VA Tips: 15+ Free (and Awesome!) Stock Photo Websites
Looking for reliable stock photo websites is one of the biggest challenges content writers, social media managers, and website editors face. Humans are visual creatures, and images help improve user experience. Whether the content is a blog post, eBook, webpage, or social media post, images and videos help capture attention.
Copyright and plagiarism allegations are nightmares for content creators, and that is exactly why stock photos exist to minimize these kinds of legal issues. Luckily, there are numerous free stock photo websites that offer them for free. This is great news for virtual assistants who constantly use images in their tasks or projects.
To help virtual employees like you avoid any copyright violation issues in the future, we have put together this handy list of the best free stock photo websites you can get images from. Before you can say and ask, “Great! Where can I get free stock photos from?” Let us first understand online image copyright and fair use.
What is Image Copyright?
A copyright is a type of intellectual property that belongs to a creator — in this case, the person who created the image. Anything you create, write or photograph is automatically protected by copyright under copyright law. Copyright holders are free to do whatever they want with the images they created, including using them or distributing them. Those who regularly produce images and other types of content can voluntarily register their work with the US Copyright Office. Doing so can grant additional protection, especially if there is an infringement lawsuit involved.
It is important for anyone, especially virtual assistants, to know that it is bad practice to take any image on the internet indiscriminately, especially with the intention to use it commercially. This can potentially result in expensive lawsuits and general legal headaches that neither you nor the client would want. To avoid this, only take photos or images licensed under Creative Commons or Public Domain.
What is Creative Commons?
Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization that gives free CC licenses to creators to permit other creators to use their creations. Apart from photos, CC works also include books, educational resources, games, video games, comics, and books. Using CC-licensed images is free but under specific circumstances. Always check if images can be allowed or if they can be used commercially. You can filter results by using the search tool on the Creative Commons website.
What is Public Domain?
Public Domain (PD) refers to images and materials that belong to the public that are not subjected to intellectual property laws. Simply put, the public owns any works under this domain and can be used freely without express permission. However, for works to be under Public Domain, they must be around for a very long time that their copyright has expired and usually when the creator has died. It can be tricky to determine when a work is under PD, so it is best to stick to free stock photo sites.
The Best Stock Photo Websites
There are dozens of stock photo websites where you can get paid and free images for almost any purpose. Whether it’s for a blog post, Instagram story, pricing brochure, garage sale poster, or school project, you’ll find something that will suit your needs. These are some of the most popular stock photo websites where you can download high-quality images for free:
Pixabay boasts a vast repository of high-resolution and free photos, vectors, and illustrations. It also offers copyright-free videos and music. All the works inside Pixabay can be copied, modified, and distributed for personal and commercial use.
Pixabay is easy to navigate, as you only need to enter keywords related to your search, and the site will provide all related images, music, and videos. However, image users may not redistribute or sell the creative materials in Pixabay on other similar platforms.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
Pexels is a user-friendly website that allows you to search for quality images and videos with minimum fuss. The selection of photos and videos is exceptional, as these are handpicked from different image sources. This means you get the “best of the best” photos in Pexels that you can use personally or commercially with no attribution required.
Giving credit to either the photographer or Pexels itself is optional but appreciated. Anyone can make an account in Pexels. Users can either download photos and videos for free or contribute.
With more than 2 million free and high-resolution photos, Unsplash is one the most popular websites that offer stock photos. Anyone can sign up for free, and even if they don’t have an account, they can still access and download millions of photos under their license.
Under the Unsplash license, all photos can be downloaded and used for free, whether for commercial or non-commercial purposes. Attribution is optional for whatever creation that you have made from the materials you gathered from the website. However, photos that have not been modified may not be sold anywhere at any time.
Burst by Shopify
Download royalty-free photos for personal and commercial purposes with Burst, a free stock images platform powered by Shopify. Find the perfect stock image for your blog, article, social media post, office presentation, and more. The collection of photos is constantly growing, so users can come back any time to check out the new ones and even new categories!
Contributors may also join Burst. By doing so, your images will be seen by millions of businesses and entrepreneurs around the world. Plus, you can assist Shopify merchants with your high-quality photos as well.
Photo from Reshot
Freely and independently create designs and other types of creative works with Reshot. You can browse from thousands of SVG icons, vector illustrations, and stock photos here. You can download anything that you need for free and with no strings attached.
Photo from Kaboompics
Kaboompics boasts a multitude of categories when it comes to royalty-free stock images. It has the photos you need from lifestyle, nature, people, travel, food and drink, beauty, and fashion. Under the Kaboompics license, all photos are available for download and modifiable, whether for personal or business use. However, while the images are free, you can’t sell them on competing websites. Users are not required to give credit or mention the image source, but linking the photo source will greatly support Kaboompics, especially if you use their images on social media platforms.
Picspree offers an attractive spread of beautiful and royalty-free images, illustrations, vectors, and stock photos. It has its own community of contributors who generously upload their images for anyone to use for free. Any material downloaded from Picspree and used publicly or commercially will not need permission or credit.
Photo from NegativeSpace
NegativeSpace offers lots of beautiful, free high-resolution photos with no restrictions. This means that you can use the photos they offer for personal or commercial use. The site’s interface also makes it easier for a VA to look for photos for their specific project. Users can search images through different categories, so browsing is easier. Negative Space also offers bulk downloading of images depending on theme and format.
All images are free to download and use under a Creative Commons CC0 license. While users can use the website to access these creative materials, NegativeSpace is also a community for photographers who love to share their work. Aspiring photographers may join the community and submit their work while enjoying the benefits of building connections with other photographers and building a reputation.
Photo from Foodiesfeed
Food bloggers and content creators can go to Foodiesfeed for visually appealing and free food photos. You can find various foods such as fruits, vegetables, pasta, cake, and beverages in multiple layouts and poses. With thousands of free food photos, you are sure to find the best one for your content.
Photo from Picjumbo
For high-resolution and beautiful stock photos, picjumbo is the place to go. Since 2013, millions of content creators have downloaded free pictures from this ever-reliable stock photo site. Today, picjumbo offers an affiliate program, product promotion opportunities, a photo redistribution license, and a premium membership program for super-exclusive photos.
Photo from Freerange Stock
Over 750,000 users in the Freerange Stock community enjoy certified high-resolution shots that come from in-house photographers and external contributors. Launched in 2007, the website has gained a reputation as its collection of images, illustrations, and textures have been featured in lists for free stock photos across the internet. You can expect excellent shots in terms of visual quality and artistic value.
Photo from Libreshot
If you’re into unique collections of architectural photos and vibrant images of animals, LibreShot may be the site for you. All photos are available at no cost for commercial and non-commercial use, whether for social media, mobile applications, website templates, ebooks, posters, marketing materials, presentations, advertising, or schoolwork.
Photo from Gratisography
When you need to finish that deadline fast and need stock photos or vectors in a hurry, Gratisography offers you peace of mind because you can download and use everything you need from the website without worrying about copyright restrictions. Everything on this website is user-friendly, so navigation and downloading are easy. Browse through different categories or peruse collections at your convenience to find the perfect material you need.
Photo from SplitShire
Instantly download, modify, and share images online with SplitShire. This website is the brainchild of Italian photographer Daniel Nanescu. He takes personal high-quality shots and willingly shares them with the public because he knows that great stock photos are hard to come by. The website has a minimalist look and is one of the easiest to navigate.
Photo from Freestocks.org
For simple and fuss-free high-quality photos, you can head on over to Freestocks.org. All images in any category are free for download and available for personal and commercial projects under a Creative Commons CC0 license. You can use the search bar for the images you need or go through the categories or popular tags.
Life of Pix
Photo from Life of Pix
Another site that offers quality artistic shots is Life of Pix. With the collaboration of numerous talented photographers, the site has grown into a repository of vibrant and vivid photographs that content managers, web designers, and social media managers can use at their own discretion.
Anyone can join the Life of Pix community. With an account, anyone can create a portfolio, personalize images, and follow favorite photographers. You can also keep track of all the photos that you liked. Aspiring photographers may even vie to be the Photographer of the Week with the creations that they upload.
Photo from Little Visuals
The owner of Little Visuals may have passed on, but the high-quality images are still accessible and free to use for personal or commercial use. It is no wonder that the website has over 130 thousand subscribers and growing; the collection of photos is high-quality, unique, and useful in most types of media.
Photo from FOCA Stock
FOCA Stock is a free stock photos platform with a CC0 license, which means that images are available for downloading and redistribution for both personal and commercial purposes. It features various categories and boasts high-quality and curated collections that are highly relevant to what content creators of today need.
Photo from Styled Stock
For women bosses out there or those with a flair for a feminine aesthetic, Styled Stock is one of the best stock photo websites for you! Anyone can use the images from here for free, whether for commercial or non-commercial use.
These are just some of the best stock photo websites today. Take advantage of these sites and browse each one if possible so you can get that perfect photo you need for your blog, social media campaign, or for your client’s website.
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