Where Graphic Designers Go to Find the Best Free Stock Photos and Images

SUKEY GAVEN | LAST UPDATED 27 JULY, 2015

 

Where Graphic Designers Go To Find The Best Free Stock Photos & Images - Undullify Blog

Choosing great visual content sets the stage for your text. To help you do the same, we reveal the graphic designers’ super secret list of all our favorite places to source the perfect free stock photos and images.

Ever spent hours and hours looking for that perfect free stock image for your website or project?

Only to keep running into that cheesy corporate picture of a bunch of people showing ‘team spirit’ by clasping their hands together in an uncomfortable looking huddle (has anyone ever done this with their team?)

Or, always a personal favorite, the beauty with the perfect teeth, wearing a headset and smiling maniacally (I’m not fooled, no one working at a call center can look that happy).

I know your pain. Finding the perfect free stock image is hard.

The good news is that in the last few years, tons of different sites have surfaced offering original, high-quality, and free images.

But only if you know where to look.

I’ve compiled a list of our team’s all-time favorite, often little known, super secret (no, not really) places to source free, do whatever you want, images.

Our criteria is strict, but simple:

  • Photographs must be free for both personal and commercial use (modify, copy, distribute, perform the work) without asking permission
  • Photographs must not require attribution
  • Photographs must be high-resolution
  • Site should offer photos that are unique, with individual style and flair that sets it apart (either in the subject matter, or in the photographer’s style)

Take a look, and here’s to better stock imagery!

Life of Pix (http://www.lifeofpix.com)

Type of photography: Nature, scenic, city scenes, everyday objects
Size of collection (approx): 280
Searchable collection: Via Stockup
Updates: Weekly
Licence: Free for personal and commercial use
Attribution: Not required, but appreciated

Life of Pix has an ever growing collection of extremely high resolution photography.

There’s a nice mix of wildlife and scenic images mixed with city landscapes and day-to-day modern life close-ups.

Graphic-Designer-Find-Free-Stock-Images---LifeOfPix

Gratisography (http://www.gratisography.com)

Type of photography: Funny, whimsical, and quirky take of everyday objects and landscapes
Size of collection (approx): 288
Searchable collection: Via Pexels (not complete) or Stockup
Updates: Weekly
Licence: Free for personal and commercial use
Attribution: Not required, but appreciated

If you’re looking for free images that are a little different and unusual, Gratisography is the place to go.

From the close up of a cat’s nose to a guy using a tin can telephone, you’re sure to find something that will set your visual content apart.

Graphic-Designer-Find-Free-Stock-Images-Gratisography

ISO Republic (http://isorepublic.com)

Type of photography: Architecture, nature, people, textures, urban
Size of collection (approx): 224
Searchable collection: Via sortable image category
Updates: Weekly
Licence: Free for personal and commercial use
Attribution: Not required, but appreciated

Perfect for blogs and eCommerce stores, ISO Republic has a fantastic collection of photographs that have been contributed by a large community of worldwide photographers.

There’s an easy to use and helpful category based sorting system, and the photographs are very high in quality, making them perfect for use as hero images or blog post feature images.

Graphic-Designer-Find-Free-Stock-Images-ISO-Republic

New Old Stock (http://nos.twnsnd.co)

Type of photography: Vintage photos of…everything
Size of collection (approx): 420
Searchable collection: Via Stockup
Updates: 5 new photographs added daily
Licence: Free for personal and commercial use
Attribution: Not required, but appreciated

When we’re looking for vintage style images, our first stop is always New Old Stock.

With a fascinating collection of real vintage photos (they’ve been publicly archived), these images will add authenticity to your project.

Graphic-Designer-Find-Free-Stock-Images-NewOldStock

Foodie’s Feed (http://foodiesfeed.com)

Type of photography: Food
Size of collection (approx): Unknown
Searchable collection: No
Updates: Unknown
Licence: Free for personal and commercial use
Attribution: Not required, but appreciated

Perfect of any food related blog or site, Foodie’s Feed has a growing collection of extremely high-quality stock photographs featuring cuisines of all flavors from entrees to desserts.

We particularly like way the food is styled and presented, as well as the use of trendy overhead photography shots.

Graphic-Designer-Find-Free-Stock-Images-Foodies-Feed

Unsplash (http://unsplash.com)

Type of photography: Landscapes, city scenes, everyday objects and people
Size of collection (approx): 637
Searchable collection: Via Pexels (not complete) or Stockup
Updates: 10 new photographs added every 10 days
Licence: Free for personal and commercial use
Attribution: Not required, but appreciated

With 10 new photos added every 10 days, there’s always something new to choose from on Unsplash.

Their photographs are well known for their quality, exceptional lighting and Instagram-style effects and filters.

Get all Unsplash photos delivered straight to your Dropbox using the Splash Box App.

Graphic-Designer-Find-Free-Stock-Images-Unsplash

Little Visuals (http://littlevisuals.co)

Type of photography: Landscapes, nature, architecture
Size of collection (approx): 91
Searchable collection: Via Pexels (not complete)
Updates: 7 new photographs added every 7 days
Licence: Free for personal and commercial use
Attribution: Not required, but appreciated

Focusing on images that are crisp and sharp, Little Visuals offers a unique collection of photos, from tight, detail shots of buildings and objects all the way to high-resolution landscapes.

Update: Unfortunately, the site no longer updates as the young man who created this site died suddenly in Nov 2013. His name is Nic he is 26 and his family writes: “Nic is one of far too many young adults who’s death comes under the heading of S.A.D.S ( Sudden Adult death Syndrome ). We are now fundraising in the hope to provide a number of schools or sports areas with portable defibrillators in Nic’s memory. With this in mind we would like to ask if any of you that view his site and download the images would consider a small donation towards the Hand on Heart Charity. We hope to update this site in the near future with previously unpublished photos.” Donations can be made here.

Graphic-Designer-Find-Free-Stock-Images-Little-Visuals

Splitshire (http://www.splitshire.com)

Type of photography: People, landscapes, abstracts, everyday scenes and objects
Size of collection (approx): 501
Searchable collection: Via Stockup
Updates: Unknown
Licence: Free for personal and commercial use
Attribution: Not required, but appreciated

With a collection of high-resolution photographs ranging from portraits to technology, Splitshire is perfect for bloggers, social marketing gurus, website owners and of course, your humble designer.

Graphic-Designer-Find-Free-Stock-Images-Spiltshire

Kaboom Pics (http://kaboompics.com)

Type of photography: Lifestyle, technology, landscapes, fashion, architecture, food, everyday scenes and objects
Size of collection (approx): 874
Searchable collection: Yes or via Stockup
Updates: Unknown
Licence: Free for personal and commercial use
Attribution: Not required, but appreciated

With almost too many photographs to choose from, it’s a good thing that Kaboom Pics have its own search functionality, complete with a comprehensive tagging and category system.

There’s a large collection of quality photos, with a particularly intriguing selection of lifestyle shots that will set your project apart.

Graphic-Designer-Find-Free-Stock-Images-Kaboom-Pics

Free Stock Photos & Images Search Engine

When I’m looking for a specific image, having a search engine that indexes from some of the best free stock photograph sites can be a life-saver.

Below are two search engines that we use frequently to find the best of the best with the click of a button.

Pexels (http://pexels.com)

Type of photography: Hand-picked from free image sources
Style of images: Artistic
Size of collection: 1800
Updates: 5 new photographs added daily
Licence: Free for personal and commercial use.
Attribution: Not required, but appreciated if original source is used

An absolute time saver if you’re looking for something specific, Pexels is a search engine that hand-picks and indexes images from some of the free sources above.

They pick only the best, highest-quality pictures, as well as making sure that all images are free for both personal and commercial use, with no attribution required.

The site has an easy to use search function, with a large library that’s updated daily.

Stock Up (http://www.sitebuilderreport.com/stock-up)

Type of photography: Indexed from multiple free image sources
Size of collection: Unknown
Updates: Daily
Licence: Need to refer to source for individual usage guidelines
Attribution: Need to refer to source for individual usage guidelines

Stock Up is another search engine for free stock images, only it indexes and tags photos from multiple free photo websites rather than handpicking them individually.

This gives the site a wider range of photos to search from, but it also means that licensing and attribution requirements differ depending on the source. So make sure you check each individual source before using the image.

Currently, Stock Up indexes the following sites (some of which are featured above): Unsplash, Life of Pix, Jay Mantri, Startup Stock, Splitshire,MMT, Public Domain Archive, Refe, Magdeleine, Kaboom Pics, Good Stock, Skitter Photo and New Old Stock.

A great alternative to Pexels, and I usually use both when searching for a specific image to cover all bases.

What’s your staple free stock photograph and image site? Let us know know in the comments below.

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