There are numerous sites to find images for whatever project you are working on. But, when you are unsure where to look, the search may not end successfully. The next time you need a fantastic photo for your blog or social media post, try our list of the best websites for finding free stock photos!
Get to know these terms before using any free image
There are a few key terms you should be familiar with before using free stock photos:
What are Free Stock Photos?
Free stock photos are images that are available for use without charge, typically for personal or commercial purposes. These photos are provided by individuals or organizations that have either created the images themselves or have obtained the rights to distribute them. They are licensed under a Creative Commons license.
What is the public domain?
Public domain refers to works that are not protected by intellectual property laws and are available for free use by anyone without the need for permission or attribution. In other words, works in the public domain are those whose copyrights have expired, have been forfeited, or are simply inapplicable.
What is royalty-free?
This term refers to images that can be used multiple times without incurring additional fees. In most cases, you will have to pay a one-time fee to obtain the rights to use the image. It is important to note that royalty-free images may still have certain usage restrictions (such as not being allowed to use them for commercial purposes or not being allowed to alter them).
What are Creative Commons?
Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that provides a set of licenses that creators use to share their work with others while still retaining some rights. There are several different types of Creative Commons licenses, ranging from very permissive to more restrictive. It is important to read and understand the terms of a Creative Commons license before using someone else’s work.
Top 5 Free Stock Photos Sites
The websites we present below maintain impressive libraries of high-quality images in every category. Some sites have a donation option for users, and while the attribution of the content creator is not required, it is appreciated. Giving credit to the photographer or the site when using the images is always a good way to support their work.
Pexels is a website that provides a large collection of free, high-quality images, including photos, illustrations, and videos. It does not offer media under a CC0 Creative Commons license, but has its own set of rules for the use of photos and footage.
Images on Pexels are free to use for any purpose, without the need to ask permission or give credit to the original creator (though, it’s appreciated). Pexels is a useful resource for finding the best free stock photos and royalty-free images. You can search for something specific, or browse by themes including pastimes, emotions, and locations.
Unsplash is a website dedicated to proprietary stock photography. It’s a quite popular site, with some of the most professional-looking photos you will find anywhere on the internet. Photos come from pro and semi-pro photographers who donate them to the community to use for free. No attribution is required (but, again, it’s appreciated).
Unsplash also has its own license, allowing you to use the images for free in any way you like. However, the license prevents users from using photos from Unsplash in a similar or competing service. Create your account, organize photos into collections, or like them to quickly save favorites to your profile. Photos from Unsplash are ideal for inspiration or gathering resources for any project. You will not be disappointed!
On Pixabay, you can find over a million public-domain images, including illustrations, vector graphics, and videos. Images are licensed under Creative Commons Zero (CC0), which means you can use the images without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist.
Once you have found a suitable free stock photo, choose an appropriate resolution, complete a Captcha to download the file, and that’s all. (You can always sign up for a free account to avoid the Captcha.)
The quality of photos is not as high as on the previously mentioned sites, but if you can not find the free stock photo you need elsewhere, Pixabay is a place to visit.
4 Burst (by Shopify)
Burst is another free stock photo platform, but intended for entrepreneurs. The images on Burst are both free and royalty-free. What do we like about Burst?
- High-resolution photos are perfect for business blogs and websites (can be used for commercial sites and projects).
- Elegant layout with numerous collections/categories.
- Email subscription option to access newly added images.
Although there is no additional search filter option, you can use keyword searches and categories. When downloading an image, choose whether you want a high-resolution file for the best quality or a low-resolution file for smaller web graphics.
Kaboompics uses its own license, which is similar to Creative Commons Zero with one exception – you cannot redistribute its photos.
Although Kaboompics has a smaller library compared to the ones mentioned so far, it contains a lot of beautiful photos. Kaboompics is known for its search engine because it allows you to search by color theme, and provides a complementary palette of colors in the photo. This option will be especially appreciated by designers and developers. Unfortunately, there is no option to create a user account to save images.
Free Stock Photos: In conclusion
If you need to convert downloaded images into a certain file format before uploading them to your website, blog, or social media, you can do it easily and quickly online.
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