Images are a vital part of the quality content but what if you don’t have a quality image of your own?
Luckily, there are online services that offer free images that you can download in high resolution; you only need to register as a user.
Here are the top 10 websites that offer high-quality images for free and make the process of uploading and sharing easier than ever.
Pixabay has one of the largest collections of free images online.
This website is packed with more than a million public domain images. You will find vector graphics, illustrations, and even videos.
Their selection of landscape photography is one of the best online, and the Editor’s Choice is worth your time if you don’t have a specific topic on your mind.
Once you’ve found a picture, you can choose a resolution and complete a captcha to download it. Or you can register for free to cut out the captcha.
Almost all pictures at Pixabay are safe to use but in order to avoid anything inappropriate appearing in the search results, you can enable SafeSearch box before browsing.
Pexels allows everyone to upload images, and then the site’s authorities pick the best ones to populate the searchable collection.
You can browse images by themes, including locations, emotions, and pastimes, as well as search for a specific image.
Pexels is popular among web and app designers because the website has a huge collection of images that are perfect for displaying interface mock-ups. And the vast majority of images are original and creative.
Pexels is one of a few websites that offer free space images, which look amazing. Some of the images are from NASA, so no doubt of quality.
Once you complete a free registration process, you will get access to high-resolution stock photos.
The website allows you to use these images for commercial or personal projects.
In addition to thousands of stock photos, Freerange offers you almost 20,000 CC0 (public domain) photos. That means you are free to modify and showcase them in any way you like, no author credits needed.
The same company who launched this website also has another website specializing in free vintage images.
It’s called Vintage Stock Photos. You can find thousands of quality vintage images for free there too!
Although the main purpose of Flickr isn’t public domain images, they have a huge library of high-quality free photos.
Flickr is one of the most convenient online image libraries with over 3 million high-resolution images to make sure you will never run out of stock photos.
This is one of the oldest and most popular photo sharing social networks on the web.
Besides being a convenient free image hosting, it also offers great editing tools you can use to make the image better before you download it.
You can also organize different pictures in albums.
Do note that most images you download from here will need author credits. Check the license that comes underneath each photo.
If you need something surreal, fun, and original, Gratisography is like a breath of fresh air.
This collection was created by talented graphic designer Ryan McGuire, who likes everything quirky.
His photos have a surreal edge and they are perfect if you’re sick and tired of stock photo clichés.
Compared to other websites mentioned here, Gratisography has less variety of free stock images, but new pictures appear every week and you’re sure to stand out from the crowd.
If you subscribe to his newsletter, you will receive weekly email alerts with his latest images.
All pictures are free to use and you do not need to credit Ryan McGuire but he will be thankful if you do.
Free Images is the free stock photo site with thousands of high-resolution images from which to choose.
You can browse by categories, themes, search tags, or search for a specific image.
There are free and premium images and the free images are more than enough with more than 400,000 on the website.
Just click on an image to learn more about the author, tags, how to download, and to mark as favorite.
As long as ads on the website don’t bother you, you can download and upload images without the need to create an account.
Free Images also gives you the HTML code for a direct link to an image, so you can quickly share it.
Unsplash features high-resolution images from semi-professional and professional photographers.
All images are donated by skillful photographers. Even though you can’t find millions of images there, the overall quality is better compared to some other websites.
Unsplash has a powerful search tool but if you don’t have anything specific on your mind, you can browse collections – photos are grouped by other users into different themes, for example Into The Wild, Light and Shadow, Street Life, etc.
When you sign in, you can create your own free collections. They are very useful for gathering photos for a project.
Just as with other websites mentioned here, you don’t have to credit photographers, but the website notes a credit link as a way to thank a person for a good job. It’s up to you now.
Picjumbo is a relatively small website but it features unique photos made by the talented photographer and owner Viktor Hanacek.
Not all photos, but almost all are a free and high resolution.
Viktor is a web designer as well, so you can find images of all categories. With a great collection of original photos, it’s worth signing up and checking it out.
Morguefile is one of the oldest websites with free quality images. You can use all images without restrictions for commercial and personal use.
You can bookmark the images and find your favorites in your ‘like’ box. You can also sign up for a premium account and share photos via social media or email.
You will have to log in to the website in order to like, download, and share images.
Finally, the Google Image Search helps you to find images that are in the public domain or have a Creative Commons license available on the web.
On its site, go to the search bar and type in a keyword to search for images. Then press the “Enter” key.
On the results page, look for the menu underneath the search bar. Click on “Tools”, followed by “Usage Rights”.
There are 5 options to choose from here:
- Not filtered by license
- Labeled for reuse with modification
- Labeled for reuse
- Labeled for non-commercial reuse with modification
- Labeled for non-commercial reuse
Choose the one most appropriate to you.
I would suggest going for “Labeled for reuse with modification”. That would allow you to edit the image freely and use it on both commercial and personal sites.
Once you have chosen the option, the search results will show only the results that are in your chosen usage rights.
Using the Google Image Search tool allows you to not only find images that are on sites such as Flickr, Pixabay, Pixels, and Wikimedia, you can also find images from other sites that are not on this list too.
The downside is that some of the photos on the result page have lower resolutions or look amateurish.
Do remember to check out the license on the originator’s website, because you may need to attribute credits to the author. You can do this by selecting the image you want, and by clicking on the “Visit page” button.
Pikwizard is the new kid on the block, but don't let that put you off! They've already managed to build a huge library of photo's into their database and their simple easy to use layout is very appealing. They have a lot of high-quality images of people, which is rare for free stock photo sites. For example, when I searched "office" I found a lot of really high-quality images that would be ideal for B2B type websites. That's not to say there isn't other useful content on there as well. There are loads of quality images and I see this site becoming a great resource in the future.
The other thing that I found interesting about Pikwizard is it’s “Edit image” function. When you click on “edit image”, it pulls the image into another tool called Design Wizard. From there you are able to edit the image in many ways, such as adding effects, adding text even adding other layers and icons on top of the image. This is interesting to me because I can search through Pikwizards database and find a suitable image to edit, then pull it into Design Wizard and enhance it for whatever I need it for, whether that’s social media posts, flyers or any of the other types of posts needed. Further, if you want any of these images printed, check out Nonstop Signs.
So there you go, we hope these ten amazing websites with beautifully crafted photos will help you find the perfect image for your next project.
But if web designing is not your thing, you can outsource your web design to a freelancer and pass this list to him or her.
I use some of these sites quite often myself, so trust me, it’s worth your time checking them out.
Jinghong “Pika” Chiu is a resident instructor for SEO at Derek Gehl’s Ignited Academy on Internet Marketing and lives in Singapore. He is an expert on Wordpress, SEO, and outsourcing. Reach out to him on Twitter: @chiujinghong
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