One of the most important parts of a website is without a doubt the photos that are being used on the website. Images are important if you want social sharing, visitors, ‘likes’ and center stage in the virtual world. A website with images of a poor quality is doomed to get fewer visitors and conversions than a website with stunning images. If you are worried that finding amazing images for your website might seem like a time consuming chore, then fear not, there are tons of tools to help you fix this aspect too and here are my favorite 38 such sites:
A great site offering 10 new photos every 10 days, generally about nature, urban life, but also food and technology. Today, over 600 million photos a month are viewed on Unsplash.
Great tool to search for graphics, photos & fonts. Smooth ‘drag-and-drop’ tool to create new designs.
Free photos and graphics sharing website for personal and non-commercial design work. Over 71,000 free photos, textures and art illustrations. No registration required.
Copyright-free, cost-free images published under Creative Commons. You can even use them for commercial purposes. No registration required.
Basically: “vintage photos from the public archives, free of known copyright restrictions”. Mainly black and white. Great time-travel-like experience.
6. Reusable Art
Over 3,118 free downloadable public domain images for crafters and web designers that have been rescued from old books, magazines, and other print materials. Copyright free in the United States and any country that extends copyrights up to 70 years after the death of the original artist.
It also has a ‘free section’ updated quite often. Account (but a free one) required.
Download high-quality, high-resolution stock photos with a free member registration. If you’re also a photographer, you can add some of your own creations.
Royalty-free photo gallery, in which most of the photos have been contributed by amateur photographers. No login required. Organized geographically.
Photos by Ryan McGuire of Bells Design. No registration required. Happy scrolling!
11. Ancestry Images
Free image archive of historical prints, maps and artifact photos. I’m talking centuries old ones too.
All photos taken on mobile devices! Great quality though.
Enter an email address and they send you photos every month to use anywhere you want.
Marketing platform (also) known for its packages of free photos. Just give them your email address.
15. Free Images
More than 350 000 stock photos. You have to go through a ‘sign-up process’ before downloading anything.
Free photos, no registration required. Use ‘categories’ to find your way around.
17. Free Photos Bank
Free photos to download without login. Search and you shall find…
I know, but they also release free stock images every week. Sign-up for the free membership.
Photos by artists to be used in creative projects by those visiting the site. Short registration required. And don’t forget to credit the photographer. It would be nice.
Public domain images uploaded by amateur photographers, high quality photos to download. No fuss sign-up is required.
21. Getty Images
Massive company which now allows non-commercial sites to embed some of its photos for free. However, remember that you've got to EMBED the image, not just download it and use it as you wish. A more intrusive solution, but still an option worth looking into.
Cool search engine for free photos that come from many sources and are license-specific. Membership is free and allows you to rate, tag, collect and comment on photos.
23. Photo Pin
Helps bloggers and designers find photos for blogs and websites using Creative Commons licensing. As simple as that.
24. Creativity 103
6 GB of free abstract backgrounds, textures and design ideas you can cut and paste into your own work or use just for inspiration.
Totally free and some totally unexpected. Interesting combination of old images and amateur intriguing shots. You might be surprised though.
Nature, landscape, and wildlife photos. For free. In return: don't forget the… link.
27. Hubble Site
The closest you'll get to exploring the universe through Hubble's eye. You'll basically witness the most dangerous, spectacular and mysterious depths of the cosmos. But if you want to use pics, take a closer look at the copyright page. Just in case.
More than 3000 images online ready for instant, free download. All images have been made available free of charge under a creative commons license. They focus on all aspects of travel and leisure time in the UK, but have a growing collection of images (approx 50 %) from Europe and around the Pacific Rim.
29. Can We Image
This one searches through Wikimedia Commons and the results link to the each photo's usage rights page. Quite useful.
30. Little Visuals
That would be 7 new photos every 7 days, ranging from landscapes to abstract urban & industrial. Unfortunately Nic, the guy behind this website died suddenly in 2013, so the site is no longer updated.
The free images on this site are small sized, but perfect for websites or draft printed work. If you need a larger sized version then they are all available to buy. Using the free images often requires a credit to the photographer.
32. Free Media Goo
Royalty-free, cost-free media that can be used in print, film, TV, Internet or any other type of media for both commercial and personal use. No login required. However, the collection is rather limited. But it's worth browsing the categories.
Large collection of images focusing on nature. No registration necessary, and the images can be copied, modified an distributed, even for commercial purposes.
Here you'll find the work of Dutch interaction designer Folkert Gorter, whose photography is available under the conditions of a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. In short: use the work as long as you credit the image.
35. Realia Project
Faculty-reviewed media for the teaching and study of modern languages and cultures. It focuses on materials which convey the everyday life of different cultures.
Flickr-focused search tool. It also helps you identify the photos' licenses.
Picture finder which also helps you re-size them. Ideal for bloggers who can resize up to 5 free images / month.
This is another search engine that makes it easier for you to find out where an image comes from, how it can be used, if there are higher resolution versions, and so on. Take a closer look.
What are your suggestions?
If you don't find the image you are looking for on one of the 39 pages listed above, then I suggest you grab your camera and take the photo yourself, because then chances are the photo hasn't been shot yet. What free photo sites did I miss? What tools do you like the most to find or create images? Let us help this list to grow, feel free to leave a comment below.