7 extraordinary websites with spectacular FREE stock images

Free stock images have been the savior for many small businesses that can’t afford to pay for expensive visuals for their website. That’s why in this article we wanted to share with you some of the best free image sites on the web.

By the time you’ve finished reading this post, you will have a list of go-to image libraries for the next time you’re writing a blog post, building a website, or designing an advert. You can say goodbye to boring text dominant web pages and hello to outstanding levels of engagement and shareability. 

Read on for the list of free stock image websites and to understand why it’s so important to upload nothing but good quality images to your website.

Why are images so important?

Have you ever got to the end of a blog post with zero images included, or purchased something from a website that was 100% text? No? me neither!

Good quality images can bring the text on your website to life and provide context to readers that are skimming through your content. 
Studies have found that articles with images get 94% more total views and it’s really not hard to imagine why.
Images also make your content more shareable. For example, Facebook posts with images receive 87% more engagement than those without images, and tweets with images get 150% more retweets!

What it comes down to is that humans are naturally more attracted to images because that’s how most information is transmitted to the brain.
Also, when people are surfing the internet to learn new skills, to buy a new product or to look for information, they want to be entertained and they want fast results.
Including images is the perfect way to meet those needs because visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the brain than text. 

Therefore, good-quality images can make the process of consuming information easier and more enjoyable than one big block of text.

Free vs paid stock images

You might be thinking surely it’s better to use paid stock images for your website, right?

In the past, this might have been true. The amount of free-to-use images circulating on the web was relatively small which meant that other people would have been using the same images as you and the quality just wasn’t that great.
However, now with the evolution of free stock image websites, like the ones we’ve listed below, there are millions of royalty-free images for you to use on your site free of charge. 

While it’s true someone else can still use the same image, the chances of a visitor landing on another website with the same images as you are very slim.
Also, a benefit that paid stock image services had over free stock images providers was the ability to download images in different sizes, but now some of the free services offer a variety of sizes too.
Finally, because free stock image libraries are usually populated by up and coming photographers, the images often seem less ‘stock image’ like. This is great for making your website feel more authentic and unique.

Of course, the main benefit is not having to spend any cash on visuals which will increase your return on investment and profit, whatever business you run.

Personal, commercial and editorial use

Some of you might be waiting for some sort of catch… but no don’t worry, there really isn’t one.
If you choose to download images from any of the websites listed below you can use them free of charge for personal, commercial, and editorial use, it’s as simple as that.
You can also edit the photos however you want. Feel free to crop, re-size, add text, or apply a filter.

You’re not even required to give photo credit, however, I’m sure the photographers would be really grateful if you could drop them credit where possible. You’ll score some good karma points if you do.

High-resolution free images

Let’s get into the list of the best free image websites where you can find millions of high-resolution visuals that will transform your website from looking drab and unfinished to professional and engaging.

Unsplash

Unsplash has over one million curated photographs that have been vetted by the company to ensure perfect quality. They have a community of over 157,000 photographers that contribute to the site who range from amateur hobbyists, professionals, and emerging brands. 

They must be doing something right because they have received over 1 billion downloads from people wanting to use their images for a long list of different reasons.

Other platforms like Buzzfeed and Trello have started integrating Unsplash so that their users can access the high-quality images on offer. Even some website builders that you’ll find on our site, like Squarespace and Zyro, have integrated Unsplash so that it’s even easier to upload the free images to your website.

With Unsplash you can download your images in multiple sizes which include:

  • Original size – this will vary depending on the contributor
  • Large – 2400×3200
  • Medium – 1920×2560
  • Small – 640×853

Pexels

Pexels was first founded in 2014 and is another great site that offers hundreds of thousands of free stock photos with an easy to use interface and a neat search tool. They’ve gone to a lot of effort to make sure all of the photos uploaded are appropriately tagged so they’re easy to find.
Like most free image platforms, the photographs are sourced from a community of amateur and professional photographers that upload new high-resolution images every day.
The platform has received millions of downloads from writers, artists, programmers, web designers, and other creators. 

You can download images in Large (1999x 1333), medium (1280 x 853), or small (640 x 246) sizes. You can also download it to your own custom size if you have unique requirements.

Pixabay

Pixabay has over 1.7 million high quality free and royalty-free stock images and videos. You can search for images, photos, vector graphics, illustrations, or videos so you can pull up exactly what you need.
The images are sourced from a vibrant group of creatives who have a passion for photography and design. As well as the free images there is also a bank of paid-for images that are marked with the iStock logo.

On Pixabay you can download JPG images in four different sizes:

  • 6016×4016 = 8.6MB
  • 1920×1281 = 1.0MB
  • 1280×854 = 495KB
  • 640×427 = 150KB

A cool feature on this platform is that every image comes with a details box that tells you what camera the photo was taken on, the resolution, and how many downloads it has.

Picjumbo

Launched in 2016 by 26-year-old entrepreneur and photographer, Viktor Hanacek, Picjumbo has now received over 7.5 million downloads and is loved by lots of online creators and some big brands too.

The platform offers free and premium photos for a large range of popular tags such as fashion, mountains, nature, winter, cars, technology, and much more.
You only have one choice of size for a free download and file types will always be JPG.
Like on every other platform in this list, all photos are free for personal and commercial use.

Burst (by Shopify)

Burst is a free stock image platform that is powered by Shopify and offers users thousands of high-resolution images that are ready to download and use of all types of websites, online adverts, and print media.
You have the choice to download in high or low resolution. Low resolution is better for small web graphics to improve loading time, whereas high-resolution images are best suited for large web images, print media, or for use in presentations and brand decks.

Because it’s powered by Shopify, if you see an image that inspires you to start a website you can do so in just a few clicks. Click on the ‘Create a website with this photo’ button, input your details and you’ll have made the first step in creating a website with Shopify.

All photos are under the Creative Commons licensing act.

Reshot

Reshot has taken a different approach to how they provide free stock images to online creatives, going for a quality over quantity approach.
Their mission is to give emerging photographers the platform to share their work and get noticed while providing people like you the chance to access and use world-class images for free.

They have a simple offer – see a photo you like, point-and-click, and you will receive a JPG file within a few seconds. There are no size options so you will have to resize it yourself if you need to.

Stocksnap.io

Last but certainly not least is Stocksnap.io that offers thousands of free stock images that are updated daily by their community of talented and passionate photographers. 

They were founded because they recognized the need for free high-quality stock images and have worked on building one of the best image libraries on the web. You can browse by category or look at trending images to see what’s popular among online creatives. 
As well as the free stock images, Stocksnap is also linked up with Shutterstock and will show a few premium options with every search as well.

For free downloads, you will only be able to receive one size and all images will come in JPG formats.

Final thoughts on the best free stock image websites

We recommend opening up all the links and saving them to your bookmarks so that next time you need to find free high-quality images for your website or creative project, you’ll know exactly where to look. 

If you haven’t decided on a platform to build your website yet, head over to our listings page and check out our expert reviews on the world’s leading website builders.

Written By

Kimberly Jackson
Written by: Kimberly Jackson

Kimberly is a freelance writer and web developer with years of experience crafting copy for online tech companies. She has a knack for SEO and a passion for the written word. Kimberly has used her expertise to build over 50 websites for her clients across a whole range of industries. When she’s not writing or building websites, you’ll find Kimberly on the hiking trails with her husband or practicing yoga.

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