11 Incredible Sources of FREE Images

Discover the Best Sites for Acquiring Free Images for Commercial Use

So, you need an image … the good news is that there are plenty out there, but sometimes, that’s part of the problem. How exactly do you find the right image to use commercially, without violating any copyright laws?

Admittedly, it can be challenging but by the time you get to the end of our guide, not only will you have a better understanding of what’s legally permissible and what isn’t, but you’ll also have 11 great resources for free images you can use on your website, blog, social media channels, presentations, videos, print materials, and marketing campaigns.

Copyright Terms You Need to Know

Yeah, we know … copyright law is a total snoozefest. However, nobody needs the excitement of lawsuits and fines that you risk, should you violate copyright laws.

Still, we promise not to go overboard here. Instead, we’ll just tell you the least you need to know to remain on the right side of the law.

When you visit a site that hosts free images, you’ll typically find a bunch of legal terms whose meanings may not be immediately clear. Let’s do a quick review of some of the most popular ones:

Attribution – Sometimes a site will say that an attribution is required. It means that although you can use an image on the site, you must credit its creator.

Royalty-Free –With royalty-free image licenses, people are usually required to pay a one-time upfront fee for an image. They can then use that image as often and in as many places as they want.

Creative Commons License – A Creative Commons (CC) license means that an artist has waived the rights to their work, and you can use it for free. However, you’ll still want to review the license’s terms of usage to make sure you’re in the clear.

There are several types of Creative Common licenses, and each one has different rules surrounding it. For instance, some types require attribution or specify that an image can’t be used commercially.

Commercial Use – In copyright law, commercial use broadly refers to income-generating activities, whether they’re direct or indirect. For example, pro bono work that enhances someone’s reputation (i.e. leading to income-generating work) could be considered commercial use.

Commercial Use – In copyright law, commercial use broadly refers to income-generating activities, whether they’re direct or indirect. For example, pro bono work that enhances someone’s reputation (i.e. leading to income-generating work) could be considered commercial use.


Now that we’ve covered the most popular copyright terms, it’s time to move on to our favorite photo-sharing sites.

Just keep in mind that although we’ve included some information about the laws governing the photos on these sites, terms could change in the future.

We recommend familiarizing yourself with the general guidelines of any photo-sharing site you use, as some sites may require attribution or have restrictions surrounding commercial use.

11 GREAT RESOURCES FOR 100% FREE IMAGES

1FREE IMAGES

Yes, believe it or not, you can get free images from Freeimages. All kidding aside, Freeimages has over 380,000 stock photos and illustrations free for personal and commercial use. These images cover a wide variety of subjects, making Freeimages a great place to begin your image search.

That said, keep in mind that while you can use Freeimage’s photos in digital format or in printed materials, certain restrictions may apply. For instance, in some situations, an attribution is required. Make sure you understand your legal obligations before using a Freeimages photo.

2PIXABAY

Pixabay carries over 1,000,000 high-quality, royalty-free stock images. In addition to the images that have been shared by the Pixabay community, the site also carries images that are part of the public domain.

Many people like using Pixabay as a resource, because all of the content on the site is available for personal and commercial use. Also, Pixabay doesn’t require attributions.

3NEW OLD STOCK

If vintage is your thing, New Old Stock is definitely worth checking out. The site contains a number of old photos that are part of the public domain.

Don’t want to search through a bunch of photos to find what you’re looking for? New Old Stock also allows you to purchase curated groups of photos, featuring different themes. These photos have already been optimized, cropped, and edited, so you can start using them immediately.

4VECTOR CHARACTERS

Need a charming character to use on a website, blog, social media channel, or video? Vector Characters should be your go-to site. Visit it and you’ll find a wide array of characters to choose from, including men, women, children, superheroes, robots, animals, and more.

All of the files you download from the site are free to use for personal and commercial projects. While you’re limited to downloading certain poses, if you find a character you especially like, you can pay a fee to download that character in dozens of different poses.

5STOCKSNAP.IO

A real favorite among marketers, StockSnap offers thousands of high-resolution stock photos that you can search by category or by using the site’s search feature. You can even take a look at what’s trending to see the most popular photos among StockSnap’s users.

The great thing about the photos on StockSnap is that they’re all covered by the Creative Commons CC0 license. That means you can alter, copy, and share the images you download from the site. Plus, the photos can be used for personal or commercial purposes without attribution.

6UNSPLASH

Unsplash is a great source for finding high-resolution photos in a number of different categories. If you want to view some really stunning photos, check out the site’s home page where you’ll find the very best photos of all the submissions they receive.

Like StockSnap, all the photos you’ll find on Unsplash are free to use for commercial and non-commercial purposes. While attributions aren’t required, the site notes that they’re appreciated when possible.

7USER PERSONA IMAGES

Sometimes you just need a face for something as simple as a marketing document featuring a customer persona. That’s when you’ll want to turn to User Persona Images which has free stock photos of men and women.

While User Persona Images has a small selection of photos compared to the other sites on this list, their photos are of the highest quality. Plus, there are probably enough images on the site for you to easily find ones accurately representing your customer personas.

8FOODIESFEED

When you need a food pic, head straight to Foodiesfeed where you’ll find over 1,000 visually appealing, high-res food photos. The mouthwatering photos are organized by categories, including meat, pizza, coffee, cake, and healthy foods.

As with the StockSnap site, all of the photos on Foodiesfeed are covered by the Creative Commons CC0 license, so you can use them for commercial purposes without providing attribution or linking back to the Foodiesfeed website.

9STYLED STOCK

Occasionally, you might need a pic with a feminine slant. In that case, you’ll want to check out Styled Stock, a site offering feminine stock photography.

If you’re wondering what feminine stock photography is exactly, a quick look at the site reveals photos centered around beauty, fashion, florals, and food.

Although Styled Stock has less images than the other sources we identified, the ones they do have are really beautiful, making the site worth a visit.

The photos on Styled Stock are free for commercial use without attribution, however the photographer retains their copyright.

10PEXELS

Pexels is another site offering high-quality stock photography. Even better, the photos on the site are tagged, making it easy to find what you’re looking for. If you need inspiration, check out Pexel’s “most recent” or “trending” tabs to see the site’s latest and greatest additions.

All of the photos on Pexels are free to use. The license allows you to edit them and use them commercially without attribution.

11RESHOT

Reshot differs from the other sources on this list in that the photos on its site have all been handpicked. Additionally, Reshot aims to provide photos that it deems “non-stocky” i.e. more unusual than what you might find on traditional photo-sharing sites.

Still, don’t let that scare you off. The photos are incredibly well-done and most of them are conventional enough that they can work for a wide assortment of projects.

Plus, if you don’t want to sort through all the photos on the site, you can always download a curated photo pack, consisting of twenty photos centered around a common theme, like technology, diversity, or active lifestyle.

Like the other sites we’ve identified, Reshot offers a generous license agreement. You can modify, copy, download, and distribute all the photos on the website for commercial purposes, no attribution required.

In Conclusion

There are plenty of online resources that provide free images you can use commercially. Just be sure that when using those images, you’re following licensing requirements.

For most of the sites on here, that should be pretty simple … making it easy-as-can-be to find just the high-res image you need for your next project!

Team Toonly
Team Toonly Video Gurus