Best Free Stock Photo Sites
Blog posts and web page copy aren’t the only types of content that you need on your website. In fact, using only written content can make your site appear boring and unoriginal.
This is where visual content, specifically images, comes in to play. Images can add life to your content, and even break up longer pieces of text. This can draw in more readers, and keep their attention for longer periods of time.
In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of incorporating images into your website. We’ll also provide 20 examples of free stock photo websites you can use. Let’s get started!
Best Free Stock Photo Sites in 2018
- ISO Republic
- Negative Space
- Life of Pix
- Realistic Shots
- Public Domain Archive
- Free Nature Stock
Don’t Forget the Images
As we’ve mentioned, images help to break up long content, as well as fill up negative space on a website. They can also bring life to your content, and increase the average time that visitors spend on your site (which is great for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)).
Unfortunately, many bloggers and website owners will avoid using a lot of images, due to copyright issues and stock photography costs. However, stock photography doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
In fact, it doesn’t need to cost anything at all. To illustrate the point, let’s take a look at 20 of the most popular free stock photography sites.
20 of the Best Free Stock Photo Sites on the Web in 2018
While containing a smaller collection of images than some other stock photo sites, Unsplash offers high-quality, beautiful photos from dozens of talented photographers. Subjects covered include nature, business, people, and street life, and this site will appeal to website owners looking for real, raw images.
While Unsplash can be a bit difficult to navigate (when compared to other options), the use of Collections and trending search terms can help you to locate what you need quickly.
Pexels is a curated website that offers selections from photographers around the world. It touts itself as the ideal stock photo website for bloggers, and this shows in its array of people- and technology-focused collections.
One useful feature offered by Pexels is Browse. This enables you to explore at random (such as via Discover Photos) or with a particular criteria (such as color or Photo Challenges) in mind.
Pixabay is similar to Pexels, in that it offers a wide collection of curated images for use on blogs and websites. In addition to photographs, it also offers illustrations, vector graphics, and videos.
To begin exploring, you can use your own search terms to navigate the site. Or you can take a look through popular categories and Editor’s Choice images for inspiration.
Burst is a product of Shopify, and it includes high-quality images for just about any industry (including travel, business, food, and fashion). Perhaps one of the greatest things about this site is its easy-to-search categories.
The name ‘Burst’ fits quite nicely, as the majority of photos it offers have a pop of color that seems to be lacking on many other stock photo sites.
With more than 150 categories to browse, StockSnap is one of the larger stock photography sources on the web. It’s great for all manner of blogs and websites, from corporate businesses to lifestyle and nature sites.
You’ll be surprised at just how many images are available on this website, as they’re spread out quite thoroughly over many categories. New images are also added weekly, which means you can always find fresh stock photos for your website or blog.
Viktor Hanacek is the photographer behind PicJumbo, which offers colorful and vibrant images in an array of categories. It’s an excellent first stop for website owners who are looking to get a more authentic feel from their stock photos.
The Categories drop-down menu at the top of this website makes it easy to navigate. While the free options are extensive, there is also a Premium Membership available starting at $10 per month, if you have the budget for it.
FreeImages offers real-world photographs with a somewhat amateur feel. These are perfect for smaller websites, and blogs looking to create a more authentic vibe without forgoing quality.
Perhaps the greatest difference between FreeImages and most other stock photo websites is that you’ll need to create an account (although it’s free). Once that’s done, you can then download and use the images, just as you would with any other website on this list.
SkitterPhoto is a curated website with more obscure image selections, meaning that it’s useful for websites looking for a unique edge. It’s also updated frequently, with collections that reflect seasons and holidays.
If you need some inspiration, you can take a look at the Categories, or check out the Admin picks.
9. ISO Republic
A website with a selection of both professional-quality and amateur-ish photographs, ISO Republic is ideal for web designers and bloggers who are looking for more authentic images.
The site includes more than a dozen well-curated categories (including nature, textures, and travel), and it now offers stock videos as well.
Self-described as quirky and creative, Gratisography has an interesting selection of photographs for any blog or website that wants to create a more individual feel. This site was founded by Ryan McGuire, who is the genius behind the featured photographs.
The photos range from whimsical and urban to business and fashion, and almost anything in between. You’re sure to find images that aren’t featured anywhere else, which is perfect for standing out from your competitors.
11. Negative Space
A stock photography website with a more artistic feel, Negative Space is a solid resource for web designers, artists, and bloggers. It includes some less common categories, such as typography and architecture, and is quite easy to browse.
The photos on Negative Space are mostly from up-and-coming photographers, which means many selections aren’t often used on other sites. This helps you keep your site and images from feeling generic.
Next up, Freestocks is an artistic stock photo website with a community of dedicated photographers. It offers highly-vetted photos for websites and blogs.
When compared to similar sites, Freestocks has a moodier feel. Its images tend to be more abstract and offer lots of contrast, which is great for artsy blogs.
With around 1,000 photos available, SplitShire isn’t the largest stock photo website. However, it does offer enough variety to make it a worthwhile stop on your search.
With a lot of focus on contrast, as well as real-life scenarios, SplitShire can be used on many different websites. The site even offers free-to-use videos, which can add another layer of depth to your blog or business site.
An aberration in the stock photo industry, PikWizard offers images with a very natural feel. These include photos of people and landscapes, as well as nature and food.
You can easily see each image’s ‘likes’ and downloads, giving you a sense for what’s popular and what hasn’t been overused. In addition, there’s a built-in editor you can use to modify images before downloading them.
15. Life of Pix
Life of Pix offers a collection of trendy, high-resolution photos that work well across industries and on a variety of website types. With a selection of beautiful landscapes, interesting textures, and in-the-moment photos to choose from, you’ll be sure to find something that fits your needs.
To get the most from this website, you can browse its gallery options, which include architecture, black and white, textures, and urban. You can also search images by photographer or by search term.
16. Realistic Shots
With just five categories – architecture, nature, people, travel, and technology – Realistic Shots doesn’t offer the most extensive stock photo collection. However, it does provide high-quality shots for those who need vibrant and beautiful images.
While the website appears to no longer be updated, there are still quite a few photographs to browse and choose from. This makes it well worth a look.
17. Public Domain Archive
With new images added every week, Public Domain Archive offers free, high-quality images that range from abstract and artsy to professional and modern. It has a large number of collections – more than most other free stock photo websites – which makes it a smart first stop for bloggers and website owners.
The images featured on this site include older photos that have become available within the public domain, as well as the work of up-and-coming photographers.
Libreshot offers a wide selection of images. Martin Vorel, the creative mind behind the site, provides a carefully-curated and clearly-licensed collection.
Many of the images on this site have a more personal feel, and popular categories include street photography, religion and traditions, and macro photography. This website is excellent for niche websites (such as spirituality and travel).
Speaking of niche websites, Foodiesfeed is a stock photography website that is ideal for food bloggers and business owners (such as caterers and restaurateurs). It features vibrant, lifelike images that can make anyone’s mouth water.
If you’re overwhelmed by the selection on offer, you can easily browse by popular tags or trending images. This will show you the hottest photos currently featured on the website.
20. Free Nature Stock
Whether you’re looking for beautiful nature shots, or just vibrant photos to brighten up your website, Free Nature Stock has a lot to offer. The creator and photographer, Adrian Pelletier, adds photos to this collection daily.
Of course, this is an ideal choice for nature bloggers. However, any website with a ‘natural’ vibe – such as a health food store or homeopathic practitioner – can browse the many options available.
Pitfalls of Using Stock Photos on a Website
Using stock photos on your website, either free or paid, can offer many benefits. However, there are also some potential pitfalls to watch out for.
One of the biggest cons to using stock photos is that they’re used everywhere – on other blogs, websites, news articles, and more. This can make your content seem less unique. It can also be easy to tell if certain types of photos are stock images, which further reduces your content’s perceived originality.
In addition, stock photos don’t enable you to showcase your brand. They can also introduce licensing issues, which can cost you credibility and money if images are used illegally on your site. For that reason, it’s important to be careful when it comes to image licensing.
Licensing Stock Photos
Copyright can be a difficult subject, but one that bloggers and website owners must understand if they want to protect themselves from fines and legal actions. So, what exactly does copyright have to do with stock photos?
Stock photos, just like all other images available on the web, require proper licensing in order for you to use them. In many cases, this licensing is purchased. However, it can also be given freely, which is the case with free stock photo websites.
When using an image on your website that you haven’t paid for, always be sure that it’s completely free to use for both personal and commercial purposes. Many stock photo sites will have their images licensed under the public domain, so you can find the information you need easily.
Get Support for More Common WordPress Questions from WP Engine
Although all your stock photo questions should now be answered, you may have other concerns about how to optimize your website. WP Engine offers reliable service and support to all our customers, which ensures that you’re never left without an answer to your WordPress-related questions.
To learn more about WordPress and get the answers you need, you can check out WP Engine’s Resource Center!