We often repeat that images are crucial to SEO, as they represent a form of additional communication to the classic text content and, at the same time, allow you to intercept interest and traffic of users even from different channels, such as Google Images, Google Discover or social media. However, making high-quality images for our online project on your own is not easy nor always possible or convenient, but also searching online for these resources can be complicated: here is a guide to 50 free photo sites, that provide high quality and professional images that we can reuse on the pages of our site respecting a series of requests (registration, attribution of sources and so on).

Free image sites for nice and professional pictures

The images on the site are used to attract clicks from SERPs, to clarify some aspects of the content (examples or infographics), to convince potential customers (according to some studies, more than 90% of online consumers consider visual appearance to be a decisive factor in the purchase decision), to improve the user experience within the page and, not least, to make the pages of our site, blog or e-commerce clearer and more attractive.

To achieve these ambitious goals, however, we need the use of high quality resources, and we cannot always allocate a specific budget or we have the knowledge or tools to internally provide for the creation of such images to be used on the site. In order to support us, here come sites with stock photos, which provide reusable archive images in accordance with certain criteria.

Stock photo sites, rules to use

In summary, stock photos are now acquired digitally, with a direct download from specialized sites that offer this service for a fee or free of charge (with or without mandatory registration).

All stock photo sites operate within the regulations that protect the copyright of photographers/owners of images, and therefore the use of such resources must be done in a legitimate manner, respecting the copyright. For this, it is important to pay attention to the rules of each site so as not to run into problems regarding the copyright of images, which may result in a request for removal of the file from the site or page or, in the worst cases, even a penalty with compensation.

The most common image licenses are Creative Commons, in which the author, under certain conditions, allows the reuse of the work. This is the case with CC0 or Public Domain licenses, whose images can be freely downloaded and used as “donated” by the author (or because the terms of copyright protection have expired), as well as other CC licenses (which, however, have certain limitations, such as the author’s citation by attribution of the source, cannot be modified

50 sites with professional free pictures to use on sites

So let’s start with our list of free stock photo sites that we can use for our site, with so many options to find the perfect image for our content marketing strategy: some are huge “deposits” with millions of resources, others are more niche; some have Italian language interface, many are completely in English (including tags and keyword for searches). For everyone, we have tried to provide the minimum information on licenses, but it is still recommended to always review individual license agreements and specific policies to understand how photos can be used and whether attribution is required.

In none of these cases do the images have watermarks and, often, we can edit the photos to use them as a basis to unleash our creativity – but it is generally not possible to apply an additional copyright on these images, which therefore cannot be used to create a logo to be registered, for example.

The best free generic photo sites

Let’s start with the free generic stock photo sites, which therefore include various themes and subjects, and that are useful for any type of online project.

  1. Pexels

It is an extraordinary resource for those looking for images to post on sites, because it allows access to databases of hundreds of thousands of high quality photos, added by users, photo teams and community members, or posted on other stock photo sites for free (including Pixabay and Gratisography, which we will better see later).

Screen di Pexels

Pexels hosts hundreds of thousands of high-resolution photos, which can be freely downloaded (no registration required) and used for commercial and non-commercial purposes. Attribution to the photographer or to Pexels is not mandatory, “but quotes are always very appreciated”, reads the website; moreover, you can edit the photos and videos that we find here.

  1. Pixabay

Pixabay currently hosts more than 2 million photos, illustrations and vector images.

As stated on the website, all images are released under a Creative Commons CCO license of public domain and can be used without royalties, even for commercial purposes. Attribution is not required.

Screen di Pixabay

A search function allows us to easily find what we are looking for, with the possibility of setting many detailed filters to refine the search: for example, we can select file type (photos, images, illustrations, vectors, video), orientation (horizontal or vertical), category, size and color, also selecting orientation for new, trendy or “recommended” images.

We can download photos and videos without copyright even without registration, but access to high definition resources is only allowed to registered users; in addition, the creation of an account will avoid having to enter the CAPTCHA test for download.

  1. Unsplash

Unsplash is one of the best free photo sites, with nearly 3 million images available and an average of 100,000 downloads per month; in addition, 10 new high-resolution photos are added every 10 days and all images are licensed under Creative Commons Zero.

Screen di Unsplash

The main feature of the site is the extraordinary visual quality of the images, which are decidedly professional and perfect for any type of use on our projects. Unsplash is also one of the image sources of our blog.

Again, attribution is not required but “welcome”.

  1. StockSnap

Beautiful high quality archive photos for almost all uses that come to your mind, including commercial use, free of charge”: this is how Stocksnap presents itself, a free photo site available to those who are “building a company website, creating a printed brochure, creating a digital ad or on a magazine or some other brilliant creative project”.

Screen di stocksnap

Every week hundreds of high-resolution photos are added, released with Creative Commons Zero, with the ability to copy, edit and distribute images without any attribution. The site collects photos from all over the Web, but also has its own network of talented photographers.

  1. Realistic Shots

As the name says, the images on Realistic Shots have the ambition to be different from the classic ones of the stock image sites because more “realistic”.

Screen di Realistic shots

All photos are available under a Creative Commons Zero license, which allows you to download, copy, edit, distribute and use them for any purpose, including commercial ones. Attribution is not required, but appreciated.

The images are in high resolution and every week 7 new photos are uploaded.

  1. Magdeleine

A free high-resolution photo per day is the “promise” of Magdeleine, a site that hosts and selects high-quality, copyright-free images.

Screen di Magdeleine

Navigation among stock photos is organized according to dominant tags, categories or colors, and there are precise indications (such as color palette and camera used) for each of the photos. The license is in the public domain CC0, also for commercial use, and attribution is required.

  1. Splitshire

This platform hosts a thousand high resolution images that we can freely download and use for personal or commercial use.

Screen di Splitshire

In addition to photos, Splitshire also allows you to browse among many free stock videos: all files are available without copyright or attribution request.

  1. Unrestricted Stock

Unrestrictedstock offers free of charge and royalty-free photos, videos and vector images.

Screen di Unrestrictedstock

As explained on the site, we can do pretty much anything with their online collections: the license agreement has only some restrictions, which we should check before using their resources.

  1. Freerange Stock

Freerange Stock provides thousands of free photos and illustrations for commercial or non-commercial use.

Screen di Freerangestock

Resources come from various sources: internal photographers, acquisitions or commissions, contributions, and then archives and communities of photographers.

Attribution is not mandatory, but credits to the site and the original photographer are welcome .

  1. Morguefile

It consists of almost half a million photos the large digital archive of Morguefile, which makes available to users this free heritage, for business or public use.

Screen di Morguefile

According to the website, the Morguefile license is for the use of designers and illustrators and provides credit to the photographer. If you want to use the image in a blog post, you should contact the photographer and include a subtitle with the image including his name.

  1. Picjumbo

Picjumbo is a free stock photo site created in 2013 by designer and photographer Viktor Hanacek, which provides users with free images for personal or commercial use.

Screen di Picjumbo

You can also make a premium subscription, which gives you access to over 50 stock photos and 100 extra collections each month, with original and unpublished images.

  1. Reshot

Reshot promotes a free exchange of “the best visual content in the world“, collected by individual contributors or through partnerships with other communities of photographers.

Screen di Reshot

According to the site, employees range from “experienced professionals to those with a creative spark just discovered”, and all support in the creation of the “most authentic catalog of high quality free stock photos you can find anywhere”.

Images are available for commercial and non-commercial use: some licenses then allow you to download, copy, edit, distribute, run and use photos for free, and you have to verify the terms before proceeding.

  1. DesignersPics

This platform houses photos taken by Jeshu John.

Screen di Designerspics

All high resolution images on Designerspics.com are available free of charge for commercial or personal use, with attribution not required, but welcome.

  1. Free Images

FreeImages.com hosts more than 400,000 free and royalty-free photos and illustrations, which we can search by filtering by subject, photographer or even camera, available for personal and commercial use.

Screen di Freeimages

Before downloading photos it is crucial to read the Content License Agreement and also view the specific restrictions for each image, which appear in the preview screen. In most cases, the use of photos for editorial purposes is allowed upon attribution of credits to the site and the author of the shot.

  1. Skitterphoto

Born in 2014 as an archive site for the photos of two Dutch professionals, over time Skitterphoto has become a small business, opening to the contribution of photographers from around the world.

Screen di Skitterphoto

Now the database is rich and you can search for high-resolution images on various themes (including landscapes, people and transport), available for download and reuse under the Creative Commons Zero license.

  1. Foca Stock

Already known as MMT, Foca Stock hosts free photos, videos and templates for commercial use under the Creative Commons CC0 license.

Screen di Focastock

The platform was created by photographer Jeffrey Betts in 2014 and the images range in various fields, including nature, urban scenes, workspaces and macro photographs, and were also published on Shopify and Canva; Every week new resources are added and navigation and search are simple and intuitive thanks to category filters, tags, orientation and colors.

There is no need to credit the site or the author of the content.

  1. Pikwizard

An incredible library of over 1 million images and video stocks, free and royalty-free to use even for commercial purposes and without attribution required.

Screen di Pikwizard

It is Pikwizard, a very extensive collection that can meet the purposes of sites looking for general or sector-specific images. Beware of the terms of use, because there are some restrictions for commercial use (for example, it is not allowed to use photos for printing on jerseys, posters or gadgets).

  1. Stockvault

Stockvault has existed since 2004 and offers free archival photos, logos, textures (or textures) and web layouts.

Screen di Stockvault

Currently the platform offers almost 140 thousand free stock photos with hundreds of new images added each week: beware, though, because the licenses are various – including non-commercial, commercial and public domain (CC0) – and so we need to check the individual licence to make sure that there are no breaches.

  1. Picography

Picography define itself as “one of the best sources for beautiful, high resolution and free photos“.

Screen di Picography

Tu

All images are licensed under CC0 and we can use them “as and where” we prefer, without any attribution being required. The site has an easy-to-use search function and a drop down menu of categories to help locate images.

RGB Stock

Rgbstock has a variety of images and graphics available for free download.

tte le immagini sono concesse in licenza CC0 e possiamo utilizzarle “come e dove” preferiamo, senza che sia richiesta alcuna attribuzione. Il sito ha una funzione di ricerca facile da usare e un menu a discesa delle categorie per aiutare a localizzare le immagini.

  1. RGB Stock

Rgbstock ha una varietà di immagini e grafiche disponibili per il download gratuito.

Screen di Rgbstock

(free) Registration is required to download the photos, and in the description of each image there is a detailed indication of how you can use it.

  1. StockFreeImages

StockFreeImages is offered as “the largest web collection of free images, with 2.2 million images, royalty-free stock photos and illustrations”.

The platform is owned by Dreamstime.com, one of the leading stock image providers, and includes content donated by Dreamstime contributors for free download.

Screen di Stockfreeimages

To download the photos you need to create an account, also free. The images are covered by the royalty-free licence, but an attribution of the photo credits and/or a link to the website is required.

  1. Freeimages.co.uk

Not to be confused with the other platform called Freeimages, this site has a more limited collection but still provides over 22 thousand images in 89 different categories.

Screen di Freeimages.co.uk

Images on Freeimages.co.uk can be used in printed materials, publications and other illustration or design projects, and credits are required for use on websites.

  1. Kaboompics

Kaboompics is a platform that provides over 20,000 free archive photos that can be used for both commercial and non-trade projects, even without attribution.

Screen di Kaboompics

The site was created by a professional photographer, Karolina Grabowska, author of all the photos and photoshoots published.

  1. Refe

Refe offers royalty-free, high-quality, natural-looking photos.

Screen di Refe

Most of the images on the site are not actually free, but there is a section with a range of themes and images completely free of charge.

  1. ISO Republic

ISO Republic is an independent website that provides curated collections of the best high-resolution photos and videos, available under the Creative Commons CC0 license.

Screen di Iso republic

The mission of the project is “to offer highly curated collections of images and videos to be used both personally and commercially”, and the database consists of thousands of multimedia resources, divided into many categories.

  1. CC0 Photo

CC0.photo is a project started by Raffael Herrmann with photos taken by him or his uncle Peter Janzen.

Screen di cc0.photo

The images are free and available under Creative Commons 0 license (as the name of the site suggests), divided into many easily navigable categories.

  1. Rawpixel

Going with a slightly different logic is Rawpixel, a platform that collects photos from a community of professionals and makes them available to the public.

screen di Rawpixel

In fact, it is necessary to register in order to access the resources: in the free form, the account gives the right to download a maximum of 10 images per day of the free collection including photos, vectors, models, templates and other for personal and commercial use, in addition to unlimited download of public domain images.

It is always good to check the license page before using the images for our projects.

  1. Little Visuals

Little Visuals was a project started by Nic Jackson – who suddenly died in 2013 and therefore unable to maintain and grow the site: despite this, however, the platform is still accessible to all thanks to the commitment of his family, who carried on Jackson’s “legacy” by making free images available to the public for commercial use.

Screen di Littlevisuals

The database is not particularly rich, but the shots are high quality and very original.

  1. Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons includes a collection of over 72 million free media files.

Screen di Wikimedia Commons

The site, which adheres to the wiki philosophy and is therefore open to the contribution of all users, has a search function that helps to identify specific topics and genres; images are available with licenses listed in the description pages.

  1. Flickr

We all know Flickr, one of the first examples of photo database on the Web.

Screen di Flickr

The platform boasts millions of users who upload daily photos and videos: by setting the filter “commercial use and authorized changes” we can search for only photos available under Creative Commons licenses, those that can be used for commercial use, with or without authorized modifications and so on, which you can then use for our purposes.

  1. Google Images

 Google Image search is an incredible mine of images, as well.

Screen di Google Immagini

Compared to the past, however, it is now slightly more complicated to find photos available for reuse, even commercial: from about a year, in fact, has changed the filter for research, which now groups the multimedia resources only in “Creative Commons licenses” and “Commercial and other licenses”.

By setting the first filter, we will have access to distributed images according to CC licenses, but we should still check the specific terms of these policies to avoid problems.

The best free niche stock photo sites

Original and specific, the photos found on these sites are characterized by an element that makes them “different” from the usual, which can a single branch of activity (food, travel, business), a particular topic (vintage photos, nature photos) and more. They are therefore useful for specialized and vertical sites, which need images appropriate to the sector.

  1. Burst

Burst is a free stock photo platform provided by Shopify: here too there are plenty of high resolution photos available for free, with permission to edit images in any way and use them for commercial purposes, with royalty-free license and no attribution required.

Screen di Burst

In addition to the classic search function, the site also offers a good representation of different areas, topics and categories, useful when we are not sure what you are looking for.

Burst is a useful project especially for free professional images for e-commerce sites, as the authorship of Shopify suggests.

  1. Gratisography

Different and original: these are the features of the photos on Gratisography, platform of free high resolution images, all definitely out of the box and perfect for those looking for a touch of creativity to make the visual aspect of your site truly unique.

Screen di Gratisography

The photos are offered under the same terms as Creative Commons Zero and, as we read on the site, do not require attribution (but there are “some common sense limitations” in their use).

  1. Old Book Illustrations

Another very original project, Old Book Illustrations Old Book Illustrations provides illustrations of ancient books to take inspiration from or reuse.

Screen di Old book Illustrations

The site does not limit the use of illustrations available, but clarifies that it assumes no responsibility for any problem, legal or otherwise, that could arise from such use, leaving “Users are required to ensure that their project complies with the copyright laws of their country of residence”. Text content (such as descriptions or translations) is published under an international license Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike 4.0.

  1. New Old Stock

Vintage photos from public archives, free from known copyright restrictions, to “reclaim history”.

Screen di New Old Stock

It is the philosophy New Old Stock, a site of vintage images available for personal and non-commercial use – it is allowed to use them for articles, blog posts, personal projects, hero images for pages 404.

  1. The Public Domain Reviews

This project collects and selects public domain material, offering many image galleries (especially ancient ones) that can be used for our sites.

Screen di Public domain review

All the material on The Public Domain Reviews is now out-of-copyright and is made available to anyone, with freedom of re-use without restrictions.

  1. Free Nature Stock

Those looking for nature-themed images can only search for them here: Free Nature Stock is the perfect platform for royalty-free CC0 licensed nature stock photos and videos, to be reused freely even without attribution.

Screen di Free Nature Stock

The site was created by Adrian Pelletier, who personally captured all the content (usually with a Canon 6D camera or Sony a6400, informs) and manages all the material.

  1. FoodiesFeed

Food-themed images are the focus of this platform, which hosts over 1700 multimedia resources of food, dishes and drinks.

Screen di Foodiesfeed

All photos published on Foodiesfeed are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CCO) license, so you can copy, edit, distribute, and use the images completely free of charge, even for commercial purposes. You can use the photos without asking for permission or provide attribution to Foodiesfeed or the photographer, although the recognition of the credits is encouraged to the original photographer “who generously donated his photographs for use by the public”.

  1. Cupcake

Natural landscapes, but also animals and glimpses of everyday life make up the free archive of Cupcake, a platform created by Jonas Wimmerström, author of all the photos, taken in Sweden (his native country) or traveling.

Screen di Cupcake

Images are licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 license, so you can use, copy, edit, distribute and publish, even for commercial purposes, free of charge and without asking for permission.

  1. Superfamous

Superfamous is the project of photographer Folkert Gorter, which offers a collection of free images especially with a naturalistic and abstract theme.

Screen di Superfamous

The photos are available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license, which requires the attribution of credits.

  1. Travel Coffee Book

Landscapes and scenarios are the types of images featured on Travel Coffee Book, a great site for travel-themed resources.

Screen di Travelcoffeebook

The site aims to “share beautiful moments of travel” and also allows you to upload your own images. All resources are available under Creative Commons Zero.

  1. Bucketlistly

A large collection of over 10,000 copyright-free images licensed under the Creative Commons (Attribution-Noncommercial) and travel-themed from all around the world, which anyone can use.

Screen di Bucketlistly

The photos on Bucketlistly are available in standard definition version, but by contacting the platform you can also get high definition files. The attribution is required.

  1. Negative Space

The images on the Negative Space are characterized by a very precise feature: the element at the center of the photo is in focus, while the lateral context deliberately is out of focus.

Screen di Negativespace

This visual manipulation is intentional, because it directs the gaze around the “positive” element chosen by the author of the shot, leaving the rest of the image in “negative“, precisely.

This free stock photo site is easy to use and also allows you to search for images by color, as well as to select them from one of the categories; resources can be used under the Creative Commons CC0 license.

  1. Jay Mantri

Simplicity and essentiality are distinctive features of the JayMantri site, which provides free and breathtaking images (mostly nature and metropolitan environments) that can be used with Creative Commons Zero.

Screen di Jaymantri

The platform (which has a limited archive compared to competitors and does not allow research) was created by Ajay Mantri, a designer who operates Los Angeles and is currently employed by Twitter.

  1. Life of Pix

Life of Pix offers a relatively small but beautiful collection of high-resolution images, which can be used for commercial or personal use and have no copyright restrictions.

Screen di Life of pix

The photos tell shots of everyday life (with subjects such as people, food, urban environments, fabrics) and every week the archive is enriched with ten new photos.

  1. PICNOI

Free stock photos for a “colorful” world: it is the goal of Picnoi, defined as a “coop of photographic images” characterized by the attention to inclusion.

Screen di Picnoi

Where other sites have “few or no photos of people of color, we have created a space where publishers, bloggers, site owners, marketers, designers, graphic artists, advertisers and the like can easily search for and find different multi-racial images”.

Attribution is not required, but encouraged, and you can download the entire image database for a fee of $59 (but the images are still free).

  1. Startup Stock Photos

Who is looking for images related to startups, office life and business theme can not overlook a visit to Startup Stock Photo, platform born in 2014 to meet the needs of a social media agency and evolved into a site of stock images free “for startups, bloggers, publishers, websites, designers, developers, creators and all the others”.

Screen di Startupstockphotos

Images are available under the Creative Commons CC0 license and no attribution is required.

  1. Foter

Interior design is the central topic of Foter, a platform born in 2006 as a source of free high quality photos and inspiration for journalists and graphic designers.

Screen di Foter

Today the database collects 335 million free images, from numerous online sources and, in particular, from the Flickr API licensed by Creative Commons.

  1. StreetWill

StreetWill offers vintage photos of urban scenes available under the Creative Commons CC0 license.

Screen di Streetwill

The images are unique and visually appealing and can be reused in any way; according to the statistics of the site, were downloaded about 1.5 million times.

  1. The Wonderlusters

The Wonderlusters is the site of Shannyn Allan, focused on the invitation to enjoy every moment of life.

Screen di The wonder lusters

In the travel section there are over 15 thousand free photos of trips from all over the world, ordered by country, which can be used freely for personal or commercial purposes, under the license CC BY-ND – which prohibits changes or alterations – with request of credits to the owner.