The 4 Best Free Stock Photography Websites

Quality stock photography doesn’t have to come at a premium price.

Many businesses underestimate the importance of incorporating quality photography into their marketing and advertising efforts. Capitalizing on the benefits of quality photography can bring your business more successful marketing campaigns. However, sometimes a business may not have the time or the resources to hire a photographer to take photos in-house. Thankfully, I’ve discovered four stock photography websites that offer a wide variety of creative and impactful photos for free. Best of all, many of the photos offered through these sites do not require attribution and are free to be used for both personal and commercial projects.

1. Rawpixel

A woman smiling wearing headphones and holding a smartphone
A perfect example of one of the many beautiful portrait photos on Rawpixel

Rawpixel is a stock photography website that I’ve actually discovered quite recently. In my opinion, the feature that sets rawpixel apart from other stock photography websites is its focus on creative and artistic photos. They offer an impressive collection of beautiful photos that would easily give your blog or website a creative edge. It should be noted, however, that rawpixel also offers premium photos that can only be downloaded with a premium subscription. With that being said, rawpixel offers some of the cheapest monthly and annual subscriptions that I’ve seen from a stock photography website. Their Casual Subscription allows you access to unlimited downloads of both their premium and free photos for as low as $3 per month when billed annually!

2. Unsplash

A waterfall flowing over a mossy cliff
Epic landscape photo from Unsplash

Similar to rawpixel, Unsplash offers an extensive library of beautiful photos submitted by photographers all over the world. However, I believe the size of their photo libraries is what sets these two websites apart. Rawpixel is more niche in that it offers artistic photos from a select number of categories, whereas Unsplash offers photos from an extensive number of categories. Every photo on Unsplash is free to use for both personal and commercial projects, without the need for attribution. Unsplash has rapidly grown in popularity over the years since the creation of the site. In addition to their own mobile app, the company also seamlessly integrates their photo library into popular social media content creation apps such as WordSwag and Unfold.

3. Pexels

A city street illuminated by bright neon building signs
Pexels hosts incredible photos created by photographers all over the world

Pexels, like Unsplash, is a free stock photography website that has rapidly increased in popularity over the last few years. In terms of quality, the Pexels photo library is right on par with the two previously mentioned websites. The website offers a staggering amount of gorgeous photos submitted by photographers from all over the world. Conveniently, Pexels also offers a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices so that you can download images from their library whenever you need them. An interesting feature that is unique to Pexels is their Photographer Leaderboard feature. Essentially, this feature allows you to view a list of the photographers that have the most popular photos during the last 30 days. If you’re looking to improve your print or digital marketing efforts with free stock photos, you can’t go wrong with Pexels.

4. Pixabay

woman sitting on a ledge watching fireworks
Pixabay can be a great resource for finding creative shots like this

Initially, I was hesitant to include Pixabay on this list because I’ve been underwhelmed in the past in terms of the quality and quantity of the photos in their library. However, over the past year, I’ve been very impressed with the photos that I’ve been able to find on their website. Although the site still hosts a number of generic stock images (you know, the type of hilariously staged photos you find when you Google “stock photos”), it also offers a good amount of unique and creative photos that are similar to the type of photos you would find on the other websites on this list. In addition to photos, Pixabay also offers a variety of illustrations and vector art to download for your convenience. Most importantly, Pixabay, just like the aforementioned websites, allows the use of their photos for both personal and commercial projects without the need for attribution. In my opinion, Pixabay is a slight step below the other websites on this list, however its rapidly increasing library of quality photos makes it worthy of an honorable mention. 

Upgrade your marketing game

Creative and impactful photography can oftentimes be one of the most important elements of digital marketing. Consumers are constantly bombarded everyday with countless photos and videos from companies that are fighting for their undivided attention. If your marketing efforts do not stand out from your competition, you are putting your business at a supreme disadvantage. Thankfully, if you are in a pinch for time and resources, these free stock photo websites are bound to offer stunning photos that can take your marketing assets to the next level.

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