It is always frustrating when you get that email from someone suggesting you are using one of their images without permission. It becomes a nightmare when the threats of legal action follow.
With Stock Photography sites like Getty Images and Shutter Stock seeming to frequently increase their prices, the availability of Free Stock Photography has become more popular.
Fortunately, free stock libraries do exist, if you know where to look. Below are the top 20 free stock photography libraries on the internet.
Unsplash is totally free, in fact they position themselves as a “do whatever you want” high resolution image provider. What is interesting about Unsplash is they are part user generated, meaning that a wide selection of images available have been submitted by community members for others to download and use for free.
The site refreshes with 10 new royalty free images every 10 days and there are plenty of stunning images and landscapes available.
Pixabay offers nearly 700k free, high resolution images, illustrations and vectors. Pixabay also offers one of the best search facilities of any Stock Photography website allowing users to search a wide range of media types and categories. Pixabay also offers free stock videos.
Gratisography offers many new images each week, which are uploaded and available to download and use for free. The site was created by the inspired Ryan McGuire, a web designer by trade. This site includes some truly spectacular images.
Viktor Hanacek created PicJumbo which is arguably the most accessible site in the top 20. The site has been carefully created to ensure search facilities remain seamless with no attribution required. The majority of the images have been uploaded by Viktor himself, although not all.
5.) Stock Vault
Tens of thousands of high resolution, free images are available on Stock Vault. Users can filters through images using a range of filtering options such as most viewed, recently added and most downloaded. The site is easy to navigate as are the search tools. Hundreds of new images are added to the site every week and available to users for free.
MorgueFile is a relatively simple site with a highly efficient layout. Although the image library is smaller than some of the other sites mentioned their range and categories cover a wide range of options and topics.
Wylio is one of the many free stock image sites that uses the Flickr API to populate its libraries. Although membership is required for the basic level access, the site offers more than a million high quality and high resolution images.
123RF is a well-known free stock image provider with more than 35 million images, vectors and illustrations available in their libarary. 123RF also offer millions of audio and video libraries for members to search, download and use for free.
500PX is known to be an excellent source of user generated high resolution images across a wide range of topics. As the images available through 500PX are community driven, not all images are free. However, you can still source thousands of high quality images and vectors using the simple search and navigation tools.
Pexels has been widely regarded as the best free stock photography website for a number of years. It has been somewhat overshadowed by the emergence of other large libraries in recent years but still remains an excellent source of free, high resolution images. Up to 50 high quality images are added to their library every day which can be accessed through an extremely user-friendly user interface and control panel.
11.) Super Famous
Super Famous has been produced by a Dutch artist called Folkert Gorter. The website offers some truly unique and exquisite high resolution images, which can be downloaded and used for free. The image collection would serve very well in web design projects and as desktop backgrounds.
12.) IM Free
The images provided by IM Free are equally as impressive as those you will source through paid stock image libraries. Although the library is quite small, the images are of excellent quality. IM Free also provide a free website building tool which is quite cool.
13.) Stock Snap
Stock Snap is another site that offers a broad range of free stock photography for use in private or commercial settings. According to the latest news from Stock Snap, hundreds of new images are added every week, ensuring that one of the largest free image libraries is available anywhere on the net. You can also access user generated imagery and add images yourself for others to download by signing up.
14.) Free Images
With more than 400k free stock images available via a series of search functions, FreeImages.com is certainly a site to consider when sourcing imagery.
A relatively small site with a modest free image library, Splitshare allows standard users to download a single image per download or premium members to download images and videos in bulk. Splitshare has a good collection of creative imagery available.
16.) Little Visuals
Little Visuals has a distinctive method of providing free stock imagery. Simply register and enter some specifications and Little Visuals will send you 7 free images each week, direct to your email. You can also download images, one by one. There are plenty of high resolution landscapes available.
Albumarium has a medium sized image gallery, an excellent search facility and does not require registration for users to download images. The images are generally high quality and high resolution.
Bigfoto has been around for over a decade, actually founded in the year 2000. Bigfoto has many categories for users to search and holds within it some genuine gems, but you need to search for them.
19.) Free Photo
One of the only completely unrestricted sites in this top 20 list. Free Photo allows users to download a vast range of top quality stock imagery and use the image in whichever way they require, including editing the images. The site provides a range of categories specifically for commercial use.
20.) My Stock Photos
The images available through My Stock Photos have been created by professional photographers and are generally of high quality. The free stock imagery would suit both personal and commercial projects.
Before committing to purchase stock images, consider the above free stock image sites. Across these 20 free sites, many millions of wonderful, high resolution images are available to use for free, with no risk.
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