Beautiful + Free Imagery

I use a lot of photos on my YouTube channel. Every poster design I do uses at least one photo from one of the many free stock photo sites since my own photography skills are nominal. After awhile, I’ve started to see the same photos again and again, which wasn’t helping me get inspired to create new designs.

Fortunately, I’ve found some other free stock photo sites around the internet that have some amazing images. The best six free stock photo sites I’ve found are Pexels, Stocksnap, Unsplash, Reshot, Pixabay, and Kaboom Pics. Here’s a bit more about each site and what you’ll find there.

I’m only including sites that have a significant amount of photos and have a search function. I’m also excluding sites that only seem to have the same stock photos as other on this list do in an effort to avoid duplicate photo inventories.

Pexels.comFree Stock Photos - Pexels

Pexels is my go-to site for extremely high-quality, free photos. This site has a great inventory of all types of shots; not as much as the paid sites, but still pretty extensive. They also have video.

Results found for common search terms:

Food: 6.5K
People: 40.7K
Texture: 2.13K

License: ‘All photos on Pexels are free to use. Attribution is not required. Giving credit to the photographer or Pexels is not necessary but always appreciated. You can modify the photos. Be creative and edit the photos as you like.’

Stocksnap.ioFree Stock Photos - Stocksnap

Stocksnap has a smaller inventory of photos than other sites and the photos are pretty decent. Unfortunately, the sponsored/paid photos from Shutterstock (paid stock site) show up first in search results which could throw you off since the first few pics you’ll see each time aren’t part of the free inventory. Overall, this might be one of the last sites you try in an effort to find the right image, just because the inventory is so small. However, there are many photos I haven’t seen elsewhere, so you might find the perfect image here.

Results found for common search terms (Includes sponsored results):

Food: 1488
People: 5845
Texture: 340

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 license; meaning you may ‘Download the image file, publish, revise, copy, alter, and share that image, use the image (as-is or as you’ve altered it), in both personal and commercial contexts’.

UnsplashFree Stock Photos - Unsplash

Unsplash has quite the extensive inventory of fantastic photos in a variety of categories. I’ve noticed some of the same images on this site as on other free stock photo sites, plus a slew of new ones. There seem to be a lot of not-so-subtle advertising on this site. Companies will use their product shots as downloadable free images. Like these ones for Boxed Water. I’m not complaining though; they’re good images.

Results found for common search terms:

Food: 132K
People: 64K
Texture: 69K

Licence: ‘All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.’

ReshotFree Stock Photos - Reshot

Reshot has a variety of unique stock photos you won’t see anywhere else. The quality of the images varies quite a bit, and there doesn’t seem to be a huge inventory of photos, so this might not be your go-to photo site for everything. That being said, there are still a ton of cool shots and most of them don’t look like stock photos at all.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how many search results there are for common search terms because the site doesn’t indicate how many results there are. There’s a lot, but you’ll just have to see for yourself.

Licence: ‘Reshot grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Reshot for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Reshot.’

PixabayFree Stock Photos - Pixabay

Pixabay reminds me, a lot, of Pexels. Maybe it’s because their site layout is almost identical, but a lot of the photos are also the same. Fortunately, some photos are unique so it’s worth while to check out this site as well. Paid photos from Shutterstock show first in the search results, but there are a lot of results.

Results found for common search terms:

Food: 50,000+
People: 40,000+
Texture: 33,844

Licence: ‘What is allowed? All content on Pixabay can be used for free for commercial and noncommercial use across print and digital, except in the cases mentioned in “What is not allowed“. Attribution is not required. Giving credit to the contributor or Pixabay is not necessary but is always appreciated by our community.’

Kaboom PicsFree Stock Photos - Kaboom Pics

Kaboom Pics has a decent inventory of stock photos, all created by photographer Karolina Grabowska. The images you find here are high quality and can be downloaded in two set sizes, plus a custom size that allows you to download the image by inputting a custom pixel width. You can search by orientation as well as colour, and each image also includes a downloadable colour palatte. Overall, the helpfulness and attention to detail on the website alone is enough reason for me to come back.

Total Images on Site: 12,055

Licence: ‘All photos on Kaboompics can be used for free for commercial and noncommercial use. Attribution is not required. Giving credit to Kaboompics is not necessary but always appreciated. You can modify the photos. Be creative and edit the photos as you like.’


Header photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash