Top sites for downloading free-to-use stock images

Downloading free-to-use stock images

Content creators are very often in need of images for their projects. This post lists some of the top sites for downloading free-to-use stock images.

Introduction to sites for downloading free-to-use stock images

The aim of this post is to list websites that host free-to-use images for content creators to download. In other words, images that have CC0 or public domain licences. When an author releases an image under a CC0 (Creative Commons 0) licence, the author basically releases all rights to that image.

Licensees (users) are basically allowed to do anything with that image, and they don’t have to give attribution (although it will be highly appreciated). The same goes for public domain images.

Note: Before using any image from the internet, always make sure that the license is clearly identified and that it falls within the allowable scope of the way you intend to use the image. In most cases, mass redistribution of these images is not allowed.


Burst is a free stock photo and textures platform that is powered by Shopify. Their goal is to build the best free image library for entrepreneurs, so they are constantly uploading new photos and adding new categories to reflect current trends in e-commerce and retail.

Most of the images are original photos that were taken in-house and are themed around trending business niches – everything from DIY beard oil to Aliexpress LED sneakers. You can also find more general photographs as well.

Some of the images on Burst are CC0 while others are released with a nonexclusive license. Users can still modify and use licenced photos with all the basic freedoms, but they bind the user to the Shopify/Burst terms of use. High-resolution and low-resolution images can be downloaded without an account and no login is required.


Flickr is a great way for people to share their personal photos and images. In contrast with other social media platforms, Flickr gives authors a clear way to licence their images. Authors/users upload new photos every day and Flickr’s search bar makes it easy to search for photos, people or groups. Google is also Flickr-friendly.

Some authors will reserve all rights to their images while others will be kind enough to share under a CC0 or CC BY 2.0 license. To be able to use Flickr, you will need an account and logging in will be required before images can be downloaded.


Freestocks offers a collection of free, fresh, up-to-date, high-resolution stock photos. The website is maintained by a small team of three photographers that create and upload stock photos in their free time.

The photo collections are divided into several categories, such as people, nature, fashion, foods & drinks and more. You can also search for any given topic using a search box.

All photos on Freestocks are free and licensed under CC0. You can copy, modify and use them both in personal and commercial projects. Photos can be downloaded directly from images and no account or log-in is required.

Good Free Photos is a large public-domain photo repository with free high-resolution photos and vectors. Containing more than  27 000 files, images are uploaded by the webmaster and other people.

Images can be searched for using a search bar or ordered by category or latest uploads. Images can be downloaded directly from images and no account or log-in is required.


Gratisography claims they have the world’s quirkiest collection of high-resolution free stock images, comprised of the world’s best, most creative pictures – images you just won’t find anywhere else. The website offers a search bar and a basic category list for finding photos.

Although no specific /official licenses are mentioned, their license page says that you may use Gratisography pictures as you please for both personal and commercial projects. You can adapt and modify the images and get paid for work that incorporates the pictures. Anything except for illegal and dodgy projects. No log-in or sign-up is required to download images.

ISO Republic

ISO Republic (aka ShotStash) offers a broad range of free-to-use photos and videos. New images every day under a free commercial and personal use license. The main page features a search bar and popular search categories. All categories and popular tags can also be accessed for more specific searches.

No account or login is required to download images.

Jay Mantri

Once a week, Jay Mantri releases some really nice photos with a variety of different themes. The website promotes “Free pics. Do anything (CC0). Make magic.”

Kaboom Pics

Kaboom Pics offers thousands of pictures without any payment, even for commercial use. They have a wide variety of high-quality free stock photography including abstract, city/architecture, fashion, food, landscapes and more. The main page offers featured photos and a search bar for finding stock.

A nice feature is that photos come with a complementary colour palette. The palette is generated from the photo and comes with corresponding HEX colours. The palette can also be downloaded along with the photo. Feel free to use the palette in the same way you use our photos.

Each photo not only features a quick download button but can be downloaded in three different sizes – for free. No login or account is required for downloading images.

Life of Pix

Life of Pix is a resource created by the LEEROY creative agency offering free high-resolution photos and videos with no copyright restrictions. Photos can be downloaded using a quick download button, but photo pages offer tags to further filter your selection.

The main page offers a search bar and features the work of photographers of the week. No login or account is required to download images.

New Old Stock

New Old Stock offers vintage photos from the public archives free of known copyright restrictions. These photos are to the best of their knowledge available in the public domain based on the institution’s participation in the Flickr Commons and the rules of Flickr Commons.

Although all photos are at the very least available for personal and non-commercial use, the owner of the website encourages users to “check the institution’s rights statement through the link I provide to the original Flickr posting. Most prefer that you link back to the original Flickr photo and mention the institution by name.”


Pexels provides over 30 000 high-quality and completely free stock photos licensed under CC0 — as long as they are altered first. They offer free images from their community of photographers and sources like Pixabay, Gratisography and Little Visuals. is popularly used and recommended by web developers and video content creators for its superb quality and variation of stock photos.

All photos are nicely tagged, searchable and also easy to discover through their discover pages. Members can follow their favourite photographer, but no registration is required to download images.

Pexels also offers Photoshop plugin that lets you search through their collection directly on Photoshop.


Picjumbo is a free stock photo site created in 2013 by designer and photographer Viktor Hanacek. According to Viktor, Picjumbo is one of today’s “best sites with free stock photos featured in the biggest online publications”. They offer beautiful, high-quality photos that can be searched for by keyword, date and category. No account or login is required.

Apart from their massive free photo collection, Picjumbo also offers a premium subscription that will give access to exclusive Royalty-Free content.


Picography offers gorgeous, high-resolution, free photos that you can use however you like with their free, CC0 license. Stock photos are submitted by Dave Meier and various other photographers. The website has been operational for more than 3 years.

The main page offers a search bar and/or photos can be searched for by categories and tags. Photos can be downloaded without an account or the need to log in.


Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives, share copyright-free images and videos. They have over a million high-quality stock images and videos shared by their community. Their images and videos as searchable using a search bar. Content can also be filtered by type.

All contents are released under the Pixabay License, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission – even for commercial purposes.

Crediting isn’t required, but linking back is greatly appreciated and allows image authors to gain exposure. Sign-up is free, but images can be downloaded by size by simply completing a Captcha. No Captcha is required for registered users.


PxHere is another image website that offers stunning CC0 images. The terms are quite simple — you can do with the image anything you want, as long as it is legal. PxHere offers a search bar and a tag system for finding images. Images can also be filtered using colours.

No account or login is required for downloading images. Images can be downloaded in various sizes (selected during the download request).


Reshot is a massive library of handpicked free stock photos you won’t find anywhere else. Their website is built for startups, freelancers and makers who are sick of tacky stock photos. The main page features trendy photos and a search bar to look for your own.

Reshot grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform and use photos for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission or attribution. No login or account is needed to download images.


SkitterPhoto offers a wide variety of free stock photos released under CC0 and public domain. Pictures are authentic and created by Skitterphoto’s owners, but they also welcome photographers to sign up to release their photos.

The main page features admin picks and the newest photos. Only after selecting a photo, the website search bar appears. Photo pages offer colour palettes and tags to use as filters. These pages also feature a lot of information about the photo (date taken, file size, etc.). Photos can be downloaded without signing in.


StockSnap‘s philosophy is to make it as easy and straightforward as possible to find, share and use amazing photographic imagery for any creative project.

Hundreds of free high-resolution images are uploaded weekly by their online community and are all shared under the CC0 license. The website offers a search bar for finding the right image and no login or account is needed to download images.


Unsplash offers over a million free (“do-whatever-you-want”) high-resolution photos offered by the world’s most generous community of photographers. The home page features “the very best” photos and the site also offers a search bar and popular categories.

Unsplash grants an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform and use photos from their website for free. This includes use for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash. Images can be downloaded without an account and no login is required.

Apart from free-to-use stock images, Unsplash also offers textures and vectors.

Unsplash also has a mobile app version called Resplash.

Honourable mentions


With its huge database of high-quality images, Freepic comes highly recommended by graphic designers. It is an awesome resource for backgrounds, logos, photos, PSDs and vectors. Most of the images on Freepic are for premium members only (paid subscription), and for the ones that are free, attribution is required.


Freevector has tons of high-quality vectors that can be used for free in personal projects – as long as attribution is given). Commercial use is only allowed for premium members, which is a paid subscription.

Envato Elements

Envato Elements is a paid-for online digital asset and online tool website that has thousands and thousands of royalty-free stock images and photos to choose from. Other assets include professional music, website templates, sound effects, art, icons and many, many more.

Their products can be used by creatives all over the world, including South Africa.

How this list was obtained

Over the years, I’ve been using Google Image search to search for free-to-use images for my content. By using Google’s filter options (situated under the Tools tab), images that can be modified and reused can be isolated.

Google image search

By clicking through to the website of these images, the top websites that host stock images for reuse were identified.

Some of these free-to-use image websites were also obtained as recommendations from other websites.


Here we listed sites for downloading free-to-use stock images. These websites were sourced using Google Image search to search for free-to-use images for my content.

Anything else

Please let us know in the comments section below if you think we missed a free-to-use image website. We would like to add your favourite website too. Kindly also inform us if any of these websites were removed from the internet or if you don’t agree with their contents.

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