Updated: Aug 29, 2021
Finding free images to use for your blog, small business or website can be an absolute nightmare. A lot of them are unsuitable, and a lot lure you in with a few free photos and then charge extortionate prices for the rest. Searching for a source of free photographs can be a long and arduous task.
Do not worry- we have undertaken that task for you! There are actually thousands of sites out there that do provide good free images- you just have to know where to look. Here you can find photos that are free- not $20 for a single photo like on Shutterstock!- are not blurry, and do not have any watermarks. These are our ten favorite places to find free photographs on the internet.
Explanation of licenses:
You may find the website states their photographs are 'Creative Commons Zero' or 'Creative Commons with Attribution'
Here is what you have to do in those situations:
** Creative Commons Zero ** You can use the photos in any way you like, without have to ask for permission.
** Creative Commons with Attribution **
Use the photo in any way you like, but you must credit the creator of the photo, Simply at a text that cites the photographer and a link to his or her site (if they have one).
If you're looking for photos to use for a design and want to keep yourself out of copyright trouble, you need to locate websites that explicitly define the copyright license of each image. For all the sites listed above, the license is generally pretty easy to find. There's typically a description of the license on every page or at least a link to a description. Here are two license types you're likely to find on these sites:
PUBLIC DOMAIN ARCHIVE
Public Domain Archive has a huge online collection of photographs, ranging from quirky vintage images to modern scenes. There is a beautiful range of color and composition in this gallery. No attribution is required.
Morguefile may sound morbid, but it actually covers a wide range of photographs, from antiques to wildlife. The website is very carefully laid out and so you will find it simple to use. It does not have an extremely large selection, but their selection is varied and of a high caliber. No attribution required.
You really know what you are getting with this site. Ten new images are added every ten days, and these can be delivered directly to your inbox- can it get any easier than that? The images are all created by different artists of different backgrounds, so you get an incredibly diverse selection to choose from. All images are Creative Commons Zero.
Another diverse site, Superfamous provides a whole variety of images-from technology, to abstract, to nature. Most photos are taken in an aerial view. The images are incredibly high resolution, and are curated by Dutch artists Folkert Gorter. These images fall under Creative Commons with Attribution, so be sure to credit the artists.
Picjumbo is a site that is easy to navigate, and has a very large collection of food photographs. It does have other images, but it's stock of food related shots is the largest.It has a lot of high quality free images, but it does also have a premium membership option. New photographs are uploaded every single day. No attribution is required for using any photos from this site.
This website adds high quality images to it's database each week. They are offered under the Creative Commons Zero license, and so are completely free of copyright restrictions. You can find more artistic images on this site, rather than the generic stock photographs, and the images are mainly created by two photographers: Ryan McGuire and Bells Design.
This online image provider selects images of a very high quality and high resolution and adds them online for all to use. They collect stock photos from around the web and also use photographs from selected photographers. Aiming to create a community of great photographers who want to share their work, this is considered to be one of the best free stock photo sites, and is under the Creative Commons Zero license.
Flickr is one of the more well known image sites. It is the biggest image hosting web platform, and so has a collection of millions upon millions of free stock images. You get 1,000 GB of free storage, and you can always rely on Flickr to provide high quality photographs. There are different license categories on this site, but you can just search the 'Free Use Photos' section fo find what you need.
Unlike the larger, more vast stock photograph collections, Little visuals is a small scale site, with a hand picked selection of photographs. If you sign up for the email list then you will receive seven free photographs each week, all in high resolution. No attribution is required.
NEW OLD STOCK
This is one site that you can search through for hours without even needing a reason. New Old Stock is a collection of antique photographs, either taken by government agencies or found in estate sales. It is fascinating to see the early days of photography displayed online for all to see. This is Creative Commons Zero.