If you’ve ever had to look for images to use in a blog post, a website, or even a commercial project, you know how hard it can be.
There are lots of images in the internet, but there can be very serious consequences for using certain images without proper permission or attribution.
Many free images are of very poor quality.
In essence, finding high quality images devoid of any copyright restrictions can be daunting.
Even if you try using the image search tools of major search engines, they have this habit of playing safe; they would say something like “images may be subject to copyright.”
You get the same statement even when you use filters to search for images which are free to use or share even commercially.
But there are quite a few websites which contain totally free pictures of very high resolution.
Some of these websites were put up by highly skilled photographers sharing their work freely, and some use free photographs to call attention to other images in premium packages.
Here is a list of websites containing totally free stock images you can use even on commercial projects:
As the name suggests, this is a site which contains high resolution photographs you can use for personal or commercial projects totally gratis; there is an option to contribute to the site owner’s ‘coffee fund’ though.
The site is updated with new pictures every week.
All you need to do is click an image you like to download a high resolution version.
Sadly, the images are not categorized and there is no filter you can use to search for particular image types.
This site contains a large collection of awesome images offered free for personal or commercial use.
There is also an option for you to register so they can send you new images by email.
It is easy to search for particular pictures as images are categorized; you can also view types of pictures by selecting tags.
This site says “New Old Stock”; this means it contains vintage photographs culled from public archives which are ‘free of known copyright restrictions.’
Some photos are in black & white, sepia, and some are colored.
There are lots of interesting images, many of which provide a glimpse of the past. The photographs are conveniently arranged by categories.
This site contains really stunning images which are arranged in eight categories.
The photos were all taken by site owner Thomas Mühl who provides it free for personal or commercial use.
The site owner’s decision to post the photos free of copyright restrictions means it can be used even without a backlink; a backlink would, however, be appreciated. There is an offer to provide a copy of all current photos in a zip file for a donation of just $15.00.
The site uploads 7 new snapshots every week, all of them free for use on personal and commercial projects. If you register, the site will mail you new images weekly.
The site welcomes contributions. The downside is that there is only the simplest search tool on the free photo collection which makes image searches difficult.
At this site all you need to do is to avail of the free registration to their email list and they will send you a new pack of photographs with matching stories.
All the pictures are free to use. There are invitations to ‘go premium’ to unlock their complete library plus a ‘bonus pack’ for $15 monthly and to ‘fund a trip’ to get 200 photos.
Downside is you can’t download photos from the site; they only send you images if you register.
This site uploads 5 new photos every day and boasts of having the ‘best free stock photos in one place.’
These photos are free to use under creative commons zero license (CC0).
Although the photographs are not kept in categories, the search tool allows searches using your own keywords, or by choosing from a list of popular keywords or tags.
There are loads of images on this site which are free for personal or commercial use; all they ask is that you don’t resell the images as they are.
The site even boasts of easy downloads, to enable all kinds of users to easily access the free images. It is easy to search for images as these are listed in 22 different categories.
The photos library of free photos in this site is a reflection of the talent of the photographer/site owner. All the pictures are provided under creative commons zero licenses, which means you can use them for any legal purpose for free. It is a shame though that the pictures are not categorized and that there is no search filter.
At this site you can view and download free photos from the homepage which displays the latest 20, another page which displays the last 100 photos, or through another page where you can view them through different image categories. If you register, they will send you ten new premium photos every fortnight. Photographs are provided under Creative Commons Zero license (universal).
The ‘unsplash’ site provides high resolution photographs under CC0 license, and if you register, they will send you 10 new photos every 10 days. There is a filter you can use to search for images by subject or using your own description. They accept photo submissions.
The ‘tinyography’ site features iPhone pictures provided for use on personal or even commercial projects. All you need to do is click on an image to be able to download the full-resolution version. The photographs are so clear it will leave you wondering why the site owner did not take the time to categorize them for easier use.
13. ISO Republic
High resolution photographs on this site are provided free to use on personal and commercial projects; the intent of the owner is to empower designers and developers working on independent projects. Pictures may be viewed through six listed categories or as they are loaded in 59 pages. The site accepts donations and photo submissions.
The really stunning, high quality photographs in this site are provided under CC0 licences. Aside from the quality of their collection of images, they have a very useful filter which allows you to choose image type, category, orientation, resolution and color. Additionally the filter allows the use of and, or, not, & () to further refine results. You may also choose to view the images as they are listed in 20 different categories. This may be the most user-friendly free stock photo site.
Picogaphy features really interesting photos with a high level of clarity. The free photos you can use however you like for any legal purpose. Unfortunately, the site only offers a hit and miss search tool; they don’t provide categories or tags to choose from.
16. Get Refe
You have to click the button marked REFE at the top right section to access the collection of free for use photos. The photographs are conveniently listed under 11 different categories. The site also offers other photographs which are for sale.
17. Foodies Feed
In this website the free for use photographs are all about food – there is no other category. You may use the photos for any personal or commercial project. The food photos are displayed in 29 pages.
This website chronicles beautiful travel moments in high resolution photographs. All the photographs, which come from all over the world, are provided under CC0 license; you can do whatever you want with them. You can subscribe to their mailing list, download all photos, or scroll and download only the ones you want. Picking through the collection is not easy as all the photos are dumped in one page only.
The stunning photographs are divided into eight categories. Most photos are provided under CC0 license and some photos require attribution. You can narrow your search using image category, license type, dominant colors and popular hashtags. Photos are from numerous contributors and are merely curated by the website owner.
There are lots of cool photographs provided free under CC0 license. These photos are listed under 8 different categories, and are also posted in 15 web pages. However, the site also contains photos marked ‘premium’ which are meant for sale.
This site contains lots of picture taken by Jonas Nilsson Lee and provided for free under CC0 license. The site’s images have remarkable clarity, although there is not much of them; the archive contains only 37 images. The images on this site are not categorized.
There are hundreds of thousands of images on this site, a lot of them available for free; those on the morguefile folder are free for use anyway you want. It is very hard to use though because the images are not categorized. There is only a hit and miss type of filter – no idea how the photos are tagged. The site also offers other images for sale at royalty free basis.
Using search engines may not be the easiest way to find for free stock photographs; their disclaimers may even be cause confusion with regard to copyright issues. The best way would be to find websites which explicitly state that they provide images free for use even on commercial projects. The sites we have listed all provide high quality images free of copyright restrictions. Now all you have to do is to select the one with the most user-friendly search tools.