7 Best Sites for Free Stock Images in 2021

Whether you have a blog or use Instagram for your web design business, awesome images are required daily. High-Quality relevant images are also a must for creating a good website.

People sometimes turn to Google to copy-paste pictures for their professional accounts. However, it’s dangerous and can result in legal trouble. 

What if there’s a way to have unlimited images for free and within legal bounds. Well, that’s where stock photos come in handy.

There are many websites dedicated to stock photos. They usually crowdsource images from contributors. In most cases, anyone can use these photos for free without any attribution or credits. However, you must check out the licensing details of these sites before using the images. 

If you are looking to utilize images for commercial purposes, it’s better to purchase fully licensed images. There are various reputable sites where you can get these pictures at affordable rates.  

Without further ado, let’s list down the best sites for free stock images.

1. Pixabay

Pixabay has a vast library of 2.3 million stock images, photos, vectors, illustrations, and videos. Canva acquired Pixabay in 2019. The quality of images is commendable on Pixabay. They have a large community of contributors from all over the world. However, they only accept images after a detailed vetting process. 

You can make a free account and download as many images as you want. The website is welcoming and allows for easy image search. You will be able to find your desired stock photos within one or two searches.

You can use Pixabay photos anywhere without giving attributes. However, the company strictly prohibits the redistribution or resale of images.

Pros:

  • Content library of more than 2.3 million stock photos
  • Variety of content including images, illustrations, vectors, etc.

Cons:

  • Sometimes quality is not at par

2. Unsplash

Unsplash is a known name for stock images. The company has a ton of content and doesn’t shy to brag, as it calls itself “internet’s source of freely-usable images.” Unsplash has an app as well for iOS and Android users. 

The company is crowdsourcing its content from all over the world. You will see several categories on the homepage. The search bar shows trending topics and collections when you write something.

Unsplash contributors are mostly photographers and professionals, which translates into the quality of images and photos. 

You can use the photos freely without any credits. However, they appreciate users linking images to the photographers’ profiles with their names. 

Pros:

  • High-quality images
  • iOS and Android app
  • Professional contributors

Cons:

  • At times, it’s hard to find the required images

3. Pexels

Pexels is another leading name in the stock photos industry. The company is known for its freshness and quirkiness. It takes pride in building a strong community of talented creators.

Like Pixabay, Canva has also bought Pexels. The stock photo site is notorious for strict submission rules. However, the image quality is insanely beautiful. Pexels allows free use of its images and photos without any attribution. 

Pexels has leaderboards where one can add a series of photos under a theme. They have challenges as well where users are asked to contribute a photo with specific settings or environments.

The website has some interesting categories like space photography. You will find outstanding images, including content from NASA. However, you should be careful in using those images as NASA restricts using its content without a specific context.

Pros:

  • Strong community
  • Search via themes or moods
  • Exceptional quality

Cons:

  • Limited image library

4. Pikwizard

Pikwizard is a budding but promising platform with over 1 million photos and videos. The images here are different from other platforms. You will be able to find more natural photographs and settings at Pikwizard.

The website layout and search options could be a little better. Instead of categories, you will find a list of keywords displayed on the homepage to find relevant images.

Pikwizard is the only stock photo site that allows inbuilt image editing. However, the option is exclusively available for paid photos.

The licensing is a bit complex. Mostly, the images can be used freely. However, in some cases, there are further restrictions. It’s good to understand the licensing details before using the photos. 

Pros:

  • Natural and different content
  • Image editor available
  • Rapidly growing platform

Cons:

  • Limited photos and videos
  • Complicated licensing for some content

5. Gratisography

Gratisography is created by photographer Ryan McGuire. It houses the finest quality graphics and images among any of the stock photo resources. The website gets full points for creativity, but it can’t be your go-to website for stock photos as the content is very limited. 

It’s Ryan’s project, who got sick of seeing similar stock images and decided to play his part by offering unique stock content. Overall, there are some 500+ images, but new photos are added every week. 

The website is pretty colorful and inviting. You can search for different images via a search bar or categories. You can expect extraordinary quality, but there is a very high chance you won’t find the required image or photo.

Gratisography is for users looking for a unique voice for their brands. There are no contributors as the entire library belongs to Ryan only. The images can be used freely without credits but appreciated if given.

Pros:

  • Finest quality images and photos
  • Unique stock photos
  • Run by a professional photographer

Cons:

  • Very limited content

6. Foodiesfeed

Foodiesfeed, as the name suggests, is a niche stock photo website for food-related images. The mastermind behind Foodiesfeed is the food photographer Jakub Kapusnak. The website contains photographs from him as well as other contributors. 

Foodiesfeed claims to be the “best resource for highly visually appealing free food photos.” Currently, the website has more than 1700 images. It’s not much, but for a niche site, the numbers aren’t too bad either. There are high chances of finding any kind of food-related photo.

Foodiesfeed has a clean layout with a search bar on top. You can search images via “popular tags” too. The images can be used for free without any attributes.

Pros:

  • Only stock photo website dedicated to food.
  • High-quality images

Cons: 

  • They have a small image library

7. Negative Space

Negative Space is a platform for new photographers. The website has a firm submission policy and they only accept high quality photos. The contributors are featured from all over the world.

Since Negative Space is based in the UK, you will find more scenery from surrounding areas. So if your target audience is based in the UK, this resource is worth your time.

The site has a simple yet intriguing layout with a highlighted search bar. You can browse different categories as well to get an idea about its content.

The images are free to use and require no credits at all. 

Pros:

  • Contributors are mostly photographers
  • High-resolution free images

Cons:

  • It is still new and needs more content

Final Words

Free stock images are a blessing for content creators. They help to save time and money. However, with stock photos, there’s always a danger of using the same visuals as others. You should always look to utilize images that are highly relevant and not overused.  Good Luck!

BIO:

Ivanna Attié is a content manager, researcher, and author in various stock media-oriented publications. She is a passionate communicator with a love for visual imagery and digital marketing. Her background is in communication and journalism, and she also enjoys literature and performing arts.