Some stock photos just look dated and take the whole tone of a website or marketing campaign down.
If you’re on the hunt for stock images that are both good and free, don’t worry, we’re coming to your rescue with our favourite places to get stock images for free. Real photos are obviously the ideal for your online presence, but for when you can’t afford it or don’t have time to have a photoshoot for your business, high-quality stock photos are a great substitute.
Unsplash has over 2 million free high-resolution images from a community of photographers all over the world. The images are free to use, and you can do whatever you want with them. The licence says all photos can be downloaded and used for free, for commercial and non-commercial purposes, and there is no permission needed (though attribution is appreciated).
At Picjumbo you can download free stock photos, backgrounds, and free high-resolution images for personal and commercial use (note: some photos do not have model or property release).
You might be familiar with Canva’s design platform, but have you used their stock images before? They have both free and paid options available. Great to use in or outside the program.
This one is a bit quirky. The style of many images available has a humorous and at times even eccentric feeling – that might be exactly what you’re looking for. Go take a look!
With a huge range of categories of photographs, including people, nature, food, technology, city, landscape, business, travel, animals, and more, ISO Republic is worth a skim to see what could work for your project. Note: they are affiliated with Shutterstock (a paid stock image supplier), so if ISO Republic doesn’t have something close enough for your search, it may display a selection of Shutterstock options, which can be downloaded for free on a Shutterstock limited trial.
Another site with plenty of stock photos to browse is Picography. However, take note, similarly to ISO Republic, this is another Shutterstock affiliate.
More beautiful, high-resolution free stock photos at Negative Space. They offer images for personal or commercial use. This is another Shutterstock affiliate.
Pexels has a gorgeous range of images, really worth a look. There are a few minor rules for using the images, but overall, it’s similar to most of the other sites: for private or commercial use, attribution is not required (but appreciated).
Kaboompics has a great function that may be of use to designers – with each free image you can create a complementary colour palette based on the colours in the image. Kaboompics is an affiliate of iStock Photo and if you can’t find what you’re looking for you may be pointed to iStock.
A unique set of images at Reshot, with some of the other free stock photo sites there is some cross-over in content, but less so here. And the licence? Commercial and private – they literally say “go crazy!”
For historical images from all over Australia (not just Victoria) the State Library of Victoria has more than 170,000 amazing historical images from various time periods. There are photographs, illustrations, maps, and architectural drawings, and more. All images are out of copyright and not culturally sensitive.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a pretty good tasting plate of what’s available out there. If none of this tickles your fancy, you can either cast the search net further afield and find even more free stock photo sites, or you might need to consider if paid stock photos might bring the goods for you.
You’ll probably be familiar with these two above. They are two of the most popular paid stock photo sites around. They cover a wealth of topics. If you can’t find a free stock photo – for example, it may be difficult to find something for particular niche subjects – these could be good options for you. Be warned though, this can get expensive. Depending on how many images you need, it might be worth weighing up prices against getting a small photoshoot done by a photographer.
If you’re an Aussie business using stock photos, it can be difficult to find images that either are Australian or can at least pass as being Australian (so long as nobody looks too closely). Unfortunately, if you can’t pull it off, your not-quite-Australian looking image can stick out like a sore thumb and betray your hopes of it not looking like a stock image.
Austock Photo offers Australia-sourced stock images that are stylish and unmistakably Australian, houses, animals, locations, people in uniforms, etc that just look right. Even better, you can request an image. If you can’t find what you’re after (and you have time to burn), you can give them the details of what you’re looking for and their pool of photographers will search their archives or perhaps even factor it into their next shoot.
Please add them in the comments!