Stock Photos for Free: Where to Find the Best Images

Posted on February 27, 2023 | Updated on June 12, 2023

Up-and-coming designers likely do not have all the money in the world. While investing a bit in a career is completely fine, finding places to access resources without paying is a boon. It allows you to save money in specific areas so you can spend those savings on something beneficial. Some aspects of the job will be more expensive than others, but locating decent images does not have to be. Where are the best places to find stock photos for free?

Luckily, there are plenty of options out there. Some photographers are willing to offer their gorgeous shots as stock images free for designers of any kind to use. Whether you have a bit of cash to spend or must cut costs wherever possible, these sites are fantastic sites to utilize. Just because they are free does not mean they’re low quality either — in fact, the sources often pride themselves on beautiful captures. Here are some of the best websites to find stock photos for free.

1. Unsplash

Unsplash is full of gorgeous and high-quality images designers can use for almost any project. Just use the search feature to look up what you need and there might just be something that fits the design requirements perfectly. Each photo on Unsplash is free under their license, so there is no need to worry about paying for or altering the image. The picture will also show how many downloads it has received, so designers can be choosy about which ones they pick.

Some photographers do ask for acknowledgment, but doing so is up to the designer and client’s discretion. They may also ask for a donation, but do not feel obligated to if you do not have sufficient funds. Spreading the wealth is always kind — however, some are not in the place to do so. Regardless, Unsplash is a fantastic resource for finding stock photos for free.

2. Burst by Shopify

Burst is — as the full name implies — a source owned by Shopify to help businesses find images for their needs. It features beautiful photography in all sorts of categories, so locating a shot to suit your needs could be a breeze. They also offer photo kits for various business types to choose from. If a designer needs a few photos in a similar niche, using these photography packs could prove very useful.

This site does encourage crediting the original photographer, which does make sense. It is important for them to receive recognition for their beautiful work. Check out the full legal terms on their website to determine if an image is available to edit or if it must remain as is. Burst does promote using its offerings to create store pages, packaging or products.

3. Reshot

Reshot is unique on this list because it does not offer photography. Instead, it has icons and illustrations anyone is free to use. If your next project requires digital art rather than photography, Reshot could be one of the best places to look. It has a plethora of options — more than 40,000 icons and over 1,500 vector illustrations. Reshot also allows designers to download what they need in multiple formats, making your life much easier.

Right on the website’s landing page, it says all images are free for designers to download. Their commercial license is short, sweet and to the point — you are free to use whatever you need and attribute if you feel like it. When you need a great illustration rather than a photograph, Reshot is an excellent resource to utilize.

4. Kaboompics

This site is just one of the many that offer stunning and high-quality photography images. It is a great place to find stock photos for free because many brands of note use their services — Forbes, Cosmopolitan and Uber are just a few examples. Kaboompics’s search engine also allows you to browse by category, orientation, mode and color. It also allows you to download the images at a custom size, along with the color palette of the photo and its HEX colors.

The only time Kaboompics does not allow the sale of its photography is if the image is entirely unaltered. If the design makes the shot unique, then it is OK to sell on products. As with the other sites, this one does not require attribution but does appreciate it if doing so is possible.

5. FreeImages

With an on-the-nose name, FreeImages is a comprehensive resource for finding stock photos for free. It does not stop at photography — the site also offers icons, vectors, clipart and PSD templates. All this content is free for any designer to download, transform and utilize for whatever project they create. Such a wide variety of available assets makes FreeImages a fantastic resource to keep in mind.

However, they do have notable terms on their License page. Like Kaboompics, any image used commercially must have decent alterations. You also cannot use any of these photos for a logo, business name or trademark. FreeImages also states on this page that some of the content may not be available for commercial use or requires attribution, so be sure to check the license information on the image’s page.

6. Pexels

Pexels is another popular place to find stock photos for free. Along with images, they offer stock videos if any designer requires such a file. You can download each picture with a set or unique size, gather several into a collection and view images with similar colors or tags. Its search filters allow you to find what you need in any orientation, size or HEX code. You can also get the videos in various quality sizes, so you know exactly what you are getting when you download them.

All photos and videos are free to download and edit as you please. Like other sites, attributing to Pexels photographers is not necessary but is appreciated. The site does not allow you to sell its photos if you have not altered them in any way that makes them unique. It also asks that you do not imply any endorsement by the people or products in the images you use. Besides that, Pexels lets you utilize its offerings however you wish.

Utilize the Best Stock Photos for Free for Gorgeous Designs

Free stock photos are significant to designers and small businesses alike. By not having to pay for the license to an image, you are free to create eye-catching and conversion-enticing designs while being able to allocate your precious funds to other avenues. Many of the creators of these websites crafted them with designers and entrepreneurs in mind, so they know you need high-quality pictures that are free to use. While most of these sites have some stipulations, they are free to use as a whole.

Remember to check the licenses of each website and photo you choose to use. Some might have specific agreements that could land you in hot water if you are not careful. However, do not let such matters dissuade you from utilizing free stock photos. Many photographers out there are willing to let you use their captures for almost anything your project calls for.

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