If you’ve ever tried to design a website or start your own blog, you’ve probably felt the need to add images to your creation. It can be easy to see the internet as a free-for-all, but images belong to the people who created them.
Stock images provide you with a reliable source for your design needs. It also helps you to make sure you are doing everything legally.
It is sometimes even worthwhile to pay for images that are not copyrighted. For example, stock image sites may still charge you for images even though they are royalty-free.
Fortunately, there are a number of sources for completely free images, and we’ve collected them here. So read on for 100 sources where you can find free stock images: and don’t worry — they’re all legal!
These resources are some of the most popular free stock image sites on the Web and with good reason. If you’re looking for some mainstream images for your website, these are the first place to try.
Pixabay: Free photos and images that don’t require attribution.
FreeFoto: FreeFoto.com claims to be “the largest collection of free photographs on the internet.” They’re available for offline projects as well, as long as you’re not using them to make a profit.
KAVEWALL: Look for images and textures in unique categories like tattoo, smoke, and food.
Photocase: The good people at Photocase are “prettying up the world.” Check out their great library of stock images.
deviantART: Provocative photos spawn great debates on the site’s forum.
It’s probably pretty safe to say that every stock image site on the Web needs the help of photographers to keep it running. The following sites, however, really cater to the needs of photographers, designers, and other artists even though they’re donating their photos for free.
Stock.xchng: Check out the gorgeous shots organized into lots of different categories, making your search as easy as possible.
Morguefile: Browse thousands of beautiful photos in this site’s archives, but don’t miss their job board either!
IM Free: Images and other resources organized by topic.
The NOAA Library: Breathtaking science and nature shots are available at this site. Don’t forget to check out the “Meet the Photographers” page which includes short bios and descriptions of the featured photogs.
Free Range Stock: Photographers are rewarded for giving away their pictures by getting a percentage of the site’s total ad revenue.
AMG Media: As long as you give credit to the photographer somewhere on your site, these images are yours for the taking.
Gratisography: Free high-resolution pictures you can use on your personal and commercial projects, with new ones added weekly.
Picography: A gallery of shots offered by a handful of professional photographers.
PhotoRogue.com: If you can’t find a picture of anything you want, go to PhotoRogue.com and make a request for whatever it is you’re thinking of. Photographers will take pictures for you — and it’s still free!
New Old Stock: A collection of vintage photos from public archives.
GetRefe: Great source of architectural and landscape photos by photographers traveling throughout Europe.
Image Temple: Send in your own photos to be included in this site’s gallery.
Flickr: Most of the photos on this site are not free, but a clever search will turn up some real goodies.
FreeLargePhotos.com: Downloaders must link their chosen photo back to the site, which gives the photographer credit.
Less is Sometimes More
Just because the sites listed in this section aren’t as expansive as some of the others on our list doesn’t mean they’re not worth checking out. Sometimes less can really means more, especially when it comes to narrowing down your search or coming across hard-to-find treasures.
Jay Mantri: Free, inspiring photos by Southern California designer Jay Mantri, updated every Thursday.
Mayang’s Free Texture Library: Download high-res textures from this site, which has categories like architecture, buildings, plants, wood, and stone.
There is a lot more to legal stock images than just a bank of free photos. The sites in this section all go beyond being a basic stock photography resource by offering more services that will help improve your search for and use of stock images.
Creative Commons: This nonprofit site shows you how to license your images once they’ve been uploaded onto your site.
Free Images: This British site offers free images as well as wallpapers, desktops, and a section of ideas and tips that will help you customize your image experience, whether you’re a photographer or not.
Creating Online: This stock images site is an excellent resource for any new blogger or Web site developer. Learn about editing your images, hosting, domains, and more.
Obsidian Dawn: Free Photoshop brushes, patterns, shapes, images, and more.
GraphicStock.com: Sign up for a free account to access thousands of vectors, images, icons, buttons, photos, and more.
Gimp Savvy: In addition to finding great images, Gimp Savvy also gives tips on photo touchups, making a collage, and more.
Creativity 103: Find free abstract images and videos on Creativity 103.
Lost & Taken: Search photos and textures, no attribution necessary.
Subtle Patterns: A curated archive of tiling images with subtle patterns, great for website backgrounds.
Freepik: Freepik helps you to find free vector art, illustrations, icons, PSD and photos for using in websites and more.
New York Public Library Digital Gallery: Browse through thousands of prints, illustrations, and photos. Read the photographic services and permissions page for more information on downloading high-res files.
These image sites don’t necessarily fit into one particular category, but they’ve still got a lot to offer for your website’s needs.