Everyone needs images for their websites and their print materials like visiting cards, brochures, etc. Most importantly we look for free stock photos for commercial use. To legally use images either you have to click them yourself using a DSLR camera or hire someone to click these photos for you. Then there is a cost of hiring models too. The overall cost gets higher and higher according to the need of the project.
Another option is to buy photos from stock photo libraries like iStockPhoto and Shutter Stock. But again these accumulate to a lot of money as you purchase photos. Wouldn’t it be great if you can get all these high-resolution photos for general and commercial purposes, and that too for free!
What most of the people do on the internet is that they simply perform a regular image search on Google and find images. They save the images that they liked and then use them in their projects. But this is not the correct way to use photos that are available online. But why is that so you may ask! That is because all those photos that you find in the Google search are free and most of them are personal photos or copyrighted photos.
To use copyrighted material anywhere without written permission is not advisable at all. It may bring many problems your way – especially legal ones. So avoid using such copyright images from Google or even Pinterest. The best thing to do is either click photos yourself or get someone to do it for you or purchase from stock photo libraries only.
But, how to get free stock photos for commercial use?
I know that you are here for this reason only. Who doesn’t like free stuff! We love free stuff too and there is nothing wrong in it as you are getting something for free then why not grab it.
There are many free to use photos available online. Most of these photo websites/libraries offer absolutely amazing full HD or even higher quality images for free. What do they ask in return? Generally, nothing at all, or at most ask you to put a courtesy link or to credit the photo author. That is certainly not a big thing and everyone must do it.
Here are the Top 8 resources for free stock photos
Unsplash is one of the most popular free photo websites ever. With hundreds and thousands of photos freely available for you to use in any of your own websites or any other project. All photos here on the website are of HD quality and are taken by photographers worldwide.
Unsplash is dedicated to sharing stock photography under the Unsplash license. They claim that they have over 110,000 contributing photographers and also generate more than 9 billion photo impressions per month on their growing library of over 810,000 photos. That is HUGE!
If you are also a photographer then you can also share your photos on Unsplash and offer them for free. This helps in showcasing your talent to a vast audience all over the world.
With over 1 million+ photos, Pixabay is one of the most visited free photo websites in the world today. If you are looking for high-quality stock images then Pixabay is the place to look at. Just like other free photo websites you can download any image from Pixabay and use it in your projects.
Pixabay offers free to download and use stock videos too. That is an added advantage of using their service.
This is what their official websites say about their service – Find your perfect free image or video to download and use for anything. ✓ Free for commercial use ✓ No attribution required ✓ High-quality images.
Just like Unsplash, you can upload and share your own images and videos on the website for other people to download and use. If you are a photographer then this will help you build an even more powerful portfolio.
Another absolutely wonderful free photo resource is Burst by Shopify. They offer a vast collection of free to use photos ranging from fitness, animals, business, travel, sports and so on.
Since the photos on Burst are being provided by Shopify you are rest assured that they are high-quality and original photos. You can use them on your shopping sites on their platform or any other standalone website of yours.
Another online photo library is Stocksnap. They too have a huge collection of photos in their collection which you can download and use anywhere you like.
Personally I don’t know why but I don’t find their photos as appealing as say that of Unsplash or Pexels. Maybe it is because I have been personally using those services for a long time now or maybe it is just me ‘taking sides’ with them. Whatever it may be, I can say that their collection is also very beautiful and you might find that perfect photo for your project here. Give it a try.
Free images, as their name suggests, offer free to download and use photos – that are free!
If you want to contribute your photos clicked by your digital camera or your mobile phone then this might be the best place to do so. Websites like Pexels offer more of professional-grade photos and what I have seen on Free Images is that they have a huge collection of everyday normal style photos too that look very authentic and are best suited for projects focused on simpler topics like say, bathroom cleaning, kitchen, bike repair and so on.
Ah! My personal favorite free stock photo website. Pexels offers such an amazing collection of photos and videos that you can literally spend hours looking at them. Whenever I use the website to get some image for myself, I always find it in the first search itself. And I actually turn up downloading at least 5 photos every time. Yes, they are so good. I am not saying that other websites are bad, but for me, Pexels has been the most reliable source for free stock photos.
What makes them more special is that they have a 30-day leaderboard for top photographers. This gives a chance to every contributor on the platform to shine brighter amongst the stars.
Here too you can share your photo and video art with others. Pexels also runs offers and contests from time to time to encourage more and more people to be active on their platform.
Last in this list is Reshot. Reshot grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Reshot for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Reshot. This license does not include the right to compile photos from Reshot to replicate a similar or competing service.
So if you are looking for a free service then do consider Reshot. They are unique because their license terms are the most lenient of them all.
The latest entry to this list is Pikwizard. What’s special about them? Well, they have a stunning photo library of over 1 million stock images and videos, which are 100% royalty-free and also safe for commercial use too. They too don’t require you to give any attribution to the website or the creators as such.
The thing I liked the most about Pikwizard is that they have over 20,000 images that are exclusively available on their website. Pikwizard also adds new images to their library on a daily basis and I was informed by them personally that their ultimate goal is to get to more than 1 million images (all exclusive to them). Wow! That is indeed amazing.
What is the best thing about free photo websites?
Photographers, big and small, from all over the world contribute their best work for free on these websites. Also, these websites encourage you to share your photos too. This helps them build an, even more, a better resource that is free for everyone.
When you share your best photos you get more exposure not only in your community, city, state or country but also throughout the world. You can make a name for yourself and sharing on say, Pexels or Reshot, will help you create a better and more reachable online portfolio. Building your own websites is a must but for photographers sharing some of their photos from their portfolio to these websites brings in more chances of getting more clients.
So if you are a photographer or a user, in general, you must try out these free photo resources today.