Free stock photo websites provide an excellent resource for those seeking unique images beyond the typical corporate stock photo. We analyze the needs of a freelancer and a business owner. We’ve extensively researched multiple platforms to find the ideal stock photo for creative projects. We have compiled a list of the top 10 free stock photo websites.

Top Free Stock Photo Websites

  1. Unsplash
  2. Pixabay
  3. Pexels
  4. Burst
  5. New Old Stock
  6. 123RF
  7. Flickr
  8. Coverr.co
  9. Pikwizard
  10. Rawpixel

How to find the best free stock photo websites?

Finding free stock photo websites suitable for commercial use is now easier with websites that aggregate photos, illustrations, and vectors. These platforms typically offer convenient search and filtering options based on keywords or categories, facilitating efficient discovery. However, not all stock photo sites warrant exploration.

The best free stock photo websites adhere to the following criteria:

1. They must feature images usable for commercial and personal purposes without requiring payment.

2. Focus is placed on platforms with extensive collections, preferably containing hundreds of thousands of images or more.

3. Determining sites offer unique imagery to make your content stand out amidst the competition.

4. High-quality resolutions are crucial for applications in website development or branded content. Each site listed guarantees access to at least one high-resolution download size for its imagery.

5. Also, the website’s performance should be swift, its navigation intuitive, and its design contemporary.

During the assessment process, each website underwent a thorough examination. I searched through menus, conducted multiple searches to consider photo diversity, and scrutinized image quality.

After carefully considering factors, such as search filter sophistication, availability of high-resolution downloads, and unique platform features, we decided.

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Unsplash

unsplash

Unsplash is one of the largest free stock photo websites and most easily accessible repositories of free stock photos, a collection exceeding five million images alongside multiple plugins.

Its versatility extends to native applications such as iOS, Android, Apple TV, and desktop wallpaper apps. Moreover, Unsplash offers a Chrome extension that dynamically selects background images upon browser launch.

Moreover, its API easily integrates with popular platforms like Figma, Notion, Trello, and Squarespace, enabling users to access high-quality stock photos within their preferred environments.

Users can search for keywords and browse results to discover suitable images. For inspiration, category tabs on the homepage provide access to themed collections. That’s why it is very easy to use.

A distinctive feature of Unsplash is its Collections section, where users create themed compilations such as “Christmas Traditions,” “Autumn,” and “Milky Way.” This functionality enables access to multiple images aligned with specific themes, making Unsplash an optimal choice for users requiring cohesive sets of photographs.

Pixabay

pixabay

Pixabay is one the best free stock photo websites for media. It has an extensive library of 4.1 million assets including photos, illustrations, vector graphics, and videos. Pixabay allows you to search by photographer, orientation (landscape or portrait), size, and color.

The Pixabay team created an Editor’s Choice section, highlighting the best images on the site. To access, click Explore > Editor’s Choice. If you are looking for a professional-looking illustration, whether it’s hand-drawn or computer-generated, you’ve come to the right place.

Pixbay has a variety of royalty-free illustrations that can be hard to find on other platforms but not on Pixbay. You can use Pixabay to browse through vector graphics, videos, music, and even sound effects.

Pexels

pexels

Pexels is a prime choice if you are looking for a Free stock photo website, offering an extensive range of free photos and videos for your projects, coupled with a user-friendly interface. For those considering stock photos for social media graphics or other visual endeavors, utilizing a platform compatible with basic graphic design tools can prove beneficial.

Navigate through Pexels easily by browsing popular collections or filtering images by color, which is useful for maintaining consistency with your chosen color scheme.

Furthermore, Pexels has plugins that enable direct access and editing of stock photos within prominent design software such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe XD, Figma, or Sketch, enhancing workflow efficiency and creative flexibility.

Burst

burst

Burst is a free stock photo website, supported by the established eCommerce platform Shopify, which provides a wealth of free stock photos tailored to improve your content. With thousands of images available, Burst specializes in business-related photography, including various factors such as retail, eCommerce, finance, and products.

The site conveniently organizes its content into 28 distinct categories, with some further subdivided for enhanced navigation.

Standard features like browsing, searching, and downloading are integrated into Burst’s user interface. Additionally, Burst and Shopify offer valuable guidance on transforming online business concepts into tangible realities, serving as an added resource for entrepreneurs and content creators alike.

New Old Stock

new old stock

New Old Stock is a free stock photo website, that shares vintage photographs sourced from public archives. If you believe that historical images, like scenes from the late 1800s or snapshots from ancient ages, would align well with your brand, take a moment to explore the collection.

However, it’s worth noting that New Old Stock may not offer as much variety as other stock photo platforms, and not all images are free for commercial use. For commercial usage, users are advised to verify the rights statement of each photo through the provided link to the original Flickr posting.

The site’s search functionality is somewhat limited, and there are no options to filter photos as found on most other free image platforms.

However, you can try your luck by using the search bar located in the upper-left corner of the site and entering relevant keywords to uncover vintage gems.

123RF

123rf

123RF offers AI-generated stock images but provides the option to filter them out. This feature simplifies your image search by splitting up both types of content in one place, eliminating any confusion.

Many stock photo websites now incorporate AI-generated images beside human-generated ones, or sometimes even in place of them. Among the platforms we tested, We found 123RF to be particularly helpful.

For those in search of a free stock photo website suitable for platforms like Instagram or other social media sites, 123RF proves to be a convenient choice. Not only does it offer a wide range of free photos and vector illustrations, but it also provides various download sizes tailored for platforms like Facebook covers, email headers, Pinterest posts, and brochure covers.

These predefined Free stock photo websites sizes can significantly reduce the time spent cropping and resizing images for social media use. Furthermore, users can apply filters, add text, and even remove backgrounds directly on the site before downloading.

123RF’s website is designed with simplicity and ease of navigation in mind. Additionally, the platform offers multiple paid features, including AI image generation, AI copywriting, premium audio and video content, and an extensive collection of fonts.

Flickr

flickr

Flickr is a photo-sharing social network, an extensive collection of over ten billion images contributed by both professional and unprofessional photographers worldwide.

One unique factor of Flickr is its focus on showcasing artists. Upon visiting the homepage, users are encouraged to join the community and explore images not only by keyword but also by individuals or groups.

Each contributor’s profile features a “Photostream,” showcasing their latest and most popular works. This setup provides a platform for discovering talented photographers, gaining insights into the field, and refining one’s artistic perspective.

Flickr’s photos are famous for their detailed metadata, including geolocation information, EXIF data, and tags. Users can easily find images taken in specific locations by using the World Map feature or search for specific subjects using the search bar. Additionally, users can explore trending and recently added photos, browse galleries, and delve into individual photographers’ collections by clicking on their usernames.

It’s important to note that not all photos on Flickr can be used freely, especially for commercial purposes. However, determining which photos are usable is straightforward. Users can search, then utilize the “Any license” dropdown menu and select “Commercial use allowed” to filter results accordingly.

Rawpixel

rawpixel

Rawpixel offers more than just a stock photo collection—it is a comprehensive resource hub for various visual projects. In addition to a diverse selection of free stock images, Rawpixel provides vectors, illustrations, public domain art, fonts, stickers, and more, positioning itself as a “creative home” for creators of all kinds.

While testing these Free stock photo websites, I found Rawpixel’s search features to be particularly impressive, offering in-depth options and intuitive functionality. Users can sort search results by popularity, freshness, or curated suggestions. Furthermore, the platform allows users to refine searches by content type, filter by price or file type, and even opt to exclude or focus on AI-generated images.

Navigating the site is easy, and for those in need of inspiration, the Topics tab offers themed design collections to spark creativity for projects.

Coverr.co

coverr

Coverr is a free stock photo website, that specializes in providing videos primarily intended for cover pages, although their versatility allows for broader usage across various projects. The platform lacks a search function, making it challenging to navigate through the limited categories available.

However, Coverr serves as an excellent resource for discovering video clips suitable for your upcoming marketing endeavors.

Pikwizard

pikwizard

Pikwizard is also a free stock photo website, that offers a free image library featuring a collection of high-quality images available under the Creative Commons license. Users can utilize these images without the need for attribution.

Additionally, Pikwizard provides the option to edit images using Design Wizard, an online graphic design software, that improves flexibility and customization for creative projects.

AI-generated Images vs Stock Photos: Which is the better choice?

Generative AI platforms like Midjourney enable the creation of customized images that cater to specific requirements, whereas stock photos and AI-generated images serve different purposes, each with its own set of advantages and limitations. While this innovation suggests a potential shift away from traditional stock photos, there are considerations to bear in mind.

AI image generation presents certain challenges. Not everyone possesses the expertise to effectively use AI algorithms to produce desired outcomes. Additionally, the quality and relevance of AI-generated photos can vary, posing inconsistencies. Moreover, ethical and copyright concerns surrounding generative AI remain unresolved, inducing some creators to prefer human-generated photos.

Besides advancements in AI technology, Free stock photo websites remain valuable resources—for now. During testing, I observed that several platforms have incorporated AI-generated photos into their offerings, alongside traditional stock photos.

While sites exclusively featuring AI-generated images were excluded from consideration, those offering a blend of both were noted. Similarly, platforms integrating AI tools, including image generation capabilities, were acknowledged for their utility and innovation.

Next time you’re searching for an image, consider using a royalty-Free stock photo websites.