Best Sources for FREE Stock Photos
Do you have a blog that you would like to have access to high resolution stock photos to really make your blog stand out? Or perhaps, you are a small business owner and would like to use high quality photos for advertising or on your website…. if either of those scenarios describes you, read on.
There are a lot of places that you can find free stock photos. Sometimes you can sign up for a free membership and have them emailed to you. Other sites provide some for free, but require you to pay for others. Or have restrictions on when and where you are allowed to use the photos. When I am looking for stock photos, I don’t want to have to spend a lot of time searching for sites or worry about having to provide attribution… finding high quality, photos that are truly free and don’t require attribution, and from a trusted source is what I am looking for.
The absolute worst thing that anyone can do, whether on their blog or personal/business website, is to post a picture that they have searched for on Google images without attribution. DON’T EVER DO THAT. Many of those images are copyrighted or not a part of Creative Commons (CC0). Using those images could have very negative consequences, such as lawsuits or fines.
I have used sources that I have paid for in the past, but have more recently found a few great sources that provide high quality photos, which have been released under Creative Commons (CC0). Creative Commons Zero “enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright- or database-protected content to waive those interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.”
So here are my three favorite sites that provide great photos, and can even be used commercially… and best of all, I don’t have to worry about attribution. Each of these sites has a search option where you can enter in a topic or you can simply just scroll through the gallery of photos.
On Pixabay you may find and share images free of copyrights. All pictures are released under Creative Commons CC0 into the public domain. According to their website, “All images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty-free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. Attribution is not required.” You can read more about Pixabay’s policy here.
Unsplash is another great resource for high resolution images that are released under Creative Commons CC0. This website allows you to do whatever you want (all photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash) with the high-resolution photos on their website. What I like about Unsplash, in particular, is that the site adds 10 new photos every 10 days, so you always have fresh images to choose from.
Pexels is also a website that offers free stocks photos, which you can use without attribution:
“all photos on Pexels are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means the pictures are completely free to be used for any legal purpose.
- The pictures are free for personal and even for commercial use.
- You can modify, copy and distribute the photos.
- All without asking for permission or setting a link to the source. So that attribution is not required.
The CC0 license was released by the non-profit organization Creative Commons (CC). Get more information about the license on the official license page.”
*I have included links to each website’s policy of use and to Creative Commons, so make sure you check those out before downloading and using any of the photos…