High-quality photography is a key element for virtually every website. Anything from a small brochure site all the way to a content-heavy news site can benefit from the right images. They help to convey a message and guide users towards content that interests them. Of course, not everyone has the budget to hire a photographer or even purchase stock photos.
Luckily, there are a number of photographers out there who are willing share their creative works for free. In many cases, the photos are high-resolution, and the overall composition is on par with commercial stock photos.
Sources of free photos are spread around the internet, though. So we’ve scoured the web to find some of the very best collections out there. Here are some top picks to find great photos – sans wallet. As always, take note of any available license agreements to ensure that you can use a photo in the exact way you want.
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Named after a well known photography technique, NegativeSpace offers images from a variety of artists. There are several categories to choose from, including some lovely landscapes and relevant technology shots. Everything in the catalog is CC0 license, meaning there are no restrictions on images.
LibreStock is a photo search engine that grabs results from nearly 50 sites. That variety of sources results in a wide selection of photos for most subjects. Image previews are fairly large and make it easy to find the right image. When you find a photo you’d like to download, you’ll be taken to the original source’s website. Just be aware that different sources could have different licensing. You can also download free video as well.
StockSnap takes submissions from photographers worldwide and adds several hundred photos each week. That means you get tremendous variety – there are literally dozens of categories to choose from. You’ll also find that there are a number of different styles of photography, making it easy to find images that match your needs. Even better is that all images are CC0 license.
Mouth-watering food photos are essential for recipe blogs, restaurants, hospitality and retail websites. Foodie Factor provides images that have a high-end, professional look (seriously, they look good enough to be in a cookbook). Popular subjects are covered such as drinks, breakfast and sweets.
Moose is a new photo stock site from Icons8 that’s under professional production. All of the images are free for a link. The free photos cover a variety of themes, and all of the high-quality images perfectly matching each other.
Gratisography sports a collection of colorful and often whimsical images. They can add a lighthearted, happy feeling to any project. Another reason to be happy is that every image in the library can be used for both personal and commercial projects.
Picography features beautiful city and country scenes from around Europe. While you might see some famous landmarks, these images seem to focus more on the everyday. The site says images can be used “however you like”.
ISO Republic’s offerings run the gamut of subjects, so you’re sure to find a great photo for any type of project. The overall style is very modern and artistic. Scrolling through their archives, there wasn’t a bad entry in the bunch.
ShotStash are a small independently managed free stock photo site with the mission of creating and offering for free a highly curated collection of beautiful stock images that you can use both personally and commercially.
Stocking Up on Great Photography
Like so many things in the world of design, there really are outstanding free photos out there if you’re willing to look for them. And, because images are such a major part of compelling design, it’s important that they’re available to everybody. Just because you don’t have a large budget doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have access to quality images.
What’s great about the resources above is that many solicit submissions from both professional and amateur photographers. This provides artists with a way for their work to be seen and helps others beautify their own projects. It’s a win-win situation.
So, the next time you need an image to help tell your story, check out one of the sites above. You may just find the perfect fit.