A big problem people have when trying to design their own graphics or website is where to get good free stock images which are royalty-free so you can us them without any worry of repercussions.
So we’re just going to list the best websites we’ve used in the past for free stock images and also give you a simple method which allows you to search google for ‘Labeled for reuse’ images.
Quickly before we start there’s one thing you must note – because these websites are offering a free service you will find yourself scrolling through a lot of images before finding the right one, and to be 100% honest sometimes you may not even find the perfect picture you’re looking for. So if you find yourself constantly banging your head against the wall trying to find free images for your design projects then my advice would be to just pay a subscription to Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, iStock etc etc and cut your losses!
But here are the best options for the freebies out there:
Free Stock Image Websites
This is usually our first choice for generic free images. There’s such a large collection of high quality images on here (over 790,000 at the time of writing this!) so there’s lots to be found on this free proverbial gold-mine. When using the search bar we find this method works best: Firstly, try to be as specific as possible and type in exactly what you’re looking for – lets say you need a picture of someone typing on a keyboard – type in ‘typing on keyboard’ and see what comes up. 1 out of 10 times this works and your search will automatically find the perfect picture! Hallelujah! However the other 9 times it just falls flat and you get a few images which have little relevance to your search. When this happens it’s best to do a second search but this time don’t be too specific. Instead, just type in a general word which best describes what you’re looking for (‘keyboard’ for example here) and spend a little more time scrolling through the images from your search result.
If you’re in need of stock images relating to technology/business then this is a great place to look! They have a simple navigation panel at the top which allows you to click through to their main categories: Computer | Smartphone | Smartwatch | Tablet | Technology | Top View | Business | People. The nice and simple layout allows you to seamlessly look through each of the categories and find the perfect image you’re looking for.
For us, Pexels offers a great variety of ‘lifestyle’ specific images – so if you’re in need of locations, landscapes, landmarks or people then this is a great option to look through. It has a simple searchbar system at the top alike pixabay so again try to be specific in your first search and (if applicable) less-so in your second search.
Alike ‘Pexels’, Unsplash offers more ‘lifestyle’ specific images however we find the ones on here are more ‘abstract’ which makes them perfect for blog images etc and the beauty is they provide you with the images in extremely high-resolution so if you were going to print the images off this is the best place to look. So if you’re in need of locations, landscapes and people then Unsplash offers nice professional images which have a real ‘indie’ vibe to them with shallow depth of field and lense flares etc. So if that’s the look you’re after then look no further!
So that’s our top list of free online stock image providers, there are LOADS out there so feel free to look around and find what ones work best for you, but these are the top 4 we use on a regular basis.
Google Image Search Trick
So if you’re a big fan of google and just find it simpler to search through their index of images then there is a clever way of filtering through only the images which are royalty-free or ‘Labeled for reuse’ as they put it.
So firstly just type in the search bar as you normally would for the image you want to find and click ‘Images’ from the top bar.
Then with the results showing below, click ‘Search tools’
From the new dropdown bar click ‘Usage rights’
Then choose ‘Labeled for reuse’ from the drop down menu
Now every image that you can see is copyright free for you to use as you wish! Simple as that and it can be a little quicker to search through if you’re already using google at the time. So just an extra option to help 🙂