Free photography resources
The very words make many of us shiver. They bring to mind terribly staged pictures filled with false smiles, but stock photography has come a long way. The web is full of beautiful photographs that are just begging to be used, and they don’t always cost an arm and a leg either.
I often get asked if I know where to find good quality free stock photographs that can be used on business websites, so I decided it’s time to put fingers to keyboard and share some of my favourite haunts.
Before I start, I want to take a moment to mention licences. ALWAYS double check the licence on the photograph you want to use, and make sure it’s covered for commercial use if you’re using it for your business. The websites I list below are geared towards free distribution, but sometimes you can get redirected to another website, and the licence may have changed, or an attribution may be needed. Look out for the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) licence. This covers you for both personal and commercial use.
So let’s get cracking.
My 7 favourite free photography websites
Pexels is always my first stop for free photographs. The images are beautiful, they have a good selection, and in their own words:
“All photos on Pexels are free for any personal and commercial purpose”
Lots of CC0 licensed images, and beautiful ones at that. Intended for professional creatives, many of the images have an artsy or techy vibe to them, but there’s many relatable to the every day user as well.
Dreamstime have a whole section devoted to free photographs. Some of the images do feel a bit more ‘stock-y’ (I’ve decided that’s now a word), but there’s some gems among them so it’s worth taking a look.
A mix of images, they mostly have photos of nature and cityscapes with food and sports etc thrown into the mix. Most of the images I’ve come across need attribution.*
*which reminds me, associated photograph by Jonathan Koss-Read
Well established and very well known, Flickr is a great source of photographs once you realise you can filter your search by licence type; after your initial search, look in the top left hand corner of the screen and you’ll see a dropdown set to ‘Any license’. Simply click it, and select the licence you need – voila!
Also worth a mention
If you love to look through as many sites as possible to find that ideal image, take a look through these as well:
I’ll add to this list as I discover more sites worth sharing. Have your own favourite I’ve missed? Feel free to share below…