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As entrepreneurs, we know how important visuals are in reaching our audiences. But the plethora of free stock photo sites can be overwhelming. We’ve rounded up the best of the best to make taking advantage of these sites easy and efficient. 

GOALS

One of our Facebook graphics that gets a ton of engagement – notice the gorgeous free stock photo we used for the background!

But how do brands create those amazing graphics? Where do they get such gorgeous photos? Stock photos are expensive! 

This is where free stock photos come in, but with an abundance of sources and different types of photos, finding the right free stock photo source can be cumbersome and time-consuming.

What was your biggest

Look no further because we’ve done the research for you – below you will find an exhaustive list of all the top stock photo and image sources. We combed through just about every free stock photo site known and have chosen the best for you. And we’ve even made you a printable PDF you can keep handy for those days when you’re in creative mode. 

Our top picks were chosen based on two reasons: 

  1. because we vibe with them. When we’re on them we can’t take our eyes away. We easily find photos we could use in our social media that would connect with our audience and help portray our brand.
  2. because you can use them worry-free. And by this we mean you can use them without having to worry about attributing them to a source, you can modify them, and you can use them for commercial use. BOOM. (And if you do have questions about the legalities of using photos for business, be sure to check out our other post on the legalities of using stock photos where we boil the legal jargon down so it’s simple and digestible.)

And now, our favorite free stock photo sources:

Pixabay – Pixabay tops the list because of its large selection, searchability, and the fact that they say very clearly and openly right on the homepage that all photos are free to use for basically whatever you want. This site gets bonus points for also containing illustrations, vector graphics and video. (And along those lines, one of our Femworking members tipped us off to audioblocks.com, which has royalty free music and sound effects. Niiiiice.)

  • Delivered to your email: No
  • Are images searchable: Yes
  • Requires Attribution: No

pixabay2

unsplash.com – Unsplash delivers gorgeous photos to your inbox every ten days, and their website is searchable.

  • Delivered to your email: Yes
  • Searchable: Yes
  • Requires Attribution: No

unsplash2Fancy Crave – Their tagline: “Free high resolution photos from professional photographers. Two new images every day.” Just hop on their site and find gorgeous photos.

  • Delivered to your email: No
  • Searchable: Yes
  • Requires Attribution: No

Canva1

Canva – More than a design tool, Canva also contains a wealth of free and low costs pictures on all topics.

  • Delivered to your email: No
  • Searchable: Yes
  • Requires Attribution: Not unless it’s for editorial use

 

picjumbo2PicJumbo – Lots of beautiful, large photos: from nature to business. The images here are so great that I literally got sidetracked into making social media posts on canva while working on this blog post: (include social media image of where in the world are you? and what’s your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur)

  • Delivered to your email: Yes
  • Are images searchable: yes
  • Requires Attribution: No

JayMantri2

JayMantri. Jay says, “ free pics. do anything (CC0). make magic.” How cool is that? I get the feeling Jay
is truly a creative soul. Lots of great textures and patterns here. Beautiful photos.

  • Delivered to your email: Yes, but his sign-up isn’t as pronounced as others.
  • Are images searchable: Yes
  • Requires Attribution: No


deathtostock2

Death to Stock was one of the first free stock photo sources I encountered, and I was in love. Sign up for their e-mails and get gorgeous, totally usable photos delivered to your inbox. Getting their emails is like a treat for my eyes and I immediately open them, review them, and save them to Femworking’s stock photo files.

  • Delivered to your e-mail: Yes
  • Searchable: No
  • Requires Attribution: No

Death to Stock is listed last only because their site is not searchable. BUT getting the photos in your inbox every month (and sometimes more frequently!) is exactly like getting your BirchBox or Rocksbox in the mail. It’s a feast for the eyes. They also offer a premium service if that’s your sort of thing.

Download our free printable guide, with our top picks and tips, so you can easily find the images you need.


And now, for our honorable mentions…

  1. New Old Stock – One of the most fun sites, New Old Stock has vintage photos from public archives, free of known copyright restrictions.They didn’t make the cut because: the site cannot guarantee that photos are safe to use for commercial use and suggest that you double check yourself. Ain’t nobody got time fa that.But, if these sorts of photos really tickle your fancy, the creator provides photo packs, for a fee, that are collected and curated from institutions that do allow commercial use.
  2. FlickR is a website that allows users to upload, edit, and organize their photos. They’ve integrated a creative commons feature so that the “world’s public photography archives” are available to be searched and used by everyone. While it can be difficult to find the photo you’re looking for, they’ve done a great job of making TONS of photos available and searchable by different commons licenses (all creative commons, commercial use allowed, modifications allowed, commercial use & modifications allowed, no known copyright resrcitions, and U.S. government works)
  3. Morguefile: While we found their terms confusing at first, Morguefile gets an honorable mention because we feel like you could find practically anything here. They have a HUGE selection of photos and yes, they’re free. Not all the photos are gorgeous, professional photos like on some sites, but it’s a good site to check when you’re looking for a specific photo you can’t find anywhere else.Why is it called Morguefile, you ask? Because morguefile was a term commonly used in creative production- the place where files that didn’t make the final cut went.
  4. freeimages.com. It’s a lot like morguefile – not all beautiful images, but if you get stuck and you’re looking for a very specific image, this is a good place to start.
  5. SplitShire: While we struggled to find photos that were exactly what we were looking for on Splitshire, there are some great, beautiful photos. And they get bonus points for clearly stating: “free Stock Photos and Images for commercial use. Download high quality free stock photos without copyright, do whatever you want.”
  6. Gratisography – The photography of Ryan McGuire, these photos are available in hi-res and for free to use on your personal and commercial projects, free of copyright restrictions.They didn’t make the cut because: While these trippy photos are fun to look at, you’d have to be a pretty creative entrepreneur to make use of them in your work.

Can’t get enough? Be sure to check out our other posts about photos for entrepreneurs:

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