Free stock images are an incredible recourse for print, blogging and digital marketing projects.
An infinite number of sites offer photos, illustrations, and vectors without charge. Rather than listing the top gazillion places to obtain these free stock images, we’ll keep it simple with 5 of the absolute best.
Free stock images can be ideal for start ups, small businesses or those on a modest budget. Running a successful business in 2018 means being visual. Images play a huge role in telling your story and marketing your brand. Equally as important, they drive interaction with your content.
Whilst a paid subscription with a site like Adobe Stock offers a much larger spectrum, in many cases, at least to start with a suitable (free) alternative can be found.
NB – Always check what the licence allows with the particular site you are using. Some will require you to credit the site or image creator to be able to use it for free.
Normally sitting at the top spot for anyone searching for free stock images on Google, and for good reason. Pexels offer a huge library of photos, all completely free of charge to use in your projects. Easy to navigate, search for what you’re looking for or head to the browse tab. Here you can view popular photos / searches and even search by colour. Unquestionably the main recourse on the internet for free stock photos.
The licence is super simple with Pexels too. Free for commercial or non-commercial use. You can modify the photos if you wish. Attribution not required but by all means give a nod to the site / photographer. View licence.
Freepik offer a fairly unique approach. Mainly focusing on, vectors, illustrations, templates and also Photoshop mockups, but still with plenty of photos too. Their team of designers and photographers create and upload hundreds of free images daily. Always plenty of fresh material and a gigantic library of resources, especially vectors.
Using any of the work by Freepik certainly requires attribution to the site and designer. Instructions are included when you click on each image. For use on your print projects for example would simply require – Created by [designer name] – Freepik.com. Additionally a premium / paid option is available offering extra resources without the need to attribute.
From the good folk at Shopify, Burst provide thousands of open source images aimed at entrepreneurs. Evidently not the biggest of library’s just yet, but they are constantly uploading plenty of high quality new material. A lovely clean layout and simple to navigate around. Search, or browse popular categories and photos easily from the home page.
No attribution required here, as always crediting the photographer is encouraged though. You can download, edit if you wish, use on your website, in blog posts and print. View licence.
Not unlike Pexels, Unsplash provide a huge collection of free stock images with something for every occasion. A vast choice for any project from printing to blogging to social media. From the homepage you can search or browse trending searches at your leisure.
In the same fashion as many on the list, crediting isn’t required, although it’s encouraged. It obviously provides a little exposure for the photographer. Furthermore it demonstrates good manners.
Finally the last but by no means least addition to the list, Pixabay. Their opening line – Over 1.5 million royalty free stock photos and videos shared by our generous community. Can’t complain with that! Excluding Freepik, there’s a bigger focus here on illustration and vector graphics with links straight from the home page. Another tab takes you to their videos, which are actually all rather impressive. Again a very clean layout and easy to navigate. Search by categories, size, colour and also the editors choice.
All images and videos on Pixabay are free to use under the Creative Commons CC0 Licence. Meaning you are free to use as you please in your projects, including editing if required. No attributing is required but you guessed it, it’s a nice thing to do whenever possible. View Licence.
In summary: A concise yet quality collection of sites offering free stock images. Make use of them in your print or online marketing, or both! Never has their been more choice available, however these five options should eliminate the need to look any further. Keep it visual!
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Owner / director & graphic designer here at Clearcut Print Studio in Derby. An uncontrollable passion for creativity in all forms. Keen explorer and photographer. INFJ.