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14 Amazingly Free Stock Photo Websites

14 Amazingly Free Stock Photo Websites
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If you've ever tried searching for free stock photos on the Internet, you probably know what a ridiculous hassle it can be.

As a general rule, free stock photos are extremely difficult to find. A huge portion of the stock photo market is owned by professional companies like Shutterstock and 123RF, who charge $20 or more for a single photo. Even when you can find free stock photos, most are low resolution, watermarked, blurry and, at best, uninspired.

Lucky for you, there are a few ways to access high-quality stock photos without any hassle or significant cost.

Here's a lovingly curated list of the world's best free stock photo websites for designers, business owners and anyone else:

Related: Want Clickable Images? Check Out These 6 Tips.

 

1. Unsplash

unsplash

Unsplash adds 10 new royalty-free photos every 10 days and they're almost always of breathtakingly attractive beautiful landscapes. Just scroll down the home page to see foggy rivers, faraway mountain ranges or even battered signs in all their high-resolution glory.

Searchable? No 
Attribution required? Yes 

 

2. Superfamous

superfamous

Dutch artist Folkert Gorter and his graphic-design peers at SuperFamous curate this collection of incredibly high-resolution images, perfect for use in website design or as desktop backgrounds.

Searchable? No 
Attribution required? Yes 

 

3. Picjumbo

picjumbo.com_IMG_78291

Picjumbo is a personal favorite of mine due to its easy navigation and extremely high-resolution photos (with no attribution required). This site also happens to sport a great collection of food shots, so if you're running a restaurant or nutrition-themed startup, you might find it worth your while to take a browse.

Searchable? Yes 
Attribution required? No, for almost all images  

 

4. Pixabay

pixabay

Pixabay is a web designer's dream. Not only does this site offer an easy-to-use search feature, the images are absolutely brilliant. And most don't require any attribution at all.

Searchable? Yes 
Attribution required? No, for almost all images 

 

5. IM Free

imfree Photo by John Hope

IM Creator, which also offers an online website building tool, put together this small library of premium-quality free photos. Attribution is required but it's well worth it: These pictures are of the same, if not better, quality as those of paid sites.

Searchable? Yes 
Attribution required? Yes 

 

6. Gratisography

gratisography

Gratisography's collection is, in a word, incredible. Built by the talented Ryan McGuire, an artist and web designer, this site features some of the most evocative images on the web and they requires no attribution whatsoever.

Searchable? No 
Attribution required? No   

 

7. MorgueFile

morgue

One of the simplest sites on this list, MorgueFile has a streamlined layout and carefully curated list of photos. Its selection isn't as large as that of some of the other sites on this list, but the photos included cover a wide range of topics. You can find images of everything from wildlife to antiques.

Searchable? No 
Attribution required? No

Related: Getty's New Mobile App is a Free Portal Into Millions of Shareable Photos 

 

8. FreeImages

SXC

One of the most exhaustive directories of open-source images, FreeImages is my go-to resource when I'm working on new web projects. While most stock-photo sites focus on a small niche (usually landscape photography), FreeImages offers thousands of pictures from a diverse set of categories. Most important, it's searchable, which is an incredible time-saver when you're working on a project.

Searchable? No 
Attribution required? Sometimes 

 

9. Little Visuals

little vis

LittleVisuals is a unique site, run according to more of small-scale, handpicked approach than most stock-photo sites. Sign up for its email list and you'll receive seven high-resolution pictures via a zip file every week.

Searchable? No 
Attribution required? No  

 

10. New Old Stock

newold

New Old Stock is a collection of antique photos, many taken by government agencies or discovered in estate sales. You can scroll for hours without growing bored.

Searchable? No 
Attribution required? No  

 

11. Picography

picography

The simplest site on this list, Picography is a scroll-through gallery of random shots offered by a handful of professional photographers. You can't search it but this site is perfect for designers looking for evocative photos.

Searchable? No 
Attribution required? No  

 

12. Getrefe

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

If you need architectural or landscape photos fast, GetRefe is ideal. There are no frills, no categories on this site, just beautiful, natural images taken by a series of photographers traveling throughout Europe.

Searchable? No 
Attribution required? No  

 

13. Jay Mantri

jaymantri

One of Southern California's finest designers, Jay Mantri offers this eponymous collection, Jay Mantri, with free, inspiring photos that's updated every Thursday.

Searchable? No 
Attribution required? No  

 

14. Public Domain Archive

public-domain-images-free-stock-photos-light-sky-silo-windows-lillyphotographer

Eclectic vintage pictures join ubermodern scenes at Public Domain Archive, an expansive online collection of images, many with striking symmetry and muted colors.

Searchable? No 
Attribution required? No 

 

Attribution and licenses explained. 

When you do a Google Images search, the resulting photos are not necessarily ones that you're free to immediately use. In most cases, the photos are still covered by photographers' copyrights.

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:

Creative Commons zero means that you can use the photos  in any way you'd like, without asking permission.

Creative Commons with attribution means that you can use the photo in any way you want, as long as you credit the creator of the photo.

Attribution is simple: If you include a photo on one of a web page, add text that cites the photographer ("Photo by John Smith") and be sure to include a link to his or her site, if there's one.

Be sure to check each website's license page for specific details.

A version of this article first appeared on PlatoWebDesign.com.

Related: The 8 Secret Places to Find the Best Stock Images