30 Excellent Sites to Get Royalty Free Stock Photos
As Graphic Designers, the hunt for royalty free stock images that don’t feature smiling corporate zombies shaking hands is a daily struggle. High-quality images that represent your client’s brand naturally is crucial to cultivating any identity. Stock photos for web design, illustrative imagery to compliment a blog and captivating social posts all require unique and interesting photography.
Luckily, photographers are sharing their breath-taking work more and more since the rise in popularity of free stock imagery site, Unsplash. These images are free to use across the web and in print promotions because they are released under the Creative Commons license (however, always double check attribution rules for each website.).
Whether you want to use the images in their raw form or manipulate them for your professional projects, these sites all feature a huge range of photos for all sorts of content. Real life images of people without the cheese and stunning scenery shots minus the tacky gloss are finally yours to use as you please. The freedom to add patterns and textures [link to blog] is yours for the taking, so you can stamp your own mark and experiment with your designs. Add illustrations, cut down and merge these photos to your heart's content. Here is a list of our favourite 30 sites that offer gorgeous stock imagery to enhance your designs completely free.
StockSnap categorises all of its beautiful images in useful categories to help designers find what they’re looking for with ease. Each week, hundreds of free stock photos are uploaded onto the website for consistent, fresh imagery. There’s also a trending feature for you to browse the most popular stock photos of the moment, and they email you their favourites every week to your inbox.
The most well-known website to offer an extensive range of free stock photos is Unsplash. Thousands of unique stock photos are available, ranging from sublime mountain landscapes to a couple catching up over a coffee. “Do whatever you want” is their tagline, and it encourages graphic designers to take advantage of the wealth of images available.
Photographer Ryan McGuire is responsible for capturing the stock images for Gratiscography, which specialises in funny, colourful images that are packed with personality. The funky and unusual photos capture humanity and nature at its most
4. Negative Space
With up to 20 stock photos added weekly, negative space is rapidly increasing in popularity as more and more designers discover the treasures it offers. Seasonality is a massive part of how they curate the website and so it’s perfect when searching for client’s projects that align with summer, Christmas and spring, for example.
Web designer Daniel Nanescu created
6. Little Visuals
Sadly, Nic who was the owner of Little Visuals, passed away and so the site no longer uploads new photos. However, his website still serves as a beacon of hope for graphic designers as its legacy provides a range of outstanding stock photos all under the Creative Commons license. Nature photography from unusual angles is what makes these royalty-free images so alluring.
7. Life of Pix
Creative and design agency LEEROY, who are based in Canada, are to thank for the incredible collection of high-resolution stock imagery on Life of Pix. Their sister site, Life of Vids, also offers a great range of free videos to download for more animated design.
8. Death to Stock Photos
The name alone voices this website’s hatred of poor quality, cheesy stock photos. Death to Stock Photos sends out ten brand new photos by email on a weekly basis. They even offer editing tips if you want to adjust the photos to suit your style.
9. Superfamous Studios
LA-based Dutch designer Folkert Gorter has given Superfamous Studios as a gift to the creative world.
Picjumbo offers a Premium service as well as a fantastic group of stock images which are completely free. Iconic landmarks down to business themes are yours to browse as you please, with a feed of their latest photos ready to view too.
11. IM Free
IM Free prides itself on being a comprehensive collection of free website templates and images for
12. New Old Stock
New Old Stock offers up an abundance of vintage stock images; all of which are incredibly versatile for web design, blogs and print. From antique cars to aged items, the strong theme of this website is its biggest allure.
The Creative Commons Zero act has granted designers another gem in the form of freestock.org. The food and lifestyle sections of this website are especially renowned and each image is marked with a hashtag for a more direct search.
15. Snapwire Snaps
Snapwire gives designers the gift of 7 free stock images every 7 days, so when inspiration is running dry there’s always more on the way! Turning mundane situations into beautiful photos is what they do best, and there are hundreds to choose from.
16. Jay Mantri
Jay Mantri wants designers to make magic with his array of free photos. Considering the enchanted hue of his imagery, that won’t be hard. New photos are posted every Thursday for designers to use, with a strong emphasis on travel, nature and landscapes.
There’s a massive selection of free photos and premium images on
An assortment of photographers including Dave Meier all
19. MMT Stock
Bright and superbly high-res images submitted by Jeffrey Betts can be found on MMT Stock, from defined florals to workspaces and computers. They’re all free for commercial use and ideal for any design project that needs a dash of colour.
Another website which also offers free video footage alongside their stock photos; travel and technology are the favourite themes of
24. Free Images
With over 16,000 free stock photos in their collection, Free Images is one of the UK's leading royalty free sites available. Everything from intricate photos of clock mechanisms to glorious photos of foods can be found, giving a wide range of options to graphic designers.
25. ISO Republic
Stock Pic focus on creative lifestyle photography that gets sent by email every two weeks. Bright landscapes, backgrounds and fashion are hugely popular.
Bucketlistly plays on the wanderlust of its viewers by showing probably the most enviable collection of free travel photography from around the world. The free photos can be found in the navigation bar at the top, which are submitted by travellers themselves and given as a gift to designers who want some worldly charm in their work.
Cupcake hosts beautiful “do whatever you want” images drawing from nature, people and technology. Although you’re completely free to the photos, they love to see the results of their photos, so you’re welcome to showcase the work you create with their free images!
The rise in free stock photos has been an absolute blessing to graphic designers and web designers worldwide. The fact that any photographer around the world can submit their beautiful photography for others to use is a wonderful gift, and serves as massive inspiration when paid services show their limitations!