Using beautiful and attention grabbing images can make a real difference to how your audience reacts to your website. Content displaying eye-catching photographs gets more reads and shares, will increase the number of returning visitors you receive, and ultimately help your website achieve its goals.
But finding stock photos that give your website the ‘wow’ factor can be difficult. In this article, we have put together a list of the best free and premium stock photography websites. Hopefully, whatever your WordPress website needs, there will be something here for you.
There are many free stock photo websites that you can quickly and easily download a high-quality image from. If you are a blogger or small business that needs an occasional photograph for WordPress website content, then one of these free photography sites may be just what you are looking for.
Unsplash is our favorite free photography resource (we use them quite often for blog posts). This website has a collection of over 200,000 high-resolution images, with hundreds more being added daily. Photographs are provided by a community of over 41,000 photographers, and they are all free to use for personal and commercial purposes.
Unsplash provides the option of signing up, creating your own collections, and following favorite photographers. When searching for an image, you can use your own terms or view a ready made collection. Unsplash has an interesting and varied range of images, and provides photographs with a professional feel and finish. This is a tool definitely worth checking out.
Pixabay pride themselves on being a community of creatives, sharing and using copyright free photos, illustrations, vectors, graphics, and videos. Again, the CC0 license applies to all content released. So all media is free to use for personal and commercial use, and attribution is not necessary.
Pixabay currently displays just over 1,090,000 images and videos. The wide range of images on offer makes it a great choice whether you are looking for an illustration, vector, photo or something else.
Pixabay encourages users to signup and create their own account (for free). Here you can upload and bookmark favorite images, follow other users, send messages, and much more.
Picjumbo is a free stock photo owned and maintained by Viktor Hanacek. Originally Viktor used the site to share his own free photos, but since it’s creation Picjumbo has grown and now accepts and shares photos from many creators.
There are currently more than 1500+ free stock photos, but if you want even more you can upgrade to a premium account to have access to 30+ more photos each month. All photos are free to use as you please, unless you want to redistribute in which case you’ll need to subscribe.
Perhaps this name sounds family, as they’re one of the top contributors to Unsplash. But for more variety head over to the RawPixel main site. Here you’ll find free stock photos, vectors and even PSDs. Their free collection includes nearly 200,000 stock photos to choose from. But if that’s not enough for you, they also offer premium memberships (which include commercial use licenses for their photos) for an additional 30,000+ stock.
Don’t let the name deceive you – Icons8 has tons of great freebies. This includes thousands upon thousands of curated photos all conveniently organized into categories. This is in addition to free icons, illustrations, music and more.
Images are provided for free in a standard jpeg format. Also, when you use a free resource you do need to credit Icons8 with a friendly link-back. Otherwise, you can subscript to a premium plan which has not links requirements and also allows you access to high resolution png and psd files for images ($13/mo for 50 downloads per month).
Pexels is a free stock photo resource that shares its images under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. That means you can use their images for personal and commercial use. So, if you are running an online business then you can use Pexels’ images on your WordPress website without having to attribute to the site or the photographer.
Pexels currently offers over 30,000 free stock photos. Plus there are 3,000 more added on a monthly basis. Feel free to copy, modify and distribute these beautiful images. Images are available in various download sizes, as well as a custom size depending on your needs.
PikWizard is great free stock photos website with over 100,000 completely free images. Over 20,000 of those stock photos are exclusive to them.
PikWizard prides themselves in free stock pictures of people – something that tends to be rare in free stock photography sites. Search for keywords such as “office” or “meeting” and you’ll get to see the quality of stock photos PikWizard has to offer!
8. Burst (by Shopify)
Shopify does a lot to to make their customers succeed. That includes creating a curated library of free stock photos called Burst. The pics are free to download for Shopify customers and more.
EveryPixel is a stock photo search engine which can scan across free and paid stock photography websites – powered by AI. You can always filter search results from free stock photography sites only!
FoodiesFeed is just what you’d expect. An excellent, curated collection of free food related stock photos.
FreeImages has a good collection of stock photos and features useful photo collections that can save a lot of time if you’re working on a related project.
FreePhotos offers a great collection of free stock photos grouped in a total of 100 categories. There’s even an online photo editor.
FreeStocks has a nifty collection of high-resolution free stock photos spread across 7 categories, viz. – animals, city & architecture, fashion, food & drinks, nature, objects & technology and people.
Gratisography features a great collection of free high-res stock photos from nine different categories.
15. IM Free
IM Free offers hand-picked collection of free high-resolution stock photos from various categories including recreation, B&W, ambient, city scape and more!
16. Jay Mantri
Jay Mantri shares a beautiful collection of free high-resolution stock photos via his Tumblr blog, under the CC0 license.
17. Kaboom Pics
Kaboom Pics has a fantastic collection of original high-resolution stock photos that can be searched via a colour palette.
18. Life of Pix
Life of Pix has a vast gallery of free high-resolution stock photos contributed by photographers around the world. The brains behind this site, LEEROY creative, also run a sister site Life of Vids featuring free stock video downloads that are great for sliders, backgrounds and more.
19. Little Visuals
Little Visuals offers a curated collection of free high-resolution stock photos delivered to your inbox and downloadable in archives. They don’t have a search function. On a separate note, the site is no longer adding new stock photos after the unfortunate demise of the site owner. The photos still remain online and are shared as a tribute to his effort.
Magdeleine offers a beautiful hand-picked collection of free high-resolution stock photos curated across 8 categories, attributed to the CC0 domain. They also keep adding one free stock photo every day!
21. MMT Stock
MMT (The Moment Captured) provides free stock photographs for commercial use. Photos are CC0 licensed, so can be freely downloaded, used and redistributed for both personal and commercial purposes. That makes MMT a great choice if you are looking for images to display in websites, themes, templates, print material, social posts, apps, or design tools, to name a few.
MMT’s content spans many categories, including macro photography, city scenes, nature, workspaces, and more. New images are added each week, and a range of interesting categories are showcased in galleries. An active blog is also shared on-site.
Moose has a fantastic collection of unique free high-resolution stock photos. It offers a ton of free stock photos with isolated characters and backgrounds that’s great for blog post featured images and engaging social media posts. However, they’re licensed under CC BY-ND 3.0, which means you’ll have to give a link to the website.
Although I’m not a big fan of the name, MorgueFile has a collection of over 350,000 free high-resolution stock photos.
MyStockPhotos is a fantastic collection of free high-resolution stock photos from Themeisle.
NegativeSpace gives you access to a great collection of free high-resolution stock photos under the CC0 license – enabling you to use the photos anywhere!
Picography features a beautiful collection of free high-resolution stock photos spread across 12 categories. They fall under the CC0 license, which means you’re free to use them in any project.
27. Public Domain Archive
Public Domain Archive has a nifty collection of 200+ free high-resolution stock photos spread across 14 categories. All images are licensed under CC0 enabling you to use them in any and every project.
ScatterJar is a dedicated site for free high-resolution stock photos for everything to do with food. They have special categories for food including veggies, drinks, herbs & spices and more.
ShotStash features a beautiful collection of free high-resolution stock photos that are elegantly unique in nature. The images are grouped in 10 categories and licensed under CC0.
SkitterPhoto has a beautiful collection of free high-resolution stock photos licensed under the public domain CC0 license.
31. Snapwire Snaps
Snapwire Snaps is a curated collection of free high-resolution stock photos from photographers all around the world.
SplitShire is a one-man project with 900+ free high-resolution stock photos, free for personal and commercial use.
StockSnap has a brilliant collection of free high-resolution stock photos. It also has interesting features such as trending images and the ability to sort images by the number of views or downloads.
StyledStock positions themselves as a feminine stock photography website. You get access to curated free high-resolution stock photos great for blog posts, ads and more.
This is a side project from Superfamous Studios and features great free high-resolution stock photos focusing on landscape and nature photography.
While technically not a stock photo website, ThePatternLibrary offers beautiful patterns free to download in your next project.
37. Best Stock Photo Free
Another decent collection of stock photos licensed under CC0 – which means that you’re free to use these in all your projects!
Bonus: The Best Premium Stock Photo Websites
As well as numerous websites displaying free stock photos, there are also a wide assortment of premium image sites. These sites, on the whole, provide higher quality photographs, as well as a much greater selection. They also offer many extra features, including editing tools, digital design elements, illustrations, video clips, and much more.
If you are a large business, or your job requires you to work with images on a daily basis, then access to professional, top class photographs should be a priority. Therefore, you should perhaps consider subscribing to a premium image website. Let’s have a look at some of the best sites available.
Bigstock is a stock photo membership site with over 57 million photos, vectors and videos to choose from. Anything you want they probably have it. All of their photos are royalty-free so you’re able to use the imagery for your business as needed (just as long as you aren’t reselling them or using them as a logo).
Bigstock offers two pricing structures: monthly plans with a set number of downloads per month, or an alternative credit plan where you can top up and use credits as needed. Just choose a plan that works for you!
Envato Elements is a premium subscription service providing digital assets. Targeted at designers, agencies, marketers, and other professionals, Envato Elements provides over 300,000 royalty free stock photographs, 33,000 graphic assets, courses, eBooks, and more.
Once you have signed up with Envato, you can download an unlimited number of photographs from the library each month, all with a commercial license. Search for photos via categories, or via more specific filters like orientation, background, and color. This makes it easier to find the right image for your project.
Envato Elements is great value for money, and is the ideal choice for professionals needing photographs, or other design elements, on a frequent and high-volume basis.
Adobe Stocks offers three monthly premium plans. With each of these subscriptions, you can download a number of stunning and original images. You can then use these photos in print, presentations, websites, and social media, to name a few options. Browse photographs from dynamic artists and thematic galleries, or check out the selection of videos, 3D assets, and much more.
All images can be viewed, licensed, accessed, and managed within your Adobe Experience Cloud. Preview watermarked photographs within your designs in Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, an Adobe app, or any other Adobe tool, to see what works best before you make a purchase. If you decide to sign up with Adobe, their inspiring images will ensure you find the perfect fit for your next creative project.
Shutterstock is a truly impressive premium image provider. Showcasing over 160 million royalty free photos, vectors, illustrations, icons, video clips and music tracks, there will undoubtedly be something here for you. Plus with their new Adobe plugin, it’s easy to access your stock photos from your favorite Creative loud applications.
Shutterstock offers a number of subscription plans to cater for individuals as well as businesses needs. Shutterstock also comes equipped with its own Editor, which provides ready-to-use templates for the photographs you choose to download, allows you to customize images, create slideshows, and much more. If you are looking for high quality, interesting, and eye catching photographs, then Shutterstock is the solution for you.
Death to Stock
Based on the concept of “when stock dies art thrives,” Death to Stock is a premium grassroots photo site that provides curated galleries created by artists around the world. Your membership to the site helps fund future photosets that include nature, fashion, concept art, dance, office settings and much more.
The best part is that as new photos are released each month they come with their own story of how they were created. With Death to Stock you aren’t just getting photos, you’re getting a complete look at the creative process that goes into their conception and creation. I would recommend signing up for their newsletter for access to weekly free stock photos.
Canva is a graphic-design tool website that includes a photo editor, and access to over a 1,500,000 free and premium stock photographs. The site divides photos into multiple categories, helping you quickly and easily find the images you need.
This is a free tool, but you will need to sign up to download and use the free photos. Paid images vary in price and the license provided with each photograph is price dependent. So always check the license before you use an image in a project. A monthly subscription plan, Canva for Work, is also available, which includes over 300,000 free images.
Stock That Rocks
While relatively new, Stock that Rocks is another great option for premium stock photos. They offer a variety of images organized into categories, collections and/or sessions. Best of all, they use a consistent photography style. Making them a great option when rebranding a business or blog.
Their library includes a variety of rooms, objects, people and more. With memberships starting at just 17 per month (for 6 downloads) they may not be the cheapest option, but the images are worth it. Along with general memberships they currently offer standard, extended, exclusive and agency licensing options for photos. So if you want to be the only one to use a specific image, you can be.
Final Thoughts on the Best Stock Photo Sites
For those who are working with images on a daily basis, subscribing to a premium stock photo site will save you countless hours searching the web for the right picture. A premium site will ensure you can search and access countless beautiful and professional images, all from one location.
However, even if you are on a budget there are some great photographs to be found on free image sites. And now you have a list of the best free stock photo sites! If you aren’t happy with the photographs displayed on one site, simply check out another. Happy image searching!
Can you recommend any other great stock photo websites? Please share your favorites in the comments below.