Where To Find Free Stock Photos

by Lissie

Looking for free stock photos? Looking for photos that you can use legally on your website, advertising or printing? Read on to discover some good sources of free stock photos.

Looking for watermark free stock photos? Well I've used free stock photos for a number of years and have come across some excellent sites. Its wise, though, that if you are using stock photos, either free or paid, you understand the limits of the license that you have to use the photo. Yes even if its "free" it doesn't mean that the photo is without restrictions of how to use it.

Where To Find Free Stock Photos.

Lets start with where you should NOT find free photos. Just because you found a nice photo via Google search, or on your favorite photo, and you can download it, doesn't mean its free. You may be allowed to use it - but you will need to contact the photographer to do so. They may let you use the photo for free - but they will probably want at least an acknowledgment of their copyright. Yes just because a photo is on line, that doesn't mean its not copyright!

So where can I get free stock photos you ask? Lets look at some free, and some sorta free sites. Which is the best site for free stock photos will really come down to what you are looking for, and how you want to use the photo. I'll tell you now, that if you intend to use the photo off-line, rather than just on a website, you will probably have to pay.



Talk about an difficult to remember url! But this Hungarian site is one of the oldest stock photo sites out there. Not all of the photos are free, though a lot are, but they are all royalty free, which means that you pay a one-off fee rather than paying for each time you use the image.

I've used the site for years, and I've never seen the design change. Its not terrible, but its not good either, I can usually find what I want. They do have a fairly good range of images.

Morgue File


In contrast I've always been able to remember the url of this site! This has a nice clean interface now - and ALL the images are free, which removes the frustration of stock.xchng - where you find a nice pic - and then discover you need to pay for it.  The standard license allows you to copy, adapt and distribute the image, which is a generous license. You don't need to attribute it either. 


Open Photo


Most images here are basically using the creative commons approach to copyright (or copyleft as its sometimes called). You are allowed to use and adapt the photos but often the license is share and share alike. Which means that because you didn't pay for the image you can't charge any image you make from the original. You also should acknowledge the source and images by default have a © statement at the bottom.

photo © Zbigniew Twardowski for openphoto.net CC:Attribution-ShareAlike

Running Dog
Running Dog

Free Images


 is a new site to me. All images are free - but you MUST give them a credit. I find this a little annoying as the photographers have, presumably, not been paid, but the site is basically getting lots of free links. 

Pocket Watch
Pocket Watch

Other Sources of Free Images

You will often find historic images are out of copyright and are available for use - check with your local library or historical research organizations.

Getting Paid Images for Free (Legitimately)

Many of the paid-for stock photography sites will allow you to try before you buy - check out my review of depositphotos.com - for an example of this.

Stock Images for Free

Updated: 03/07/2012, Lissie
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MaggiePowell on 05/23/2013

Thanks, I had been using morguefile, nice to know about some of these others

Aiden on 03/19/2012

thanks for the info. You can also consider kozzi.com since they also present a free stock photos. Some of my stuff was came in that site. It used it to my blogs and also they have vectors.

Angel on 03/07/2012

Great info. Thanks as I am always looking for free photos. I almost decided to pay to be a member of a site not too long ago but decided against it in the end. I am going to keep trying to use free photos as long as I can. I have never heard of the ones you have listed either... so this was very helpful to me. Thanks.

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