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7 awesome free stock photo websites

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There seems to be a trend away from stock photos recently. For a while websites got away with using fairly generic photos of professional looking people from major photo websites such as iStock and Shutterstock. They were relatively inexpensive, costing around twenty dollars an image and they saved you the embarrassment of getting photos taken of yourself. Phew, I hate photos. The problem now is that these images are used so often that we recognise some of the models which in turn gives you the impression of ‘this site is fake’.

Whilst the perfect solution is to hire a professional to take a range of shots of your business, products or staff, it’s not always possible. Either your budget doesn’t allow for it, or you’re just not willing to get in front of the camera (you do need to get over it). So you really need to find images that are unique, high quality and perhaps on the cheaper side.

Enter the free stock photo website. These websites are essentially offering the same service as the big commercial players, but provide images under a ‘creative commons license‘. The photos are free to use commercially and can be modified or even on-sold in a product. Here we share our seven favourite free stock photo websites.

Unsplash

unsplash

The first free stock photo website I ever became aware of was Unsplash. An awesome idea to get exposure by digital marketing agency Crew. My go to site when I’m after a pretty photo that isn’t too ‘businessy’.

Awesome new search function.
No attribution required.

Pexels

pexels

When Unsplash hasn’t got what I am after I head to Pexels. They have a better range of corporate/tech images but I feel they lose some of the artistic quality that Unsplash has because of it.

Great search function.
Individual image licenses, so check if attribution is required.

Startup Stock

startup-stock

As the name suggests, if you’re starting a new business in the tech world or possibly sitting in a co-working space somewhere, Startup Stock have the ideal photos for you. High quality, professional with a twist of hipster.

No search and no requirement of attribution.

Jay Mantri

jay-mantri

Very similar in quality and style to Unsplash is Jay Mantri.

No search function unfortunately as there is some great stuff i’d like to find more easily.
No attribution required.

Gratisography

gratisography

On the quirkier side is Gratisography with some very interesting compositions. If you’re attempting something a bit funkier with some humorous looking facial expressions or poses you will definitely find something here.

Search doesn’t return things that I would commonly look for, but their category break down is ok.
No attribution required.

Barn Images

barn-images

There’s a really good selection at Barn Images, in particular their objects category. Not at the ‘super professional’ photographer level, but that actually makes them seem more real and believable.

They do ask for a donation, but it is of course optional. No search, good categories. No attribution.

Getrefe

getrefe

To round things out Getrefe has some stunning shots. I’ve put them last because although the quality is great, they do have ad popups all over the place when you go to download an image. Bit of an annoyance so I use them as a last resort.

No search or categories so you might be scrolling a while.
No attribution required.

The more obscure, the more trustworthy

Strangely I find the more obscure the image, the more believable it is. That’s going to build trust on your website. Not as much trust as a legitimate photo of your business, but not as damaging as a cliche american smiling, thumbs up with a headset on photo. Spend some time and discover something that works for you.