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The Best FREE Stock Image Sites for All Situations [2017]

Let’s walkthrough a quick hypothetical here:

You’re finishing up a blog post about, say,  “The Best FREE Stock Image Sites for All Situations [2017]” and you realize that it stinks there’s a lot left to be desired. One of the best resources for spicing up posts, or, at least making your content look legit is to slap a couple Sepia-filtered pics of a neatly organized work-station and watch the clicks come through. Your plan of action is probably: Go to Google Images, search “Sepia Filtered Business Pictures,” download the first result and drag it into your blog post. This works…. sometimes:
Sepia Filtered Business Picture

First, unless you’re Dan Bilzerian [NSFW] or some random rich Instagram Kid, your workspace probably looks more like mine:

AdHawk Desk Getting $$

Second, there are legal ramifications for distributing images online that you do not have permission to share. These laws depend on the way in which you acquire content:

  • Self-Ownership: Get your tripod, lights, lenses, and timer out to start framing the perfect shot. Congrats! Use this image as you please.
  • Get permission from the photographer… Ensue a jump rope with copyright, image placement, and use restrictions.
  • Purchase images. Buuuuut it’s almost 2018, which means you can probably find it for free somewhere online without legal ramifications.
  • That “somewhere” comes in 2 forms:
    1. Attribution-free stock images
    2. Creative commons licensed images

Note that the owners of these sites can choose to remove access or require attribution at any time, so be sure to read terms of use to make sure things have not changed.

There are loads of lists out there telling you the 17 best stock image sites, or the ultimate list of free stock images for your blog, but oftentimes, the lines are blurred between attribution and not. Attribution, in the context of copyright law under Creative Commons, is simply the proper accreditation of a work to the copyright holder.

What’s proper accreditation, you may ask? When you post graphics or images, you must include:

  • Name of the creator
  • A copyright notice
  • A link to the license
  • A disclaimer notice stating if any changes were made
  • A link to the material
  • The title of the original material (if using Attribution Law 3.0 or earlier)

That’s quite a bit of information to include for a single image of [Woman Holds iPhone Looking Sad]

The alternative is attribution free images that are available for universal distribution under Creative Commons Section 0. It’s important to note that you do not own an attribution free image. You only own photos you snapped or snap(chat)ed. Attribution-free photos, however, allow you to alter, post, print, and share images as long as you do not claim original ownership in any way.

[To learn more about licensing, fair use, and attribution, check out the Creative Commons website – a global nonprofit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creative materials within the law.]

NOW. If you made it through that little copyright law lesson, here are our favorite website for attribution-free images for use in your blog or social campaigns.

The 17 BEST Free Stock Image Sites:

17. Pikwizard: for high-quality images and new ones uploaded daily

This up-and-comer in the stock photography game has over 60,000 high-quality images with a third of them being exclusive to their site.

16. Good Free Photos: [Description?←See Title]

good stock photos

15. Pexels 3.0: Don’t settle for whatever. Search with Pexels 3.0 in 2016 to find exactly what you need.

pexels-photo

14. New Old Stock: for all your #TBT needs

Bill Fecych (seated) and Don Johnson work in the reactor control room during its operating days in 1959. After an ad hoc committee study in 1977, NASA Headquarters decided that the reactor would never be put back into operation. Reactor equipment was then "cannibalized" for other programs.
The best part about New-Old Stock is the pre-filled caption that gives you a little history lesson about when and where the image was taken. The image above was used in our blog post about how to set up a display campaign

13. Kaboompics: from incredible close-ups to unique landscapes

Kaboom Pics
The majority of the images you’ll see on blog.tryadhawk.com come from Kaboompics.com. Whether through other search sites mentioned or from the site itself, we’re always returning to these stunning stock images

12. Picography: A Potpourri of Stock Images

Working Outside Stock Image
Picography is a fantastic Smorgasbord of images that are easily searchable by giving each image 7 category tags. As a bonus for photographers, the site gives you image specs such as camera used, shutter speed, aperture, and f-stop settings deployed.

11. Frinkiac: Simpsons-only Stock Image & Meme generator

simpsons stock images
Frinkiac allows you to add Simpons-esque text to any of their 3,000,000 images.

10. Mike and Jay Explore: 2 friends on a mission to flood the internet with awesome HD images for download

Post Office Stock Image
Though these images aren’t curated by a search, they’re great to scroll through and track the adventures of two fantastic photographers. You can check out their YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/user/mikeandjayexplore

9. BestStockPhotoFree: Finally! Choose the size of your photo download

best stock photo free
With Best Stock Photo Free, you trade your email address for a fresh library of user submitted photos that you can search and choose the file size for download.

8. SWAGpix: Another deep, searchable attribution-free library swagpix-0c1260912f675b7f51ae21037aa26fba

7. Unsplash: truly stunning, native user-submitted photos.

unsplash photo
Check out their beautiful chrome extension!

6. The Public Domain Archive: Database as deep as Google Images

Best iPhone Stock Image Attribution Free
The Public Domain Archive assures attribution-free images for your using pleasure! They make searching super easy and downloading a breeeeeze even with the high resolution of their images.

5. Gratisography: Quirky Images from Portraits to the Microscopic

Stock Portrait Images
I have used this site the most of any stock sites. The content is always variable and interesting. Gratisography definitely breaks the mold of standard stock images

4. Picjumbo: Assorted HD Seasonal Images

Halloween Stock Image Free
Picjumbo has the best search capabilities, library size, and HD selection of the sites on this list. Let it speak for itself by clicking the link in the header.

3. Pixabay: Reddit-style content curation for Images & Vector Icons

National Park Stock Images
Pixabay is the only site on this list that allows you to download the images in multiple image sizes. If you plan to import photos for a blog, you can save yourself the step of shrinking image sizes by just downloading 2MB or smaller documents.

2. DeathToTheStockPhoto: Not-your-average stock photos curated into blog posts & seasonal trends

Stock Photo

1. The best for last: StockUp Image Search 

globe stock image
We’ve used StockUp images in just about all of our posts to maintain a clean, consistent design

*Bonus!*: Fair Use Music Tracks from 6-time Grammy nominated producer MOBY

Put these images to use!

Now that you’ve collected a full library of stock images, it’s time to put them to good use! We’ve put together over 15 Facebook Ad Design templates for you to start creating beautiful ad creatives.

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About the Author

Marketing and Growth Director at AdHawk. Helping business find confidence and success online, one hefty article at a time.