Stock Photography is an extremely valuable resource when putting together content for your website, but many people think it’s just for big companies with giant marketing budgets. The truth is, that hasn’t been the case for a long time. The earliest stock photo libraries supplied historical photos to newspapers long before the invention of the digital camera. However, since as far back as 2000 there has been free and cheap stock photography available to the masses online. Now it’s easier than ever to find images that are available for use with no commercial or modification restrictions. So next time you’re working on a blog post and need the perfect featured image, check one of these sites.
Unsplash has made a name for itself as one of the best free stock photography sites out there and it makes sense why. With its seemingly endless collection of high quality images, chances are, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for. It doesn’t have certain features that other sites on this list have like videos, vector graphics, and other resources, but if you’re just looking for free, high quality stock images that can be downloaded quickly and easily, Unsplash is a force to be reckoned with.
Pexels may not have quite the selection that unsplash has, but it’s still a pretty huge library. It also has a few other benefits. One of the biggest benefits is videos! Pexels allows users to find not just free stock photos but also videos. Stock videos often make excellent section backgrounds for your website and can add a little something extra.
Pixabay is an amazing resource. Not only does it have images and videos, but also vectors, illustrations, and even music. If you don’t need those features and you’re looking to work as quickly as possible, Pixabay may not be your first choice, as you do need an account to avoid captchas and their user interface is a bit less smooth than some of the other options, but overall, you definitely want to keep Pixabay in your bookmarks list.
Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay are the biggest and most well known sites for free stock photos, but they’re not the only ones. Here are a few less common ones that have great options.
Like the other sites we’ve talked about already, Stockvault has a wide selection of high quality images. Although their user interface isn’t quite as clean as some others out there, Stockvault has a vast array of unique images you won’t find on other sites. As you go use these sites, you’ll find that while overlap is to be expected, each site feels like it has its own identity, and that’s certainly true of Stockvault.
Morguefile is an interesting library because while most of the sites on this list moderate to keep ameteur photos off their site, Morguefile has a mix of professional shots and random candid photos. While I would generally prefer a site where I know every image is top-notch, having a place to find less professional looking images is a useful tool, but of course, it does leave one question still to be answered. Why is it called Morguefile? Well, according to their website: “A morgue file is a place to keep post production materials for use of reference — an inactive job file.” Makes sense to me.