The best free stock photo websites

Every marketeer or comms professional has experienced the nightmare of trying to find the right high quality stock photos quickly and cheaply. Imagery is a vital ingredient to any successful campaign, finding a compelling shot will drive engagement, clicks and traffic across every channel. However it can become very expensive to keep your channels fresh with beautiful engaging imagery and more often than not you can find yourself compromising on quality, unless you can find the best free stock photo website.

Websites like Adobe Stock, Shutterstock and iStockphoto own a vast amount of stock images – but they come at a cost, making it hard for organisations to consistently deliver quality and variety. However, there are websites out there that have been developed to empower creators with free, searchable, high quality photos – helping you save your marketing budget for other things.

With many of the websites that host free stock photos, it can be hard to find that inspiring image you’ve been imagining amongst an assortment of low definition, poor quality photos. It can take up a lot of your valuable time trawling through databases, which is one of the reasons paid for imagery can be preferable.

Compiling a list of reliable free stock photography websites will save you time and drive campaign ROI, so I’ve done the legwork for you and ranked the best free stock photo websites below;

Best for Social Media

Pexels.com is my go-to site. High quality imagery covering every possible topic. With a very diverse and constantly growing database, Pexels delivers continuously high quality images with the handy ability to search images that are relevant to you. You can also download the images at a variety of sizes, including custom sizes – making it perfect to use for social media as you can download at the optimum sizes for Instagram/Twitter/Facebook. Many of the images are also attribution free.

The best free stock photo websites

Best for a wide variety

Stocksnap.io is another great site where attribution is not required. It also has the ability to search and can even show you popular searches such as “Business”. You can easily view multiple images on one page using the tile display format, which is great when flicking through and comparing options.

The best free stock photo websites

Best for the hard to find

Burst.shopify.com is a free stock imagery site that was created by Shopify for upcoming entrepreneurs, to help make starting a business easier and cheaper. One of the things I love about their website is they often group images together based on niche business offerings – everything from beard oil to lip balm, making it easy to identify images that will work for your brand, no matter what products you sell.

The best free stock photo websites

Best for Instagram

Unsplash.com is our go-to for our Instagram imagery. Visually beautiful, attribution-free and high quality, they have images that can take your breath away. Plus their team restocks their database with 10 photos every 10 days so it’s worth regularly checking in.

The best free stock photo websites - by Unsplash.com

Best for quirky

Gratisography.com is a hub for images that are a bit “out there”. If your brand likes to be a bit different then Gratisography is the one for you. With everything from women dressed as robots to kissing fish, we always turn to this website for images that really catch the eye and stand out from the noise.

The best free stock photo websites - by Gratisography.com

Best for seasonal

Pixabay.com has a wide selection but is very easy to search through. With over 780,000 free photos, vectors, videos and illustrations, it can be a great place to find imagery – especially seasonal content. You have the option to sign up to a free membership but it’s not essential, as you can download images without logging in.

The best free stock photo websites - By Pixabay.com

Best for landscapes

Pickupimage.com is a brilliant one-stop-shop for landscapes and has a search functionality to help streamline your search. You can easily discover images based upon location or country. No attribution is required, however do double-check the images as some may mention they’d like to be credited.

The best free stock photo websites
It can be tempting to simply turn to Google Images to find, select and save pictures for your campaigns, but don’t do it! It is so easy for photographers to find out when their images are being used without their consent and you can face legal action. It’s not worth the risk when you have such beautiful photos available for free from the websites listed here.

At SocialSignIn it’s our mission to make managing your social content faster and simpler, by using this list of the best free stock photo websites you can find the perfect pictures without paying a penny.

If you’d like to find out the other ways our social media management platform can help you quickly create compelling campaigns that drive engagement, traffic and revenue, please get in touch for a demo.


About the Writer:

Rhiannon Birch Rhiannon Birch is PR & Marketing Coordinator at SocialSignIn. She is passionate about all aspects of writing and enjoys discussing the real-life stories behind social media. With two young children and three dogs, Rhiannon spends her (very little) spare time exploring new places and watching Star Wars.

If you’d like to connect on LinkedIn click here or follow her on Twitter @RhiSkywalker