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47+ Of The Best, Most Beautiful Websites For Free Stock Photos (Because Risking Your Biz For A Free Photo Is Silly!)

  |   Business Tips, Resources, Website Design   |   85 Comments

30+ of the best free stock photo websites for your blog and business. (Regularly updated!) Nothing but gorgeous stock photos!

 

I’m a hopeless sucker for pretty, free photos. Especially of chic office spaces with colorful, curvy chairs, elegant white desks, and gleaming Macs.

 

Every time I spot an image like that on Pinterest, I think about how ridiculously perfect it would be for my next blog post.

 

But, alas, you won’t see those photos here.

 

Why? Because those photos — which seem so casually and easily available — actually aren’t free to use.

 

At all.

 

They belong to somebody, somewhere, and that person or company has legal rights to the exclusive use of that photo.

 

It makes no difference whether they were taken by Penny Q. Smith for her obscure personal blog about thumbtack art or were published on KateSpade.com…if I used them, I’d be breaking the law.

 

(And could easily be served a crippling $8,000 in copyright infringement fines.)

 

My business does well, but I don’t have large sums of money laying around to throw at random things like, oh, stiff copyright penalties. Do you?

 

IMAGE COPYRIGHT LAW IN SIMPLE TERMS

 

According to copyright law, you are financially liable for using copyrighted images on your website (or for other graphic art, such as the cover for your free e-book). 

 

It doesn’t matter if:

 

  • You link back to the photo source and give attribution to the photographer
  • Your website isn’t for business use/you make no money from your blog
  • You did it innocently
  • You take the photo down after receiving a DMCA takedown notice 
  • The picture is licensed to your Web developer/designer
  • You have a disclaimer on your site
  • The photo is embedded instead of saved on your server
  • The photo isn’t full-size
  • You found it on Pinterest//Twitter/Instagram/Facebook/etc.
  • Another business or blogger used the photo

 

Unless you’ve received express permission or have legitimately purchased usage rights, you can’t post copyrighted photos. Period.

 

Grabbing that perfect image for your next blog post may seem harmless, especially if you’ve seen it used all over the web, but it can hurt you in a big way. Don’t you dare do that to yourself or the business you love.

 

WHERE TO FIND BEAUTIFUL FREE STOCK PHOTOS

 

While the standard advice to avoid all this trouble is “just take your own photo,” that solution is unrealistic for many businesses. Taking photos is time-consuming! Plus, you can’t always capture exactly what you want.

 

(And you know that standard free stock images aren’t a good option either; they’re overwhelmingly cheesy and uninteresting.)

 

I realize what a hassle it is to find an excellent free stock photo, so below I’m sharing the “best of the best” in free CC0 image sources. They are my personal favorites: all have gorgeous photos, and yes, almost all are 100% free to use commercially.

 

I’ve included just a few extra CC photo sites that require attribution, can’t be modified, or have special licensing restrictions for commercial use; I’ve marked them, but be sure to double check them yourself as the terms may change.

 

Bookmark/Pin this page, as I’ll keep adding to it!

 

1. Picjumbo

 

2. Unsplash

 

3. Death to the Stock Photo

 

4. Jay Mantri

 

5. Little Visuals (no longer updated)

 

6. Magdeleine

 

7. Getrefe

 

8. Gratisography

 

9. Foodie’s Feed

 

10. Picography

 

11. Splitshire

 

12. Skitterphoto

 

13. IM Free (attribution required; some may have modification restrictions)

 

14. Lime Lane Photography (can’t modify the images)

 

15. Live Loud Texas  (no longer available)

 

 

You have gorgeous photos for your blog + biz. Now take it to the next level:

 

The free 21 day ecourse that creates pro online impressions for business owners!

 

 

 

*Jan. 2015 / EDITED TO ADD:

 

16. Pixabay

 

17. Life of Pix

 

18. Moveast

 

19. Stokpic 

 

20. Public Domain Archive

 

21. New Old Stock

 

22. Pexels

 

*Feb. 2015 / EDITED TO ADD:

 

23. Snapwire Snaps

 

*May 2015 / EDITED TO ADD:

 

24. Kaboompics

 

25. FancyCrave

 

*June 2015 / EDITED TO ADD:

 

26. Instastock

 

27. StockSnap

 

28. Stocka

 

29. Startup Stockphotos

 

30. Negative Space

 

*August 2015 / EDITED TO ADD:

 

31. ISO Republic

 

32. Franken Fotos

 

33. Designers Pics

 

*October 2015 / EDITED TO ADD:

 

34. Cupcake

 

35. Bucketlisty (must attribute — see licensing details)

 

36. Epicantus

 

37. Splashbase

 

*December 2015 / EDITED TO ADD:

 

38. The Stockpile

 

39. Photo Collections

 

40. TookAPic

 

41. Creative Vix

 

42. Shutteroo

 

43. Barn Images

 

44. Good Stock Photos

 

*January 2016 / EDITED TO ADD:

 

45. cc0.photo

 

46. MMT

 

47. Photocrops

 

48. Travel Coffee Book

 

*April 2016 / EDITED TO ADD:

 

49. Rawpixel (email required)

 

50. Creative Convex (email required)

 

51. Re:splashed

 

52. Titiana Foto (in German)

 

 

 

>> Click below to tweet out this post!

 

I’m loving this heroic list of 43+ beautiful, FREE #CC0 stock photo sites from @OlyviaMedia. Regularly updated!

 

 

Erika Madden

(Chief Olyvia)

 

 

The free 21 day ecourse that creates pro online impressions for business owners!

 

 

  • Thanks for mentioning Picograpahy in the list 🙂

  • Erika, I love your “it doesn’t matter if” section, because a lot of those things seem to make sense, but still don’t make it right. This is a great resource that I’ll be soooo happy to refer people to when they have some of the questions you answered here. Thank you for taking the time to put together such valuable resources.

    • I think A LOT of people get confused about images when it comes to the web, don’t you think? I know years ago I didn’t know a thing, and probably used photos I shouldn’t have because frankly I didn’t know better. (If it’s on the internet, it’s free, right?) It pays (or is it saves?!) to know at least the basics!

      I’m so glad you liked the post. Especially because I consider you the Resource Queen! (Seriously.)

  • Hi everyone! I am a fellow entrepreneur and we are getting ready to launch our own royalty free stock website. It is http://www.table19stock.com and right now you can sign up for a free monthly photo set. We take all our own photos so you never have to worry about legal issues! We love helping you tell your visual brand story and look forward to getting to know each of our subscribers and their business!

  • Amy

    Thanks Erika for this list. I found this post on pinterest and have referred back to it many times now!

    • Amy, oh you are more than welcome! I’m so glad it’s proved helpful for you! Thank you for letting me know. 🙂

  • I’ve made use of this list about 7 times in the past couple weeks while i”m playing around with some ideas. Thanks for putting this together!

    • Yay Nicole! I’m so glad to hear that. hehe I’m sure it sounds weird, but I am always looking at this post for myself, too! (Why don’t I just bookmark them all? I don’t know.)

  • Hi,
    Please also check out http://www.goodfreephotos.com for thousands of public domain photos. Appreciate it if you could add it to your list. Thanks.

  • Ariella

    Thanks for sharing these sites. I try really hard to take my own photos for my personal blog, even if they suck. I’m a news writer at a nonprofit and I’m so tired of using the same free stock photos over and over. This will really help freshen up things.

    • I hear you, Ariella. It is always fun to mix things up and find fresh content. I’m glad you found the list helpful. 🙂

  • Kate Mitchell

    I love this list! Thank you for providing it.

  • Great resource! Thanks for sharing!

  • Very helpful list…pinning now!

  • Thanks for compiling this list! Many of these I didn’t know about. Love learning new things from you and your website!

    • Thank you for saying that, Dee! You are too kind. BTW I am lovingloving your blog too — you take some mighty great (not to mention mouthwatering) photos yourself!

  • debbielq

    Thanks! This is such a helpful list.

  • Chelsey

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I wrote a post a while back about blogging legally, but I think you covered the photography aspect better than I did. 😛 If you don’t mind, I’m going to add this link to that post so my readers can see it and be more aware. Thanks!

    • Chelsey, I am totally honored — of course you may link to it. And I’d really love reading YOUR post if you’d like to share the link with me. 🙂

  • mrsmarieosborne

    Thanks for these ideas! I’m definitely pinning for later.

  • Great article Erika!

    I recently started http://fancycrave.com/ as a side project a few months ago. The site consists of completely free stock photos all taken and edited by me. It’s basically a collection of images from my travels around South East Asia and South America (soon). My aim for these photos is to help designers and creative alike. People can use these images for whatever purpose they please.

    I do not make any income from the website. I keep things very simple. I list the photo, its tags, the author, and the download link.

    I hope you and others will find it valuable. If you see it fit, I’d be very grateful if you could add it to this list. Cheers!

    • I love the site, Igor. Gorgeous photography. I’ve added it to the list! Thanks for mentioning it.

  • Simone Carmona

    This page showed up on my Pinterest feed yesterday, and boy was I happy it did. Awesome links, thank you!

    Another thing that bugs me is when people use fonts that are only free for personal use, without purchasing a commercial-use license. I exchanged a few e-mails with Kimberly Geswein (the great designer behind the KG and Janda fonts) regarding what “commercial use” meant, and she kindly explained that it’s not only using a font in something that you sell (a printable on Etsy, for instance) – if you make any money from your blog, the use of the font in a title, for instance, drives traffic, which in turn drives profit, thus characterizing commercial use. Since I’m in the process of creating a blog myself, I cataloged all my fonts (using NexusFont) to know which ones I can use without infringing any licensing rules.

    • Thank you for that distinction, Simone! Licensing terms can vary even across different seller platforms (for instance, on MyFonts any graphics you create for your website still fall under the standard Desktop license, but to embed a font in a website you’d need the Webfont license) so it’s really good to keep aware of what the seller dictates in the fine print.

  • MarshallKohl

    Very useful article, thank you, Erika;) If you don’t mind, I’d like to add one more great source with more than 40 thousands photo themes for website creating – templatemonster.com .

  • Amber Valencia

    I love how you keep this post updated! Awesome resource with great links! You are *sings* awesome!

  • I get mine at freepik.com – they have photos, icons, and, most importantly for me, vectors. Sometimes they aggregate photos from other sites (like unsplash).

  • Thank you so much for this list. I have visited a number of these resources myself for my own blog and these sites are incredible! The photos are very high quality and “wow” worthy. You did a great job of compiling a list and being generous to share it with many bloggers. Thank you again and have a wonderful day!

  • Girl I love you for this post. Thank you for doin the leg work for all of us. I just shared this post all over so I hope it brings you tons of traffic.

    • Thank you, Dani — that is so kind of you. 🙂 I’m happy to do the work!

  • I recently located your site and have pinned several of your posts, including this one. Extremely helpful! Thanks for sharing.

    • Of course, Jay! I’m thrilled that you’re finding helpful posts here. 🙂 Thank you so much for your comment.

  • Excellent list! Just came across this from Pinterest. Thanks for putting all of them up in this one place.

  • Mama Nikki

    I am so glad I found your site. I am still SO new to the blogging world. I try my best and feel like I am constantly researching; I will definitely be bookmarking your site. Thank you so much 🙂

  • This is amazing! I’ve been sharing it with my online blogging friends, thank you so much 🙂

  • Tyler Provick

    I like this article because I’ve cut down on taking random pictures from the internet for a while now. One suggestion if you absolutely want to use someone else’s picture:
    Ask for permission. Sometimes asking for permission is all that is required. I’ve asked companies and artists whether I can use their images. In many cases I’ve been rewarded with a big zip full of images and permission.

  • The Pet Inquirer

    Thanks for creating this great list! Just thought you should know that some of your links aren’t attached to the sites mentioned anymore. The ones I noticed were IM Free and Live Loud Texas.

  • Hayley Taylor

    Thank you so much for this fabulous list. I honestly never knew that these types of sites existed. I have always been too scared to use pinterest or other internet photos. So I’ve had to resort to taking cell phone photos when I am not meeting with my photographer. This list is going to help so much with my blog!

    Hayley
    styledandtaylored.com

  • This is an excellent list! Bookmarked :).

  • Thank you so much for this list. I refer to it all the time and I share it around with my networks, who also love it!

    • Yay, I am so glad to hear that! Thank YOU. 🙂

  • I’m a new blogger, and I just have to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK you for this list. I never would have found these sites without it, and it has really made a difference, not only in my blog’s aesthetic, but also in how motivated I feel about it. A pretty blog is beneficial to both the reader AND writer.

    • YAY Holly! That’s exactly why I create this post, so what a joy it is to hear that you’ve benefited from it. And I couldn’t agree more — when we like our blog’s aesthetic, it is DEFINITELY more motivating to commit to it.

  • Found this post via Pinterest. This is an excellent resource! Everything in one place. Thanks so much for this! Priyanka | http://socialmediawithpb.com

  • Radmila

    Great list of resources. Thanks for sharing!

  • Giorgio Galeotti

    Here is my “Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike” photo site: http://fotodispalle.com

  • baltensperger

    Thanks for this article. For my webprojects i search free images on http://free-stock.photo they have many free photos.

  • Austen

    howcome these images are free? Curious….

    • Hey Austen, it’s because the photographers have chosen to offer them as such. 🙂

      • Austen

        Well that’s very nice of them 🙂

  • Pradistiani

    Thanks for share it. We (blogger) really need this

  • Demetria Kelly

    OMG you have no idea how important this is to me! I’m a new blogger and I want to make sure I get everythign right. I have been a blogging amatuer for about three months now and I have NEVER come across an article that gives this much info in laymans terms! Life saver, that’s what you are!

  • SimplyAnnie

    Fabulous post! I just started my blog and am looking for helpful posts just like this and others you’ve posted 🙂

  • Manish

    Hi Erika,
    Firstly to say in advance a very happy new year. Your blog listing is easy to understand to everybody, So it is very useful. I am also including your blog listing sites for my website submission.

  • Fiona

    Hello Erika, Thank you so much for a wonderful post, I found this so helpful in setting up my blog that I’ve written a post with blogs that helped me get started on my journey. I’ve included you in this post and hope you don’t mind.
    Kindest regards

    Fiona
    fizzyPicz.com

  • Amelia

    Just want to say I reference this post all the time for my blog – thank you for compiling all this info!!

    http://www.ceoinprogress.com

  • Lyla

    Hi – Can these photos be printed for Resale?

  • Hey Erika! Another good one is http://createherstock.com offers both free and paid options.

  • Christina

    Thank you for the information about where to get photos. This will help me a lot since I just started blogging recently and was not sure which and where to get the pictures.

  • Linda Lockman

    Erika, I just watched your PicMonkey video. What a huge help for me!! Thank you so much.

  • Thank You For Featuring My Work! 🙂

    Best,
    Karolina // http://www.kaboompics.com

  • Nicole ‘Andersen’ Brown

    Thank you for the information. I am wondering what the rules for youtube or vevo videos are for blogging?

  • Nicole ‘Andersen’ Brown

    Sorry I’m not positive that my question was posted before. Love this information- thank you for keeping it updated – helps those of us that are later into the ‘blog game’. Do you recommend posting youtube or vevo videos to your site to use for content?

  • Stuart Miles

    Hi,

    Recently I started http://BusinessImagesFree.com/ . The site is made up of totally free stock images all owned by me that people may use for whatever reason they want to with no need for attribution. Please have a look…

  • Thank you for sharing your list! It was very helpful for me and my growing blogg business. 🙂

    Sandramarias.com

  • amelia

    Just wanted to say thank you for this list! I’ve pinned it and look back to it on almost every one of my blog posts! 🙂 http://www.ceoinprogress.com

  • sue

    instastock seems to be defunct now.

  • wow! I had no idea there were so many! I knew about Unsplash and Death to stock photo, but no anything else.

  • Lifestyle91

    Thank you SO much for this list! Once upon a time I saw myself as an amateur photographer, but as technology has increased and my time to spend on photos has decreased it is so helpful to have resources available with the perfect free stock photo to use. Sometimes you just can’t find the time to take that perfect pic but it’s great to be able to find them online! Thanks agin!

  • Hi Olyvia, this is a great post and very informative on the legal side of stock photos. Also, thank you for adding Good Stock Photos to your list, really appreciate it!

  • Alpine Place

    Thank you this is great information! I was wondering in terms of the copyright law…I know it is incredibly complicated, but do you know if there are images taken from the internet and used in artwork in a “fair use” type of format that would allow it to be acceptable?

  • First of All Thank you Erika for this awesome web list of royalty free stock photo. Earlier I was using Adobe Photoshop for my blog Digital Doubt, obviously it was taking a lot more time to make a idea express photo. Sometime feels lazy and just used the article headline instead of creating photo. Now you have given me a choice to pick the right photo for my next article. I have bookmarked this page. Once again thank you for share this beautiful collection.

  • Shafaq O

    Hi Erika! Stumbled on your blog through pinterest! Must say this is the best list so far! I do
    bi-weekly stock photos give aways too and would love to know what you
    think! http://www.voguewebventures.com/

  • dialyn

    38. The Stockpile
    FYI. No longer available.

  • Thank you for featuring Kaboompics! <3

  • Laura Stinson

    Loving all the links! Unfortunately, #26, Instastock no longer works.

  • Thank you for this! Sometimes one website gets boring and repetitive or they don’t have what you need. Paying for them is just silly!

  • OMG thank you SO much for this ! I needed those free pics! 🙂

  • Erika, thanks for this post! As a newbie blogger located outside of the US, I find the info all the more useful.

  • Hi Erika,

    You are one of the few people that actually took the time to explain the copyright story in clear and understandable language. I think it’s really important for bloggers to understand the risk they take when using images without the proper permission. Thank you for that!

    I’m an avid photographer myself and support the creative community by offering free stock photos on my site.

    My site Is called OneLeft Media and it’s a thinking-outside-the-box stock photo library that offers professional artwork for free without copyright restrictions. No nonsense, just quality artwork and easy downloads, the way it’s supposed to be 🙂
    I also create new artwork and update the site every other week with 10 original photos made by me.

    My project can be visited at http://www.oneleftmedia.com. I Hope you like my work and I would feel honored if you could add me to your list.

    Thanks again for the great article!
    Lior

  • Chris Andrew

    Thank you for sharing so much sites to get free photos i personally love pixabay and using it for a very long time

    Regards
    Chris

  • This is soooooo amazing! Holy moly! Too many to go through in one sitting. Thanks so much for compiling this list for us. x