- Finding the right images to accompany your content can be incredibly time-consuming — but not anymore.
- Coworking content marketer Cat Johnson has hand-picked six websites that offer free, high quality stock photos and images.
- Together, these platforms offer millions of free photographs for use on your website, blog, and other marketing campaigns.
Stock photo sites have been around for ages. But over the last few years, we’ve seen an upswing in platforms offering free, high-quality photos that can be used on, well, just about anything.
Some sites offer no-strings-attached photos—just download them and use as you see fit. Some require attribution, and others state that attribution is nice, but not necessary.
Whichever way you slice it, there is no shortage of amazing images and free photo platforms to level up your brand and marketing.
In fact, it’s gotten to the point where it’s an overload of options, which makes it tricky to narrow down choices. Buffer rounded up a whopping 24 sites offering free images, and the list just keeps growing. One can easily lose a couple of hours perusing free photo sites to find just the right blog post header.
But you don’t need to.
You can find everything you need for your social media, website and marketing campaigns on these six platforms.
Unsplash was created in 2013 by Montreal-based entrepreneur Mikael Cho and purchased by Getty Images in 2021. The go-to crowdsourced photo site for content creators around the world, Unsplash has more than 200,000 contributing photographers and over 2 million photos. Unsplash is so well-known, in fact, that brands are starting to use the platform strategically to promote their offerings and services, via free photos.
A platform for free images and videos “shared by talented creators,” Pexels was founded in Germany in 2014 and offers more than 3 million stock photos and videos. Through a merger with Canva, Pexels photos and videos are now available right in the Canva app. If you’ve ever grabbed a photo from Canva, you’re already using Pexels. Check out the site to see all their offerings in one place.
Gratisography is so fun. It is like no other free photo site. With a focus on whimsical, colorful, playful images, the platform is the place to go to break out of stock photo overload. For instance, currently on the Gratisography home page are a pink beach cruiser bike, a green VW bug, a guy with a fauxhawk playing an ukulele, and a little blue monster. No stiff corporate-y photos in sight. Created in 2011 by photographer and creative Ryan McGuire, Gratisography focuses on personality and quality over quantity.
Kaboompics has high-quality free images, but that’s not what sets them apart. The platform also has a fantastic search engine that lets you sort results by color, photo orientation, photo sessions, newest photos, most downloaded etc. And, perhaps the coolest feature is that Kaboompics displays the palette of colors present in every photo. What? Yes. You can build an entire campaign around a single photo, colors and all. Oh, and one other thing: Kaboompics also has a blog full of stories about “photographic adventures, travels, motivation, equipment, shooting tips and lots of other interesting topics.”
Burst is a free stock photo platform powered by Shopify. Built to “provide designers, developers, bloggers and entrepreneurs with access to beautiful free stock photography,” Burst has lots of great images. But the power of Burst is the platform’s Business Ideas section, with case studies, tips, business insights and curated images to get you started. It is full of inspiration, ideas and how-to’s.
No need to be overwhelmed with all the free stock photo options out there. Stick to these and you’ll be good to go for quite a while.