13 websites for beautiful (and free) stock photos

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I strongly believe that running your own business is all about working smarter.  Searching for beautiful stock photos can be really time consuming and expensive.

I’m an advocate for paying ALL creatives for their products and services, but there are some wonderful people out there uploading their stock photos to websites for distribution, and for free.

We love you, you wonderful people.

So we’ve all been there…sometimes you get an idea for a topic and you’re really fired up to write about it, you perfect your message and you’re ready to publish your blog post, your Facebook post or your Instagram post…or maybe even an email and suddenly…you realise you don’t have an image.

And what do you do?  You spend hours trawling the internet looking for a good free stock photo.

Well trawl no more, because I’ve curated a list of the most kick-ass websites for free stock photos.

Unsplash

My absolute go to for free stock photos.  Beautiful, modern images and an easy to use search function.  Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos, with 10 new images added every 10 days.

Pexels

A great variety of stock images, all free for commercial use.  Pexels sources images from other free stock image websites, and attributes the source website beside each image.

SplitShire

Brought to the world by Daniel Nanescu, and now used by the likes of The Huffington Post and CNN, SplitShire offers free stock photos and images for commercial use.

Jay Mantri

Stunning free stock photos by photographer Jay Mantri from his travels.  All free, CC0 licence images.  Give Jay a follow over on Instagram @jaymantri – his work is amazing.

Snapwire

Snapwire offers both free and paid stock images at great quality.  The paid service is unique in that you set a brief for exactly what you want.  The free images are beautiful and great quality – marked out clearly with a CC0 so you’re clear on what images you can and can’t use.

Freestocks.org

Freestocks offers beautiful stock free images for both personal and commercial use.  Not the most exhaustive collection, but the images are stunning and range from animals to technology.

Picjumbo

Picjumbo is a free stock photo site created in 2013 by designer & photographer Viktor Hanacek. It all started when several stock photo sites rejected his photos due to ‘lack of quality’.

Lifeofpix

Lifeofpix offers free high resolution photos, with no copyright restritions.  Photographs are added weekly and donated to the public domain.

Negativespace.co

This site doesn’t have as many stock images as it’s competitors but what it does have are very high in quality, and as the site grows it will easily rival sites like Unsplash if it maintains the current level of quality.  All photos are released under CC0 with no copyright restrictions.

Stocksnap

Stocksnap has hundreds of high resolution images added weekly, free from copyright restrictions.  There are some really beautiful free stock images to be found here.

Pixabay

There are over 700,000 free stock photos, vectors and art illustrations on pixabay.  All images are free, CC0 licence images.  Great quality and a huge selection.

Startupstockphotos

Free photos for everyone to use, and make awesome things from.  There’s no search facility on the site but there is a great selection of beautiful stock photos to choose from, particularly in the office/business theme.

Kaboompics

A collection of high quality photos offered for free to bloggers, website owners, small businesses, freelancers & social media ninjas, suitable for commercial use.  The author Karolina does ask for a source link to any images used.

There are of course many more sites available – many ask you to sign up and they allow access to free images once you’ve done so, but these are definitely my favourites.

Understanding Licences – what’s a free stock photo exactly?

A free stock photo means a photo/image free from copyright restrictions or licenses under creative commons public domain dedication, meaning the wonderful creator of the work has dedicated it to the public domain, waiving all rights to their work.

This means you can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.  If you’re ever unsure, look for “CC0 licence” next to an image.

It is best practice to ALWAYS check the copyright restrictions and if a photographer requests attribution and you decide to use their image – for the love of all things, attribute them!  Imagine an awesome world where your blog post goes viral, and in turn, the photographer gets hundreds of new customers because you attributed their image.  Win-win, right?

So what are you waiting for, go find yourself some beautiful free stock photos and let me know what you think in the comments – did I miss a great site?  Where do you go for your free stock images?

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