Stock photos are professional photographs of common places, think of landmarks and nature, but also of food, events, and people. These photos are sold on a royalty-free basis, which means that they can be used and reused for commercial design. On average, the price for a stock photo varies between 20 cents and 5 euros. Because many news blogs, companies, and social media pages require such photos as added content, the companies that sell these photos will always remain. Moreover, the companies that sell these stock photos are always cheaper than professional photographers.
But what about free stock photos, though?
Luckily there are people, organizations, artists, and studios – our heroes that want to color the world – that offer stock photos without any license restrictions for free! Meet our heroes below:
Here is a list of the 15 best websites to explore for free stock photos.
Because complex licenses are difficult to understand, Pexels makes use only of photos carrying the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means that the pictures are completely free for any legal (personal or commercial) use. You can show your support to Pexels by uploading your own photos or by donating via PayPal.
Sadly, even charity organizations like free stock photo websites need money to stay online and maintain their service. Most organizations ask for donations from their users, but Burst is an organization that is funded by Shopify. Cheers to Shopify for supporting this service!
Death to stock
Death to Stock (DTS) maintains a slightly different approach; Death To Stock offers daily and monthly photo packages to their users that are sent directly to their inbox. To get access to their complete stock of photos you will need a premium account.
Photographer Daria offers free to use original photography through her Tumblr page “Epicantus”; this stock photo source is maintained by only one artist! Many thanks to the benevolent Daria for that!
Are you managing a (fast-food) restaurant, a cafeteria, or a bakery? Then Foodiesfeed is the perfect website for you! Specialized in food stock photos, Foodiesfeed offers a large spectrum of photos that are free to download. They even have an awesome feature that allows you to download all 1000+ photos at once!
With over 100 categories of photos, freephotos.cc is definitely a source worth checking out.
Gratisography offers free high-resolution pictures that can be used for personal and commercial projects. All credits for the photos go to Ryan McGuire who makes sure that new awesome pictures are added on a weekly basis.
Kaboompics 2.0 recently launched a new website with a layout that is easier to navigate. In addition, it includes new features such as the “color scheme filtering,” and a search engine that allows for filtering based on vertical and horizontal photos. From our personal experience, we have to say that this color scheme filter feature makes searching for the right picture much easier! Kudos to Kaboompics!
Littlevisuals was one of the first platforms to offer free stock photos. Sadly the addition of new content came to an end in 2013 when Nic, the owner and founder of the website, passed away. Recently his family started using the platform as a fundraiser for the Hand on Heart Charity to help children prevent the same fate that Nic had faced.
The Vietnamese artist Magdeleine set this project up to share his love for the world. He maintains a database of free hand-picked photos for everyone’s inspiration. He even makes sure that a new one is added every day!
A curated list of beautiful free stock photos made by a group of artists that can be used for personal and commercial projects.
22-year-old photographer, online entrepreneur, and life enjoyer Viktor Hanacek from the Czech Republic created picjumbo in 2013. This stock photo website contains free pictures that are currently used by millions of bloggers, designers, and marketers all around the world. You can read his story here - link
Raumrot is an image platform that offers stunning lifestyle imagery for modern creatives. Markus Spiske from Bräuningshof in Germany created this image platform hosted under the creative commons attribution licenses (CC-BY), which makes all the content free for commercial use.
All these beautiful photos on StockSnap fall under the CC0 license. That means that you can copy, modify, or distribute any photo from the website – even for commercial use – without ever having to ask for permission!
All photos published on Unsplash are also licensed under the CC0 license. Hence permission from, or providing attribution to, the photographer or Unsplash is not necessary.
Here you can see out a showcase of the most beautiful things that are made with stock photos from Unsplash - link
So, if you’re looking for nice imagery to give your website, blog, social media page, or computer background that extra artistic feeling, there is no need to ever pay for this (again). We can count ourselves lucky to live in a time where sharing and collaborating form the foundation of the internet. If any of you feel that we missed an important stock photo website, please let us know!