I try to create as many custom graphics as I can here on Content Champion, but sometimes I also like to mix things up a bit and use free stock images when I find quality ones that are relevant to the post.
With that said, here are some great places to source often superb stock photography – with absolutely no charge…
With 1.6 million free-to-use images and a simple search function, German-based Pixabay is the obvious go-to stock photo website. Categories cover all the themes you’d expect, from business suits to cute fluffy bunnies.
You can use Pixabay images commercially (provided you don’t sell the image), and you’re even allowed to modify the photographs. Attribution isn’t required, although as ever, it’s appreciated.
Unsplash has around 850,000 free images across a wide range of themes, and some of the photography on this site is truly stunning.
Downloads are available in one size only, so you’ll need to make any tweaks yourself later. Photos can be used commercially but not sold, and giving credit to the individual photographers is encouraged.
This collection keeps on growing, and you could easily lose yourself browsing through their home page of latest uploads. Photos are free for commercial use (but you can’t sell them on), and you can modify the images, which come is a range of download sizes.
The diverse category headings include Design, Happy and Beer, but we find them especially strong on travel and nature themes.
Pexels has hundreds of thousands of free images and videos, all easily searchable. Photos can be used commercially (although not sold) and there’s no need to give an attribution. There’s a choice of download sizes or you can customise the image.
There are some great quality photos on this site, and it’s a good one if you need illustrations involving people (or cats).
With over 250 million images, Stockvault is simply massive. However, before you delete the rest of the names on this list, take a breath, as only some of this vast collection is free-to-use, and not all can be used commercially.
So, it’s small-print time, but your efforts should be rewarded with some standout images available in a choice of sizes and a vast range of themes.
If you want to play about with your photo, this free stock collection of background images is a good place to go. Their Design Wizard function lets you edit the image before you download it. However, this does mean that all the images are available in one size only.
There’s a choice of eye-catching backgrounds, sorted by category. Attribution is encouraged to support the photographers, although isn’t essential. The photos are free to use commercially, with the usual caveat of not selling the image itself.
Kaboompics provides users with a custom colour palette to use with their downloaded images. The free images themselves are great quality and cover a wide range of subjects, and you’re encouraged to use the keyword search function rather than browsing through categories – ideal for quick-fire image sourcing.
The images are free for commercial use (provided they’re not sold) and can be modified. There are typically three download sizes plus customised options. There’s also a good blog, aimed at general creatives – and users are asked to support their fellows by giving an attribution.
This is a lovely little collection of free images, and the ideal place to go if you want something a bit different (not always easy to achieve with free stock photography). Their images are free for commercial use (but don’t re-sell them), and attribution is appreciated but not compulsory.
The pictures are downloaded in their original sizes, but then you’re free to modify them. Check out their Whimsical category just for the fun of it.
Picjumbo may not be the largest free stock image website, but there are some real, good quality gems here. You can use the photos commercially and modify them, provided you don’t sell them. There’s a range of download sizes to choose from.
The food photography is especially worth a browse, and there’s a good selection of useful “people” photos.
This website indexes free images and videos from some of the most popular stock websites, cutting down on your image search time. You’ll download them from the stock image websites themselves, so follow their individual terms and conditions.
If you’re not sure exactly want you want, you can search via the image tags, which hopefully will give you some inspiration.
This isn’t the largest collection ever; however its easy-to-use search function and clear categories mean you might head straight to the perfect photo. There are some especially strong travel and architecture pictures.
All images are free, and you can modify them (which you may have to, as there’s only one download size). As ever, Negative Space’s licence prevents images from being re-sold.
At just over 1,000 free images, SplitShire isn’t one of the biggest stock image sites; however, there are some beautiful, high-quality images here, available in two download sizes.
The photographs can be used commercially, but not re-sold. The categories are easy to search through – Street is especially worth a browse, just for the joy of it.
Don’t dismiss Getty if you’re on a budget – some of their images are free on a temporary basis. You may be wondering what the point is of having an image for 30 days; however, if you’re pulling together a pitch, adding a few nice Gettys will help with the overall impact.
If you want to use the image publicly or the 30 days expire and you want to keep the image, you’ll have to pay for the licence at that point.
This website indexes photos from free image sites, letting you search a range of websites from one easy-to-use platform.
There are currently around 100,000 free images on its database, with a wide range of handy categories to search through. You’ll need to double-check each individual photo or video for licence and download details.
Freeimages has around 350,000 pictures, and there’s a wide choice of categories as well as a search function. Animals & Nature and Industrial have strong images; and if you’re after happy and wholesome, their People category is the place to go.
The images are free for commercial use (although under the licence arrangement, the pictures are not for re-sale) and users can modify them. There’s a good choice of download sizes.
Need to illustrate a co-working space or promote a fresh, new company? Startupstockphotos specialises in engaged young people in urban work spaces, and does it very well. There’s a good choice of free photos here, but be aware that visible logos (and there’s a lot of these) will need attribution.
Download the pics in their original sizes, and then you’re free to modify them. Some of the free photos ask for photographer credit, so check the terms on the individual image. As usual, resale is against the licence terms.
Just the home page has you hooked, with its gallery of captivating, high-res images. There’s a search function and clear categories to help you find the right picture.
When you’ve found it, you need to download it in its original size, but then you can modify it. Images are free for commercial use but can’t themselves be sold. Each week, there’s a new photographer showcased on the website – so given LoP’s pro-photographer approach, it would simply be polite to offer up a credit.
There are over 100,000 free-to-use images here, in a broad range of categories (their international cityscapes and urban details are especially good).
All their images can be used commercially, provided you don’t sell them on. The photographs are downloaded in their original sizes, but then you’re free to modify them to suit your needs.
The Stocks has a collection of free images and videos in a range of themes. They’re free for commercial use and can be modified, but can’t be resold under the terms of the licence. Photos are downloaded in their original size.
It’s not the easiest interface, but it’s worth persevering for some great images; and the “New Old Stocks” collection of vintage photographs is a fascinating browse.
Canva is a graphic design tool, not a free stock photo site, but (stay with us) if you subscribe you get access to a varied collection of stock images.
So, if you’re thinking about signing up to a design tool and like to use stock images, it’s worth considering Canva to get access to their exclusive photo library.
There are some stunning images here, including some beautiful, hi-res close-up shots. All are free; however, make sure you don’t accidentally click on the paid-for images at the bottom of the page…
The images can be used commercially (provided you don’t sell them on) and you’re allowed to modify them. Attribution is always appreciated, although not essential. Photos are downloaded in their original size, keeping that high-res lovely and sharp.
The tagline on the home page reads: “100% Free Stock Photos”, which keeps things nice and clear. The search function is similarly straightforward, and the categories are separated into sub-cats for extra-efficient searching.
All images are free for commercial use (except for reselling) and the user is free to modify the photo. Downloads are available in original size only.
This is definitely worth exploring for good free photos, as some Flickr contributors offer their images and videos through a Creative Commons licence.
Make sure you check each individual image for terms and conditions, and give the photographer a credit. This being Flickr, there really is all sorts on here.
After quirky, vintage or newsworthy? Wikimedia Commons is a good place to try, and there are so many categories to look through. Many images are shared through the Creative Commons Attribution licence.
It’s not the most user-friendly search function, but worth the effort for all the buried treasure on here. Check each individual image for attribution, licence and download sizes (and this bit is very clear!).
We’ve really moved away from free images with this listing; however, you can find some great free images on Pinterest if you’re happy to spend a bit of time. If you’re blogging about interior design, you may not have much choice…
What Pinterest does is show you the photo and give you details of its author. More often than not, this will then involve an email to the source, together with the promise of a link or reference. Don’t embed the image in your blog until you have this permission.
So there you have it, 25 free stock photo sites where you can download quality images for your blog, website or print project. My personal favourites are Pixabay and Pexels, but I also love the huge collection of technically-not-free-but-included-with-your-subscription photos in Canva.
Have a look at some of these sites yourself, you're bound to find something you like and can always mix up your stock images with custom made graphics – which you can also make yourself with a very modest subscription to the aforementioned Canva.