Recently, my esteemed colleague Kym Ellis offered her advice on how to find free stock photos to improve your content marketing efforts.
Her advice included scouring Flickr, and making use of Google’s advanced image search function. She also discussed Creative Commons licenses – a subject on which she’s something of an expert – before listing a number of sites that conveniently share free stock photos.
If you’re looking for free stock photos, Kym’s post is an excellent place to start.
But I’d like to take things a little further.
There are many sites out there that regularly share high quality stock images, for free.
What’s more, most of them don’t even ask for attribution.
So bookmark Kym’s post, then bookmark the following links, and you’ll never be stuck for free images again.
If you want your business to come across as aspirational, Unsplash regularly shares breathtaking images of nature. The header image of this blog is from Unsplash. Nice, isn’t it?
What’s more, if you subscribe to their mailing list, you receive 10 free images every 10 days.
Stock photos are weird, aren’t they? They’re full of people who look a little too perfect behaving exactly like people don’t. You can spot a stock photo from a mile away. Despite the clean and professional feel they attempt to create, any business that relies on traditional stock images now runs the risk of coming across as unambitious.
Such is the ethos behind Death to the Stock Photo. Their aim is to be “just like coffee for the modern creative”, which presumably means that they wish to be indispensable. And with their refreshingly different, yet still highly relevant images, they might just liberate us forever from the slightly uncanny stock images that have plagued the business world for far too long.
This is an interesting idea. The idea of the “stock photo” has existed for decades. This means that there’s hundreds, or even thousands, of historic stock photos out there – all free to use for any purpose.
Whether any of these photos are suitable for commercial use is another matter. There’s lots of strange images of deep sea divers and earthquake ruins in there. But if you want to give your business a unique visual identity, go nuts!
Please note – unlike most of the resources here, Superfamous requests that you correctly attribute any of their images you use.
But this is a small price to pay for the quality of the images. These aren’t so much stock photos as works of art. I mean, look at this one!
Picjumbo comes with a handy search function. So if, say, you need images of chocolate, you can conduct a search and find all of these small wonders.
You can also sign up to receive all of the latest photos right in your email inbox.
There’s nothing I love more than a good portmanteau, so I’m a huge fan of Gratisography.
Their images are striking, quirky, and often rather surreal – and they’re conveniently sorted into six categories.
One of these categories is “whimsical”, and browsing this gallery feels a little bit like falling down a rabbit hole.
This is one of my favourites. I regularly use Getrefe images when blogging for clients. Their free stock photos effortlessly exude an air of understated professionalism.
That image above is from Getrefe. Isn’t it something?
Like New Old Stock above, the Public Domain Archive has a good collection of vintage images. But they also upload plenty of contemporary images, which are perhaps more suitable for your content marketing efforts.
This site uploads a free high quality image every day. They’re mainly of the “breathtaking nature” variety, so if that’s your bag, you’ll be in your element here.
If, like me, you could happily gaze at pictures of food for hours, you’ll likely find a use for Foodiesfeed regardless of whether you use any of their images.
But if your business has anything at all to do with food, drink, or fish, this site could soon become your bread and butter.
Again, we’re mainly dealing with historical images here which, while undeniably striking, will have limited commercial use. But their collection also features images like this. It’s easy to imagine the sort of business blog that image could accompany. So delve through their archives and, you never know, you could find just the thing to make your blog that little bit more beautiful.
This is the big one. They’ve got hundreds of photos, all divided into 10 easily-navigable categories – business, food & drink, nature, sport etc. They also host images from other free stock photo resources, such as Shutterstock.
What’s really remarkable about Raumrot, though, is how niche they go. For example, whereas most sites that deal in free stock photos go for the “breathtaking nature” approach, Raumrot has a small yet invaluable technical section.
As well as providing hundreds of excellent free images, ISO Republic also has a premium collection. For a small price, you can instantly download entire galleries of coffee beans, fresh fruits, and killer coastlines. I must say though, there’s no discernible difference in quality between these premium images and their free images.
Also, look at their Textures collection. Lovely, isn’t it?
So, there you have it. My 14 favourite sites for free stock photos. But have I missed any? Do let us know in the comments.