Every blogger is looking for intriguing pictures to draw in their audience, but stock photography can get very expensive. Here are the best free stock photo sources for bloggers I’ve found.
This is a living article that will be updated and changed over time to reflect more awesome stock photography websites – if you know of one, let me know in a comment to get it featured!
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Before I tell you about the great free stock photo resources I’ve found, I want to give you two important tips about blog photography:
Use your own photographs when possible.
I not saying that you’re a better photographer than the person who took the stock photos, but it is better to use your own photos when you can.
Tons of people use stock photographs online, for their blogs and businesses. There are a lot of people are looking for free stock photos (you are, that is why you’re here!) and there is only a limited amount of free quality stock photography available.
Many different bloggers will use the same exact stock image for their own posts.
Using your own quality photos will help you stand out from the crowd, simply because no one else will be using the photo that you are using.
However, it is still better to use an over-used stock photo than a poor quality photo that you took yourself.
Read the usage license for each stock photo you download.
Each stock photo site should have guidelines for the photos you are downloading.
Look for “license” information on the website, and read through it carefully.
Most free stock photo sites are royalty-free, and allow you to modify and use their images for both commercial and non-commercial use.
Using stock photos for a business is a commercial use of an image, so be sure that the stock photos you choose are licensed for the categories you need.
Some free stock image sites require attribution. This means that you can use their photos for free, but you must credit the proper photographer or website.
Be sure to follow the rules for each website, and for each individual image you download.
Best FREE Stock Photo Sources for Bloggers
There are a ton of free stock photos out there, but these are the sites I’ve personally found to be the most helpful.
Of all the free stock photo sites, I love Pixabay the most.
Pixabay offers free images, videos, illustrations, vector graphics, and more. Their wide variety and high quality can’t be matched.
Every image (and video) on the website is free, for commercial and non-commerical use. They have an option to donate to individual photographers, but it is not required.
You can sign up for a free account and upload 10 high quality photos to get rid of ads on the website, too!
Another great source of free photos and videos is Pexels.
Their thousands of photos and videos are free for commercial use. If you’re a photographer or brand, they offer neat partnership opportunities to showcase your photography on their site.
One of my favorite collections on Pexels is their Zoom Room Backgrounds. I haven’t used them yet, but might have to on my next call.
Unsplash offers free high-resolution photos for free, and for commercial use.
This is beginning to sound repetitive, isn’t it?
Something that makes Unsplash stand out is the category navigation on their homepage. These quick tabs allow you to quickly jump to different image categories, such as “Textures and Patterns” or “Food and Drink.”
When I’m looking for a stock photo and don’t know what I’m searching for, Unsplash’s categories are a great place to start.
With more free photos for commercial use, Kaboompics is a great addition to this lineup.
The unique categorization of pictures on Kaboompics is extremely helpful in a way that I would never have imagined myself.
You can search for photos like normal, but you can also search for photoshoots. These are collections of images that photographers took in the same photoshoot.
For example, this awesome photoshoot of pasta ingredients.
In photoshoots, there are multiple images taken from different angles and with different compositions. Having multiple images from the same shoot to work with is INCREDIBLE as a blogger. Maybe a horizontal image will be perfect for your featured header, but you need a vertical images for your Pinterest pin – photoshoots make it so easy.
Oh, and on the home page you can search for pictures by color. I didn’t know I needed this feature, but it is great for specific articles.
One of the best tools for bloggers is Canva.
Unlike the rest on this list, Canva is not a free stock photo site. It’s an online graphic design platform. It’s the platform I use to create all my blog and business graphics.
Although it isn’t a free stock photo website, within your Canva projects you can access thousands of free and premium stock photos. This is super convenient for someone like me, who uses Canva for my blog’s graphics. I can find my stock photo while working on my design, which streamlines the process and makes it quick and easy.
Canva uses the APIs of several stock photo sources, so you might see some of the same photos you find from the other sources on this list.
Not all of Canva’s images are free. A vast majority of them are “premium” and included with a paid membership. Signing up for a free account with this referral link will give you a credit towards a premium image or graphic. Even though the free content is limited, Canva still has a wide range of free photos – and the convenience is worth the limitations.
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I really believe that these are the BEST free stock photo sources for bloggers and businesses.
Have you used any of these free stock photo resources? Are there any other amazing free stock photo websites you’d like to share? Comment your favorite free stock photo source below to be considered for this list.