Free stock photos

Top 14 Sources for High-Quality Free Stock Photos

Fake a custom photoshoot with these 14 sources for top-notch free stock photos

We all know that on social media, visuals matter. However, creating or sourcing those visuals is another story. Even if you have photogenic products or work in an industry that lends itself to visuals, sometimes you just don’t have the budget or resources to get a lot of custom images. This is where the humble stock photo comes into play.

But sometimes even stock photography isn’t in the budget, especially for small business owners or startups. So where can you find all sorts of stock photos that guaranteed to be free of copyright restrictions? We’ve got you covered with these fourteen sites that offer plenty of amazing images for an equally amazing lack of price.

1. Flickr

Chances are you’re familiar with Flickr already; perhaps you have an account already via Yahoo and use it to post personal pics of vacations, holidays, and other special events. However, did you know that Flickr is also popular amongst photographers and other artistic types, and that they can license their photos via Creative Commons for commercial or other uses? Just use the search parameters to limit yourself to images with the appropriate license and you’ll find a treasure trove of useful pictures.

2. Kaboom Pics

Kaboom Pics has plenty of useful stock photos that are nicely organized into common lifestyle categories like food, fashion, architecture, and more. So if those kinds of images are what you’re seeking, you’re all set—just remember that you can’t alter or sell the images in any way.

3. Death to The Stock Photo

The name of the site alone makes it pretty apparent that these aren’t your typical stock photos. In fact, many of the images on Death To The Stock Photo are a little more on the alternate side, reminiscent of popular memes or ways to otherwise signal your brand’s social media savvy.

The business model is a unique one: you pay the company, who then pays creatives to go on photography adventures.

Here’s a sample:

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4. Pixabay

One of the largest free image and video sites out there, Pixabay stands out because it is home to an extremely active community of creatives contributing content to the site, and there’s even an easy way to get in touch with photographers for special requests.

5. Pexels

Another popular free stock photo site with a significant community of photographers contributing images; all the images on Pexels are licensed via Creative Commons for commercial usage and modifications in nearly any way you see fit.

6. Gratisography

Need some high-resolution images to use in your marketing endeavors? Gratisography is the place to go if you like the owner/founder Ryan McGuire’s somewhat hipster, contemporary yet whimsical style (since he took all the images himself).

You can’t beat a cat in a tie! The coffee shot—the blog header image for this post that was sourced from Gratisograpy—is pretty incredible too.

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7. Free Images

The concept is as simple as the name—Free Images is home to tons of free images in a bunch of categories, easily searchable and available for free usage in all your various content strategy and social media projects.

8. PicJumbo

A stunning collection of free high quality, high-resolution stock photos from leading photographers and graphic designers have made PicJumbo a darling amongst leading content creators, who tend to enjoy using this carefully curated collection of images to add a visual punch to their branded posts.

9. MavSocial

MavSocial’s stock image store includes free and paid options. Powered by Pixabay Images, Pexels Images and ImageAfter, our stock images include gorgeous pics, funny gifs, and pop culture moments. MavSocial users can take advantage of a variety of images available within the platform (and edit them, schedule, and post them to various social networks right inside our software.)

Here’s a photo that an image search for “happy” pulled up:

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10. Albumarium

Albumarium is a place for photographers to upload and share albums of photos with an exceptional niche categorization system. It’s perfect for when you need the stock photo of a relatively specific item(s)s or a series of photos that share a distinct style.

11. Photype

While there are plenty of stock photo sources on the web, Photype offers the unique option of letting you see what a photo will look like cropped in various ways or at different resolutions before you download it. So convenient, especially if you’re posting images on multiple platforms all with their individual requirements.

12. New Old Stock

These vintage photos are now in the public domain and free for you to use; this site organizes them all in one easy-to-search place for your perusal. New Old Stock might be the perfect site to peruse if you want to add a historical feeling to your brand’s social media presence.

Sure, most of these photos won’t work for most brands, but if you get creative with captions, you can bring a lot more style to your feed:


13. FreeStocks

This site is another that features exactly what the name says—FreeStocks has tons of free stock photos that you can use for essentially whatever you want, all released under Creative Commons with zero attribution required.

14. UnSplash

Known for their more inventive and stylized images, UnSplash is not necessarily the place to go if you want the standard sort of stock photos, but their creative imagery simply can’t be beaten. Ideal for brands or users who want something that’s edgier or more unusual with an artistic bent.

This photo submitted to UnSplash by Alexander Rotker is amazing:

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The free stock photo user need-to-know

Finally, there are two important things to be aware of before you start posting stock photos on your company’s social media accounts.

First, you’ll need to make sure that you use the correct attributions for the images you post. A few of the free stock images you find on the sites we listed might require that you credit the artist or photographer responsible for the work via a name and/or a link to their portfolio, so check out the site’s terms and conditions or the creative commons license attached to the photo if you aren’t sure.

Second, be sure that the site’s or image’s licensing allows for editing that if you alter or modify the picture in any way. Even adding text over an image can be against the rules, so be careful you’re not about to get your company in legal hot water.

When used properly, stock photos can be an excellent and extremely affordable way to create a visually-rich and compelling digital presence for your brand.

MavSocial is the leading social media visual content management & publishing platform for brands and agencies.

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