If you work in marketing or content creation, you know how challenging it can be to find quality stock photos without having to pay for them. In this article, I’ll look at 20 different websites where you can find royalty-free images that you can use at no cost.
I’ve visited each of the websites listed below to see what’s available and downloaded a few images to make sure each site offered completely free content. I’ve also checked out the licensing pages on each website to verify that it’s legal to use the images you find there.
Where To Find Free Stock Photos and Royalty-Free Images
If you're looking for royalty-free images to use on your website or blog, you'll realize quickly that buying them can get pricey fast. Fortunately, there are several photographers, entrepreneurs and contributors who have created a variety of resources for quality stock photos free of charge. A lot of the pictures on these websites are covered by the Creative Commons license, or a similar license, which allows you to download and use the photos for personal or commercial use.
Here are 20 of the best websites that I’ve found for downloading free stock photos and royalty-free images:
Below, you’ll find detailed information on 20 websites worth checking out if you’re looking for free royalty-free images.
Unsplash is a great website for finding quality free stock photos. According to the website, there are more than 2 million royalty-free images that you can download and use in your own content at no cost. You don't even have to create an account to search for and download free photos.
Any picture you find on Unsplash can be downloaded and used for free for commercial or non-commercial purposes. According to the licensing page, no permission is required, but attribution is always appreciated.
When I checked out Unsplash, I visited the “Explore” tab on the website. I found a few highlighted categories and images. You can click the drop-down bar next to “Explore” for additional categories or use the search bar to look for specific images.
- You don't have to create an account.
- All pictures on the website are free.
- Permission/attribution isn't required.
- Apps are available for mobile users.
- Use "visual search" (by the search bar) to find royalty-free images similar to a photo you've taken or found online.
Burst, owned by Shopify, is another great resource for finding quality royalty-free images. The website provides free images to use in any content or project without having to include attribution. You can read more about Burst's licensing and legal terms here.
When you first visit the website, you’ll be able to enter a search term to begin looking for free photos. You can also browse popular categories, the “top free pics this week,” high-resolution photo collections and more. Once you’ve found an image you’d like to use, you can click on it to choose the size and download the image.
You don’t have to have an account to search for and download photos. In fact, the only reason you’d have to create one is if you’d like to upload your own photos to Burst as a contributor.
- You don't need an account to download and use photos.
- All pictures on the website are free.
- New photos are uploaded every week, and they're free to use without permission or attribution.
- High-definition photos are available.
- Choose "Business ideas" from the menu in the top-right corner to find inspiration for a variety of small business types along with related royalty-free images to use.
Pexels is a website, app and extension that gives you access to thousands of free stock photos and royalty-free images. According to the company's licensing page, all photos and videos on the website are free to use. Attribution isn't required (but always appreciated).
On the website, you can search for free photos and videos, explore popular collections, check out the highest-viewed photographers and more. Once you’ve found a photo you like, you can download it instantly. You can also create an account to add the photo to a saved collection or “favorite” it.
In addition to the website, Pexels is also available on a variety of other platforms including iOS and Android devices, Chrome, Google Slides, Photoshop, MS Office and WordPress.
- You don't need an account to download and use photos.
- All pictures and videos on the website are free and don't require attribution.
- Pexels is available on a wide variety of platforms including mobile devices.
- Under the "Explore" tab, you can click "Popular Searches" or "Discover Photos" to get inspiration.
Another great collection of free stock photos and royalty-free images can be found online at Pixabay. There's a search bar to search for images, vectors and videos. You can also click on the "Explore" tab to browse popular downloads.
When you’ve clicked on an image you’d like to use, just click “free download” on the right side of the screen. You can create an account to “like,” “favorite” and comment on images, but that isn’t required to download and use them.
While you're browsing free photos, you'll occasionally see groups of sponsored iStock images. Just know that these aren't free! Still, according to the company's website, all PIxabay contents are released under the Pixabay License, which makes them legal to use without attribution even for commercial purposes.
- You don't have to create an account or include an attribution to download and use photos.
- All Pixabay photos are completely free to use, but you may see ads for sponsored iStock photos that aren't free.
- While Pixabay isn't available as an app, the website is very user-friendly.
- In addition to images, the website includes copyright-free stock videos.
Kaboompics is a privately-owned website with thousands of royalty-free images that you can use at no cost, even for commercial use. The photos on Kaboompics have all been taken by the website's owner. You can learn more about her and the photos she takes on the website.
When you first visit Kaboompics, you can use the search bar to look for a specific picture. You can also scroll over “Discover Free Photos” to browse through free stock photos with a variety of filters and sorting options. Once you’ve found a photo you like, you can click on it for details including a complementary color palette and related images.
Unfortunately, you'll also see promoted premium images from iStock that are not free. Still, according to Kaboompics' licensing page, all non-sponsored photos can be used for free without attribution.
- You can download and use photos for free without creating an account or giving attribution.
- All Kaboompics photos are completely free to use, but you may see promoted premium images from iStock that aren't free.
- This website isn't a collection of photos uploaded by photographers. It's one woman's collection that she shares for free, which means you'll often find a collection of different angles/items/poses instead of just one standalone photo.
- Complementary colors palettes are included for each image, which makes designing content around the images very easy.
If you're looking for high-resolution royalty-free images, StockSnap.io is a great resource to use. Hundreds of new high-resolution free images are added every week that you can download and use in your own content.
You can search for free stock images, see what’s trending, check out popular categories or just start scrolling. Once you’ve found an image you like, you can download it for free. If you want to keep a collection of your favorite photos online or contribute photos yourself, you can create a free account. Otherwise, it isn’t necessary.
All of the pictures you'll find on StockSnap.io have been released under the Creative Commons license, which means you can download, copy, modify and distribute the photos for private or commercial use. You can learn more about StockSnap's licensing here.
- You don't have to have an account to browse or download free photos.
- All images on the website are royalty-free and don't require attribution.
- Hundreds of new photos are added weekly from individual contributors, which means there's always an evolving selection with a wide variety of styles and subjects.
- You can sort photos by date, trending, number of views, number of downloads and number of "favorites."
New Old Stock
Different from other free stock photo resources on this list, New Old Stock is a Tumblr page. You'll find vintage photos from the public archives that are free of any known copyright restrictions. You can read more about the rights and usage of these photos here.
If you’re looking for vintage photos, this is the resource for you. You can scroll through recently uploaded photos from the front page or click the small magnifying glass in the upper-left corner to search. I had fun searching for my home state and other areas/time periods to see what was available.
If you have a Tumblr account, you can log in to reblog or favorite a photo. Otherwise, you can right-click an image to download it to your phone or computer.
- All photos on this Tumblr page are free from known copyright restrictions, which means you can download and use any of them for free.
- All of the photos you'll find here are vintage, so if you're looking for something modern you probably won't find it here.
- The search bar isn't obvious, but the feature works really well: Click the magnifying glass icon in the top-left corner to search.
Life of Pix
Life of Pix is another website worth visiting if you're looking for free high-resolution royalty-free photos. The pictures you'll find on this website have no copyright restrictions and have all been donated to the public domain. In addition to free stock photos, you'll also find a selection of free videos available from the same company.
You can use the search bar to look for specific photos, scroll down to see featured images or visit the “Gallery” tab to see collections. Once you’ve found a photo you’d like to use, just click the “Download” button beneath it.
On the same page, you’ll also see related images and promoted Adobe Stock photos. If you see one of these that you like, you can get your first 10 Adobe Stock photos free. After that first 10 though, you’ll be expected to pay. For this reason, it’s best to stick to the free images you find on Life of Pix.
- You don't have to create an account to download pictures.
- Free stock videos are available in addition to royalty-free images.
- New photos are added every week.
- Click the magnifying glass icon in the top-right corner for additional search filters and featured photographers.
Gratisography is a website that prides itself on being "the world's quirkiest collection" of high-resolution free stock photos. So if you're looking for something a little different, this may be the resource for you.
When you first visit the website, you can enter a term into the search bar or click on the drop-down menu to see additional information, categories and collections. You can also scroll down to see trending and recent images. Once you’ve found a picture you want to use, click the “Download Free” button above it on the screen.
Like many of the other resources on this list, you can use any pictures on this website for personal or commercial use. The only thing you can't do is sell or upload the photos to other stock sites, cast the subject in a negative light or claim that you took the pictures. You can learn more about Gratisography's licensing here.
- There are tons of "quirky" images, which makes this a great website to visit for something unique.
- You don't have to create an account or give credit to the photographer in order to use the pictures for private or commercial use.
- There are advertisements for trying Shutterstock and getting 10 free images, but after that you will have to pay.
If you need food-related images that you can download and use for free, be sure to check out Foodiesfeed. There, you'll find thousands of free food photos including categories like coffee, cake, pizza, meat, "top view," "healthy" and more.
The photos uploaded to Foodiesfeed are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero license, which means you can download and use the photos for free in both personal and commercial content. You can learn more about Foodfiesfeed's license here.
When you first visit the website, you can click on a featured category, search for specific pictures, check out popular tags or scroll through trending photos. Once you find a picture you’d like to use, scroll over it and click “Free Download” or click the picture to see additional details.
- You'll find only food-themed pictures on this site.
- You don't have to create an account or credit the website to download and use royalty-free photos.
- If you like the style of a specific picture, you can click on the photographer's name to see other free images they've uploaded.
Google Advanced Image Search
While not every image that you find on Google is free and legal to download and distribute, there are ways to filter the search to only royalty-free images. And these images are still completely free of cost.
If you use Google's Advanced Image Search feature, you can scroll down to "usage rights" and select "Creative Commons licenses." Once you've made this change, you can search for images with key phrases, colors, sizes, file type and more.
While you’re searching, you’ll notice a small icon in the bottom-right corner of the images that indicates they’re free to use. Once you’ve found an image you’d like to download, you can click on it to open the website where it was originally published. From there, you can right-click on the picture to download it at its original size.
- The advanced search page can seem intimidating, but it's actually really easy to use.
- If you're looking for something extremely specific, you'll likely find it with this method.
- These photos are compiled from all around the web, which means this resource offers one of the biggest selections and a great deal of variety.
While many of the pictures on Getty Images are for sale, this resource still lets you use them on your website for free. The catch here is that instead of downloading photos, Getty Images only allows you to embed photos without having to pay. And you can embed the photos for free only on non-commercial websites.
To get started, visit this page. There, you can enter a key term into the search bar to look for a picture. Then you can narrow your results using the filter choices on the left side of the screen.
Once you've found an image that you'd like to embed on your non-commercial website, click on it for more details. There, you'll see the embed icon. You can click it and copy and paste the code into your non-commercial website or blog. You can learn more about Getty Images' licensing information online.
- Not all photos on the website are embeddable, but you can use a special search page to filter these out.
- You can't download photos or use them on commercial websites.
- You don't have to create an account to find embeddable images and link to them from your non-commercial website.
Flickr is another website worth checking out. While you'll find tons of free images on this resource, not all of them are available for use in commercial projects, and not all are downloadable for free. Still, you can easily find hundreds of thousands of free royalty-free photos on Flickr.
To get started, visit this page. You'll see images created by Flickr users who have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license. There are a few different license types including attribution, non-commercial and public domain. Just be sure that you're browsing the right category for the license you need.
Once you’ve chosen a license type, you can click “see more” to browse all photos or search for a specific key term. Once you’ve found an image you’d like to use, click the download button in the bottom-right corner of the screen. Again, just remember to give attribution if it’s required.
- Not all photos are free to use or completely royalty-free, but it's easy to browse photos by license type.
- You don't have to create an account to check out the selection on Flickr or download photos.
- In addition to its website, Flickr has highly-rated apps available on the App Store and Google Play.
PicJumbo is another great resource worth checking out for free stock photos. All of the photos you'll find on the website are free to download and use for personal or commercial use.
The website was created by photographer, online entrepreneur and designer Viktor Hanacek in 2013. The pictures you’ll find on this website are his original work, which makes them all unique with a cohesive style. You’ll also see a lot of the same subjects and places taken from different angles.
While you can create an account or pay for a premium membership, it isn’t required to browse, download and use photos. Instead, you can simply enter a term into the search bar or scroll down the homepage to see what’s popular. Once you’ve found an image you like, click “Free Download” on the left side of the screen. If you want to download an entire collection, click “Download all free photos.”
- All of the photos on the website are free to download and use for personal or commercial projects.
- You don't have to create an account in order to browse and download free stock photos.
- Click "More images like this" in the top corner of interesting pictures to see related images.
- You can support the photographer by clicking "Buy me a coffee" in the bottom left corner.
Startup Stock Photos
This resource is a little different from the others on this list. Startup Stock Photos focuses exclusively on royalty-free images of startup, office and tech subjects. You'll find pictures of office spaces, co-working, typing, desks and phones.
When you visit the website, you’ll notice that there isn’t a search bar. Instead, you can scroll down to check out dozens of royalty-free photos available to download. While you won’t find the biggest selection here, the photos are great quality and could be exactly what you’re looking for.
When you've found a picture you'd like to use, simply click it and click "Download" at the top of the screen. All photos are free to download and free to use in any project. You can learn more about Startup Stock Photos' licensing and terms by checking out the website's FAQ page.
- All the photos on this resource are focused on technology and business.
- Attribution is appreciated but not required.
- You can click "donate" in the top-right corner to support Startup Stock Photos, but they are completely free to use in personal and commercial projects.
- There isn't a search bar, but you can quickly browse through dozens of quality of startup-related images.
With more than 300,000 free stock images, Free Images is a website worth visiting. You can enter keywords into the search bar to find royalty-free images of specific subjects or styles. Additionally, you can scroll over "Browse" or "Collections" to start browsing images that interest you.
Once you’ve found an image you’d like to use, you can click on it to download. You’ll also see the photographer, related tags and similar free photos. (You may also see promoted iStock photos, but know that these aren’t guaranteed to be free.)
All of the pictures you'll find on the Free Images site are completely free for you to download and use. According to the website, you may need to notify the artists about using their images or give them credit in some instances. If any of these restrictions apply to the image you're looking at, you'll see them by the download button.
- Not all photos on the website are free (you'll see promoted iStock images), but a great selection is available to download instantly.
- You can use the stock photos on this website in both personal and commercial projects, but you may need to give credit to the artist in some cases.
- You don't have to create an account to browse, download or use photos.
Picspree is another website that collects submissions from contributors around the world. That means you'll find a huge selection of photos with a wide variety of styles.
Once you’ve found a photo you’d like to use, simply scroll over it and click the download button. You can also click the image itself to see related free content and details about the image license. Generally, this will say “free for commercial use” and “no attribution required.”
- You don't have to create an account in order to browse available free images.
- You can download and use pictures on Picspree for personal or commercial use.
- Premium images are advertised throughout the website from iStock, but these are clearly labeled.
Freerange Stock features a huge collection of photos, textures and illustrations that you can use commercially at no cost. The website was created in 2007, and since then it's grown a huge community of contributors with more than 750,000 registered users.
If you’re just looking to check out free images, you don’t have to register. You can just enter a keyword into the search bar to begin looking for the perfect royalty-free image. If you do find one that you want to download, however, you will have to log in to do so. But creating an account is easy and free, and you don’t have to enter any payment information.
All of the pictures on Freerange Stock are licensed under Equalicense. Basically, it says that you can use images for nearly any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, without attribution, but you can't sell or relicense the images. You can learn more about Freerange Stock's licensing here.
- You do have to create an account in order to download free pictures, but it's easy and free.
- All pictures on the website are free to use for personal or commercial projects.
- Click the drop-down box by the search bar to filter your results between photos and illustrations.
You may already be familiar with Canva as an online graphic design tool. Of course, while you're working within Canva, you have access to a full library of free stock photos.
According to Canva's website, you're welcome to use the free images in Canva's editor for both commercial and non-commercial use. Like many other resources on this list, attribution is appreciated but not required. Additionally, you can edit the photos as you like.
For more information on using Canva's free images, be sure to check out the company's Free Media License Agreement. Also, know that not all design elements of Canva are free.
- The free photos on Canva are available to use as design elements, but you can't download them individually to your computer.
- Images can be edited directly in Canva and then saved or distributed for private or commercial use.
- You don't have to create an account to design a template and view free photos, but you will have to log in to save your design.
iStock is mostly a stock photo resource that allows paying subscribers to download a certain number of royalty-free images each month. The basic plan begins at 10 images monthly for $29. However, iStock does release new photos every week completely free.
Each week, the team at iStock chooses a royalty-free photo that can be downloaded free of charge. When you first create an account, you’ll get three complimentary stock photos from iStock’s exclusive “Signature” collection. Each week, you’ll get new “inspirational freebies.”
You will have to create a free account in order to download the free stock photos each week, but it’s easy and free, and you don’t have to enter any payment information. This is a great website if you’re looking for free weekly photos regardless of subject matter.
- Most photos from iStock aren't free to use, but random photos are released weekly for free downloads.
- You do have to create an account to download the weekly freebies,
- You won't be able to search for a specific subject or photo and download any photo for free; instead, free photos are selected for you by the iStock team each week.
There are tons of resources available for finding free stock photos and royalty-free images online. Many of them can be used commercially with no credit or attribution.
If you're looking for a specific royalty-free image, you'll likely be able to find what you're looking for with an advanced Google Search. For completely random inspiration, the free weekly photos at iStock could be a great starting place. Just know that most of the photos on iStock's website cost money.
Some websites, like Kaboompics and PicJumbo, are owned by individual photographers uploading their own work. These can be great for getting multiple angles of the same subject or downloading cohesive images with similar styles. Websites like Unsplash, StockSnap and Picspree rely on contributors who donate their images for free. These can be great resources to check out for a wide variety of subjects and styles.
No matter which website you decide to use to download free stock photos, just be sure to familiarize yourself with the company's terms and licensing before using its photos.
What websites do you use to find royalty-free images? Let us know in the comments below!
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