A picture is worth a thousand words but sometimes you don’t have that photo. It happens often to me. Luckily, the internet is filled with wonderful websites to download countless free stock photos online.
Whatever your use for a photograph doesn’t give you right to take any image you find. You have to download photos from websites and authors whom allow you to use their work. If you use someone’s photos illegality you could face consequences. It happens more often than you probably think to website owners and bloggers.
Free Stock Photos for Website and Commercial Use
Having an arsenal of websites for free stock photos, royalty free images, creative commons and other okay to use pics is essential to efficiency and quality, as well as safe practices. You need the right tools to do the job well. Know where to get what you need image wise and how to search for those gems quickly.
You always have the option of checking camera reviews and picking a nice mirrorless camera for your quests. Take something sharper and more long lasting than your smart phone, yet more compact than a DSLR. Original pictures are always the best kind. Though that’s hardly ever possible, so here are among the best places to download free stock photos online:
Please note that some photo licenses require you to give credit to the author, sometimes with a link. Images that are public domain are okay to use commercially without any permission or credit needed. The free photo resources below are mixed whether they allow commercial use or not, and if credit is needed.
Flickr – All Rights Reserved, All Creative Commons or Commercial Use
Only certain photos on Flickr are okay to use. Images generally fall two ways on Flickr:
- All rights reserved
- Some rights reserved
The latter means you’re good to go as a website owner if you give credit and link back to Flickr. Majority of Flickr photos fall into the former of all rights restricted, so it’s VERY IMPORTANT after you search for something, you FILTER in top left from Any License to ALL CREATIVE COMMONS (for websites) or COMMERCIAL USE ALLOWED (if you intend to use it commercially).
There are several other filter options:
- Any license
- All creative commons
- Commercial use allowed
- Modifications allowed
- Commercial use & mods allowed
- No known copyright restrictions
- U.S. Government works
Flickr is more than just a one-way website to retrieve photos from, it’s also a home to store your photos online. If you care too, it could be valuable as a photographer or someone looking to spread their name. You can restrict access to your photos not allowing others to use them, also could keep them private so they can’t even be viewed, or allow others to see and share your work (and credit with a link back to Flickr profile – so make your username your business/full name).
If it’s a town, landmark, or otherwise noteworthy attraction Wikipedia (known as Wiki) will have a detailed, mostly accurate page on the topic. The more popular the better chances there’s at least one photo listed. Every photo on Wiki falls under the Wikipedia Commons and is free to use. Most just require a simple credit and link back, some are public domain and require thing.
Even though you can use the resource next to search a wider array of images at once, Wiki gives you the words to go with it and help describe your topic. Flickr, which can also be searched by Creative Commons below, gives you other usable photos to at least give your brain something to describe on paper. Wiki is ad free and kept that way thru donations.
You can also cut to the chase and search indirectly on Creative Commons. CC searches across more than 300 millions photos on a wide array of API sources, about 20 websites. Flickr is the biggest source of its images with nearly 300 million photos from it alone. Wikipedia Commons is 3rd with 1.8 million and Bēhance has 5.5 million search creative commons images.
This allows you to check a box for commercial use and narrow your search. It finds images that are creative commons and require attribution, as well as those that are in the public domain and completely free to use with no credit needed to be given.
Pixabay – All Copyright Free, Commercial Use, No Credit
With more than a million stunning images and counting, Pixabay provides a huge resource for digital marketers. It’s also no fuss. All the photos on Pixabay are copyright free and fine to use commercially with no credit given or asking for permission.
The vibrant community of contributors share their professional and personal passion wit royalty free images and videos. There’s no need to even ask permission, just download a ready to use photo from Pixabay and you are good to go. The Pixabay License covers all photos and releases them even for commercial use.
Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright free images and videos. All contents are released under the Pixabay License, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist – even for commercial purposes. You can sign up for free and release your own creativity to the public domain.
Pexels – Commercial Use
Website designers and creators from around the planet make use of the millions of photos and videos available on Pexels. The Pexels license provide free stock photos of high quality for donwload. They are well tagged and searchable. They are okay for personal and commercial use.
All the images on Pexels are uploaded from users or come from the free stock photo sources such as Little Visuals and Gratisography. You’re welcome to upload your own photos as well. Their motto: “Empowering Creators”. No attribution is necessary, however, they are appreciate if you link to Pexels or the photography.
Canva – free and paid membership commercial use photos
Design amazing things using the millions of free images from Canva. All the photos are highly curated to ensure quality is kept up. You can browse by related tags, authors, or search for any phrase you please.
To download a photo they ask you sign up with an account, which you can also connect thru Google and Facebook. In addition to just download a photo, the Canva website has online software allowing you to design popular items online. A few of these include:
- Canva print
- Instragram, Twitter, Facebook post and cover
- Book cover
- E-mail header
- On and on…
You can download free photos for both commercial and non commercial use in and outside of Canva. Attribution is not required, though they appreciate it. However, depending on your free or paid membership you’ll be limited to free or premium photos. You can filter your search results between both or only:
Free Photos – Some of their photos are free to download and use as you will.
Premium Photos – Many of them though are premium $ watermarked photos that you can unlock with a seemingly reasonable monthly membership, $12.95 at the time of writing.
Unsplash – commercial use
With a simple homepage resembling a Google homepage search box, you’ll appreciate this platform’s simplicity. Search one of the internet’s top sources of free images okay for any use. It is user powered by creators for creators from all over the world. The motto at Unsplash: “Photos for everyone.”
The photographs on Unsplash are high-resolution perfect for designers. They come from a wide array of topics. The most popular are suggested at the top of homepage. You can also browse by collections like photos of the week in a myriad of categories like summertime and patterns and textures.
Thanks for checking out our list of websites for downloading free stock photos online. Remember some require attribution, while others do not. Some allow commercial use, while others are only free to download for non commercial use, which an editorial or blog post usually qualifies as. Always check with individual website and author for license requirements.