Free Stock Photo Sites

There are tens of thousands of free stock photos available online, the trick is finding something you want!

On this page we have compiled a handy reference list of what we think are the best free stock photo sites; we've also highlighted some of the pitfalls of using free images... there is not always a catch, but there are plenty of things to be wary of!

Quality of free sites
In general quality of images made available for free is not usually a good as paid sites, but the quality of the image is often acceptable, especially for a small sized web use such as a blog image only a couple of hundred pixels across. Broadly speaking there are two types of free site, ones full of amateur images, and ones full of more professional looking images and outtakes (some are rejects from paid photo libraries); the latter has better quality images and often more choice but often with more strings attached; the more professional looking the images/site is the more 'up selling' i.e. nagging you to buy a paid image instead of downloading the free one.

What are the "Gotchas" of free sites?
Some things to look out when reviewing images on a free site: not all sites have these features; and to be fair the reason these sites are the way they are is that they have to support themselves through advertising - some of a little more transparent about it than others.

17 Top Free Photo Sites:

Site Link Commercial Use Credit Needed Registration Need for download Typ. Resolution No. of Images

Yes No Yes 2700px 1000s(?)
Dreamstime : free collection
commercial microstock library with free archive, link to the free images section on the homepage.

Yes No No 400px 20,000+(?)
123rf : free collection
click the "free stock images" link on the home page for access to thousands of free images

No Yes No 2000px 15,000
Community of 1000's of photographers sharing their photos, images are for non-commercial use only

Yes No No 3000px 10,000?
Community of photographers sharing their photos, also features a large selection of free work available under an attribution license.

Site Link Commercial Use Credit Needed Registration Need for download Typ. Resolution No. of Images

Varies Varies Yes 1500px 690,000
free stock photo site from getty images, formerly

Yes Yes No 3000px 12000
Incl. exclusive images
Easy browsing and instant download, some good qualiy images and some 'ordinary images', plus a photographer upload community.

Yes Yes Yes 2400px 10,000
thousands of images uploaded by site users

Yes Varies No 2400px 11,000
large collection of categorised images, with additional collections of PD, Creative commons and other license types

Yes No Yes 3000px 50,000
large collection of user contributed images, registration is needed to download

Site Link Commercial Use Credit Needed Registration Need for download Typ. Resolution No. of Images

Yes No No 640px 30,000
large collection, looks like it is no longer updated, very low resolution of most of the photos makes for limited use, no search

Yes Yes Yes 3000px ?
good looking collection of free photos with a creative commons license, sadly no search option

Yes Yes No 1600px 4500
broad collection, good search and some quite good stock and conceptual images on offer, resolution varies

Yes No Yes 2000px 1,200
small collection, good search and no link/attribuion needed but registration required.

Site Link Commercial Use Credit Needed Registration Need for download Typ. Resolution No. of Images

Yes Yes Yes 3000px 1,200
free stock photo archive of creative commons stock images uploaded by photographers promoting their business

Yes No No 1024px ?
creative site full of artistic PD images organized and searchable by colour

? ? No 3000px 500
high resolution and great looking images but limited range, no license details provided

Yes Yes No 2500px 6,000
a resource of abstract and unusual stock photography, patterns and textures; all available free-of-charge under a creative commons license.


Of course this is not a definitive list of free sites, there are others, but none that offer a better collection / don't have dodgy terms / have some significant limitation to use. If you do know a better site then let us know and tell us why you think it's better than the ones we've listed


More Free Stock Photo Sites

free stock photo sites book
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