It’s time to talk about Stock Photography and how to use it to the fullest advantage. If you’ve heard about it and haven’t been using it, that’s too bad- because it is one of the best ways to improve your brand or post or whatever it is that you do.

There’s a lot of incentives to add photos to whatever you’re doing nowadays, with the internet becoming more visual and all. People get bored easily with bland texts and clumps of words. Like someone has been telling me (for quite a long while now), as a blogger “you gotta make your content more interesting.” Your post should include more spaces, photos and illustrations, he said.

And he’s right, you know- you won’t read this post to the very end if I keep throwing blocks of texts at you. Who has the time? Surely, this little girl doesn’t see- she looks bored already.

Photo by Greg Westfall from Fort Worth, Texas, USA

This same philosophy extends to graphic designers, brand makers, advertisers, startup owners and every other person who is trying to tell a story to someone else. You won’t grab the attention of your audience if you don’t do some things the right way- and adding inspiring, interesting pictures is one of the best ways to tell a story.

So, here’s where Stock Photography comes in.

What is Stock Photography?

The term “Stock photography” is familiar to veteran brand designers who know the worth of a stock photograph. Simply put, Wikipedia says:

Stock photography is the supply of photographs, which are often licensed for specific uses.

And stock photography websites contain huge collections of stock photographs. Some of these photos are licensed and some are not. You can download photos from these sites at a fee, and a few of them offer these pictures for free- with some conditions, sometimes.

So you’d be thinking, why can’t I just go to Google Images, download my preferred image and use it? There’s actually a problem with that.

You see, most of those images on Google are copyrighted. That means you can’t re-use them in any way whatsoever. If you do, you might be getting an explosive mail from an angry owner soon. And you could be sued for using the photo, depending on how pissed the owner is.

And talking about photo licenses, it is just a mark on it by an artist (or the owner), saying “this photo is mine and mine only.” 🙂

A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. A CC license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that they have created.

This doesn’t happen all the time, though. So, where can you get stock photographs? Here’s a huge list of stock photography websites:

So, where can you get stock photographs? Here’s a huge list of stock photography websites:

A List of Great Stock Photography Websites


DepositPhotos is your go-to website for the best stock photographs, vector images, videos and illustrations. They have over 50 million hi-res pictures in different categories with thousand more added every week. They also have a flexible plan which will meet your stock photo needs and is quite affordable. is a huge collection of hi-res stock photos has a search feature which makes browsing through thousands of images quite easy.  In addition, it also tracks views and downloads so you can know which stock photos people are using.

Hundreds of images are added to the site on a daily basis.

The photos are free to use.


This is another big collection of free high-resolution stock photos known amongst many. Unsplash also combs through new submissions and features 10 high-quality photos every 10 days.


You can use Gratisography’s photos on your personal and commercial projects. New pictures are added every week and are free of copyright restrictions.

All of the photos are captured by Ryan McGuire of Bells Design.

Negative Space

This site updates with 20 free new photos every week. The photos are filed by category, copy space and color so searching and browsing is easy.


MMT Stock contains high quality pictures provided by Jeffrey Betts. Jeffrey usually shares photos of computers and workspaces as well as flowers and nature. So it’s your go-to site if you need something relating to those things.


SkitterPhoto gives you a wide range of free stock photos. The photos are released under Creative Commons CC0, so they’re free to download and reuse.

Life of Pix

Created by LEEROY creative agency, Life of Pix gives you free high-resolution photos with no copyright restrictions. New photos are added every week.

Little Visuals

Little Visuals is a bit of a sad story. Its owner, Nic, passed away but his photos remain. All the photos are released under the creative commons license public domain dedication.

Death to Stock Photos

Quite a name. Death to Stock Photos use their own license which you can read on their website. Their goal is to give you options for your mockups, blog posts or social media postings. You sign up and they will deliver to you 10 photos in a certain category every month.


FoodiesFeed offers thousands of beautiful realistic free food pictures in high resolution. It’s the perfect stock photo site for food bloggers.


New photos are added to Picjumbo on a daily basis which you can reuse for your commercial and personal projects.

IM Free

IM Free is a big database of stock photos curated from several sources. You may need to give credit for the photos since they’re gotten from different sources.

New Old Stock

New Old Stock contains vintage photos from public archives. The photos are free of known copyright restrictions.


Getrefe contains good stock photos that will appear exceptionally well on mobile phones.


Pixabay contains loads of free stock photos which are released under the Creative Commons CCO. There are vectors and art illustrations as well.

Jay Mantri

Jay Mantri has some beautiful photos with a lot of quality under different themes. They add 7 new photos to their collection every Thursday.

Tookapic Stock

You can find free & premium stock photographs at Tookapic Stock. You can filter by free to get free photos. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay for it.

Kaboom Pics

Just like Tookapic Stock, Kaboom Pics contains a wide variety of high-quality free stock photos in several niches.You can use their photos for commercial purposes but you cannot sell or redistribute them. They frown upon that.


Epicantus is a compilation of Daria’s original photos. These high-quality pictures can be used in designing your landing pages, blog posts & designs. All photos are free.


Libre Stock is an amalgam of the contents of 47 awesome stock photography websites. And just like its name suggests, the photos are free. “Libre” means “free” in French.


This website also contains illustrations and vector images apart from stock photographs. Currently, there are over 300,000 on the site and more are being added from time to time.


This is one of the most popular websites when you talk about stock photography.


I like 123RF because of its design and simplicity. Although their photos aren’t free, they are professional and the website is easy to navigate.


This is another mammoth collection of stock photographs. They’ve been around for years too. Their photos aren’t free though- you have to buy a subscription plan.

Matton Images

Matton is your go-to place for free stock photographs and vectors.

Photo Case

For unique, “untrite” stock photographs, go to photocase. They have something different from everybody else.

Adobe Stock

Simple and professional, Adobe Stock are one of the best stock photography websites out there. The content is exquisite, awe-inspiring and downright impressive. They have free stock photographs but if you want something of better quality you’ll have to splash the cash.


RGBStock contains 100,000s of stock images that are 100 per cent free. They also have a pretty neat search algorithm and a lot of categories as well.


This is an online collection of free stock photos. There’s a word cloud of most searched categories with links at the beginning of the page to help you navigate the site.


Photofolio has a large audience from the United Kingdom. It is a sorta marketplace- a platform that allows photographers to share & sell Stock Photos directly to publishers and marketing specialists.

Free Stock Image Point

This is another huge collection of free stock photographs. You can use the photos without attribution and you’re free to distribute it for commercial use as well.

Pickup Image

Pickupimage contains one of the largest collections of free photographs on the net. You can download high-quality premium stock images and public domain photos all for free. Furthermore, you’re allowed to copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is arguably the most widely known website for stock photographs. It’s quite popular and contains a gigantic gala of stock photographs for your use. The photos are free to download and you can use them for personal or commercial purposes.


Cepolina is all about travel and nature, and contains images relating to travel and nature.

Visual Hunt

At Visual hunt, they “hunt free high-quality stock photos,”  from many online sources and pull everything together in one single place. Most of the photos also come with a CC0 license, which means you can do whatever you want with them. In addition to this, you can embed public Domain photos from sources like Flickr directly from them.

The Stocks

A classy stock photography website. The Stocks have classy stock photographs all free to download. There are over 300,000 photos to choose from. Most of the photos are gotten from other stock image websites.


Splashbase contains hi-res photos and videos that are absolutely free. There are about 100,000 photos and videos to choose from.


Bigfoto is a royalty-free photo agency that offers free download of all the pictures in their massive and constantly growing gallery. Most of the photos are contributed by amateurs who only want to see their works used by someone else on the web.

All they ask in return is attribution. After using their work on your website or blog, link it to the bigfoto website.


At FindaFoto you can browse CCO licensed images by their color or collection. There are thousands of images to browse through.

Stock Unlimited

Stock Unlimited is for professionals and those who optimize stock photography usage to the fullest. There are over 800,000 photos, videos and audios to choose from, with more being added on a regular basis. Their services are not free- they have three plans to choose from depending on what you need.

And let me just add this, their mobile website is fantastic as well.

Free Digital Photos

This is another stock image website for professionals, and that’s not because of the depiction of a professional chef at work up there. 🙂

The website is really robust and have a fantastic mobile experience as well. They offer free and premium download of stock photos and illustrations for websites, advertising materials, newspapers, magazines, ebooks, book covers and pages, music artwork, software applications and much more. You get value for your money.


Photober is a gala of free photos for your online needs. It has a blog as well where tips for taking good photos are shared.


UPICM allows you to download free photos without needing to link back to them. They’ve received many laurels, including one from The Huffington Post.


Pixite contains images submitted by good-natured artists who just want to see their works being used by others.


Over one million images have been downloaded from Freejpg. They have an inspiring gala of stock photographs.


Apart from its free image gallery, Barn Images also has a blog which doles out tips and tools to make the best out of stock photography.

4k Hd Wallpapers

If you want stock images with extra high resolution, this is the place for you. This website is all about HD wallpapers for your tablet, phone or desktop. All images are free.


Streetwill is a simple classy stock photography website. The design is easy on the eye and impressive- and it isn’t lacking in quality stock photographs as well.


Bossfight (I have no idea where that name inspiration came from but look at that angry fella up there) is a place to get stock photographs of nature and life, all in high resolutions. New images are added daily as well.

Realistic Shots

At Realistic Shots you’ll find free stock photos of high resolution which you can use for personal and commercial purposes. Seven new photos are added every week.


Fotodispalle is created and owned by Italian artist Giorgio Galeotti. It contains hi-res images which are free with a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


CREStocks contains over 2.5 million royalty stock images which can be bought at a reasonable price.

Flickr Commons

Flickr Commons was launched on January 16, 2008 in partnership with The United State’s Library of Congress. The images are provided by flickr users from all over the world.


This is a huge gallery of free stock images. There are several categories to choose from and the photos can be downloaded in high resolution.


ABSFreePic is a gallery of high-resolution images absolutely free for download. All the images come with the CCO public domain license. You can submit your photos too if you’re a photographer.


PatternPictures comes in handy to those who recognize it’s uniqueness and significance.


Good stuff here. You can download free images for personal or commercial use.


If you’re looking for free high quality images devoid of copyright restrictions, this is your go-to place.


Stockup is an aggregator of stock photographs.


You get royalty free stock photos for as low as $2 at the Photodune.

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