A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the best places to find free fonts online, so this week I thought I'd show you where to find the best free stock photos to use on your blog or website.
A Note On Licenses
Before I tell you where to find the best photos, you need to understand how licenses work. When we are using free stock images we will be dealing with Creative Commons Licenses. As defined by Wikipedia:
'A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. A CC license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that they have created.'
There are several different types of CC licenses which have different conditions upon the uses and distribution allowed under the license e.g. a CC BY license allows for free use and modification (editing), even for commercial purposes so long as attribution to the original author is given.
For our purposes as bloggers the CC license we are interested in is CC0 which is free of any restriction. This means you can use, share and modify for free an image for commercial purposes without needing to give attribution or ask for permission. All the websites I have listed here only include photos that are under the CC0 license in their collection. This will make your job easier as you won't have to worry about checking the license of the photos from these sites before using it.
I write more extensively about licences as they apply to all free design resources inside The Design Vault, where you'll also find all of the best free design software, tools and resources. This post is actually a sneak peak inside the Vault.
KamboomPics is a collection of free photos from Polish Photographer and Designer Karolina. She has hundreds of stunning photos free for commercial use with no attribution required, (however she does appreciate a little mention if you want to support her work). There are lots of shots of office desk layouts, technology, stationery, city scenes and landscapes.
Unsplash adds 10 new photos every 10 days to its ever growing collection. Created by the team at Crew, who provide a platform to bring designers and clients with projects together, Unsplash is one of the original free stock image websites of quality photos. It was originally created for designers so the quality of the photos is very high. Their landscape and nature shots are particularly impressive.
Curated by the guys at Snappa, StockSnap is a collection of photos from their network of photographers and the best free stock photos from around the web. Adding hundreds of photos each week, the StockSnap team make sure that only the nicest photos are included in their collection. Stocksnap also has a great search function and also tracks views and downloads so you can see which photos are the most popular.
SplitShire is Italian designer and photographer Daniel Nanescu's large collection of photos. Knowing how hard it is to find good quality, free photos for design, Daniel decided to start sharing his photos for other designers, bloggers and marketers to use for free. You can browse by selecting one of his 21 categories (including, fashion, landscapes, things, and backgrounds) or use the search bar.
Created by Leeroy Advertising agency to share free stock photos from their network of photographers with other designers and advertisers. The collection features a lot of great landscape and cityscape photos.
Created in 2013 by designer and photographer Viktor Hanacek. The site is a collection of more than 800 of Viktor's photos. Picjumbo has a very cool Test Drive feature which gives you some examples of how the image could be used. You can browse by categories and tags or use the search bar.
Their collection is not quite as extensive as some of the other sites but the photos they do have are all high quality. The thing I like about Negative Space is the ability to filter your search by copy space (i.e. space for text) as well as colour and category.
Pixabay has a collection of over 550 000 free photos, vectors and videos. It has a very extensive search function so you can filter results by image type, size, orientation, colour and category. While there is a lot of great images on Pixabay there is also a lot of junk so it's not a site that you'd just browse through. You are best to know what type of image you are looking for and, with keywords, using the search function.