Stock photos that don’t suck, it doesn’t matter whether you are marketing a product, designing a project or even running a blog site, eventually you are going to find yourself looking for stock photos.
You may ask “what are stock photos?”.
Stock photos are basically professional photographs of common places, landmarks, nature, events or people that are bought and sold on a royalty-free basis and can be used and reused for commercial design purposes.
If you spend some time searching on the internet, you may even find some sites which do offer some good stock photos even without you having to pay for them.
Do be warned that with the growth of the quality in smart phones, you will definitely find some bad stock photos out there.
To save you some time and effort, we have compiled a list of 12 great sites which offer a wide range of good images for your purpose.
This list is in alphabetical order:
Let us have a look at the Burst. Shopify built an image resource called Burst, with the aim of offering free stock photos to businesses which uses Shopify. The goal is to help entrepreneurs to better themselves, be it a product, a website or any marketing materials.
One thing to note is that many of the images in Burst are mainly taken by their staff rather than being submitted by photographers. That said, some of the pictures are covered under the Creative Commons Zero. However, do note that some of them are under Shopify’s licensing.
Either way, the images in Burst are free to download and use, though they are more intended towards businesses than some of the other stock photo sites listed below.
#2: Death to Stock Photos
The next site Death to Stock has a completely different approach to stock photos. If you are looking for unique stock photos that don’t suck, you will likely find them at Death to Stock.
The key difference is that instead of offering you a search engine to search your images, they send out photograph packs each month with more than 20 pictures included.
The staff of Death to Stock travels all around the world to collect these unique shots that will not be found anywhere else. The images themselves have been edited and refined before they are sent and are intended to help inspire your business, whether you are marketing a product or creating marketing materials. You will need to create a Death to Stock library, but it will make finding the photos easy.
The EyeEm stock photo site has a more unique and different approach to stock photos. This website might be a little overwhelming to look at when you first hop on.
This site has an amazing variety of extremely beautiful and high quality business stock photos.
Their search menu is entirely unique, helping you identify your brand type to show you images that would be the best suited for you. The search results are going to be completely on-brand.
This is not a good site if you are looking for generic stock photos or something for a personal project as this is a free stock photo site with a strong focus for businesses.
All of the high-quality images that are available on FreeStocks have been released under Creative Commons Zero, so there is no licensing concern in order to use them.
It says right on their homepage that you can use their photographs for free regardless of whether you are using them for a personal project or a business project.
The photos are broken into categories, which can make it easier to hone in on the type of stock photo that you were hoping to download.
As a result, there you will find nature shots, urban shots, food stock photos, stock photos of people, and many other categories, helping organize the photographs so they are so much easier to go through.
“Gratis” means free; not costing anything. (Cambridge English Dictionary).
The pictures that you can find on Gratisography are all taken by the same photographer, Ryan McGuire. Even though the site is his creation, he continually uploads new stock photos, complete without any copyright restrictions.
His intention is to offer high quality stock photos that don’t suck to designers who are looking for them. The pictures that you will find here are often quirky and not your standard, generic stock photo.
McGuire uses a lot of creativity in his photographs, making them more unique to use in designs or ads.
From nature to people, Gratisography has a wide range of subjects to choose from such as business stock photos.
#6: Life of Pix
The next stock photo site is Life of Pix which offers free, high-resolution stock photos. They have a great variety of photographs, featuring an individual photographer each week to draw more attention to their talent.
The search engine for Life of Pix is definitely one of the coolest for designers since you can search by type of picture as well as the color of the picture.
If you are in the middle of a project and do not want to be messing with the hues of your stock photos, Life of Pix is going to be a great spot for you.
They even let you search by picture orientation, further helping you find the perfect stock photo, all for free.
Next on the list is Pexels which offers completely free and high quality stock photos.
The perk of this site is that the photographs have all been nicely organized and labeled, making finding what you need simple.
You can also browse through their discover pages if you are looking for a little inspiration in your stock photo search.
A variety of different photographers all contribute to Pexels, which means that you will not have just one type of stock photo to choose from, instead offering you more interesting and even funny stock photos to select from.
Pexels also goes to the next level, offering free stock videos that can easily be used in marketing campaigns, saving you from finding clips or creating them yourself. So, if you have been struggling to find free stock photos that don’t suck, Pexels could be the answer!
With new photographs added every day, you will have a lot to choose from on PicJumbo.
The categories have a great range, from fashion to nature to the most abstract stock photos you can find.
The collection works whether you are looking for free stock photos for a business project or need them for a personal project.
They showcase the best of the best images on their homepage, giving a little bit of inspiration right away.
They also will show you pictures that are similar to the one that you are viewing, helping you find the perfect photo to meet your needs.
Let us now look at the next site Pixabay.
Pixabay has a wide array of pictures are all released under Creative Commons Zero and are free to download.
Photographers from all over the world upload a variety of pictures, which also vary in quality, offering you the chance to find something applicable or unique for free.
It does not require a login to download, but it will ask for you to prove you are not a robot each download until you setup an account with them.
Because the photographers are fairly free to upload on Pixabay, here you will definitely find stock photos that don’t suck, but also you will find a variety of drawings and vectors.
Like some of the other free stock photo sites, ShotStash updates their photo collection every day, bringing in new options to choose from.
They have a free license to distribute the photos so you will not need to worry about licensing.
They also claim that their pictures are entirely unique, not to be found anywhere else. This is especially important if you are working on a marketing campaign.
Using the same stock photo as another company or brand can cause brand confusion, which is damaging for everyone.
They do have some interesting pictures that you might not even have thought of, so definitely check out this site for stock photos that don’t suck.
StockSnap.io releases hundreds of new photographs every day, keeping things new and fresh.
The pictures available here are released under Creative Commons Zero, so there is no free or licensure issues you need to worry about.
The search engine for this site actually allows you to search for the most popular images that are downloaded, which can either make this easy for you, showing you the best stuff they have, or help you know which pictures are being used and you can avoid them.
There are literally thousands of photographs to browse through as well, but the search engine can help you refine your search.
Last but not least, UnSplash is definitely one of the very best free stock photos that don’t suck websites that you can use, offering more than 50,000 photographs to choose from.
The pictures themselves are of the highest quality out there, especially considering that the photographers themselves capture just the right angles and atmosphere to give you not only great quality, but also great delivery.
The UnSplash team does not let just any picture on their site, but instead looks at each submission before deciding they should be posted.
As a result, you can be sure that they are giving you the best of the best, and all for free under the UnSplash license.
Ultimately, even though there are more photographers out there who could be trying to deliver you mediocre stock photos, there are also more photographers who are amazing at their work.
These awesome sites are not the only ones available.
With new sites and photographs popping up daily, you will have a myriad of great choices to find the best stock photo possible for your next big project.
We hope that you will find these 12 stock photo sites helpful to you and do take some time to check them out and do have fun. Cheers!