Buying and searching for stock images can be a tedious and expensive task, especially if you stick to the standard sites. But there are other sites out there, and many of them are better than the status quo. Here are eight sites with great stock photos.
Unsplash is a great source for free high-resolution photos that are updated often. It’s a mixture of urban and rural landscapes, as well as close up shots of objects and growing things. You can find almost anything here. “Made With Unsplash” is a page where users can post projects where they’ve utilized stock images from the website, so visitors can see the photography in action. They update every 10 days with 10 new images so the selection keeps growing. With their Creative Commons license, you can copy, modify, and distribute the work, even for commercial purposes, without asking permission.
This is another great resource for high-resolution stock images. This site tends to have more close-up images of animals, nature, and people with a mixture of modern and vintage styles. Instead of a Tumblr-like user experience, you search by album and get a full collection of images for each subject. Currently there are about 30 albums, and with titles like Converse, Babies, Elephants, and Redheads, you can see there is a fun range of topics for a variety of projects. Also, I really love their website design.
As a web designer who recognized that many other designers have trouble finding quality stock images, Victor Hanacek created this site to solve that very problem. I’ve used a few of his social media images from the technology collection and they worked really well. Per the creator, attribution isn’t necessary, but appreciated!
If you’re looking for quirky images of clowns, men in rollerskates or someone climbing into a washing machine, look no further! Gratisography is updated weekly and offers a range of images, most of which will have people asking “wait, what?” Though some of the photographs might only be useful for a greeting card in the Humor section, some of these can be suitable for a project when you just can’t find a literal image to fit. They might also work well for a blog post where the usual stock images just don’t match the irreverence of the writing.
This website is a newer source for free stock images, with a library of pictures starting from May of this year. Created by Sculpt, the website features a lot of images of people working in coffee shops, along with the requisite mobile phones and laptops. It’s perfect for websites that regularly cover the free-lance or startup lifestyle.
Much like Unsplash, Little Visuals is a source of high-resolution images in the public domain and provided under a Creative Commons license. They send you a zipped folder of 7 images every 7 days straight to your inbox. I’ve found Unsplash’s images a bit more intriguing and practical, while Little Visual’s site offers more images in the abstract and conceptual category.
2. Life of Pix
This website was created by an advertising agency in Montreal called Leeroy and all images are free for any personal or commercial use. With multiple themes throughout each page, you’ll find a lot of really great close-ups in nature including heads of lettuce, bees collecting pollen, and even a polar bear under water. I find these images very useful for backgrounds and patterns.
Although this site is probably the most popular and their images are showing up everywhere, it’s still number one on my list. Each month, subscribers get a package of about 10 new images from a DTS employee to use for anything they want. Subjects range from a relaxing lake vacation to a day of working in a coffee shop, and almost always tend to have a few gadget shots. Among all of the great resources for free stock images, this one ranks at the top because of the quality, creativity and utility of each photograph.
Michelle Blackshire is the Brand & Marketing designer at Visually. You can follow her on Twitter @michelleink88.