The Best 20 Free Stock Photo Sites for Content Marketing

Photography plays a huge part in content marketing, enticing the eyes of our readers and illustrating our messages. Unfortunately, some marketers have grown content using drab, uninspiring and unnatural imagery that seem all too common on bad stock photo sites.

Well, enough is enough. It’s time to banish dreadful imagery once and for all.

In this blog, I’ve collected 20 of the finest free stock photography sites to help with your content marketing.

PexelsName: Pexels

Website: www.pexels.com

Searchable: Yes

Membership Required: No

Pexels releases images under a Creative Commons Zero license. All images are beautiful and sourced from reliable sources like Gratisography and Little Visuals.

Death-to-Stock-PhotographyName: Death to the Stock Photo

Website: www.deathtothestockphoto.com

Searchable: No

Membership Required: Yes

Death to the Stock Photo is perhaps the best-known name on our list. Every month, Death to the Stock Photo releases a themed package of images to its subscribers. While you might not always find what you are looking for, the quality of images is rarely beaten.

MMTName: MMT

Website: www.mmtstock.com

Searchable: Yes

Membership Required: No

Jeffrey Betts’ MMT is a relatively new site, which releases images under a Creative Commons Zero license. Images on MMT tend to focus on urban themes.

Jay-MantriName: Jay Mantri

Website: www.jaymantri.com

Searchable: No

Membership Required: No

Jay Mantri’s site is updated every week with seven new images. While Jay’s photos are thematically diverse, they are all tremendously artful and useful for many purposes. All images are released under a Creative Commons Zero license.

LibreShotName: LibreShot

Website: www.freerangestock.com

Searchable: Yes

Membership Required: Yes

The project of Czech Martin Vorel, LibreShot is dedicated to making design a prettier place. Vorel releases all images under a Creative Commons Zero license.

PixaBayName: Pixabay

Website: www.pixabay.com

Searchable: Yes

Membership Required: No

Pixabay is a stock photography stalwart and one of my first stops whenever I’m looking for an image. The site takes public submissions but filters out poor quality shots to keep the library’s overall quality very high.

StockSnapName: StockSnap

Website: www.stocksnap.io

Searchable: Yes

Membership Required: No

StockSnap is home to a small collection of unbelievably beautiful images. When you need photography that tells a story, StockSnap should be one of your first stops on your list — just be prepared to be disappointed when your search doesn’t find any results.

PicjumboName: Picjumbo

Website: www.picjumbo.com

Searchable: Yes

Membership Required: No

Picjumbo got off to a slow start with only one photo added every day. However, a couple years down the line and it’s image library has developed quite nicely. Picjumbo has a lot of really nice macro photos, which are perfect for backgrounds and hero images.

StockPhotosName: StockPhotos

Website: www.stockphotos.io

Searchable: Yes

Membership Required: No

StockPhotos is another publically driven stock photo website. All contributions are assessed against an Image Acceptance Criteria which keeps the overall quality exceptionally high. All images are released under a Creative Commons Zero license.

Freerange-StockName: Freerange Stock

Website: www.freerangestock.com

Searchable: Yes

Membership Required: Yes

Freerange Stock is another of the top tier sites, boasting a manually-curated library topping 40,000 images. With 2,000 registered photographers signed up, it’s collection is growing at an unbelievable rate.

NewOldStockName: New Old Stock

Website: nos.twnsnd.co

Searchable: Yes

Membership Required: No

New Old Stock is a collection of vintage photographs sourced from public archives. If you need a dollop of old school cool, then look no further.

RefeName: Refe

Website: www.getrefe.com

Searchable: Yes

Membership Required: No

Refe is a collection of natural-looking photos released to the public domain. They tend to lack that staged look so they’re great for communicating a sense of authenticity. Refe also features a paid section so be careful that the images you’re looking at are actually free.

SplitShireName: SplitShire

Website: www.splitshire.com

Searchable: No

Membership Required: No

The side project of Italian designer Daniel Nanescu, SplitShire is a handy resource. While it lacks a search function, images are intuitively categorised and generally easy to find.

Free ImagesName: Free Images

Website: www.freeimages.com

Searchable: Yes

Membership Required: No

Free Images boasts the largest catalogue on the list — over 388,262 images at the time of writing! While the quality is pretty variable, you are generally able to find a decent photo to fit your brief. Images are released under a range of licenses so always check the small print, especially considering that Free Images is owned by Getty.

Startup StockName: Startup Stock Photos

Website: www.startupstockphotos.com

Searchable: No

Membership Required: No

Most businesses lack realistic photography of their office when they just start out. When your business has only existed for a couple of months, there are more pressing matters to think about than hiring a photographer. While some will resort to using cringe-inducing stock photography of smiling suits in heartless offices, there’s finally an alternative: Startup Stock Photos.

Little-VisualsName: Little Visuals

Website: www.littlevisuals.co

Searchable: No

Membership Required: No

Little Visuals is another excellent stock photo subscription service, emailing you seven beautiful, public domain images every seven days. Subject matter varies but there’s a strong nature theme throughout the weekly collections.

UnsplashName: Unsplash

Website: www.unsplash.com

Searchable: Yes

Membership Required: No

Unsplash was one of the original free stock photo sites and remains an outstanding resource to this day. The site releases ten new photos every ten days. There’s no real theme to Unsplash, one day it might be mountains and the next it’s cities. All images are free from copyright and usage limitations.

SnapWire SnapsName: Snapire Snaps

Website: www.snapwiresnaps.tumblr.com

Searchable: Yes

Membership Required: No

Snapwire Snaps is basically another version of Little Visual, emailing subscribers seven hand-picked images every seven days with no real overarching theme. All images are released under a Creative Commons Zero license.

MagdeleineName: Magdeleine

Website: www.magdeleine.co

Searchable: Yes

Membership Required: No

Even though Magdeleine’s image library is small, the quality of it’s images more than makes up for it. All images are released under a Creative Commons Zero license.

 

Public-Domain-ArchiveName: Public Domain Archive

Website: www.publicdomainarchive.com

Searchable: Yes

Membership Required: No

Public Domain Archive is a labour of love from creatives Matt and Shayna. Matt — a web designer — loved using high-quality imagery but found the lack of centralised public domain resources frustrating. He set out to change that and the rest is history.

David Vallance
Senior Copywriter at Digital Impact
A digital copywriter and content creator, David is the backbone of Digital Impact’s marketing campaigns. With over five years’ experience writing for clients across a myriad of industries, he has developed the necessary skills to craft effective copy and content for any client.