6 Websites to find Free Stock Photos
Finding that perfect stock image is sometimes a pain, especially for personal projects or for those clients that don't want to spend money on photos. Thankfully, there are a growing number of websites that are pushing out amazing imagery that they give you for free to use (or with attribution to the photographer, which is simple in web design).
We're definitely a long way past what used to be the sites that offered 'free' images, where the images were really the bottom of the barrel for choices, or were generic clip-art style stock images. We now have access to awesome images that are stunning and useful for a variety of applications.
Below are a number of great sites that will help in your quest for new images. There are lots more and I plan to add more as I can, but start with these and you'll find some beautiful photos.
Raumrot features the photographs of one photographer, who gives away the best photos for free. The subject matter is random, from still life to landscapes to abstract. He's also put some of the photos into 'sets' so you can download a whole set that is the same theme.
There is a good deal of photos to browse through, and some are truly amazing.
As of right now he's at almost 500 photos that you can use.
New to the scene, Solate.tk features images that are hand-picked from a range of online sources, allowing you to easily browse the best free stock images. Most of the images have a 'free to use with attribution' meaning if you use them on a website, you should credit the original photographer.
The image there range from animals to landscapes to creative bokeh style photos with stunning colors and patterns.
You can also search by keyword, look through categories, and submit your stock images for them to show off.
There is at least one new image every day, so the database there is growing steadily.
Unsplash seems to be one of the leaders in the market in unique photographs available for free use. I know they got some good publilcity for being a unique site from the beginning, and many sites followed their style after.
They post 10 new images every 10 days, and you can sign up for a email that sends you those images for free. The site is a bit cumbersome as you can only scroll through new images from top to bottom and not search/filter/etc to find what you're looking for. So an image from 2 months ago is fairly buried and takes time to find. Great images though, and sometimes is worth the scrolling just to see new images you like.
Suggestion: Save your favorite photos once you see them, even if you have no use for them right then. That just makes it easier to find in the future!
If you're looking for perfect food photos, this is the place. Its great when a site focuses on one niche, and does it well.
The majority of the photos here are high-res and free. Some great fully-plated images and others that are simple food-based shots.
They also post photos in sets, so if you find a photo you like, they may have more of it in different angles, ratios or focal points. This is great for putting a few images of the same 'theme' onto a website.
LittleVisuals.co goes along the same lines as Unsplash, where they post 7 new images every 7 days, and offer an email newsletter with those images as well, so you don't even have to go to the website.
The format of the site is also the same, with a long stream of the new photos. LittleVisuals.co does offer a search option though, letting you find an image faster than just scrolling through.
Magdeleine.co is a great resource for free images. They have a great variety, from animals to architecture to food.
The site allows you to search, filter by category and tag, as well as searching by dominant colours. They do have some really unique photos to choose from, which is great if you keep want something really unique. Since this site is still a little unknown, you have a better chance at finding a photo you won't see elsewhere.
A note on attribution for creative common images
Most people assume you can just use images from sites the those listed above however they want. But really, a number of the sites ask for something simple called 'attribution' which means that if you use the image on, say, a website, you should visibly note who took the photo and give them a link back to either the original photo, or to the page it was on.
Many content management systems already incorporate credits on images when you insert them, so its just an easy but important step to take.
There are also a number of ways to show the attribution, but the most dominant format is as such:
"Photo Title (or simply Photo)" by LinkedName, used under CC(link to creative commons licence).
So essentially it would look like the following (with the image below):