18 Websites With Free Images You Need To Bookmark Today

In Branding, Web Design by Rachel Di Martino

Images play a huge role on your website. They help clarify your message, create a mood, and add interest to your page or post.

You should never source images from a random online search under the “images” tab because they may require a copyright license to put on your site or social media. I’ve heard horror stories of bloggers charged fines up to $5,000 for using an image without a license. And you certainly can’t do that if you plan to put the image onto something for sale.

Instead, you can source an image from a site that uses creative commons license which ranges from allowing any type of use with no mention of the source, to allowing only certain uses and crediting the source. Or use an image within the public domain, which means copyrights have expired, have been forfeited, or are inapplicable. Or a royalty free site, where you don’t need to pay royalties to the owner of the image every time you use it, but you may pay a one-time fee to download.

I recommend when you download an image from any of these sites, you check the license to see how you may use it and save the image into a folder on your computer specific to that site. For example, I have a folder on my computer called “Unsplash” where all my photos sourced from Unsplash go. This ensures I have a record of where I got the image from, in case the image was not supposed to be free, which potentially could happen in rare cases. It acts as a digital record for my business.

Let’s dive into this list of website with free images you need to bookmark in your browser for the next time you need the perfect image without spending a dime.

  1. Unsplash
  2. https://unsplash.com/

    Unsplash’s motto is “Photos for everyone”. I find their photos emotionally charged and magazine ready. Most of the people images feature younger early 20-somethings and often posed like Instagram models. But there are lots of gems worth checking out.

    View their license here.

    Images from Unsplash

  3. Pexels
  4. https://www.pexels.com/

    I’m not a big fan of Pexels because some of the images look like bad photoshop experiments or just plain weird and there are ads interwoven within their search. But they do have an extensive collection which makes it worth checking out if you haven’t found what you’re looking for on Unsplash.

    View their license here.

    Images from Pexels

  5. Canva
  6. https://www.canva.com/photos/free/

    Canva has free photos for download, but you need to create a Canva account in order to access them. Their photos are pretty and look like an Instagram account I would totally follow. But searching through the photos, I found I was too easily landing on paid photos during my search of freebies. And there is definitely choice overwhelm on this site. But I do recommend having a look.

    Images from Canva

  7. Rawpixel
  8. https://www.rawpixel.com/

    You’ll need to create an account to download images and you can access 100 free per month. They also have a collection from the public domain which includes artists like Monet and Katsushika Hokusai, as well as NASA photographs and textbook images. Make sure you select the “free” tab when searching otherwise you may fall in love with a photo only to discover it has a premium. You can also create boards on Rawpixel and download PSD and Illustration files. Rawpixels is quickly becoming one of my favorite sites to browse an image library.

    View their license here.

    Images from Rawpixel

  9. Art Institute Chicago
  10. https://www.artic.edu/collection?is_public_domain=1

    Speaking of art in the public domain, check out the Art Institute of Chicago. They digitized their collection on their website which includes paintings from Renoir and van Gogh as well as ancient cultural sculptures. Be sure to click “Public Domain” under filters to get only the content you’re allowed to republish on your website.

    Images from Art Institute of Chicago

  11. Pixabay
  12. https://pixabay.com/

    Pixabay is a lot like Pexels and Unsplash. One thing that makes it unique is you can send a donation to the user who loaded the photo to the site. That’s kinda nice. Otherwise, you’ll find similar images on Pixabay as you would on Pexels and Unsplash.

    View their license here.

    Images from Pixabay

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  13. Stocksnap
  14. https://stocksnap.io/

    Similar to Pixabay is Stocksnap. It mixes paid images in with their free images when you search for an image. But the paid ones are super obvious – they have a Shutterstock watermark and a yellow star, so you’re unlikely to mistake a free one for paid. The “trending” tab was disappointing because it had some slightly NSFW suggestive images which kinda left me feeling like people are pervy jerks.

    View their license here.

    Images from Stocksnap

  15. Flickr
  16. https://www.flickr.com/

    It feels like Flickr was one of the original photo-sharing websites. It’s been around for…. ever? I didn’t fact check either of those two statements. But I do know I’ve been using Flickr since 2011 and it was designed as a social network. When you browse, make sure to filter by “Creative Commons” or “Commercial Use”. Check below the image, under the copyright info to whether you need to credit the source in order to use. On Flickr, you’ll get a much wider and diverse range of high quality photos from around the world, including public events and regular day-to-day people.

    Images from Flickr

  17. CreateHER Stock
  18. https://createherstock.pixieset.com/

    There is a very small collection here that is updated monthly but it’s really hard to navigate around the website. That said, it’s worth a visit to snag some beautiful shots featuring women of color, especially if you run a women-centered business or blog and are tired of coming up with the same female faces on the other stock photo sites. You have to trade a download for your email address, which is a small price to pay.

    Images from CreateHER Stock

  19. WOC in Tech
  20. https://www.flickr.com/photos/wocintechchat/

    For more diversity, specifically in the tech sector, check out Women of Color in Tech on Flickr. You do need to credit them to use their images. They’ve since shut down their community and stopped uploading, but the images are still available.

    Images from WOC in Tech

  21. Negative Space
  22. https://negativespace.co/

    Negative Space is similar to Stocksnap and also shows paid results from Shutterstock on top of their free search. I found Negative Space to return very few results. But I did see some images on there I hadn’t seen on other free sites, so it’s worth a gander.

    View their license here.

    Images from Negative Space

  23. Burst
  24. https://burst.shopify.com/

    Burst from Shopify has a nice collection similar to the main-stream sites like Pixabay, but I found they had a broader collection for the types of images service-based businesses might search for. If you’re a B2B owner, this might be a good option for you.

    Images from Burst

  25. Kaboompics
  26. https://kaboompics.com/

    Kaboompics feels like the grown up mid-30’s married-with-kids sister of Unsplash. There’s a similar magazine-style quality to the images, but feels a little more mature. The “quick download” button in their search makes it really simple to grab your favorite image on the fly.

    View their license here.

    Images from Kaboompics

  27. Reshot
  28. https://www.reshot.com/

    Reshot promises “Handpicked, non-stocky images.” and it certainly feels non-stocky with some unconventional faces and places throughout.

    View their license here.

    Images from Reshot

  29. Gratisography
  30. https://gratisography.com/

    Gratisography is… interesting. There are some bizarre photos on the site that you don’t see elsewhere that you may find fun to use on your website or post. It’s a relatively small collection (only 40 pages of content) and there are Shutterstock ads on the side. But if you want to break out of the mainstream stuff out there, check out Gratisography

    Images from Gratisography

  31. PicJumbo
  32. https://picjumbo.com

    PicJumbo feels like a crowded flee market on the weekend. There are lots of ads littered throughout each page and many times they ask for an email (you don’t need to put one in to download freebies). The images of people eerily never show the face. So be prepared for lots of T&A with hair covered faces if you search “women”. That said, they have some nice scenic and really cute dog pics.

    Images from PicJumbo

  33. Styled Stock
  34. https://styledstock.co/free-stock-photos/

    Exactly as you would imagine the perfectly stylized Pinterest worthy #bossbabe desk and accessories would be arranged. It’s a small collection of similar pink, white, and copper still life photography at the touch of a mouse click.

    View their license here.

    Images from Styled Stock

  35. Shot Stash
  36. https://shotstash.com/

    Shot Stash isn’t great for business or tech images, but they do have a good collection of travel photos. Overall, it was a small collection but there were unique images in the landscape and travel sections I haven’t seen elsewhere.

    View their license here.

    Images from Shot Stash

What did you think of this list? Drop a comment below to let us know your favorite, or notify us of one we missed.

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About the Author

Rachel Di Martino

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Rachel is the owner of Geek Unicorn. She helps women-driven businesses elevate to a professional playing field by creating brands and websites that stand out online, like a Unicorn in a field of horses. On top of that, she's a shameless sharer of knowledge and loves to give away her best web design, branding, and SEO tips.