When you have a small business, you usually don’t have much of a budget for the beautiful images you need. We looked around for recommendations for good sources for stock photos, and everywhere we saw “40 Best” and “25 Best” lists, but those leave you having to wade through a morass of options. Let’s cut to the chase: Who has time to shop 25 places? Here are nine awesome options:
Stocksnap.io is a fabulous resource. Nice layout; lots of pictures. A great feature is the download counter, so you can know if the picture you want is all over the net or a special find just for you. Plus, bunnies are cute!
How do free stock photo sites stay free? Usually, there’s some advertising. In the case of Burst, it’s owned by Shopify, and Shopify wants its sellers to have plenty of beautiful stock images for their Shopify stores. And they want you to become one of their resellers, which makes you the beneficiary of Burst’s treasure trove. They tend toward more retail-friendly composition and topics.
Death to the Stock Photo is a funny one. They have amazing images, but you can only get free what they send you via regular emails, because their primary support is their pay version. We have a couple of clients who subscribe to the monthly service, but we’re blown away by their emailed free content, too.
Gratisography is quirky and fun, as you might expect from an Iowan whose primary website is laughandpee.com. Heck, he even has a whole category of images titled “Whimsical”. It seems like there’s a story behind pretty much everything you’ll see on the site. And there’s plenty of pulchritudinous scenery too. Definitely our favorite for fun exploration and well worth a look (We’ve been just dying to use “pulchritudinous” in a sentence!).
Based in Poland, Kaboom Pics is the brainchild of the mononymous Karolina. Karolina has a very good eye, and the site has a refreshingly non-American sensibility. You won’t find the Texas State Fair here, but between the Euro-Cadillac and the haute cuisine, you won’t miss it. Another great one for exploring just for fun.
Negative Space is a great place for no-frills beautiful stock images. They’re a little heavy on the advertising, so they’re not higher on this list, but just look at that stag – where are you gonna find a stag like that?
Pikwizard is a great new stock photography site that has 100,000 high-quality images, with 20,000 exclusive to the website. They have a bunch of high-quality images of people, which can seem few and far between on stock photo websites! They also offer a “design wizard” for creating graphics with the images – right on the site.
What seems to be the absolute hugest source out there is Pixabay. In addition to photographs, they have vector graphics, videos, and even illustrations. It can be a little overwhelming to find what you’re after, but it’s probably in there somewhere.
Unsplash prides itself on being a community of sharing photographers. This could be a recipe for trouble, with aspiring photographers throwing whatever they have at the site, but it’s curated remarkably well, and there are a ton of beautiful, well-composed images in their collection.
In our perfect world, we’d do all our free stock photo shopping with Karolina at Kaboom Pics and Ryan at Gratisography, because we like to have a good time while we’re creating beautiful websites. But each of these sites has its own flavor and usefulness. Between them, we think you’ll find what you’re looking for, and it won’t cost you a dime. Happy hunting!