out.
Foodiesfeed is dedicated to all things edible. If you’re looking for photos of food and beverages, Foodiesfeed makes it easy to jump right in and start exploring their galleries of culinary goodies. Whether you’re looking for images of steaming hot coffee, delectable cakes, gooey pizzas, or other yumminess, Foodiesfeed has a great selection of high-quality, free images.
It’s hard to take good photos of food, and Foodiesfeed solves the problem of having to do this on your own. All of these images capture the deliciousness of the featured food and beverages in full, brilliant color.
Whether you have a food blog, a restaurant website, or other design that needs enticing food shots, Foodiesfeed is like a photographic buffet for you to pick and choose from.
500px is a great stock photo site with a mission: to help out aspiring photographers across the globe. Anyone can upload a new photo, and their algorithms do the work to make sure that they get seen. 500px also provides analytics, letting photographers know how their photos are doing, which is a nice bit of external validation, inspiring them to get more of their work out there. In addition, they help photographers by allowing them to license their photos on their platform, giving them the chance to make some money off of their artistry.
There’s a sense of friendly competition with a ranking of contributing photographers. This leads to people only uploading their best work in hopes of making their way toward the top.
500px exists for the right reasons. They care about the images they offer and the photographers who are a part of it. This authenticity makes 500px stand out from so many other platforms that are just anonymous image repositories.
Stockvault avoids the stagnation common with many free stock photo websites by posting new photos every day. With extensive galleries of images that are updated continually, you’re bound to find something that will work for you.
Stockvault also has categories that you won’t find on other photography websites. Collections like underwater photography, chemistry, and aerial views are just a few of the unique libraries of images they have available.
With a well-rounded selection of visual content and an active community of contributors, Stockvault should be on the list of photo websites you regularly visit.
With a number of affordable pricing plans, 123RF offers professional-quality photos from a variety of categories that won’t squeeze too much from your budget.
A quick glance through their long list of categories shows that they cover subjects like antiques, guitars, education, and marketing. There’s something for everybody.
If you want fantastic photos but don’t want to spend the huge amount for credits that some other websites charge, 123RF is a great option to find photos for your next design project.
18. New Old Stock
Old photos have a distinct beauty. They’re an alchemy of imperfection, representing a rough approximation of the reality they captured. You won’t find a single contemporary photo on New Old Stock. It’s a huge library of public domain photos of days long since passed.
If you are in search of antique photos, New Old Stock provides a wonderful glimpse back into time.
With over 205 million images, videos, and other visuals, Alamy certainly impresses with the scope of what they make available. But even with such a wealth of images, Alamy mostly avoids the pitfalls of staged stock photos. Instead, you get images that feel like they’re captured from the real world. For designers who want a more honest feel, Alamy offers many excellent options.
Claiming 30 million users and over 135 million stock photos, Dreamstime is another stock photography giant. You have a huge number of images, videos, and audio to choose from, with plenty of collections related to current events.
Even though Dreamstime floods their platform with visuals, they never suffer from lack of quality or consistency. Every image is worth the low cost you have to pay.
Don’t let the name scare you off. Morguefile thankfully doesn’t deliver on their website name. However, they do follow through on their proclamation of “free images for creatives, by creatives.” And best of all, their photos are all free for commercial use.
22. Life of Pix
Life of Pix is another above-average free stock photography website with plenty of fantastic photos divided into useful categories like nature, city, and architecture.
If you’re in search of another design resource, Life of Pix is a great place to find high-resolution photos at zero cost.
Another great royalty-free image website you can use is picjumbo. It delivers galleries of fantastic free photos you can choose from. picjumbo does offer a premium level, as well as an individual jumbo pack with 3,000 photos you can download at once to help you build up your own library of visuals.
With additional resources like fonts, templates, and user interface kits, picjumbo keeps designers at the center of what they provide, making them a trusted resource for whatever you need for your design work.
24. Death to Stock
With a name like Death to Stock, you know right away that you’re not going to be hit over the head with the blunt dullness that litters the galleries of so many stock photo websites.
Death to Stock is made up of a co-op of artists, which translates to a high output of quality work that never gets boring. Instead you get a fresh batch of photos, brimming with life, available to work with.
The photos you use matter
Even if you have brilliant content, your web design will suffer if the photos don’t cut it. We’ve covered 24 resources where you can find photos to integrate into your design work. We all can’t be photographers, and stock photo websites can provide everything that we need for our web designs if we just take a bit of time to look.
Do you have a favorite stock photo website we didn’t mention? Please tell us about it in the comments below.