15 Top Notch Sites for Free Images

There are lots of uses for images: presentations, websites, scrapbooks, art journals, collages, Pinterest boards, and vision boards, to name just a few. Free images, whether photographs or graphics, are the best of all if they are any good.

Fortunately, there are now literally dozens of free sites with lots of great high resolution photographs. We are a far cry from just a few short years ago when I was spending thousands of dollars to purchase images for use in presentations.

I have done the legwork to find you the top five sites in each of three categories of free images:

  • Large sites that aggregate photos, often from dozens of small sites
  • Small sites that are the work of one photographer or are devoted to a specific theme
  • Sites for graphics, illustrations and icons

Large Aggregated Photo Sites

There are a number of large sites for free images, but not all of them are easy to use. The ones in this list meet my criteria which includes:

  • have a search bar
  • may have a premium section that will cost you, but is not focused on getting you to upgrade
  • photographs are available in a variety of sizes or, at least, are high resolution
  • are copyright free and do not require attribution
  • large site with a significant and growing collection
  • loads quickly

dozens of color images fanning out against a black and blue abstract background

My Five Favourites

  1. Pixabay.com –includes photographs in categories; ability to select just horizontal or vertical images, ability to sort by colour, and editor’s choices. Also includes graphics.
  2. Pexels.com –includes popular photos, popular searches, ability to sort by predominant colour, and a leaderboard of the most downloaded photos in the previous 30 days.
  3. Librestock.com –curates from 47 sites; includes photos sorted according to most popular tags
  4.  Stock Up–on the smaller side of the large sites, only aggregating from 28 sites. Nevertheless, I like this site for its’ highlighting of new weekly photos and the popular photos category.
  5. Stock Snap.io–includes popular searches and trending photos

There are a couple of other large sites that are in the process of redoing their websites. When they are ready, I will update this post.

Small Sites

  1. Negative Space.co –each photo has space for copy, great if you want to put quotations on images. Also includes category choices and selection by colour.
  2. Designers Pics.com–interesting concept photos. Categories include: architecture, business, concepts, food and drinks, nature, people, technology, things, uncategorized.
  3. New Old Stock.co–vintage photos from public archives; worldwide images in black and white, sepia and colour.
  4. Pic Jumbo.com–the work of one interesting young photographer from the Czech Republic. Lots of different perspectives and a wide variety of themes.
  5. Gratisography.com–one of the few sites that has a category called ‘whimsical’

butterfly on scrapbook page background

Sites for Graphics, Illustrations and Icons

  1. Creative Market.com–a site for designers. Collections can be purchased, but if you subscribe, each Monday you will get access to six free collections–fonts, templates, wallpaper, illustrations, etcetera.
  2. Reusable Art.com–huge collection of vintage images from fishing to music to mythology.
  3. The Pattern Library.com–a small but growing collection of tileable patterns
  4. Icon Finder.com–a great source for single free icons on every theme imaginable. If you want multiple icons on a theme, however, you will want to upgrade to a paid plan.
  5. The Graphics Fairy.com–transparent images to use as transfers, vintage images, hand-drawn illustrations

Are you familiar with any of these sites? Do you have any other favourites? How do you use images in your work or your hobbies? Please share in the comments below.


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  1. Great description for sites to go to when you need a photo for something or even a photo to cheer you up at the time, in case your flowers die!

  2. LOL, yes Karen, you know I am seeing this. I am feeling a little under the weather and could not get to this post until today. 😉 I had to go lay down after responding to the first two articles last night and slept through until this morning. Where did this morning find me? Why, back here of course. 😉

    That is an awesome idea! I could put flower pictures on my desktop and do a slideshow screen saver. My computer is in the main area of our apartment and I can see the screen from the kitchen and dining area. 🙂 Thanks for the idea, Gerri. 🙂 I have snagged photos from the internet for my desktop but the idea of using flower photos is absolutely brilliant!

    I mainly go to Pixabay for pictures for my blog although sometimes use Google search images with the filter set to those labeled for reuse. I have now got a list all bookmarked, thanks to your research Karen, for other sites to check out should my first two not have what I am looking for,

    1. Hope you’re feeling better soon, Susan. When you are and it’s a grey, depressing day, looking for flowers on the various free sites sounds like an ideal way to spend your time!

      1. Thank you, Karen, I hope I feel better soon too. I have been doing a lot of self-care (napping and reading). I did take a brief tour around all of the sites you highlighted for us looking at flower pictures and ones that caught my eye are now in a folder labeled Desktop Slideshow. Once I get enough of them collected I will be putting them on a rotation for my desktop. 🙂

  3. Hi, Karen. This is an incredibly useful post…especially for a fellow blogger. I had become so nervous about “free” vs “not free” photos on the internet that, so far, I have always used my own (although I seriously am not a photographer). I will start visiting these sites now. Thanks for sharing!

    1. My pleasure, Donna. You are definitely fine with all of these sites. They are completely copyright free. I sometimes find that a great photo gives me an entirely different hook for my post or even an idea of what I’ll write about.

      All of that said, the photos on your site are terrific. There’s a really nice immediacy to having photos that were taken by the site author.

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