Top 10 Free Stock Photo Sites for Social Media Marketing
Top 10 Free Stock Photo Sites for Social Media Marketing
Access to free stock photos is essential to growing your social media following and engagement. There are many paid stock photo sites, but as you can imagine, the cost can start to add up after awhile. Therefore, access to to free photos will help you market better. So we’ve compiled a list of free stock photo sites for you!
Before, we get started, another bonus tip is to sign up for many paid stock photo or stock content websites. Almost all of them have email lists where they give out weekly free assets for you to use in your marketing materials.
The list is:
Unsplash Is a website dedicated to sharing stock photography under the Unsplash license. The website claims over 207,000 contributing photographers and generates more than 17 billion photo impressions per month on their growing library of over 2 million photos. Unsplash has been cited as one of the world’s leading photography websites by Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, CNET, Medium and The Next Web.
All photos can be downloaded and used for free
Commercial and non-commercial usage
No permission needed
What is not permitted
Photos can only be resold if the altered significantly.
Taking photos and putting them on a competing website.
Pros and cons: Free, great selection of high resolution images, easy navigation with a simple interface.
Sometimes images are hidden in “collections.” There is some clutter with new features and using generic keywords deliverse very generic photos.
Pexels provides high quality and completely free stock photos licensed under the Pexels license. All photos are nicely tagged, searchable and also easy to discover.
Don’t use a photo of an identifiable person in a bad way. For example don’t put them in anything pornographic, criminal or in anyway offensive.
Don’t resell the photo unless you have altered it significantly.
Don’t imply any kind of endorsement of your product or service.
Don’t redistribute or sell the photos on any platform.
Pros and cons: No need to create an account just to download photos you want to use.
Depending on what you search for on Pexels you’ll only find a few images that match your search. Yes, if you search for a broad term then you’ll get a ton of results but anything more specific than a broad term and you won’t get a lot of options to choose from.
Pexels is great, but it’s designed more for making marketing materials than it is for finding images for your content.
Pixabay is the most valuable free alternative to commercial stock photo sites. It has over one million royalty free photos, illustrations and vector graphics – and thousands of free video clips.
Pros and cons: Pixabay is very social. You can like, comment, and follow through your Pixabay account, as well as share images to several other social media sites.
You can use Pixabay in 20 different languages.
When choosing an image, you have the option to download it in small, medium, large, or even extra large resolutions. This is important because when you manually resize images, quality can be lost – especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s also important to get an image the size you need because you wouldn’t want a small image if you’re making a poster, or an extra large one if you only needed to create a small icon.
You can see how many people have viewed and downloaded the image, what camera was used to take the picture, focal length, etc.
You can copy, modify, distribute and use the images, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission and without paying attribution. That’s good if you’re someone who’s just browsing around, looking for free images to use, because Pixabay allows you to do just that without too much hassle.
Pixabay appears to be sponsored by Shutterstock. While this may be good for them, every time you search for an image, Shutterstock not only takes up the whole 1st line of search results, but also invades the related/sponsored images on the right side of the screen.
When uploading images you have to wait a few days for it to be approved by Pixabay before it is released on the website for all to see.
Images are only tagged as well as the user tags them. This means that there could be a really great image out there that is tagged poorly, which means it won’t be seen by many people. So basically, it’s up to the uploader to use as many, or as little, keywords as they please. So experience in these matters comes into play.
Depending on your stance, being able to copy, modify, distribute and use images for commercial purposes without asking permission and without paying attribution could be a negative. If you are posting your pictures, expecting to make money and get recognition for your work, this is not the place to do so.
You don’t directly pay for the images that you download, but you are given the option to donate to the photographer through PayPal, so again, from the artist’s point of view, there’s less economic incentive at least to share work here.
Depicted content may still be protected by trademarks, publicity or privacy rights.
If you need bold photos that look fresh (and aren’t on everyone else’s websites), StockSnap.io is a great and free resource. From the homepage, you can search for photos, scroll through the entire gallery, or click on the Categories or Trending pages. Be aware that the top images in each category are often dog-eared with a star, meaning they’re actually sponsored pay-to-access photos from Shutterstock, but below those are images you can get free from StockSnap.
StockSnap also keeps track of individual image views and downloads, which makes it easy for you to see which images are currently the most popular. Hovering over a photo shows you its view, favorite, and download counts, and clicking on a photo shows a bit more information and lets you download the image.
Pros and cons: Really easy to use.
Offers photo-searching by category, as well as specifically. There is a convenient sidebar to help with sorting and finding photos.
Offers information on the most viewed images so you can choose from more popular images.
It’s designed by a site called Snappa, a graphics tool, so ads to join Snappa pop up frequently.
If you are looking for visually-appealing and/or what they call Instagrammable photo, you may check Unsplash first.
Reshot is a massive library of handpicked free stock photos you won’t find elsewhere. Built for startups, freelancers & makers who are sick of tacky stock photos. Free to use commercially and editorially–no attribution required.
Pros and cons: Aside from free photos, Reshot also offers stock music, sound effects, video templates, Premiere Pro/After Effects/Final Cut Pro templates too courtesy of Mixkit. Reshot has wide options of images but somehow people still find Unsplash the top option
Gratisography is the world’s quirkiest collection of high-resolution free stock images that you just won’t find anywhere else.
Pros and cons: Works for those who need contents that are entertaining in nature. While the photos are varied, there are quite a few that seem a little too far out for general use. Catalog is a little small, but I’m sure will grow over time. The interface also leaves something to be desired: Only 5 images are displayed at a time, and search results don’t always reflect what you searched for. Images are JPG, so not as great a quality as PNG’s would be.
PikWizard is a very pro-style free stock photo site, full of high-quality images portraying multiple popular topics. It’s owned by Wavebreak Media, a stock video and photography production company lead by Irish videographer and entrepreneur Sean Prior. Their hundreds of thousands of images come from various contributors, most of whom are known stock media producers. And they’re all for free.
Pros and cons: PikWizard showcases a balanced mix of artistic and commercial styled imagery, and the cool extra function: quick on-page image editing with DesignWizard tool, which is one of the best free tools to add text to images.
There’s nothing much serious to give attention except it would be great to add more choices.
Picjumbo offers free high-resolution images for personal and commercial use. Picjumbo is a free stock photo site created in 2013 by designer & photographer Viktor Hanacek. It started when all of the regular stock photo sites rejected his photos for “lack of quality”.
Pricing: Free but there’s a Premium Membership for $49
Pros and cons: Site layout can be overwhelming.
If you want to get the most of the site, registration is worth it. Once you’re registered, you can use their Test Drive feature where you can learn if an image is really ideal to your need.
SplitShire offers a ton of awesome free photos for you to use without commercial restrictions. Powered by Italian photographer Daniel Nanescu, all of the images available on the website are “made with love” — and it shows. From stunning portraits to sleek work stations, we’ve got a feeling you won’t have any trouble finding the perfect photo for your next project or blog post.
Pros and cons: These are very trendy images, with professional quality and great commercial value, that would work great on websites, adverts, blog post, & artistic projects.
There aren’t really many negatives except for the relatively modest library size compared to others in this list
Raw Pixel is smashing stereotypes to create design resources that reflect today’s society as it really is. To achieve this, we’re obsessed with exploring new ways to express concepts with creativity and authenticity. We’re extremely proud of having the most diverse stock photos in the industry but we want to do more.
Pros and cons: It’s a super trendy library, full of the high resolution images that are all the rage on Instagram and social media, and the visual market in general
The search engine is the same for premium and free photos, so you have to remember to enable the “Free” filter in every search. Not a big deal though!