As we have discussed previously, the images you choose to use on your website, social media, and marketing materials are a serious matter.
Most of the images that come up in a Google Images seach are copyrighted — meaning that if you decide to use it on your site or for commercial purposes, you could wind up in hot water.
Avoid risking copyright infringement by always pulling photos from sources that give you a license for use, either Creative Commons, Public Domain, or a custom license — and always read the license.
There are lots of places to find free and legal stock images or your website. Here are 18 more you may not know about:
Its tagline is “Best free stock photos in one place,” and their selection is really quite nice. All photos are under Creative Commons License, hand-selected from various sources.
The selections are high-quality, ranging from basic stock photo fare to artsy photos. In addition to searching by keyword, you can search by color. Overall a good, easy-to-use site.
This free stock photo archive has its own licensing for its photos, which allows you to do almost anything with them, including commercial use and using the images on things like t-shirts.
The only limits should be common sense — don’t say the models endorse you, don’t sell the images themselves, etc (the full license is here). The images themselves are very professional and vibrant. Selection is limited, however.
This rather generic looking site has a collection of free images — but be careful. I ran across a few movie images and images with logos that are meant for promotional use (so, you can use that movie image if you’re blogging about the movie, but not if you’re blogging about something else).
You can sort by Creative Commons and Public Domain, but it’s difficult to search within those groups. If you don’t mind scrolling, you can find some interesting free images, though.
This Italian website offers a nice collection of free photos for personal and commercial use, with a license that allows them to be used for just about any use other than selling the image itself.
The images tend to be soft and atmospheric, but there are also photos with tech and business themes. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, they take requests.
PhotoPin is basically just a Creative Commons search engine for Flickr. It gives several size options, and (its biggest perk) includes an html photo credit you can just cut and paste into your post.
The downside is, there’s no curation, it’s just a keyword search tool, so you get the uneven quality of searching Flickr yourself. If you use Flickr but wish the attribution part was simpler, PhotoPin is useful.
This stock photo website isn’t like the others. It offers a selection of stock photos (small images are free) of digital devices, and will insert any image or screenshot you choose.
All you have to do is enter a URL, and your website will appear on the screen. It’s basically a bunch of pictures of computers, tablets, and phones, but it’s really pretty neat — and very, very simple to use.
7. I’d Pin That
A website that takes photos in the Public Domain and automatically loads them into a photo editor so that you can add text, stickers, and other enhancements.
The photos are a mix of generic stock photos and old pictures, but they’re all legal to use, and you can find some interesting images. A site that encourages Pinterest users to avoid copyright infringement is a great idea, but it could use some polishing.
As the name suggests, this is a repository for free images in the Public Domain. Photos are uploaded by photographers who agree to the license in exchange for links to their websites.
If you want, you can send the photographer a tip via Paypal (or “buy them a cup of coffee”). The image quality is good, sometimes excellent, and no old pictures to sort through.
Here you’ll find millions of freely usable media files (including images, of course), contributed by anyone who wants to contribute.
The format is similar to Wikipedia, and might take some getting used to compared to other stock photo sites. It’s a good idea to start with the Quality or Valued Images page, then choose a category.
From there, you can browse more focused galleries. Not for those who like things to be quick and simple, but the database is huge.
10. IM Free
The free version of IM Creator, IM Free offers a collection of free images, sorted by category. The photos are curated and of decent quality (nothing mind-blowing).
Click on an image and it will tell you the license type and remind you to attribute. It’s simple to use and a good resource if you don’t want to dig through Flickr, but the selections lack the variety of some of the other free stock photo sites.
A collection of free and unrestricted images and vectors with its own very open license agreement.
As long as you don’t use the images for anything illegal or defamatory or sell the rights to the images, you’re good to go legally, though there is a limit of 15 high-resolution images per domain. There are lots of nice graphics and textures here.
This site is slightly misleading, though it does offer what it promises: free standard license photos. The free photos are tiny (400 px x 269 px), however.
You’ll have to pay to use larger versions. If the size isn’t a problem, the selection is pretty good.
A free license allows you to use the image for most things, excluding learning materials, product packaging, and merchandise, which require an Extended License (see the license info here).
An offshoot of GraphicStock, Stock Photos for Free offers a collection of hi-resolution video stills and photos with its own royalty-free license that only prohibits redistributing and selling the images themselves.
The image quality here is average for free stock photos, though you can find some gems. Be careful using the sidebar to select categories, as some take you to images on the pay site GraphicStock.
Free stock photos on DeviantArt? It’s there, and this group organizes it and puts it into galleries by type.
Make sure any characters in artwork are not licensed by a larger company (I saw several licensed video game characters in the figures section). Other than that, these images fall under the Creative Commons License.
From Old Books (dot) Org is an archive of vintage images in the Public Domain taken from old books. A nice resource if you’re looking for antique images and image frames.
Images are free with a watermark (URL) or for a small (under 1,200 px) unwatermarked file. There is a fee for larger, unwatermarked images.
16. Animal Photos
This site offers nothing but animal photos, all under Creative Commons License. Animals are listed by species, and are good quality. If you ever need a photos of a specific animal, this is the place to look.
17. Carpictures CC
Photos of cars and trucks, all under Creative Commons License, searchable by make and model. The quality of the photos varies from good quality to below-average quality.
18. Openclipart Org
A large collection of user-uploaded clipart. All images are released into the Public Domain upon upload, and may be used for unlimited commercial use.
Since the platform is open and not curated, the quality varies, but there are some decent images, including graphics, artwork, and photographs.
Do you use free stock images? Tell us about your favorite sources in the comments!
Sorry, access to this special content
is for ‘Owners’ only
Owners log in
Not a member of
the Owners Club yet?