Stock photography can make or break a design–whether it’s a website, app or print piece that you’re working on. Good stock photography often comes with a hefty price tag. But, when you’re a design student, buying thousands of dollars worth of stock photos might not be a realistic expectation. So any time you can get some nice free images, is a good time. I would have loved to have had access to some of these sites in college. Check out some of my favorite free image resources and save some money.
The British Library on Flickr
Tons and tons of old school illustrations and photos from the British Library. I can imagine having a hard time figuring out what to do with some of these images, but the collection is no doubt extremely impressive. And if you’re working on a vintage project, this might very well be an invaluable resource.
A giant collection of stock photos, and a decent collection of photos featuring people in them. One of the more difficult parts of sourcing free stock photography is finding images containing people. Pixabay’s taken the legwork out of that and sourced a few good quality images so you don’t have to worry about finding an image of a–oh, I don’t know–woman biting into a doughnut while a small green arm comes out of her nostril. Look, I just find these things. I can’t explain them.
My favorite place on the internet–when it comes to free photography anyway. Unsplash’s images are gorgeous, well-curated and new photos are added every ten days. They have a simple licensing structure too, it’s literally: Do whatever. Some of the images on Pixabay come from this fabulous site.
Tons of beautiful copyright-free photos here and they’re all very searchable and of good quality. Stocksnap borrows from UnSplash and KaboomPics, but consolidating those two resources makes things a little bit easier for stock photo searchers. I’ve found they have a rather impressive array of really nice food-related photos.
Excellent photos, lots of good quality images and you can use them personally and commercially, with some very reasonable restrictions (you can’t resell them, you can redistribute them without asking first, etc). I’ve used some of these images myself when building generic themes to fill out photo galleries, blog posts and other dummy content.
Beautiful, free stock photos. Lots of artistic shots with a lot of very usable content. Bonus points to FancyCrave for updating their library daily!
One can thank Ryan McGuire for curating this fantastic website full of free photography. Beautifully shot, some with a bit of photo manipulation applied. It would be super awesome to donate a few bucks for the work McGuire does. And you know that green arm doughnut picture? It came from here.
New Old Stock
Need some pictures, but you need them to be vintage? Old New Stock has you covered. No attribution or worries about copyright, just a lot of really fascinating imagery for free. If you’re a Shorpy fan, definitely check this one out.
Startup Stock Photos
If you ever needed photos of people in an office, working on laptops, sitting in meetings, contemplating UX, and just generally doing their jobs during a workday in the office–Startup Stock Photos is probably your place. They also have some great shots of equipment and devices.
Made in Moments, Freebies
I’ve always wished my husband and I could travel the world, freelancing wherever we land–maybe some day. In the mean time, living vicariously through Tomy & Marina’s collection of free pictures will have to do for now. They do have paid photo packs, but check out the freebies section I linked, plenty of good content there.
Another collection of stock photos from various sources. Presented nicely, and with a search function which is always appreciated.
Some of the nicest architectural photos I’ve seen from a free stock site. I love the repeating patterns that they’ve captured and there’s a very unique perspective to each of the shots on this site.
With so many great stock photo resources, you should be able to find what you need without spending too much. Some of these photos work fantastically for dummy content in a theme as well. Or as blog post images too. Enjoy!