The difference between amateur and professional portraits can be vast…
It’s not always easy to find the perfect photo for your website or blog post. And when we say perfect, we mean legally perfect! The last thing anyone needs after writing the perfect post is to search through endless pages of expensive stock photos: it’s much easier to simply Google the term and ‘borrow’ one of their images. But of course we all know that’s illegal, don’t we! And, we must remember that there are serious fines for borrowing images. So, we’ve created a list of 14 sites where you can source free digital photos.
1. CG Textures
As implied by the title, CG textures offers mainly textures. This site was created by a graphic designer for use by other graphic designers, and it makes creating textures fun and super-easy. Importantly, everything featured on this site is free, but you will be asked to sign up in order to access the photo collection. If you prefer actual photos, and you have the time to browse, you’ll also find an assortment of traditional photos, like animals and skulls. Plus, there’s a pretty cool gallery showcasing how textures have been used successfully – great for sourcing new ideas!
2. Creative Commons
You’ll find Creative Commons one of the best sites for public domain content; whether you’re looking for audio, photos, or something else. There’s a handy search utility which allows you to enter a search term and filter the results based on Fotopedia, Flickr, Google Images, Pixabay and other reputable photo hosting sites. Creative Commons searches for images with Creative Commons licenses, meaning that some images may not fall under public domain; however, many can still be used under certain conditions.
Dreamstime is quite similar to Shutterstock, but it does include a section of free digital photos. You’ll be asked for a user sign-in, and credits will be required to download some photos. Of all the sites, Dreamstime probably has the best variety because it pulls from Creative Commons and other websites.
4. Every Stock Photo
EveryStockPhoto comes highly recommended because it provides access to a huge resource of free stock images. The site compiles images from a wealth of resources, then showcases them in either a column or thumbnail view. When you click on an image, you’ll be shown the license type, photographer, resolution, and other information. There are different licence options, and you’ll be asked to register for a free account.
5. Free Images
Formally Stock.xchng, FreeImages is one of the most exhaustive directories of open-source images. Thousands of pictures are on offer from a diverse set of categories, and it’s searchable, making it an incredible time saver when you’re busy. You’ll be asked to sign up for a free account, but once you’re in you’ll have access to more than 400,000 images. Some are free to use: with others you must either notify the artist or abide by the outlined restrictions.
Flickr is the biggest photo sharing site on the Internet, and is used by many of the world’s top photographers. Not only is Flickr the home of millions of protected images, it’s a terrific source for locating Creative Commons-licensed material, including some that’s made its way into the public domain. Not everyone agrees to their photos being used commercially, so visit the Advanced Search Page before you begin and check the original content owner’s restrictions on their images. Some images are not subject to copyright and can be used for all purposes, including commercial. Others might require a simple attribution, or hyperlink back to the source.
7. Historical Stock Photos
If you’re looking for an historical image for an email or your personal website, then Historical Stock Photos is the site for you. If you’re a writer of American-centric fiction or other historical fiction, you’ll find this site an excellent resource for images.
Kozzi is another great site for free stock images. Searching is a breeze, the quality of the images is fantastic, and there’s even a lightbox for saving images for later use. Click on the Free Embed Images link to discover how you can use millions of professional stock images for free.
9. Open Photo
Openphoto has been going for a while now and has built up a solid collection of stock photos. They’re arranged in well-chosen categories, and when you click on any of these you’ll be taken to a thumbnail gallery of related images.
10. Pic Jumbo
Picjumbo has extremely high-resolution photos (requiring no attribution), and it’s easy to navigate. There’s a great collection of food shots, so if you’re running a nutrition-themed start-up or a restaurant, it would definitely be worth your while to have a look here.
11. Stock Vault
Stockvault is ideal for designers, photographers and students, with more than 37,000 images. Stockvault has a high-quality collection of stock photos, in addition to clip art, logo templates, textures and backgrounds. Ideal if you’re searching for graphics for your website, but remember that Stockvault images are only free for personal, non-commercial use.
12. Super Famous
Folkert Gorter is a Dutch artist, and together with his peers at SuperFamous they curate these super-high resolution images, which are perfect for desktop backgrounds or for use in website design.
Not exactly your typical stock photography website, Unsplash adds 10 new royalty-free photos every 10 days, all of which can be downloaded. The photos are always breathtakingly beautiful, and vary from landscapes to animal close-ups, intimate portraits to automobiles. Unfortunately, there’s no way of searching for specific images, but still worth casual browsing and stockpiling photos for future use!
14. Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia has more than 60 million free media files available, and is the perfect tool for locating different types of public-domain content: all you need to do is attribute the original author or licenser. With an extensive list of categories, Wikimedia has a public domain category for filtering your results: enter PD before your search term and the results will be limited to public domain images.
And now that you’ve used our list to source your perfect photo, why not allow us to transform your new favourite beautiful image into a unique canvas artwork? You can probably already visualise this image taking pride of place on a wall in your home.