10 Absolutely Free Stock Image Websites Featured Image

10 Absolutely FREE Stock Image Websites

Eli Freelancing, Resources, Tips Leave a Comment

The use of images play a big role in our line of work. They could make or break any landing page, home page, or newsletter. Heck, sometimes they’re all we’d ever need to make something look awesome.

If you agree with all that, then you’d also agree they could be expensive too. Leading stock image websites such as Shutterstock and iStockphoto charge you with a recurring subscription plan that run to the hundreds of dollars.

Fortunately, if you don’t have a budget for these plans yet, there’s a lot of other resource out there that offers quality stock image photos for free. And by free, I mean free for personal and commercial use. Sounds great, right?

These images fall under either the Public Domain or Creative Commons License. No need to be intimidated by these lawyer-ish sounding terms, they’re actually awesome, pro-designer things!

Here’s a quick overview of those 2 terms:

  • Public Domain works are those whose intellectual property rights have expired, have been forfeited, or are inapplicable, therefore, are not restricted by copyright and do not require a license or fee to use.
  • Creative Commons License is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. A CC license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that they have created.

Disclaimer: While at the time of this writing, the websites listed below offer absolutely free stock images, things in the internet change and update fast. Be sure to always perform due diligence; take a few seconds to check the restrictions under the image you are eyeing. For most of these websites, the quickest way to find out if your image is good to go, you can check out their FAQ page, About Us page, or the page of the image itself. Usually these are the pages that let you know about the terms of restriction concerning they offer.

1. Picjumbo

Pic Jumbo

Photo by Pic Jumbo | www.picjumbo.com

License: Free for personal and commercial use. Attribution is appreciated, but not required.

What you can’t use it for: You can’t resell the photos.

Founded by Viktor Hanacek, he is also a web designer who understood the need for quality, high-resolution photos in every creative work. After being turned down by popular stock-image agencies, he offered his own photos and created his own stock-image website which we’ve come to know now as Picjumbo.

Picjumbo has a cool ‘Test Drive Image’ feature which when clicked opens to a new tab and shows the image in a series of sleek sliding banners typical in homepage designs, helping you imagine how the image could look like in your project.

Picjumbo offers a premium membership and a nifty Photoshop plugin. Also, it has seen 2,139,148 downloads since day one, at the time of this writing.

2. KaboomPics

Kaboom Pics

Photo by Kaboom Pics | www.kaboompics.com

License: Free for personal and commercial use. Attribution is appreciated, but not required.

What you can’t use it for: You can’t resell or redistribute the photo as a stand-alone product.

Founded by — and photos taken by — Karolina Grabowska of Poland, this is a great website that has a good collection of fashion and outdoor photos, leaning just a bit slightly towards the female audience.

KaboomPics also provides a bonus photopack exclusive to its subscribers.

3. StockPhotos.io

stockphotos

Photo by Snapwire Snaps | www.stockphotos.io

License: Free for personal and commercial use. Attribution is explicitly mentioned.

What you can’t use it for: You can’t resell or redistribute the photo as a stand-alone product.

Stock Photos was started by New York based web designer and developer, David Choi to suit his own needs. He needed high-quality images which he can redistribute freely — like those found in free website themes — so he decided to create a stock photos sharing community which we now know as Stock Photos.

Because Stock Photos is a community of contributors, there is a wide range of stock photos available to suit every need. According to their about page, they house around 27,000, quality-standard photos. You’re free to grab and use any of these, only attribute to the author of the photo.

4. Pexels

Pexels

Photo by TookAPic | www.pexels.com

License: Free for personal and commercial use. Attribution not required.

What you can’t use it for: You can’t resell or redistribute the photo as a stand-alone product.

Pexels is an online collection of hand-picked, curated stock photos from other stock photo websites. Their aim is to collect the best, free stocks and have it all one place. They add 10 new photos daily. If you appreciate them doing this, you can give a donation via PayPal.

5. Public Domain Archive

Public Domain Archive

Photo by Public Domain Archive | www.publicdomainarchive.com

License: Free for personal and commercial use. Attribution is appreciated, but not required.

What you can’t use it for: You can’t resell or redistribute the photo as a stand-alone product.

Founded by Matt, a graphic designer and photographer from Athens, he said he found public domain images to be a great resource for his creative work, only that there’s no one place where he could grab such images. That’s why he created Public Domain Archive to meet that one particular need, helping others along the way as well, growing the website to what it is right now.

They also offer an optional premium membership which allows you to bulk-download all images in one go, get extra bonus photopacks, adfree-viewing, and others more.

6. Stokpic

Photo by Stok Pic

Photo by Stok Pic | www.stokpic.com

License: Free for personal and commercial use. Attribution is appreciated, but not required.

What you can’t use it for: You can’t resell or redistribute the photo as a stand-alone product.

Started by photographer Ed Gregory on a little weekend project, he started Stokpic as a platform to share his photos and have people use them freely, since most his photos were just sitting idly on his hard drive with no hopes of ever getting seen. People eventually found the site and have been downloading his photos since.

As the demand, and the site’s income grew (thanks to advertising), he sponsored more photographers to add photos to the site to ensure the demand is met with quality-standard stock photos.

7. New Old Stock

New Old Stock

Photo by Alberta Archives | http://nos.twnsnd.co

License: No known copyright restrictions. (Definition here)

What you can’t use it for: You can’t resell or redistribute the photo as a stand-alone product.

A collection gathered by Cole Townsend, he focuses on sharing vintage photos alone, and does it exceptionally well. You can definitely use these as high-res, vintage textures as well. Head over there to view the unique, but still free, collection.

8. Death to the Stock Photo

Photo by Death to the Stock Photo | www.deathtothestockphoto.com

Photo by Death to the Stock Photo | www.deathtothestockphoto.com

License: Free for personal and commercial use. Attribution is appreciated, but not required.

What you can’t use it for: You can’t resell or redistribute the photos; you can’t claim them as your own; you can’t use them in adult-websites, hate campaigns, or any defaming context.

Founded by David and Allie — two rogue photographers — they go out on road trips taking photos and creating stories, before emailing it to their subscribers.

What’s unique about this website is that you can only grab their photos by subscribing to their email list — which you can do for free. Then every month they send you photo packs with their own theme and unique stories to tell.

9. Unsplash

Unsplash Photo by Michael Hull

Photo by Michael Hull | www.unsplash.com

License: Free for personal and commercial use. Attribution is appreciated, but not required.

What you can’t use it for: You can’t resell or redistribute the photo as a stand-alone product.

A project by Crew, they figured there is a big need for free, quality, stock photos on the web and that there are a lot of photographers out there who are willing to share their creations for free. Accepting photo submissions from anyone who wants to share, they curate the best and upload 10 of these daily on Unsplash. Because it’s from contributors, they have a wide-range of categories in their photos — which if you ask me, is a good thing.

10. Designer’s Pics

Designer's Pic

Photo by Jeshu John | www.designerspics.com

License: Free for personal and commercial use. Attribution not required.

What you can’t use it for: You can’t resell or redistribute the photo as a stand-alone product.

Founded by — and photos taken by — Jeshu John, he created Designer’s Pics and shared his own photos to address the need for quality, free photographs. What’s nice about Jeshu’s photos are they are heavily filtered, but somehow nice looking, giving it that hipster designer feel. If you’re into that kind of thing, this is a good place for you.