Where to find free stock photos for commercial use?

By Isma Ruiz on
May 19, 2019

Did you know that you can download free stock photos from the internet and use them for your business, website, brochure or any other type of marketing material? You can even use them for any client work or presentation and this can benefit you or your business by saving you money on expensive photos and also allowing you to avoid illegal infringements caused by downloading copyright photos.

Many paid sites exist where you can find high quality photos on the internet, but there are also websites that offer these type of photos for free such as Unsplash or Picjumbo. I know this sounds too good to be true but in recent years many sites have appeared offering this service for free. In this article I am going to show you all the stock photo websites that offer free photos for commercial use to improve the quality of your projects.

I have been using these resources in numerous situations, both for client work and for my personal business. These websites are very useful to get high quality stock photos without spending any money and can be especially useful for blogs where you need a bunch of photos for every article you write.

High quality photos, when used correctly, can make a massive difference when it comes to selling your products or services. Good designers use photos in their design to evoke the feeling they mean to transmit or to communicate their ideas. Photography can enhance the quality of your website, blog, or any type of marketing material and hence can help you sell your products or services.

Is it ok to download any photo from the internet?

First of all I would like to remind you that downloading random photos of google images may seem a quick solution to find quality assets for your projects but this practice could be illegal. In fact, many of those photos have a property licence from the author and in many cases, authors from images you may find on google don’t allow others to use their photos without permission.

What is the solution? Instead of looking for photos directly from google you can use these websites that I am going to show you. This is the way that I find photos for my business. These photos are safe to use without taking the risk to involve your business or project in illegal practices.

All the sites that I am going to share with you are very useful and all allow you to download free images for commercial and noncommercial use. Why are these terms so beneficial? The reason is that we can use these photos for any client work or for your own business without the need to give credit to the author (although they suggest to do it as a way to say thank you).

But still, I highly recommend that you check the licence every time before you downloading any photo from the internet. Think about a license and the author (photographer) as you as a computer owner. You, as an owner decide if somebody can borrow your laptop or not, and if so how the borrower of your laptop can use it, maybe they can use it to write an article but they can’t sell the computer and make a profit directly from the sale. This could be similar for the photographer and their photo, they own it and they decide to lend it and the terms under which it can be lent.

In some cases there may be some limited restrictions for unusual situations, for example, that using the photo to replicate a similar or competing service is not permitted, which makes a lot of sense, and protects the owner of the website from getting their site copied. Hopefully this is not your intention and you will be able to use these photos for your business materials.

Best Websites with free stock images for commercial use

So let’s jump to the best websites where you can download free stock images.

Unsplash

Unsplash is the first website I used to find free stock images for my freelance work and the quality of the photos is outstanding. It is especially useful for designers because you also can find free textures and patterns. I love this site!. The interface is very clean and easy to use and you can find a bunch of photos from any topic. You can find his licence here.

Example of free stock photo from Unsplash


Those who are knowledgeable in photography can find interesting details about the photos such as the camera model or focal length of the camera where the photo was taken from.

Information of unsplash image

The website is very easy to navigate and you can use the search button or you can find photos filtered from different categories straight away from the header.

Pexels

Pexels specialises in portraits. You can find many high quality portraits from models.

Example of free stock photo from Pexels

Pexels explains the licence in a very clear way. The interface is simple and neat, and when clicking on the photo you can find detailed information about the author, the licence and the camera.

Detailed information from Pexel photo

I also found it very interesting that when you download a photo you can donate or follow the author. So if you are interested in any author in particular you can follow them straight away. They also make it very easy to credit the author if this is something that interest you, and this then creates a credit tag that can be copied and placed on your website, as seen below. Again, this is not legally required from the authors and it is just a nice way to say thank you!

Donate or follow the author

Gratisography

Gratisography is an another site to find amazing photos for free. You can find the specific details of his licence here. What I like about this site is that is very easy to navigate. For every photo you can click to see more photos from the same category and when opening the photo more similar photos are displayed. This is a great way to find photos quickly and to get more options to choose from straight away.

Example of free stock photo from Gratisography

The website is run by Ryan McGuire. Ryan McGuire is an artist and photographer and he offers his own photos for free on his website.

Gratisography doesn’t have the large amount of photos that other free stock photo websites have, but the photos that are available stand out for its creativity and unique style. Some of the photos can be very suitable for creative and bold projects. I really recommend to giving it a go and researching this site.

Reshot

Reshot is another great site with free to use  photos for commercial and non commercial purposes. They offer loads of quality photos for many different topics and categories.

When clicking on any of the photos, as well as  downloading the photo for free,  you can also find information about the size of the photo and the license and links to the social media channels of the author. This is very handy when you find an author whose work you like and makes it easy to follow them straight away.

Information about reshot photo

Picography

Picography has 43 pages of photos (on the day that I am writing this post). Although it is not a massive database of photos, you can find very cute and professional photos here like those that fall into the category of animals and food. Look at the these photos I have just found. Aren’t they cute?

Example of free stock photo from Picography

Tomatos photo that you can download from Picography

To find the right photograph it is as simple as entering the keyword of the name or category you are looking for in the search bar at the centre of the home page, and start looking for the photo that best suits your task.

How to find free stock photos in Picography

You can find details about the license down in the footer by clicking on the terms link.


Picjumbo

Picjumbo offers both free and premium high quality stock photos. You can find all the details about the license here. The author is Viktor Hanacek, he is an online entrepreneur and photographer. I am pleasantly surprised with the quality of photos i found there. Check out these photos about food. They would be perfect for a blog related with food or diet.

Delicious biscuits stock photo from Picjumbo

Delicious salmon free stock photo from Picjumbo

Hamburguer free stock photo from Picjumbo

In order to download photos from this site, you have to subscribe to his newsletter by providing your email address.

Also, in some photo thumbnails you can click to find more related images even before opening the photo. I find this functionality very handy and this allows me to find similar photos to those that I like very quickly.

Click to fin more images related with this one



Honestly, I found this website recently and I was very impressed with it and with the amount and quality of the photos, I am definitely adding this site to my research list.

Using free stock images versus paid stock images

I would like to mention other paid products that also provide stock images, but this time paying for them such as istock or stocksy. In certain situations I used this service as well.

You may wonder…...Why use paid products if I can find stock photos for free? Well it all depends on the project that I am working on in that moment. As an entrepreneur, it is necessary to think in terms of return of investment and it would be a good decision to spend a certain amount of your budget to find a very specific set of photos, especially if the project is going to bring you a valuable amount of sales or a certain amount of clients.

For example, if I am working for a client that requires a bunch of photos of a particular meal and I can’t find those detailed photos from the same free website,I would take a look at other paid sites or I would even hire a photographer to take more personalised photos of the meal.

So it all depends on the project requirements. You can use free stock photos as much as you like and also use paid sites when this is going to set a clear advantage for your project or the benefits expected from this work will be higher than the investment itself.

I hope you found all these resources useful and helpful and you get a chance to use them and benefit from them. Photos are very important in graphic design and marketing and in any project they can make the difference and make your work really stand out.

As always, please remember to check the license as a regular practice when downloading a photo from the internet. Think that there is always a creator behind this work. Now is the time for you to leverage these free sites and boost your creativity. Enjoy!

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