High quality stock images separate the good from the bad… from the downright ugly.
Well-chosen, high-quality stock images help to package your brand as the polished powerhouse it is, making your content shine.
Whereas stock images that aren’t so well-chosen — either because they don’t do a good job representing your brand or are just poor quality — do the absolute opposite.
But if you’ve ever needed a visual element to go with your blog post, presentation or other marketing materials, you know how hard it can be to find the perfect image.
Because while stock photos ARE everywhere, finding ones that are both affordable and usable can be challenging and time-consuming.
That’s why I’ve put together this roundup of 18 amazing stock photo sites where you can find free and premium stock images for your business.
So… let’s dive in!
13 Great Sites for Finding Free Stock Images
Photo on Gratisography
Gratisography’s unique selling point is the quirkiness of their photos.
Gratisography offers free stock images that are full of creativity and life, making it the go-to site for photos that pop.
Whether you’re looking for off the wall images or business-related pictures with an edge, the photos from Gratisography will make your website stand out.
To find your perfect image on Gratisography, you can use the search bar or browse one of their category options. There are no filtering features available, but that’s not a problem as the selection of photos is limited.
The Gratisography license grants you the use of the photos for personal and commercial projects.
Pexels offers an extensive collection of images that fit a wide variety of niches.
While independent photographers submit all the photographs on Pexels, the Pexels team vets every image to ensure you find only high-quality pictures on the site.
Pexels has a robust tagging feature that makes searching the vast library of high-quality photos painless. You can then filter by photo orientation, size or color.
Or if you prefer, you can find inspiration in the curated collections put together by other Pexels users.
Pexels’ license allows you to use and change the photos in any way you need for your business.
Pixabay is another great option for your free stock photography needs.
Content editors curate the photo submissions to be sure they meet technical and quality requirements so you find only high-quality images on the site.
They offer a wide variety of photographs covering everything from flowers to food. You can also find photos depicting travel, nature, business, emotions, science, technology and more.
Pixabay makes finding the perfect photo super easy. Use the search bar to find photos that fit a category.
Then filter those photos by size, color, category and orientation.
You can download the photos in a variety of sizes to get the best version for your needs.
The Pixabay license grants you the free use of their images for commercial and noncommercial uses.
Unsplash has a collection of more than 2 million high resolution photos with over 211,000 photographers who contribute to the site. The Unsplash staff handpicks and curates every photo to ensure each photo meets their standards and is of the highest quality.
Unsplash has multiple search options.
You can use a keyword and the search bar to find photos, and then narrow your search results by orientation or color.
You can also search for images in one of their pre-selected categories. That method does not give you the option to filter the results.
All Unsplash photos are free to use for commercial and non-commercial purposes.
Burst is a Shopify resource created around businesses and niches that are trending in the Shopify community. Some photos are taken by Shopify photographers and others are contributed by outside photographers. All photos submitted must meet strict quality controls.
To find photos on Burst you can use the search bar or explore the categories set up by Shopify. Either way, there is no filtering option so you’ll need to scroll the results to find suitable photos.
All the Burst photographs are available in high and low resolution and are free for commercial use.
StockSnap is another source for free stock images. Their goal is to provide a selection of what they call “sharp, arresting, visual images.” Each day they add hundreds of new photos from a variety of photographers so you’ll find something new each time you visit.
You can search for images by categories they’ve curated or you can enter your own search terms in the search bar. But once you find the photos on your desired topic, there is no way to filter them by size, orientation or color.
All StockSnap images are available under the Creative Commons CC0 license. That allows you to use the photos in any commercial and personal projects.
A single photographer is responsible for all the images you see on Kaboompics.
Many factors make Kaboompics stand out as an optimal site for free photography.
There’s a good mix of light and bright photography, as well as photos that fit a dark and dramatic aesthetic.
Finding photos on Kaboompics is easy. Enter a keyword in the search bar and then filter the results by orientation and color.
You also have the option to sort results by featured photos, newest, most downloaded and least downloaded.
One valuable feature is the option to find all the photos from one particular photo shoot.
For example, if you find a photo that almost works, but isn’t quite right, you can look at the other photos in that collection to see if one of them might be a better fit.
Kaboompics has few outdoor pictures so if you are looking for travel or outdoor scenery, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
The Kaboompics’ license gives you free use of the photos for commercial or noncommercial use.
8. Life of Pix
Life of Pix offers high-resolution photos from multiple photographers. New photos are added weekly.
The photography style leans towards artistic and dramatic with most of the photos being of nature and cityscapes.
You can enter a keyword into the search box or browse Life of Pix’s predetermined categories. Then you can filter photos by category, color and orientation.
The Life of Pix license states the photos are part of the public domain and are free for commercial and personal use.
9. New Old Stock
New Old Stock is a very niche take on free photography.
The photos are all vintage photos pulled from public archives, making it a great option for a brand that embraces a vintage look and feel.
New Old Stock is not an easy site to use. The only way to find a photo is by typing a term in the search box, and there’s no way to filter the results.
It’ll require a lot of patience to find what you want, but if you’re not too specific, it’s a great way to add a vintage touch to your material.
New Old Photos states the photos are licensed for free use, but it is a curated collection pulled from other sites. To be certain the photo you choose falls under the Creative Commons zero license, you’ll want to follow the link to the photo’s original source and check the licensing terms there.
Picjumbo is a site with free, high-resolution photos and backgrounds. One photographer takes all the pictures.
To find photos on Picjumbo, you can use the search bar. There is no option to filter the results.
Another way to find photos is by clicking on his drop-down menu of categories. There are 20 categories to choose from, including food, fashion, nature and objects.
Many of his photos include a label that says, “More like this.” Clicking the label redirects you to his premium photo packages.
The license for the free images allows for commercial and noncommercial use.
Reshot gets their photos from a community of photographers around the world.
Reshot’s photos have a moody, urban vibe and there are few business images available.
You can search the photos on the site by entering a keyword in the search bar. The only filtering option once you have your results is by photo orientation.
It’s difficult to find, but if you scroll to the bottom of the home page, you’ll find categories you can browse for inspiration. You can sort those by photo orientation.
All Reshot photos are free for use in commercial and noncommercial projects.
Stockvault photos come from photographers all over the world, but they moderate the selections for high-quality photographs.
The photos are similar to what you might find on any stock image site, but Stockvault offers robust options for finding the perfect photo for your project.
You can search by entering a keyword in the search bar. You can’t filter the results, but you can sort them by size, date added, most liked, most viewed or most downloaded.
Another search option is to use the drop-down menu under Photos in the menu bar.
Categories are another way to find photos for your project. Stockvault has 11 category options like people, transportation or nature.
You can also find inspiration by searching collections curated by other users.
Pay close attention to the usage rights of the photos you choose, as each photographer chooses how to license their images on the site.
You can download some photos for commercial use, but some are only for non-commercial use and others are in the public domain.
Morguefile is a community based site for free stock photos.
Morguefile photos have the same look as many other stock photography sites. Photos lean heavily towards outdoor images. For example, if you search by the keyword “business” almost all the results are exterior shots of office buildings.
To find photos on Morguefile, your only option is to use the search bar. You can’t filter your results, though you can sort by popular, recent, most downloaded and last downloaded.
Morguefile’s licensing agreement says that all photos are free to use for commercial and non-commercial projects, but if you don’t alter the image in some way, you must credit the photographer.
5 Best Sites for Buying Premium Stock Images
1. iStock by Getty Images
iStock offers royalty-free images for purchase.
They have a wide variety of high-quality images to choose from. If you need photos with people, there’s a diverse offering of ages, sizes, ethnicities and physical capabilities.
When searching for photos to use in your project, you can use the search bar or search via the curated, trending or popular content categories.
When you have your search results, you can filter those by photo orientation, number, age and ethnicity of people in the photos, colors in the photos and size of the photos.
iStock offers flexible pricing options with an Essentials and Signature collection. All the images have royalty-free licensing.
Shutterstock has royalty-free images, videos and more for your content needs.
The imagery is beautiful and high-resolution, though nothing that stands out from the other paid stock photography sites.
Searching for your photos is easy. You can search with a keyword in the search bar, find images via curated collections or by browsing one of the 29 categories.
You can filter your results for easier selection by photo orientation, color, photos with or without people, ethnicity, age, gender and image size. You can also exclude photos by keyword.
Shutterstock offers subscription pricing options or you can purchase photos on demand as you need them.
They also offer two licensing options: standard and enhanced.
3. Adobe Stock
Adobe Stock photos are high-resolution and royalty-free images that are high-quality and beautiful, but nothing that stands out from other paid stock photography sites.
You find photos by using the search bar and entering a keyword. Adobe Stock has the most robust filtering system of premium stock photo sites.
Once you have your results, you can filter them by price, undiscovered photos (photos that have not yet been downloaded), photo orientation, color, depth, people, usage rights, size and negative space (empty space where you could add text).
Purchasing options at Adobe Stock are available through a monthly subscription plan or by purchasing credit packs.
Adobe Stock offers three licensing options: standard, enhanced and extended.
Stockphoto offers beautiful stock photography images that look similar to the photos on every stock photography site.
You can find photos by using the search bar and a keyword.
Once you have found a group of images, you can filter by photo orientation, gender, age, ethnicity and the number of people you want to appear in your photo. Unfortunately, there is no option to find photos with no people beyond scrolling and looking.
If you need some inspiration, you can find photos by browsing the curated collections like Rehabilitation Photos or Tenacity Photos.
What makes Stockphoto stand out from other paid stock photo sites is their extensive documentation that answers every question you might have about downloading and using stock photography.
Stockphoto offers both subscription and credit plans, as well as multiple licensing options.
Depositphotos is another stock photography site where you can purchase royalty-free images for business use.
The images are high quality, but as with all the other sites, there’s nothing about the photos that make them stand out from other paid sites.
To find images at Depositphotos, you enter a search term in the search bar. You can then filter the results by camera angle, photo orientation, number of people, photo colors, location and season. You can also filter out photos by using the exclude tag in the filtering system.
In addition, you can find images through curated collections or the Trending Now section.
Depositphotos offer a monthly or yearly subscription plan or you can purchase photos on demand.
There are standard and extended licensing options available with Depositphotos.
Final Thoughts On Stock Images
Finding the best stock images for your business projects can be a challenge.
You want amazing photography that enhances your projects, but doesn’t cost a fortune.
And you want to find your imagery in the least amount of time so you can move on to other things.
With this list of the 18 amazing stock image sites, you’re on your way to finding beautiful images that show off your content.
Tell me, is there a site I should have included? Where do you go for stock images that rock your content?
One more thing…
Now that you’re armed and ready to download great photos, make sure your website is impressing your customers and getting you sales. Sign up for my FREE masterclass on the 3 Tweaks to Turn Your Website into a Lean, Mean, Money Making Machine and learn how to keep 18-50% of first-time visitors on your website longer!
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Very generous, Marisa. I use photos a lot and use several of these already. You gave me some great additional places to consider as I build my business.
Thank you, Patricia! We’re so glad you found the information useful! Thanks for stopping by the blog, and good luck in building and growing your business!