30+ Excellent Free Stock Photo Websites for Designers

August 17, 2013 · 54 comments

by Lars

Images and photos are essential elements and building blocks for creating great designs. Getting access to highest quality unique photographic material can be quite costly unless you are taking the pictures yourself. Fortunately, there are other options because some photographers and webmasters believe it makes sense to share their creative work as free downloads. Quite a number of websites provide services to creative photographers that allow them to participate in communities and share, get feedback and be known. This article provides a collection of the best websites right now where you can get quality images and photos without spending. Please note however, that some free stock photos comes with a license that require attribution when used in commercial projects. So before using free stock photos it is highly recommended to read the terms. Also, please note that some websites that offer free stock photos also have premium offers.

If I missed some web sites that deserve to be featured as part of this list, then please let me know in a comment below. If you have plans for sharing or showing off your own photography skills and work online it is not as hard as it once was, to set up an online photo portfolio yourself. I believe a photography theme for platforms such as WordPress, can be a great help for building a professional photography website.

Some of the sites included in the list offer free stock photos only for personal use, All photos are the property of their respective authors check their policy before using their collection. This article was just refreshed with new free stock photo resources.


ElegantThemes
ThemeForest

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Open Photo – MORE INFO

Open-Photo

OpenPhoto is a niche photo sharing platform created in 1998 by michael jastremski. The website’s primary audience is artists, developers, teachers and students. The photos are easy to navigate using tags. OpenPhoto contributors offer their images for free under terms of Creative Commons licensing.

Woophy – MORE INFO

Woophy

Woophy stands for WOrld Of PHotographY, a website founded by a Dutch collective of photo aficionados and internet designers who believe navigation on internet can be more visual, logical and associative.

Every Stock Photo – MORE INFO

Every-Stock-Photo

Search more than 19.000.000+ photos. It features a nice feature to allow you to collect photos you find.

Stock.xchng – MORE INFO

stock-xchng

Browse through SXC’s gallery of over 401673 stock photos, as provided by the site’s users. Photos are provided free of charge, as a service by photography addicts for photography addicts! This site has a very friendly feel, with one of its notable features being a discussion forum where suggestions and problems are dealt with in a community-based setting. In order to upload and download photos, as well as participate in the forum, a registration is required, but SXC’s privacy policy is tight to ensure the protection of your personal information.

Morgue File – MORE INFO

Morgue-File

This site offers free photo exchange and a community section where you can participate in bulletin board discussions or join as a member if you wish to contribute your own work. They also provide free online photography courses and sponsor a scavenger hunt and photo competition. Their stock photos can be used in commercial or personal projects without permission or credit from the photographer, and as mentioned, you can also submit photos to the site with their approval. You’ll find a very broad range of subjects offered, and the site is neatly organized and user-friendly.

Stockvault – MORE INFO

stockvault

StockVault.net provides a directory of over 40.000 great free stock photos, 20000 members. The photos are available for download in the following categories: 3-D Renders, Animal Kingdom, Construction and Buildings, Nature, Objects, People, Seasonal, Textures and Backgrounds, Web Templates, and a variety of unsorted images.

Wikimedia Commons – MORE INFO

Wikimedia-Commons

This site offers 18+ million free media files. Not all of these are photos but this site is a massive resource worth exploring.

Flickr Creative Commons – MORE INFO

Flickr-Creative-Commons

Flickers main purpose is photo management and sharing and millions use it for that purpose.  This makes it a great place for inspiration and searching for good photographs. Many photographers allow others to use their art and you will find that many photos are licensed under Creative Common.

Kave Wall – MORE INFO

Kave-Wall

You will find very high quality photo material here and it is free. All images are  separated in 18 different categories with really handy navigation.

Turbo Photo – MORE INFO

Turbo-Photo

Deviantart – MORE INFO

deviantart

Very popular community for designers, photographers etc. It is a very good source for photos. Just make sure you check the license carefully and/or ask authors first for their permission.

pixel perfect digital - MORE INFO

pixelperfectdigital

This site has tons of free photographs for download in many categories. They’re free to use in both your personal and professional design projects under creative commons attribution. Registration is not required, but just be sure to review the Terms of Use before downloading. All images are high quality JPEGs, easy-to-find with an Advanced Search function to help locate them quickly. The Image Hotlist also displays the highest rated, most viewed, and most downloaded in the gallery, so you can get a sense of what your fellow web designers find appealing.

Turbo Photo – MORE INFO

turbophoto

Browse and download 2,000 (3.4 GB) free stock images from 10 categories

Fotolia – MORE INFO

Fotolia

FreeImages – MORE INFO

freeimages

This easy-to-use site offers over 6000 original stock photos, free of charge. While registration isn’t necessary, you can sign up for their mailing list to be notified of website features and images updates, as well as to gain access to a special members-only area featuring additional image galleries.

Pixabay

Stock Photogram – MORE INFO

Stock-Photogram

Photo.net – MORE INFO

photo-net

Free Stock Photos – MORE INFO

free-stockphotos

RGB Stock – MORE INFO

RGB-Stock

Unprofound – MORE INFO

Unprofound

A collaborative website, created and run by designers, that offers a wide range of user-submitted free stock photography. You don’t have to sign-up in order to download images, making this site very easy-to-use. Of particular interest is a feature that allows you to create a free online photo portfolio – when contributing photos to Unprofound, you automatically get a website showcasing all the photos contributed by you, as well as an optional personal photo, bio and links. You can use this self-contained portfolio website for professional or personal business use.

Free Range Stock – MORE INFO

Free-Range-Stock

This stock photography site offers a wide range of high resolution free stock photos and textures, with all images at least 2400 x 1600. All you have to do is sign up for a free membership, log in, and download away. You can use a keyword searchable stock photography database, or alternatively, browse through their online image catalogs. As well, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you have the option of e-mailing them to see if they have your desired image in one of their extensive, not-yet-online archives. If they have it, they’ll get it to you for free.

Image*After – Free Stock Photos – MORE INFO

imageafter

Image*After offers you the possibility to download and use free stock photos and high resolution pictures. The site’s layout is simple, with an easy-to-use FAQ available on the main page. At the moment, the volume of images is somewhat limited, but it is quickly growing. Sign up for their weekly newsletter to be notified of new additions to the site!

Free digital photos – MORE INFO

freedigitalphotos

Photo Rack – MORE INFO

Photo-Rack

A vast collection of stock photos for free private and commercial use, Photo Rack organizes its images by category. Categories include Lifestyle, Nature, Food/Cooking, Animals, Industrial/Technology, Sports, Business, People, Cities, Backgrounds/Textures, and Miscellaneous. A cool feature of this site is the option to send most images to any e-mail address of your choice as a postcard!

PBase

pbase

Photobucket

photobucket

Public Domain Photos

public-domain-photos

123RF – MORE INFO

123RF

Image Base – MORE INFO

Image-Base

Historical Stock Photos – MORE INFO

Free-Historical-Stock-Photos

Geek Philosopher – MORE INFO

Geek-Philosopher

Author : Lars Vraa

Lars started tripwire magazine back in January 2009. He is really passionate about web design, web development and loves to look into new technologies, techniques, tools etc. and to write articles for his readers.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Martin November 27, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Hi-res free photos mostly from travelling. With creative commons license

Reply

Giorgio November 24, 2013 at 6:59 pm
Bob October 29, 2013 at 5:09 am

For free photos, also check out http://www.goodfreephotos.com ,especially for landscapes of state and national parks

Reply

Divya Khan August 21, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Awesome Compile list of the websites but still its tough to find a perfect image for your post.

Reply

annesofie August 26, 2013 at 8:55 am

Hi Divya,
Thank you for your comment – your are right for some reason it is never easy to find an image no matter how large a material you have to browse through. I hope you will succeed after all :)

Reply

Cris DeRaud August 9, 2013 at 3:03 am

A good alternative to sxc is http://www.rgbstock.com/

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Wayne Thomas July 31, 2012 at 12:33 am

Great list, as a designer I’m always looking for the best and new sites to get images from. Not sure whether it’s the current financial economy or what, but clients are a bit more reluctant at the moment to spend the extra cash on good photography. Personally I tend to use istock, or for the budget clients, flickr where possible for free images. I’m not a photographer, but do have a slight interest in it as a hobby, and so have been posting my photos on my site for other designers to use for free. Take a look, and help yourself:

http://www.designreaction.co.uk/blog/new-year-new-post-free-downloads/

Using my images for an interesting project? let me know and get in touch.

Reply

Jewish Pictures March 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Stock Photography Jewish

Reply

picdrome August 10, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Thanks for the list!
You can also try http://www.picdrome.com, which covers 100% copyright free photos, released into the Public Domain. It’s a growing collection, pictures added on a daily basis, more categories to be added in the future.

Reply

cheap custom jerseys May 19, 2011 at 9:00 am

Word Press being the biggest advantage for building quick and customizable sites. I’m sorry I spent so much money on that site.

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CJ May 18, 2011 at 5:04 am

People are also welcome to use the free royalty free photos and images found on http://www.cjophoto.com/.

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Daria July 1, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Fantastic collection! Many cool resources, some are new some ar already familiar. Thnx, guys! And i would like to share another resource which i use quite often. It is http://www.photl.com. Its good for those who need mainly studio photos for commercial use.

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Jennifer R June 4, 2010 at 12:29 pm

It seemd a great collection about free stock photo sites, thank you.

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jareso May 15, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Image database: http://www.StockPhotos.it contains a lot of free stock photos, vectors and illustrations. Commercial images are included as well.

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Jen Pruett April 30, 2010 at 2:25 am

wow this is amazing resources, please also include http://www.photobuzz.org
Thank you Jen

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Dez Pain April 27, 2010 at 2:52 am

RGBStock is a new free stock image site. It currently has over 37,000 pre-approved high quality images – photos, textures and graphics – free for commercial and personal use. (Read the terms of use first.) A new player in the free image game, it is growing rapidly. Here is the link: http://www.rgbstock.com/

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Nicos March 27, 2010 at 9:21 am

A good list! I know most of these resources, but found a few i didn’t know before.

I am building a list too – at http://designbeginshere.com – feel free to use it if you would like to add to this one..

Reply

satish February 22, 2010 at 11:29 am

nice collection
will use in my design
thanks
Satish

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Nina February 21, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Great roundup, very useful!
Thanks :)

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Yakov January 19, 2010 at 9:21 pm

http://www.KosherStock.com offers weekly free photos for personnal and commercial use. KS is a royalty-free microstock site (photos, illustrations and cliparts) focusing on the Jewish life, culture and religion.

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LT December 10, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Here’s another good one. http://www.photoxpress.com

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AllOurStock October 29, 2009 at 6:51 am

Plug here, but I really think you’ll like this one. It’s a completely 100% free stock photo, design and vector website.

Our site, http://www.allourstock.com is not spammy, it’s built around a nice, easy-to-use functional layout with easy drag-and-drop interface,

and has a lot more planned for the future. Currently we have about 500 images but we have a database of over 7000 yet to be added and

growing everyday. I personally shoot photos myself and create custom designs as well. All are available for person OR commercial use, most

of which do not require attribution.

check us out on twitter as well, http://www.twitter.com/AllOurStock

Reply

Photoshooter October 3, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Not for free but at an affordable price I often use photos from this site on my own website. Photomace.com

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David September 26, 2009 at 5:13 am

There is a good collection of high quality free photos at http://www.sunipix.com

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Texas Takeover September 12, 2009 at 5:07 am

nice…thank you

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Anish August 26, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Good one.Always take up such initiatives.

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Ma Hala September 4, 2009 at 11:39 am

A new site to find high resolution free stock photos to use for art is:

http://ai-ya.yolasite.com

Will be great to see them added to the list.

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Anish August 26, 2010 at 12:26 pm

I thought I would be substandard site at my first observation.Later I realized What is there in this site is really excellent like vanishing clouds and golden feathers.

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Christopher Hennis September 2, 2009 at 2:21 am

This isn’t spam, and I did hand-type this comment. I was just going to say that I launched a free stock photo website/blog a few months back at http://www.introportfolio.com and am working on providing more content on the site daily.

Good article — Although I’ve seen this subject written on a few times in the community and also most of these resources listed, it’s always nice to have a fresh take on it.

Reply

tripwiremag August 31, 2009 at 9:20 pm

@ThomasT, you’re right it was a mistake! I have removed the link.

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ThomasT August 31, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Life.com does not belong on this list. While it’s an amazing site, and the tools they offer for the archive are compelling, its photos are not free for reuse elsewhere. All photos have licenses which are handled by Getty Images.

Reply

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