Stock photos that don't suck, whether you are designing a website, marketing a product, or even running a blog, eventually you are going to find yourself looking for stock photos.
What are stock photos? Stock photos are images that are not specifically taken for the purpose they are used for, but instead allow you to access high quality pictures that might meet your needs when you need them. Especially with the growth of quality in smartphones, there are definitely some terrible stock photos out there. So where do you go to get stock photos that don't suck for free?
Honestly, it is not easy to find the right level of quality that you need on demand, but there are some great sites out there, offering an array of photos for any purpose.
Let’s start by looking at the site Pixabay. Pixabay has a wide array of pictures are all released under Creative Commons Zero and are free to download. Photographers from all over the world upload a variety of pictures, which also vary in quality, offering you the chance to find something applicable or unique for free. It does not require a login to download, but it will ask for you to prove you are not a robot each download until you setup an account with them. Because the photographers are fairly free to upload on Pixabay, here you will definitely find stock photos that don’t suck, but also you will find a variety of drawings and vectors.
The pictures that you will find on Gratisography are all taken by the same photographer, Ryan McGuire. Even though the site is his creation, he continually uploads new stock photos, complete without any copyright restrictions. His intention is to offer high quality stock photos that don’t suck to designers who are looking for them. The pictures that you will find here are often quirky and not your standard, generic stock photo. McGuire uses a lot of creativity in his photographs, making them more unique to use in designs or ads. From nature to people, Gratisography has a wide range of subjects to choose from such as business stock photos.
EyeEm has a more unique approach to stock photos and their website might be a little overwhelming to look at when you hop on. The website has an amazing variety of extremely beautiful and high quality business stock photos. Their search menu is entirely unique, helping you identify your brand type to show you images that would be the best suited for you. The search results are going to be completely on-brand. This is not a good site if you are looking for generic stock photos or something for a personal project. This is a free stock photo site for businesses alone.
Pexels offers completely free and high quality stock photos. The perk of this site is that the photographs have all been nicely organized and labeled, making finding what you need simple. You can also browse through their discover pages if you are looking for a little inspiration in your stock photo search. A variety of different photographers all contribute to Pexels, which means that you will not have just one type of stock photo to choose from, instead offering you more interesting and even funny stock photos to select from. Pexels also goes to the next level, offering free stock videos that can easily be used in marketing campaigns, saving you from finding clips or creating them yourself. So, if you have been struggling to find free stock photos that don’t suck, Pexels could be the answer!
Unsplash is definitely one of the very best free stock photos that don’t suck websites that you can use, offering more than 50,000 photographs to choose from. The pictures themselves are of the highest quality out there, especially considering that the photographers themselves capture just the right angles and atmosphere to give you not only great quality, but also great delivery. The Unsplash team does not let just any picture on their site, but instead looks at each submission before deciding they should be posted. As a result, you can be sure that they are giving you the best of the best, and all for free under the Unsplash license.
All of the high-quality images that are available on FreeStocks have been released under Creative Commons Zero, so there is no licensing concern in order to use them. It says right on their homepage that you can use their photographs for free regardless of whether you are using them for a personal project or a business project. The photos are broken into categories, which can make it easier to hone in on the type of stock photo that you were hoping to download. As a result, there you will find nature shots, urban shots, food stock photos, stock photos of people, and many other categories, helping organize the photographs so they are easier to go through.
StockSnap.io releases hundreds of new photographs every day, keeping things new and fresh. The pictures available here are released under Creative Commons Zero, so there is no free or licensure issues you need to worry about. The search engine for this site actually allows you to search for the most popular images that are downloaded, which can either make this easy for you, showing you the best stuff they have, or help you know which pictures are being used and you can avoid them. There are literally thousands of photographs to browse through as well, but the search engine can help you refine your search.
Burst is a resource that was built by Shopify. Its intention is to offer free stock photos to businesses. The goal is to help entrepreneurs better market themselves, whether it is a product, website, or marketing materials. A lot of the pictures found on Burst are collected in-house, taken by staff rather than being submitted by outside photographers. As a result, some of the pictures are covered under the Creative Commons Zero, but others have Shopify’s licensure. Either way, the photographs are free to download and use, though more intended toward businesses than some of the other stock photo sites.
With new photographs added every day, you will have a lot to choose from on Picjumbo. The categories have a great range, from fashion to nature to the most abstract stock photos you can find. The collection works whether you are looking for free stock photos for a business project or need them for a personal project. They showcase the best of the best images on their homepage, giving a little bit of inspiration right away. They also will show you pictures that are similar to the one that you are viewing, helping you find the perfect photo to meet your needs.
#8: Death to Stock Photos
Death to Stock has a completely different approach to stock photos. If you are looking for unique stock photos that don’t suck, you will find them at Death to Stock.
Instead of offering you a search engine to choose from, they send out photograph packs each month with more than 20 pictures included. The staff of Death to Stock travels all around the world to collect these unique shots that will not be found anywhere else. The images themselves have been edited and refined before they are sent and are intended to help inspire your business, whether you are marketing a product or creating marketing materials. You will need to create a Death to Stock library, but it will make finding the photos easy.
Like some of the other free stock photo sites, ShotStash updates their photo collection every day, bringing in new options to choose from. They have a free license to distribute the photos so you will not need to worry about licensing. They also claim that their pictures are entirely unique, not to be found anywhere else. This is especially important if you are working on a marketing campaign. Using the same stock photo as another company or brand can cause brand confusion, which is damaging for everyone. They do have some interesting pictures that you might not even have thought of, so definitely check out this site for stock photos that don’t suck.
#10: Life of Pix
Life of Pix offers free, high-resolution stock photos. They have a great variety of photographs, featuring an individual photographer each week to draw more attention to their talent. The search engine for Life of Pix is definitely one of the coolest for designers since you can search by type of picture as well as the color of the picture. If you are in the middle of a project and do not want to be messing with the hues of your stock photos, Life of Pix is going to be a great spot for you. They even let you search by picture orientation, further helping you find the perfect stock photo, all for free.
Stock Photos That Don’t Suck
Ultimately, even though there are more photographers out there who could be trying to deliver you mediocre stock photos, there are also more photographers who are amazing at their work. These awesome sites are not the only ones available. With new sites and photographs popping up daily, you will have a myriad of great choices to find the best stock photo possible for your next big project. And, if your next project is to start a blog, check out my article about niches here, I’ve compiled the “Ultimate” list of niches and profitable niche market ideas to help you choose the right niche for your blog or niche website.