10 Free Image Sites for Designers
Finding nice and appropriate images to add to your designs can be difficult. It’s usually necessary to buy stock images, or to use your own graphic design skills to come up with them yourself. This is time consuming however, and it’s likely that at some point or another, you’ll need to use stock images. So we’ve put together a list of the best sources around at the moment to help you to find photos and illustrations that are a little different.
#1: Death to the Stock Photo – Free to $15pm
Death to the Stock Photo is a membership site that sends you image packs directly to your inbox every month. The packs are based on ‘stories’ such as ‘working from home’ and ‘surfs up’. These stories are the theme of the image pack. You can also access the archive and all images for a fee of $15 per month.
#2: Pixabay – Free, no attribution necessary
Pixabay is a collection of more than 420,000 images, vectors and illustrations that are free to use and don’t require any attribution. You can donate a ‘coffee’ to the photographers and artists that upload their work to the site. There are a huge amount of images on the site and it’s very useful for finding standard images – which can be downloaded in a variety of resolutions – for using in your designs both online and off.
#3: Unsplash – Free, no attribution necessary
For images that are a little different to the norm, Unsplash is a great choice. The site posts 10 new images daily and you need to do to access them is subscribe. You can access the site archives simply by searching by keyword and there’s something for every niche. It perhaps doesn’t have as much choice as Pixabay, but the imagery is more unique.
#4: Gratisography – Free, no copyright restrictions
Gratisography provides free, high resolution photographs, all of which are taken by Ryan McGuire. The images are creative and original and if you want to thank Ryan, then there’s a link for you to make a donation. Choice is a little limited, since this is essentially a one-man operation, but they are much more unique than you’ll find on the majority of free image sites.
#5: Life of Pix – Free, no attribution required
Life of Pix is a project by a network of photographers and an advertising agency based in Montreal. The images tend to be based around nature or urban settings, so again choice is a little limited. However, all of them are donated to the public domain and they are not the standard stock images that are found all over other sites.
#6: Raumrot – Free, attribution required
Raumrot is a collection of free stock photos for personal or commercial use which come in packs for you to download, which are based on a theme. A little more care is necessary when downloading from this site as it does take you to other sites such as Flickr. This means that you will have to double check the licensing requirements to ensure that it can be used and whether it requires attribution (most do).
#7: Picjumbo – Free to $6pm
Picjumbo is a growing collection of downloadable, high resolution images that are free to use for commercial purposes. You can subscribe to get images sent directly to your inbox each month, or you can pay $6 to get further images. The amount you get sent varies, depending on how many new images there are that month.
You can use images in designs and themes, but you’re not allowed to sell them on directly.
#8: Jay Mantri – Free, public domain
Jay Mantri provides a collection of unique, high quality and resolution images with seven new images added each week. Again, these are art photography and as such, are not to be found on your standard stock image sites. They are beautiful images though and would add a sense of style to any design. You can also contact the site to discuss any commercial projects such as a photo or social media campaign for your (or your clients) business.
#9: Kaboompics – Free, attribution required
Kaboompics is a collection of images by a lady from Poland called Karolina. All of the images are free to use, but a link back to the site is required. The images can be downloaded in high resolution and can be used commercially. The images are generally very arty and there’s a focus on fashion, food and landscapes. If you subscribe, you can also get bonus images sent to your inbox.
#10: Instastock – Free, no attribution required
Instastock is a fast-growing collection of images, all taken with an iPhone. Images are free to use commercially and no attribution is required. The photographer promises to add one image each day “until the end of time or until iPhones join together and rebel against us forcing us to become their slaves” (a little humour is always nice).
#11: Good Free Photos
Specialises in photos of state parks, national parks, national landmarks, and historical sites. We also have business, tech, animal, plant, and food photos as well. All photos are free to use for any purpose.
Always Check Attribution
So there you have it, our round-up of the best free image sites. It’s worth pointing out that you should always check the licensing terms yourself when downloading free images. We’ve tried to avoid sites that use images from Flickr, but there’s always the chance you may come across an image that requires attribution.
Most of these sites don’t, but that may change in years to come and the responsibility lies with you and your business to check.