Be Aware of Licensing Restrictions
Photography has always been an integral part of web design. Unfortunately, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing crappy stock images of people in suits shaking hands. Not only are a lot of these stock photos tacky, but some of them cost money!
Thankfully, there’s been a growing number of websites with beautiful stock photography popping up all over the web. Best of all, they’re free.
In this post, we’ve curated a list of awesome websites for free stock photos.
Bonus: If you’re looking to create highly engaging images for your blog posts, social media, or ad campaigns, check out Snappa – the perfect graphic design tool for digital marketers.
Quick Note About Licenses
Many of these photographs are free from copyright restrictions or licensed under creative commons public domain dedication. This means you can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.
However, some photos may require attribution. We’ve done our best to identify which license they fall under but we still advise you to do your own research and determine how these images can be used.
Attribution and licenses explained.
When you do a Google Images search, the resulting photos are not necessarily ones that you're free to immediately use. In most cases, the photos are still covered by photographers' copyrights.
If you're looking for photos to use for a design and want to keep yourself out of copyright trouble, you need to locate websites that explicitly define the copyright license of each image. For all the sites listed above, the license is generally pretty easy to find. There's typically a description of the license on every page or at least a link to a description. Here are two license types you're likely to find on these sites:
Creative Commons zero means that you can use the photos in any way you'd like, without asking permission.
Creative Commons with attribution means that you can use the photo in any way you want, as long as you credit the creator of the photo.
Attribution is simple: If you include a photo on one of a web page, add text that cites the photographer ("Photo by John Smith") and be sure to include a link to his or her site, if there's one.
Be sure to check each website's license page for specific details.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into our top picks for free stock photos.