best free stock photo sites

The 10 best free stock photo sites

A number of sites offering good, free high-resolution stock photos have emerged in the last few years. Thank you to the generous photographers who are making their work available. It gives schools, non-profits, charities, churches, bloggers, and budget-constrained folks access to high-quality images. Here are 10 of the best free stock photo sites I’ve found.

At the time of this writing, these sites offer print-resolution photos that are free for commercial use. (Always confirm licensing agreements before you download in case terms have changed.)


Of the best free stock photo sites, my 4 personal favorites:

1. Kaboompics is self-described as a “one woman show.” Karolina offers gorgeous lifestyle images. Search by topic, color, or photo shoot. The photos in this post came from her site.

2. Pexels offers a wide variety. It has a “search by color” function where you click a colored dot to pull up matching images.

3. Unsplash has beautiful, atmospheric photos. They tend toward the generic, which makes them versatile for many projects.

4. StockSnap features more people photos than the average free stock photo site.


high res free stock photo sites

6 other sites to check out:

5. NegativeSpace has lots of landscapes and tech, plus other random things. Many have vintagey filters applied.

6. Pixabay tends toward simple subjects. A chicken. A coffee mug. Some images are odd or cheesy, but next time you need a picture of sliced salami, you know where to go. (Stay out of the crappy vector section.)

7. ISO Republic and Foodie Factor

This one’s a twofer. features architecture, cities, nature, tech and people. It has a nice sister site,, for exclusively food and drink photos. Beware: there are ads all over both sites, so make sure you click the correct “download” button.

8. Jay Mantri offers architecture, landscapes, and textures.

9. Makerbook pulls images from many of the best free stock photo sites into a collection “for startups,” so there are lots of desk surfaces, computers, and phones—sometimes with hands using them. They’re businessy.

10. Life of Pix features the usual architecture, nature, textures, and some people, with a few oddball images thrown in.


A couple drawbacks with the freebie sites

Compared to paid sites like Getty Images, iStockPhoto, and Shutterstock:

  • The selection is more limited
  • Search functions are less precise, so hunting eats up time. If you’re in a rush and need something specific, it’s probably worth your while to head directly to Shutterstock and cough up $30.
On the other hand…

Did I mention they’re free?


Wait, I found more. (10-6-17 update)

11. Raw Pixel

A couple other sites I just came across deserve mention. has quality photos, and it represents more people of color than the average freebie site.

12. Startup Stock Photos is a collection of free, realistic tech and office interior shots. There’s no search function, though, so get ready to scroll indefinitely.