This is not another exhaustive post documenting all the places on the internet to find free stock photos. I don’t know about you, but I’m a full-time working Mom trying to grow a business. I don’t have time to check out 100 different websites just to find one good photo!
As a new blogger or business owner, time is extremely limited and it’s crucial to work as efficient as possible. That’s why I’m sharing 6 of the best websites to quickly find free stock photography for your blog and social media images.
Legal Issues You Need to Know
Before I jump into the list, let’s take a second to talk about legal issues and usage rights. I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t provide official advice, but I can tell you this. DO NOT EVER use an image from Google images or other search engines.
Don’t use them on social media, your website, webinar slides, handouts, or even personal notes to yourself. Just don’t do it!
When you conduct a Google images search, the results populate images from all over the web. Some of the results come straight from the stock photography websites. Some of the results come from websites who paid big money for that photo.
Google does allow you to filter your results by usage rights, but you run the risk of using the wrong filter or forgetting to filter your results. Not worth it!
Learn From My $600 Lesson
Years ago, I would copy photos from Google Images and insert them as placeholders into the web pages I was building. I would later go back and change out the images before publishing the page.
One day, I received a nasty email full of legal language from one of the big paid stock photo sites. Turns out, I forgot to switch out one of my placeholder images and they were pissed! It was not enough for me to remove the photo. Nope! They wanted compensation for the time that photo was on my site.
Luckily, the company I worked for paid the $600 bill and it wasn’t a major issue. However, if that would have happened in my own business, $600 would have been a big freaking deal! And don’t think that because your site is small or not well known that you can get away with it. They will find you, and they will press charges.
There are too many great places to find free images to risk getting hit with a lawsuit or a huge bill. Just make sure the images you download have a Creative Commons Zero (CCo) license.
A CCo license means the image is completely free to use for personal or commercial projects and you don’t have to attribute the source of the photos.
Best Places to Find CCo Images
I have read all the exhaustive posts and I have researched tons of sites. The six sites below are my go-to places to find free images for my blog and social media posts. I’ve also listed the sites in order of how often I use them.
Pexels is my absolute favorite site to find free stock photos! Pexels has the best search function and the largest library of photos. Typically, if I can’t find what I’m looking for on Pexels, it’s because it doesn’t exist for free.
One word of caution. They do have “sponsored photos” included in the library. These are NOT free photos and require payment to be used. They are clearly labeled and always listed after the free photos, so just ignore them.
If you’re not using Canva.com to design your images, you should! I am a trained Photoshop and InDesign user, but after discovering Canva, I quickly converted. Canva is unbelievably easy and allows me to design images super quick. Even better, Canva has a huge library of free images and illustrations.
Instead of spending time on other sites to find an image, download it, and then upload it to Canva, you can find what you need right in Canva itself! They also have a TON of images and illustration for $1. However, I’ve never paid for an image because I can always find a free version that works great.
If I can’t find the image I need on Pexels or Canva, Picjumbo is next on my list. This site has a ton of options and most of the images have a similar aesthetic and filter making it really easy to find a cohesive set of images.
I love that Picjumbo provides a “related” images when you find an image you like. My one complaint is the ability to view only 15 images at a time. It drives me crazy to click through multiple pages to hunt for the right image.
Kaboompics has some beautiful photos, but the search function and display of the photos are not nearly as user-friendly as Pexels. I recommend using Kaboompics to build a library of images you love and can pull from when needed.
Unfortunately, you can only view about 7 photos at a time and then you have to click to the next page. My time is limited and when I’m hunting for a specific image I want to see all my options on one screen so I can view and scroll quickly. Kaboompics does not allow for mass, quick viewing so be sure you have some time to really dive in and search for images you love. When you have a little time to kill, check out Kaboompics and download images that fit your brand aesthetic.
If your style is a little quirky, then you need to check out Gratisography. All of the photos are a little unique and some are downright strange. If you’re looking to stand out from the crowd with images that draw attention, this is the site for you!
This site is a visual playground. I adore the unique style of these photos and I wish I could use every single one. Unfortunately, very few of the photos match my brand style, but they may match your style perfectly! This site is definitely worth checking out.