When you are a blogger or writer, you may find you need pictures or photographs to include in your work. You should always ensure you are entitled to use the images you choose. Don’t randomly select pictures from Google images, because chances are the image is under copyright. Generally, images with a particular brand (say, a Disney image, or image of a celebrity) or artistic pictures will be copyrighted and you should not use them. It’s possible to get into serious trouble using copyrighted images – rare, admittedly, but not worth the risk.
So, what’s the alternative? Stock photography. There are many websites out there that provide images, either free of charge, or for a small fee, that you can use in your work. If you need blog images, like the one on this post, or images to use on a book cover, these are the kind of sites you want to be checking out. Do ensure that you check the licence carefully on the picture you want. Not all images are available for commercial use or for public sharing.
I use stock photos regularly for blog posts, promotional images, and book cover inspiration, and to that end, I’ve compiled a list of stock photo sites together with a brief description of each site, as a useful resource. Some are free, some charge fees, either per photo or on a subscription basis, and some are a mixture. (Note that royalty-free does not mean the photo itself is free! Royalty-free means there is a one-off payment rather than payment per usage). This list is a mixture of large, commercial sites, medium-sized sites, and the work of individual photographers and bloggers. I have grouped them by pricing category.
Free Stock Photos (great for blogging and promotional images)
- 1 Million Free Pictures : 1 Million Free Pictures is a repository of thousands of 100% free pictures. No registration required. No fees collected. No annoying watermarks. No accounts needed. Just free pictures. All pictures in this photo blog are in the public domain. The goal of this free photo blog is to provide an alternative source of free images for those who cannot afford to purchase or buy from commercial stock photo websites.
- Cupcake : Free original images to use as you want
- Death to the Stock Photo : Free monthly photos for all your creative needs. For commercial use, your blog posts, social accounts, and mockups. Aims to be just like coffee for the modern creative. They email you photos – it’s not a searchable website.
- DesignerPics.com : This is an initiative from to provide free photographs to all who are in need. It is an ongoing project and they will keep adding new pictures every month.
- Focus Fitness : High Quality Free Stock Images — Get free fitness, weight loss, and food photos.
- Foodies Feed : FoodiesFeed is a number one destination for realistic and natural looking images of food. Free pictures.
- Free Classic Images : This site is dedicated to bringing the very best free vintage and classic pictures to the Internet. If you are into arts and crafts, scrap booking, decoupage or have another need for great old pictures then here they are, famous paintings, vintage posters, classic pinups, and seasonal images etc.
- Free Images (UK) : 18,000+ free Stock photos, 89 searchable categories. You’ll find a library of stock photography for use on websites, printed media, products and anywhere you need a photo to help with illustration and design.
- Free Images (.com) : Nearly 400,000 free photos and illustrations. Free membership. (note: owned by iStock/Getty Images so advertises photos to buy as well)
- Free Refe Real Life Photos : Tumblr site with free photos. Check out the archives for available photos.
- Good Free Photos : A gallery of thousands of unique and free public domain stock photos. All photos are categorized by location for travel photos, species for animal and plant photos, and types of objects for other photos. All photos are released under the public domain license so you can use the photos for whatever reason you want.
- Flickr (Creative Commons Licence) : Many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license, and you can browse or search through content under each type of license.
- Freepik.com : Freepik offers users, high quality graphic designs: exclusive illustrations and graphic resources carefully selected by their design team in order to provide users with great content that can be used in both personal and commercial projects.
- Free Range : Freerange Stock was formed with the goal to provide quality stock photos for commercial and non-commercial use. For free. Freerange is an advertising-revenue-supported photographic community – photographers get paid when users click on the ads that appear next to their submissions.
- Gratisography : Free high-resolution pictures you can use on your personal and commercial projects. Click on an image to download the high-resolution version. New pictures added weekly.
- IM Free : Selection of free photos and other web design resources
- ISO Republic : Provides free stock photos for creative professionals. Since launch, they’ve published over 3,000 CC0 licensed images, with more being added every single week. An independent website that is managed and maintained by a small team of contributors.
- Jay Mantri : Free photos. Blog entries – non-searchable. Nice archives.
- Life of Pix : Free high-resolution photos, no copyright restrictions, images for personal or commercial use. New photos added weekly.
- Little Visuals : Blog with nice nature photos. Free. No longer updated with new photos.
- Magdeleine : Hand-picked free photos for inspiration.
- MMT : Free photos for commercial use. Use them in your website, themes, templates, projects, print materials, social posts, and more. New photos each week.
- Morguefile : (owned by Getty Images) Looking for high-resolution stock photos for your illustration, comp or design needs? Search morgueFile for free reference images. They’re all completely free. whether you’re an illustrator, art director, instructor or looking to add a defining visual to a presentation.
- Pexels : Pexels helps designers, bloggers and everyone who is looking for an image to find great photos that you can use everywhere for free.
- PicJumbo : Free stock photo site created by in 2013. It all started when stock photo sites didn‘t want the creator’s photos. Two years later people downloaded almost three millions images from this site. Generally, picjumbo users are from the ranks of bloggers, theme developers, marketers, web designers, app designers or even whole design agencies from all around the world.
- Pickup Image : A large collection of free photographs. Free download of high-quality premium free stock images and public domain photos.
- Picography : Free hi-resolution photos. Use them however you like.
- Pixabay : Free images and videos you can use anywhere. All images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. Attribution is not required. This site is one my favourite for finding blog pictures.
- Public Domain Archive : They are a public domain image repository. A site where you come to explore and discover treasures by other great photographers. A place to find inspiration and photography that you can re-use in your creative projects. If you are expecting Shutterstock, you will probably be disappointed. They aren’t trying to re-create the wheel, they are trying to create one place where you can come to be inspired to create something amazing. Explore thousands of high-resolution public domain images.
- RGB Stock : Looking for free stock photos for personal use or commercial work? Rgbstock has what you are looking for, with more than 100,000 free stock photos.
- Shotstash : New photos for your projects are added every day. No royalties, no fees, no worries. Enjoy !
- Skitterphoto : All photos on this website are completely free to use for any purpose. When pictures are published on, they are released into the public domain using creative commons CC0. A credit is appreciated, but not necessary. Pictures on this website are authentic, they are not from other sites. All photos were taken directly by Skitterphoto creators.
- Splitshire : Royalty Free Stock Photos and Images for commercial use. Instant download high-quality free stock photos without copyright, do whatever you want. Daily updates.
- Stock Free Images : All images downloaded are licensed under the Royalty Free license which means you license the image once and then you can use it as many times as you like, with just a few restrictions. (owned by Dreamstime.) Many images are free.
- Stock Snap : StockSnap is the best place on the internet to find beautiful free stock photos. We select nothing but the highest quality, highest resolution pictures and add them to our database on a daily basis. All photos uploaded to the site are released under Creative Commons – CC0 and do not require attribution. No more hassle trying to figure out whether you can use photos for commercial use and whether you need to provide attribution. We curate the best stock photos from around the web and we also upload photos from select photographers within our network. The end result is a bad ass repository of beautiful stock photography.
- Super Famous : The Superfamous Images are available under the conditions of a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. This means that you can use the work for your own purposes as long as credit is provided. Small selection of beautiful images.
- Unsplash : Free unrestricted use high-resolution photos. For 10 new photos every 10 days, subscribe.
- Vecteezy : We’re proud to be the largest vector graphics community in the world. Here you can explore and discuss the creations of other artists from around the world, or just find that perfect little freebie for your next project. Vecteezy makes it easy to explore thousands of graphics created by vector artists from all over the globe. Most of the files are free to download and, depending on the license, free to use in your projects.
- Viintage : Hundreds of Thousands of Copyright Free Vintage Graphics. Everything you need for your creative projects, all public domain images!
- Yeah Stock Photos : Free Stock Photos For Everyone. Yeah! No Royalties. No Attribution. Just Awesome Free Photos.
Low-Priced (great for book covers and more high-profile promotions)
- Can Stock Photo (UK Site here) : A royalty-free stock photography agency that believes professional stock images should be affordable and accessible to everyone. Adding over 25,000 top quality images each day from the world’s best photographers and artists. Searching and downloading stock images is refreshingly fast and easy, and you don’t need an account or subscription.
- Deposit Photos : A commercial platform that brings authors of high-quality licensed stock photos, graphics, vectors and videos together with appreciative buyers.
- Dreamstime : Dreamstime is one of the world leaders in stock photography and a reliable supplier of high-quality digital images at affordable prices. Online since 2000 as a royalty-free stock photography website, Dreamstime has evolved into a powerful and active community-based site. The exquisite stock image gallery you can browse today has been uploaded by photographers from all over the world, shot on film or digital. Free registration.
- Fotolia : Fotolia is a world-leading image bank, providing instant access to over 55 million images, vectors, illustrations and video clips, to ensure you’ll always find the one you need.
- Fotosearch : Fotosearch is a provider of royalty free and rights managed stock photography, illustrations, maps, video, and audio. They bring together many different stock agencies to provide “The World’s Stock Photography at One Web Site.”™ The products on Fotosearch can be licensed and easily downloaded for use in advertisements, promotional materials, websites, etc.
- Go Graph : GoGraph offers flexible royalty free stock photography, vectors, illustrations, graphics, and stock footage at low prices. Purchase and download stock images immediately. For over 10 years we have helped art directors, graphic designers, corporate advertisers, and freelance designers find high-quality images.
- Shutterstock : Shutterstock, a global technology company, has created the largest and most vibrant two-sided marketplace for creative professionals to license content – including images, videos, and music – as well as innovative tools that power the creative process.Over 84 million royalty-free stock images. Over 800,000 new stock images added weekly
- Think Stock : (owned by Getty Images) Offers millions of premium art-directed and user-generated royalty-free photos, vectors and illustrations selected from Getty Images, iStock and worldwide image partners. The only stock subscription designed with one goal in mind -– to give you the freedom to focus on being creative. Subscription plans so suitable for high volume users.
Higher-Priced (these sites are aimed at professionals)
- Alamy : Over 75 million high-quality stock images, vectors, and videos from the world’s largest stock photo collection. Hassle free – no subscriptions, no credits, no need to register.
- First Light : First Light serve their clients through the existing web site, which has now been expanded to include over 7,000,000 images to fulfill almost any image search requirement. First Light represents over 200 of its own photographers, and in combination with Design Pics Canadian based photographers, has the most extensive collection of Canadian content available anywhere. In addition, there are over 50 third party providers to the First Light site, ensuring the finest of service and satisfactory search results.
- Getty Images : One of the biggest stock photo sites out there. Owns some of the other sites mentioned on this list, so their photos will often pop up as suggestions on those other sites too.
- Image Zoo : ImageZoo’s impressive collection of inspired and distinctive images are created by some of the world’s most visionary illustrating talents. Discover thousands of stylish and sassy images, or choose from a selection of virtual CD’s full of valuable and re-usable illustrations that will contribute to your projects for years to come.
- iStockPhoto : (owned by Getty Images) Founded over 15 years ago, iStock created the crowd-sourced stock industry and became the original source for user-generated stock photos, vectors and illustrations, video clips, and music clips.
- Masterfile : Millions of royalty-free and rights manages images.
Did I miss any good sites? Let me know in the comments and I will update the links.