Digital Insights

The 6 Best Online Sources for Free Stock Images


Published: April 2, 2015

Images are critically important to the success of your website and social media posting. A single photo can tell a story much faster and more effectively than an entire page of text. Ninety percent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual, which processes those visuals 60,000 times faster than text alone. What’s more, 46 percent of all website visitors feel that an image-rich website design is the most important factor in determining the credibility of a business.

Digital marketers require a variety of images for illustrating everything from websites, blog and social media posts to e-books and slideshow videos. The trick is to find a source for high-quality images that won’t break your budget.

Virtually every image from the last 30 years is protected under the copyright laws, which grants the original creator the right to use and license their work however they see fit. Short of doing it yourself or hiring a photographer every time your need an image, your options are to search through public domain photos, or use a Creative Commons image which might require attribution.

What’s the Difference Between Public Domain and Creative Commons Images?

  • Public domain images are available for anyone to use without cost or restriction. Their copyright protection has either expired, been forfeited, or is no longer applicable for some reason.
  • Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that grants licenses for the use of stock images.
  • Creative Commons zero means that images can be used without receiving permission or providing attribution.
  • Creative Commons with attribution requires that the creator be credited for any images used. Attribution is pretty straightforward – simply add a line of text citing the creator, such as “Photo by Jane Doe.”

Browsing Stock Image Sites
Some stock image sites provide a searchable index to help you find the specific type of image you need. Stock galleries typically contain thousands of images, so you might want to confine your search to those sites that allow you to browse by category. Always be sure to check the license for any restrictions on usage before you upload and use a stock image.

Foodie’s Feed
If you need high-quality food images, Foodie’s Feed probably has exactly what you’re looking for. These high-resolution images capture the mouth-watering essence of just about any type of food you can imagine, and new images are uploaded every week. Photos are free to use, but donations via a PayPal link are welcome.

Creative Commons
The Creative Commons site allows you to search for a variety of free photos, videos, and illustrations across multiple third-party sites, including Google Images, Wikimedia Commons, Pixabay, and Flickr.

Picjumbo offers easy search navigation to quickly find the right image for the job. High-resolution images are available for both commercial and personal use in a variety of categories such as people, nature, food, technology and fashion. All images are free to use with author attribution.

Public Domain Archive
This site is a great source for finding free high-quality public domain images. All images are sorted by category, and include a wide variety of product and landscape images.

IM Free
IM Free offers a variety of quality color and black and white stock images as well as templates, buttons, and icons – all free and available for commercial or personal use. Subjects include people, sports, fitness, and technology. Images are organized and grouped by category, and can be searched by keyword topic.

New Old Stock
New Old Stock features an extensive library of vintage images, all in the public domain and free to use without restriction. Images range from vintage ads to classic images, and most of the images include high-resolution files for clean rendering.

  1. I have used a few of those websites in the last few days looking for some photos for my current project. Another good website offering mainly free photos with a paid option for higher res ones is also use Google for CC images a lot but prefer to find exclusive ones when I can or have the time to look a little more


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