Whether for design, website construction, article illustration, or video production, stock images has became increasingly important in many industries since it’s hard to get people’s attention just by writing. But as we all know, high quality free stock images for commercial use are not that easy to find.
Copyright issue of commercially used stock images have long plagued many designers, medias and businesses. There have been numerous cases of copyright infringement, and some small companies have even been fatally hit by copyright problems.
It’s already difficult and time consuming to find some beautiful and well-matched stock images, let alone dig out their copyright information and get in touch with the author or photographer.
If things continue like this, you’ll end up spending much money as well as effort on finding legitimate stock images that are commercially available.
Fortunately, there are some generous websites providing high-definition, high-quality and free stock images for personal and commercial use with few copyright restrictions.
To help you keep a good balance between the copyright issue and cost performance, I’d like to recommend you 30 brilliant websites.
You’ll find many free stock images websites (not all of them) I listed here are under CC0 lincense. So before starting, we may need to talk about a concept at first:
What is CC0?
CC0 (Creative Commons Zero) is a copyright statement tool released by Creative Commons in 2009.
It means an author or creator waives all copyright and adjacent rights in the work and contributes it to the public domain to the maximum extent by declaring CC0 to a particular work.
Any person or organization is free to use it, including commercial use. In short, you can undersand CC0 as No Rights Reserved.
CC0 is a very generous creative sharing agreement, but CC0 images does not include the portrait right and property right of the model.
Also, it is important to note whether the copyright agreement for the material is “CC0” or just “CC”, because there are usually some restrictions on CC marked materials.
Pexels provides mass sharing of commercially available free stock images, which is updated quantitatively every week. Stock photos on Pexels are carefully selected from a large number of images, so the quality is guaranteed.
One of the things I like most about Pexels is the convenient search engine. You can filter stock images by orientation, size, color, or keyword tags, etc. After selecting a specific picture, you can also download it in a variety of resolutions, including the original size.
All photos on Pexels are free for commercial and non-commercial use without attribution. You can modify these photo as you want.
Pixabay has plenty of high-quality free stock image in many different types including photos, vector images, illustrations, and even videos.
The overall quality of the pictures on Pixabay is very good with fresh and elegant colors. You can copy, modify, forward, and use them for free, even for commercial purposes. However, the content in the image may still involve trademark rights and public and privacy rights.
StockSnap is a downloadable library of free HD stock images. The search results here can be sorted by downloads, favorites, page views, etc. to help you find well-matched materials faster.
The site is staffed by multiple photographers and offers a wealth of free stock photos under a single, simple CC0 license that enables you do whatever you want with all the photos with no attribution required.
A huge collection of high-definition CC0 licensed stock images are integrated into Visual Hunt, allowing users to find free materials (more than 300 million in total) via the built-in search engine or by color (just click on the corresponding color bar under the Visual Hunt homepage search box).
You can also choose a specific authorization type on top of the search results.
Unsplash is one of the world’s most well-known and high-quality free HD stock images websites that provides varies of photos and design materials that are commercially available. Stock images on this site are refreshing, aesthetically pleasing, and copyright-free.
The search feature of Unsplash is also very powerful. You can search images you want through color, keywords, trending, etc., and sort & filter search results based on different criteria.
Librestock is actually a search engine for stock images. With it, you can search a keyword on more than 40 free websites, and the matched image materials from different sites will be all listed in the search result. Then you can click any of them to go to the corresponding platform for downloading.
Sites included in LibreStock are all licensed by CC0. As stated on the front page of LibreStock, you can “do-what-ever-you-want” to these images, whether for personal use or commercial projects.
Burst is a free stock photo platform which is powered by Shopify. The photographers are constantly shooting and uploading high-resolution images to help users find the perfect free stock photos.
The categories in Burst are very detailed, my screenshot shows only a small part of it. You can find what you want by viewing corresponding photo collections or using the search engine.
It’s allowed to edit, crop or modify these images. And all of the pictures are royalty-free, with no attribution required. You can even sell t-shirts or mugs you designed using Burst images, since they are free for commercial use.
Fancycrave is a free stock images library specializing in “travel” style photos for both personal and commercial use. Compared to other photo libraries, Fancycrave is more suitable for those who need travel and life-related stock photos.
All photos on Fancycrave can be modified, and be used for commercial and noncommercial use for free.
Photock is a free stock photo website in Japan under the CC0 license, which means the images on this site can be modified and used for free, no matter for personal or commercial use, and no login or report is required.
All the pictures in Photock are taken by the website manager, mainly about Japanese cities. Although the number of photos is still not large, the style and quality of them are highly consistent.
LibreShot is a site founded by photographer Martin Vorel, and posts high-quality photographic images taken by him from time to time.
As stated on the homepage, the stock images of Libreshot are all free, commercially available, orgin guaranteed and do not require attribution.
Sozaing is a Japan website sharing free photos and WEB materials. The images are contributed by both professional or amateur photographers and are well classified and can also be found by tag.
Images on the site are free, commercially available, and with few restrictions.
12. ISO Republic
ISO Republic was founded by designer and photographer Tom Eversley in 2014 and provides curated collections of the best high-resolution CC0 Photos and Videos since then. Though the number of stock images isn’t large, but they are relatively safe to use.
The images on this site are under CC0 license. You can download them for free, use them on both personal and commercial projects, edit or share them without permission or attribution to the creator of the work.
Stokpic provides beautiful free stock photos for commercial and personal use in fields like life, travel, goods, nature, etc.
The image on Stokpic are mainly under two different licenses: Stokpic License and CC0 License. You can click on a photo to see its description. But either one is free to be used commercially.
There are more than a thousand free stock photos on SplitShire, and the site is keeping updating almost everyday. These photos are completely free and can be used for personal or commercial works.
Search results on Splitshire are presented in different photo collections, and you can make your choice from a variety of topics.
15. Skitter Photo
Skitter Photo is a public domain Photo resource website licensed by CC0. The categories are quite detailed and comprehensive. You can also rank the search results by different conditions, like date, views, etc.
All images on the site are completely free to download and can be used for any design project, including commercial projects.
Realistic Shots shares high resolution free stock photos for personal and commercial use. The categories of pictures includes architecture, people, travel, technology, life and so on.
There aren’t many pictures for now, but they claim to update 7 new photos every week.
StockSnap has a relatively high quality of images than many other free, commercially available galleries, where you can easily find a large number of beautiful, well-matched images whether you’re creating a personal blog or building complex corporate websites for your business.
All images on the site is under the generous CC0 license, which allows you to copy, edit, modify the images for free personally or commercially.
Pakutaso is a Japan free photography website with more than 16,000 images mainly featuring landscapes or people. Operators of this site do not admit to giving up copyright (not in the public domain), but refer to their images as free photo materials or free stock images.
In principle, they do not require copyright notice (signature), but some rights are reserved. Restrictions include: images can only be cropped and processed instead of being used alone or for resale (e.g. printed on a calendar, business card, mobile phone case, T-shirt without modification), reserve the right to charge, require contact person who can speak Japanese, etc.
Sozai-page is a website in Japan that provides pictures of finished or raw food products, and can also be hired to take pictures of in-store menus for restaurants.
The images on the site are allowed to be used for free. But for publication and media use, the website owner suggests that the user contact them for negotiation.
There are thousands free, beautiful stock images divided into many pratical categories, and the overall style of photos is relatively colorful. You can search for images of a certain main color by clicking the color bar at the bottom of the page.
The website will audit and confirm the photos and photographers to a certain extent, so the security is ok. All photos are shared under CC0 license, therefore allowed to use for personal or commercial purpose for free.
CCsearch is a search engine for public domain images developed by CC Creative Commons, which helps people to find high-quality image resources without copyright. The supported search scope of CCsearch includes Flickr, National Museum, New York Public Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art, etc.
In addition to allowing users to search for images under different licenses, the search engine also supports users to share search lists, add tags, and save search results, and more practical features will be added in the future based on user feedback.
Not only photos, you can also find various high quality illustrations, vector paintings on Picjumbo. There’s no copyright restrictions on these images, so they are all free to use, and available for personal or commercial purpose.
You only need to pay when downloading the All in One Pack (with more than 3000 photos).
Gratisography is a free high resolution photography images library, the overall theme and style are relatively unique. The total amount of stock images is not big, and the proportion of people’s pictures is the most.
All images on the site are available for personal or commercial use and are updated weekly. Just click the button in the bottom right corner of a image to download it.
24. IM FREE
IM FREE shares commercially available stock images without copyright restrictions. Pictures on this site is classified into many categories, including people, nature, art, life, icons, etc. and many advanced branches.
For example, there are 9 collections under PEOPLE category including woman, men, old, families, etc. You can easily find what you want.
Yahoo’s famous photo community, Flickr, brings together a large number of photographers and collects a large number of high-quality images.
But not all of Flickr’s images are licensed under CC0. To do a search, you can click on the lower triangle next to Any License and select the type of license you want from the drop-down menu. This will also make it easy to find images that can be commercially available for free.
PNGIMG has more than 20,000 different kinds of images without background, all of which are well processed and can be used directly. It’s very convenient for those who need PNG transparent background images for their designs.
These images are also very carefully classified, you can directly click on a tag on the home page and enter the corresponding collection to download them for free.
Foodiesfeed is a food themed free stock images gallery. It collects food photos from food photographers around the world and shares them under the CC0 license.
Whether you’re a hobbyist or professional photographer, a food blogger, a passionate foodie, or just need pictures of some food to use in your personal or commercial work, you can find them here for free.
The pictures provided by KaboomPics are mainly about life scenes, such as cell phones, calendars, food, etc. You can also search pictures with color palettes.
All photos on Kaboompics can be used for free for commercial and noncommercial purposes, and attribution is not required. You can modify the photos. Be creative and edit the photos as you like.
LifeOfPix is a website that provides free HD image materials without copyright restrictions. The images are mostly about natural or urban landscapes, as well as people and daily life. When searching, you can directly select specific categories, colors and even image orientation.
You can use the stock images on LifeOfPix for personal or commercial use for free.
UnDraw is a wonderful flat design gallery, includes a lot of illustrations created by Katerina Limpitsouni (still updating), and provides downloads in SVG and PNG formats.
If you like the style of unDraw, you can download and use them for free even for commercial purposes (this website using The MIT License authorization). It’s also worth noting that in unDraw your can directly adjust the main colors of the illustrations online.
These are the free stock image sites for commercial use I’ve put together for you. With them, you shall be able to find well-matched images to add luster to your project.
Keep in mind, however, that not all images on all these sites are licensed under CC0. Some of them might have their own copyright restrictions, which may also change over time.