My Top 5 Resources for Free Stock Photos

My Top 5 Resources for Free Stock Photos

As a designer, I often scoff at those tacky, cliché stock images of tiny fish-eye perspective people pointing at a giant clock to indicate being late, or an astonished businesswoman gaping at a large upward-trending graph with no data on it. However, imagery is one of, if not the most powerful elements of any good design, and although I typically advocate for using your own authentic, relevant images, sometimes it is necessary (or just way easier) to find ready resources. That's why I've compiled this list of my top 5 go-to resources for FREE stock images.

There is undoubtedly a place for paid stock photography engines, for instance when you need something exceedingly specific (i.e. an African-American, same-sex couple, arguing on a couch in a mediators office *real-life example*). But, in most cases, you can find something great from one of these sites.

Why should you use photos from these resources instead of skulking around Google images?

  • You'll get beautiful professional photos, probably better than any you could take yourself;

  • You don't have to worry about usage licences;

  • You'll avoid a lawsuit.

Unsplash—Free Stock Photos

1. Unsplash

Without question, one of the biggest and best resources for free photos.

  • Literally hundreds of thousands of photos and thousands more added every day;

  • Clean, natural looking photos;

  • Royalty free for commercial use;

  • Optional artist attribution.

Visit Unsplash ⟶


2. Pexels

A very close second to Unsplash.

  • A huge library of over 50,000 photos with thousands more added every month;

  • Clean, natural look photos with some crossover from Unsplash;

  • No attribution required;

  • Bonus: Pexels also has free stock videos, great for those Squarespace video banners.

Visit Pexels ⟶

Pexels Free Stock Photos and Videos
Foodiesfeed Free Stock Photos

3. Foodiesfeed

Perfect for when you just can't get that perfect food pic for your instagram feed. Just fake it!

  • Extremely high-quality, high-resolution food images;

  • Lots and lots of those trendy overhead style pics that are currently en vogue;

  • No attribution required;

  • A much smaller library than the others, but also a very niche topic;

Visit Foodiesfeed ⟶


4. Magdeleine

These photos are curated from many different sources, including some of the ones listed above, but;

  • You can sort photos based on dominant colors, category, tags, or license;

  • Results show resolution, palette and camera specs;

  • Free for commercial use; attribution required for some.

Visit Magdeleine ⟶

Magdeleine Free Stock Photos
Gratisography Free Stock Photos

5. Gratisography

These photos have a very specific style so you my not have use for these all the time, but they're very cool and work well for brightly coloured, eccentrically themed websites.

  • New photos added every week;

  • A very niche collection of artistic, eccentric and humorous photos;

  • Free for commercial use without attribution.

Visit Gratisography ⟶


Always make sure to double-check the licence of any photo you intend to use to avoid trouble. Even if the licence doesn't require attribution to the author, it's always a nice thing to do and appreciated by the artist.

Now, go let those creative juices flow!


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