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The Best Free Stock Photo Sites

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 0

Have you ever written an article and can’t seem to find quality photos that will help you make the article that much better? What about when you’ve built your first website, and all there seems to be on your site is words and fuzzy photos? Well, hopefully this article will help you discover a couple new places to go to find high quality and free photos for you to use on anything you’d like, from your most recent post to a brochure you’re designing for school. It’s all up to you. You just need to know where to go.

Following you will find a plethora of free stock photo sites that allow you to download their photos for free. Some sites have specific stipulations, but we’ll go over that as well. As the list goes down, I’ve recorded them from my most favorite to my least favorite site to use. And I’m hoping I can have enough information for you to be able to decide which ones to use. They are not all high quality, but may have just what you’re looking for. We’ll begin by going to the best of the bunch, iStockphoto.


This site is not free, but I put it on the list because they do have one free photo per week that anybody can download. These photos are exquisite. The photos range in size from blah to blah and you’re able to download any size you’d like. I like to download the largest size and save three different sizes in Photoshop. This way you get the highest quality of photo available.

And if you’d like to purchase any other photos, they aren’t that expensive for what you get. Most people in the design field use iStockphoto for all of their unique designs and layout for companies. It’s really a quality site.


Stock.XCHNG is one of the sites that most people go to for their free stock photos. This site holds more than 350,000 photos with over 35,000 photographers placing their quality pictures on the site regularly. Stock.XCHNG was recently purchased by Getty Images, the same owners of iStockPhoto; so you can expect great management from this company and site.

The only problem I’ve seen from Stock.XCHNG is that the highest quality stock photos are always under a photographer that requires that you give them credit and email them for permission to use their photographs. I can understand that, but it makes it such a pain. So I often keep looking for photos with no requirements under it.


Freerange is another quality stock photo site that provides the customer with some amazing pictures. You only need to register with Freerange to use their photos. The only thing you need to do is sign in, look up some photos, and download. Quite simply if you ask me. All of the images are at least 2400 x 1600 and can be used for commercial or personal use.


My next favorite has to be DeviantArt’s free photo section. This area is designed for anybody who’s a DeviantArt member to be able to give their photos away for free. There are tons of photos here. Just take your pick. Some of them are drawings, other are photos. Great stuff from artists all over the world. And DeviantArt is free to join.


Morgue File would be next on the list. If I can’t find anything from the list already, I’ll jump over to Morgue File and usually end up getting something close to what I’m looking for. They’re catch phrase is “Public Image Archive for Creatives by Creatives.” You are able to use these photos for commercial use as well. Free to sign up.


This site is quite magnificent since I saw it last. They must have revamped it. The site’s free to sign up and there are plenty of free stock photos to choose from. There is a catch though. Each photo has its own licensing and you’ll have to read through the photo’s description to see what exactly it takes to use the photo for personal or commercial use.


This site has been ramping up their design in the past few months and they are looking good. With over 23,000 photos in their library, they could very well be a viable place for your next stock photo search. Sign up for free to be another one of the 73,000 members.

Understand that stockvault is a paid site with only a smaller “free photos” section. This is the reason why I don’t go to them right away. Other than that, their photos are high quality.


Dreamstime is another paid for stock photos site, but they do have this free photos section that is worth a peek. This company has been growing quite rapidly in the last few years and may very well be a place for any photographers out there to get ahead of the game. You may get high portfolio exposure for free site space.

This site is easy to navigate and if you’d like to spend a little cash on some higher quality, royalty free photos, then you’re more than welcome to do that as well.


Yet another paid site for stock photos with a free contents section. They do have over 12 million images to choose from if you decide to use them for buying photos


The last of the free stock photo sites that I use is Pixel Perfect Digital and contains….well, not much. The quality is below par, but they do have a number of images that you may find useful. I wouldn’t recommend them, but I can’t make a list without putting them in, at least. So check ‘em out and see what ya think.


For the past few months I’ve used many of these sites for web design and development. It’s been a great way to not have to purchase high quality photos for a pretty penny. When you’re just starting out, you can’t really afford to use iStockPhoto for their other pictures, even though you really want to. But it’s really nice to be able to still find photos out there that are free and high-res. Good luck!



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