Where to Find the Best Free Stock Photos

The problem is finding high-quality stock photos that don’t have unclear licenses on how you can use them.

Dustin Senos, Designer at Medium, knows this conundrum all too well. That’s why he put together a list of sites where you can get free stock photos that don’t suck.

I thought I’d share Dustin Senos’s list of 10 websites here, discuss the sites he mentioned in his post, and also show you sample stock photos I got from the sites:

1. Little Visuals

Little Visuals

This site sends you 7 high-res photos every week, straight to your email inbox. You can use the stock photos any way you want because they’re licensed under public domain.

Examples from Little Visuals:




2. Unsplash

Unsplash is similar to Little Visuals, but instead of 7 stock photos every 7 days, they’ll give you 10 every 10 days. Unsplash also has a public domain license. This website is by ooomf, a marketplace for creative talent.

Examples from Unsplash:




3. Death to the Stock Photo

Death to the Stock Photo

This site has a vision: to reverse the association of stock photos as being "dull" or "lifeless." Death to the Stock Photo provides truly free life-style photography photos every month that have very minimal licensing restrictions. (See their custom license here.)

Examples from Death to the Stock Photo:

Death to the Stock Photo

Death to the Stock Photo

4. New Old Stock

New Old Stock

The vintage photos on this site created by Cole Townsend are in the public domain and are free of any known copyright restrictions (explanation on Flickr).

Examples from New Old Stock:

New Old StockSource

New Old StockSource

New Old StockSource

5. Superfamous


The beautiful stock photos on Superfamous (the studio of interaction designer Folkert Gorter) require attribution under the Creative Commons Unported 3.0 license.

Examples from Superfamous:




6. Picjumbo


I’ve written about Picjumbo before, a neatly-organized collection of free high-resolution stock photos by Viktor Hanacek that embody a clear terms of use license.

Examples from Picjumbo:




7. The Pattern Library

The Pattern Library

The Pattern Library is something I’ve covered recently as well. The Pattern Library doesn’t provide stock photos, but rather, beautiful seamless background patterns.

Examples from The Pattern Library:

The Pattern LibrarySource

The Pattern LibrarySource

The Pattern LibrarySource

8. Gratisography


The free high-res photos on Gratisography, a joint project between artist Ryan McGuire and the Bells Design creative studio, are free of any copyright restrictions under the CC0 license.

Examples from Gratisography:




9. Free Refe Mobile Photos

Free Refe Mobile Photos

This site gives away free photos shot using camera phones. This site is by Refe, a marketplace for mobile photos. Fun fact: One of our long-time and favorite contributors, Tomas Laurinavicius, is Product Manager at Refe, so if you like this site, please tell him about it.

Examples from Free Refe Mobile Photos:

Free Refe Mobile PhotosSource

Free Refe Mobile PhotosSource

Free Refe Mobile PhotosSource

10. IM Free

IM Free

IM Free is a hand-picked collection of free resources that you can use for commercial purposes. They have plenty of high-quality stock photos on this site, as well as other design resources like background patterns and such.

Examples from IM Free:

IM FreeSource

IM FreeSource

IM FreeSource

Be sure to check back and bookmark Dustin Senos’s list on Medium because he says in the post that it’s an "ongoing list," so I’m assuming he’ll add more awesome sites whenever he comes across them.

Do you know of other websites that offer free high-quality stock photos like the ones above? Share it with us.

Updates: New Sites

I’ll add new links here whenever I come across them.

  • Hey Jacob,

    already have all of these in my collection, thanks for sharing with the community though!

  • For another web site with lots of free images for personal use, see http://FreeLargePhotos.com/ – Lots of shots of US, Europe, Australia, etc.

  • That’s great Alex.

  • Just stunning pictures thanks for the resources!

  • Hey Jacob, thanks for the mention, really appreciated.

  • Really liked the collection of stock images. I’m always looking around for things like this but Unsplash is one of my favorite ones.

  • I have been looking for site’s like these for a long time. Thanks for brightening up my day!

  • Rachel H

    Wow, lovely images. Thanks so much for these great resources!!

  • Michael

    Great collection of sites. Thanks for sharing!

  • This is fantastic. I’ve been looking for free stock photos for such a long time already, and voila! here they are! Thank you so much!

  • Great resources. Will definitely bookmark this for future use. Thanks for sharing.

  • Thanks for the shout Jacob! Hope all has been well with you!

    David @deathtostock

  • Luz S Gomez

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful resources.

  • Check http://www.jonasjonasjonas.com/free-photos/ for more non-sucking stock photos 🙂

  • Thanks for providing an excellent and useful resource to the design community. “Death to the Stock Photo” is awesome.

  • Leslie

    Are you using “Source” because you have to? I have a social media marketing company and I wanted to know if I could use Little Visuals in social media updates like Facebook, Twitter, G+, and Pinterest on behalf of clients.

  • Leslie,

    Sorry for the confusion. Many of these sites don’t need attribution, but I wanted to include the link to the source of the images in case you wanted to find the ones I used.

    Little Visuals’ images are in the public domain, so you can use them, modify them, and distribute them any way you want without attribution. In short, you can use them the way you’ve described.

  • Hi malene,

    Thanks for the tip! Great site.

  • Leslie

    Wonderful. Thank you for clarifying. I was thinking that was the reason.

  • Bob

    Also check out http://www.goodfreephotos.com for lots of landscape photos and photos of animals and plants

  • What an awesome collection. I’ve known a few of them, but am really than happy to have found more. Thank you very much, Jacob!

  • Thanks for the great article! You can check out my free photo site http://vallestudio.com

  • This is the best damn post I’ve seen in a while. Damn, it’s so good.

  • Another one (just few days old) would be http://albumarium.com

  • laurel

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Your efforts are greatly appreciated, you made my job much easier by providing a short cut to the best free photos!

  • Jen C.

    Thanks so much for writing this article, Jacob. I’ve been looking all over the internet for good sites, and your article is spot on. I recently created two blogs that have no photos as of yet, so this will be so helpful.

  • My site is at http://www.lawofattractionandmore.com, so I’ll be placing some good photos there! I am especially looking for the outerspace type ones…dealing with energy and thoughts.

  • Jutis

    Guys, http://www.iregioes.com.br site has many free photographs of cities in Brazil.

  • Steven

    This is a great list Jacob. A lot of sites that I frequent for photos. Would you consider taking a look at a new one – http://goodstock.photos – for this post or a future one? A free photo is published daily, free to use for anything. Thanks!

  • Lucie

    Hi, i would like to add one more Source for Free Photos to your list. I search photos for my Blog in the following Website. All images on this website are licensed under Creative Commons Public Domain license CC0. I recomend http://creativecommons.photos

  • Bara

    Hi all,

    I just started simillar project http://www.bara-art.com/. I share high quality photography for free. They are my photos, so I can assure you, that they are all high quality and attribution is not required (but appreciated). Right now I add new photos twice a week.

    I think that some of you can find it useful. Enjoy!

  • Jake

    Wow, fantastic photos. Thanks!

  • Nancy Brudigam

    Newbie here. Which of these sites let you use the images for “commercial” use. That is, can I put their images on products such as posters, mugs, keychains, etc. for sale to the public like on a POD? (print on demand site) Thanks