Updated 8 January 2023 – I’ve done a clean up of old broken links and those that have gone in a different directions. I have also added a few new links.
Regularly finding stock photos and items for creative projects that don’t require a money tree can be a right pain in the butt. Yes, people deserve to be paid for the photos they take, or the graphics they create, there are no arguments there. Unfortunately for most people, buying images and graphic design items regularly can become a financial headache. We all need a free boost up from time to time.
Thankfully, thousands of generous souls provide their stuff for free. While there are many more options out there, aside from the list below, I’ve included a number of my favourite places for finding content. This list contains websites where the content is available for both personal and commercial use – an important distinction if you are using content for clients, as well as yourself.
Where required, I have mentioned the sites where the stock photos and other items require attribution. That is, whenever you use their items, you must put a link back to the place you got the item from. This is how people receive recognition for their work. For the remaining sites, while attribution is not required, it is polite to acknowledge their generosity by linking back.
- Get Refe
- New Old Stock – free vintage photos.
- Albumarium – free with proper attribution.
- Pixabay – images, vectors and illustrations. Requires signup.
- Startup Stock Photos – a small collection of startup business stock photos.
- Magdeleine – attribution required.
- Gratisography – some good photos, and some…erm, odd ones
- Life of Pix – a collection of pics from around the world
- Foodies Feed – free food stock images. Every image on the site is good quality, so well worth checking out.
- Free Nature Stock – exactly what it says it is. Also has a small collection of free stock nature videos.
- Free Range Stock – requires membership. Be careful when looking at the search results, as there are premium stock photos included above the free ones, and you will be redirected to another website if you click on them. Also, where the button says “Next Page”, instead of clicking on that, scroll down further to reach the pagination, otherwise you get an iStock popup.
- Iso Republic
- Jay Mantri
- Je Shoots
- Burst – Hosted by Shopify. Credit not required, but appreciated.
- Move East – Photos taken from locations around East Asia. Hasn’t been updated for a few years.
- Photo Everywhere – attribution required. Photos from around the world.
- Pickup Image
- Skitter Photo
- RGB Stock
- Kaboom Pics – High image quality – especially if you’re looking for feminine images. Attribution is not required, but is appreciated.
- The Stocks – The Stocks is a website that has many of the above image links (plus many others I haven’t listed on the site) built into it, so you can access photos, mockups and other visuals from within one area
- Negative Space
- Nappy – White people are over-represented in most stock photography websites. Nappy is a site which seeks to correct this by offering high quality images of black and brown people.
- Freestocks.org – a small collection of high quality images, curated by a team of three photographers (and occasional friends). These photographers take the photos in their spare time and kindly share them with the world for us to use with no restriction.
- Styled Stock – free styled stock photography featuring flat lays, beauty, fashion, lifestyle and more. Styled stock photography is popular with female entrepreneurs, but can get expensive if you’re on a tight budget, so take advantage of these ones! Attribution is appreciated, but not necessary.
- RawPixel – free public domain vintage images and illustrations. Can also search for free images on the site. You will need to sign up for an account.
- Vecteezy – contains a range of images and vector files that can be used with attribution. It is possible to buy a license for each item to remove the need for attribution.
- Free Stock Photos by Canva – millions of images curated by Canva. Make sure to set the filter on the results to “free”, because it defaults to “free and premium”.
- ShotStash – free images for commercial use
- Graph Berry – free PSD templates, mockups, UI kits and icons.
- Freebies Bug – free fonts, stock photos, PSD templates, Wordpress themes (bear in mind that free themes usually don’t have any support), Illustrator files, Sketch files, website codes and plugins.
- Freepik – free vectors, PSDs, Illustrator files, images, etc. Have their own exclusive content (marked Freepik), and link to other sites that may require signup and/or attribution.
- Vector Portal – free vectors, templates, logo objects and more. Check attribution for each one.
- Pixeden – free mockups, textures, icons and vectors
- Dry Icons – free vectors and icons. Attribution is required, or attribution-free items can be purchased for a small fee.
- iconmonstr – high quality icons for personal and commercial use (see license terms for full conditions)
- Creative Market – Each week Creative Market has a list of six freebies you can download for the week, including fonts, images, vectors, PSD templates, website templates, etc.
- Flat Icon – free vector icons, icon fonts and PSD/Illustrator/After Effects plugin.
- Texture Zoom – free textures for enhancing photos, etc.
- Wow Patterns – free for personal use. Commercial use can be used with attribution, or purchased for a fee
- Undraw – illustrations of people and other categories. Contains on the fly colour modification to match your brand before downloading.
- Heroicons – Free SVG icons by the makers of TailWind CSS Graphics/Image Editing
- Reshot – free SVG icons and illustrations with commercial licencing
- Fotojet offers a more affordable price point to Canva and PicMonkey, with comparable features
- GIMP – free open source image editor. Like Photoshop, but with a few less features. There is a lot of help documentation available to navigate this software.
- Inkscape – the free equivalent of Illustrator.
- Photopea – an online alternative to Photoshop, with lots of features and the ability to open PSD, AI, PDF and .sketch files, along with normal image file formats