The internet is awash with amazing free resources that you can access to add a winning edge to your website, and one of the greatest fruits it bears is stock photos. There is a whole host of high-quality photos that can be obtained at absolutely zero cost and with no licensing restrictions, meaning you can use them for any commercial use you wish! We have put together a list of our 3 favorite free stock photo websites, as well as the types of photos you can find on each one. Take a look and start making use of these photographic bargains!
Before we begin, it is helpful to note that most of these images are covered by the Creative Commons CC0 license, which basically means that the person who created them is happy for anyone to use them for any purpose, and the user isn’t required to give the name of that person.
Site name: Pixabay.com
Good for: industrial stock photos, vector graphics, unusual graphics, some high-res images.
Pixabay is one of the best free online spots to shop for your website photos, containing nearly 1 million searchable stock images. It costs nothing to set up an account, and they have an enormous selection of images to choose from. They also take the hassle out of poring over legal documents and trying to figure out license agreements: all their photos can be used for any commercial purpose and do not require attribution. Put simply, you can use these photos for your business absolutely free, and you don’t have to include a caption indicating who took the photo or designed the image! In their blog, they spell it out: “All images on Pixabay are released into the Public Domain under Creative Commons CC0. Therefore, the images can be modified and may be used freely for any application – also commercially and in printed format. Attribution is appreciated, but not required.” As Pixabay is a free service, donations are accepted and greatly appreciated.
Site name: Unsplash.com
Good for: modern, high-res photographs with an artsy feel.
Unsplash is another fantastic resource for high-quality images that will be kind to your bottom line. The types of images they offer are real photographs featuring a wide variety of subjects, and that focus on artistic merit. You can get just about anything you can dream up, from tiny water droplets on a flower to massive landscapes of snowy mountain peaks to flowing jellyfish tentacles. The photos on Unsplash are great for websites with a modern, image-focused theme and that can handle images with high psi (of course, you can always compress images to make them easier on your page load speed if you wish). The site also categorizes collections by artist, so if you find a particular photographer whose work catches your eye you can browse more of their work. Unsplash’s tagline puts it very simply: “Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos.” Although you can use these photos in any way you would like, the only thing you can’t do is compile them to offer a similar service – no copycatting what Unsplash is doing. And, as before, artist attribution is not required but is appreciated.
Site name: Google Images
Good for: just about everything!
We couldn’t have a free images site list without mentioning Google Images, the online king of image searches. You can find practically any image you want on Google Images, but you need to make sure you’re searching for images with no strings attached – or, as they put it, “Labeled for reuse with modification.” After you conduct your image search, click Tools, then Usage Rights, and select that option to make sure you’re not using any images unlawfully.
There you have it: our go-to free photo and graphic list. With these three options you’ll surely find just the image you need, and at the right price: free!