If you are frequently sharing images online it’s essential to have a virtual rolodex of go-to websites where you can quickly and effectively find free images. Not only that— but it’s important that you have websites in which the legal restrictions are clear and concise.

Below you will find my go-to list of the best sources for finding free photos for sharing online. I’ve also included some of my favorite paid resources as well just in case.

This is part of the Essential Guide to Sharing Images Online series. Be sure to catch the rest of the posts in the series here.

Free Image Sources

The following sites are the best places I’ve found online to get free images. I have sorted through dozens of sites to only bring you the best of the best so as to save you time and potential frustration.

Picjumbo

PicJumbo

A project of Viktor Hanacek, designer, who understands the importance of high quality images in a designer’s life. New photos are uploaded daily.

Fantastic work, and completely free. There is a paid membership for $6/month if you want even more from Viktor.

Image restrictions: None

View here: http://picjumbo.com/

Gratisography

Gratisography

A personal project of Ryan McGuire of Bells Design. Very beautiful high-resolution images added weekly, completely free of copyright.

Image restrictions: None

View here: http://gratisography.com/

Pixabay

Pixabay

A collection of images that are personally uploaded by contributors under Creative Commons Public Domain. The site functions beautifully and has great navigation, sorting, and searching functions.

Image restrictions: None

View here: http://pixabay.com/

Stock Xchng

Stock Xchng

This is a database of completely free images that you can use however you want. A very large selection that’s rather simple to search, but can be time-consuming due to lack of sorting features. For a long time, this was my go-to site for free images.

Image restrictions: Various

View here: http://sxc.hu

Compfight

Compfight

Compfight allows you to search through Flickr’s Creative Commons listed photos. It’s pretty simple to use and will automatically generate the html code to insert photo credit.

It can be a bit buggy sometimes though, so you may be better off going straight to Flickr.com and doing an advance search for Creative Commons photos.

Image restrictions: Various

View here: http://compfight.com

Photopin

Photopin

Much like Compfight, Photopin allows you to search Flickr Creative Commons photos.

Image restrictions: Various

View it here: http://photopin.com/

MorgueFile

morgueFile

Similar to Stock Xchng, this is a big searchable database of free images. It also has some great filtering options to really find the photos you’re looking for.

Image restrictions: None

View here: http://morguefile.com

Unsplash

unsplash

Built on tumblr, a minimal one-column site that releases ten new high-resolution images every ten days. You can subscribe via email and the images will be delivered to your inbox, or you can just visit the site every ten days to see what’s new.

They’re always amazing photos and definitely worth bookmarking and subscribing to.

Image restrictions: None

View here: http://unsplash.com

Little Visuals

Little Visuals

Very minimal, single column site with beautiful free imagery just like Unsplash. It also features an email subscription which will deliver seven new images (as opposed to Unsplash’s ten) every seven days. So essentially they’re doing the same exact thing as Unsplash, just more frequently.

Image restrictions: None

View here: http://littlevisuals.co/

New Old Stock

New Old Stock

Another tumblr powered site, New Old Stock features “vintage photos from public archives”. A great place to find authentically vintage looking imagery.

Image restrictions: None

View here: http://nos.twnsnd.co/

Death to the Stock Photo

Death to the Stock Photo

Their mission is to “make the internet more beautiful”. This is an email subscription that sends you free curated photo packs every month.

Image restrictions: None

You can sign up here: http://join.deathtothestockphoto.com/

Paid Stock Image Solutions

Of course if you really want to do things in a way that’s both legal and time-efficient, you can always utilize one of the many stock image sites that offer royalty free stock photos for purchase. This is the best solution if you have a professional blog and you want the highest quality selection without any potential legal issues.

istockiStockPhoto

The leading stock image site on the internet. They have a huge selection of royalty free images for purchase and their search filtering options make it pretty easy to narrow down your searches.

Their downside is that they use a credits system as opposed to a straight dollar amount. This makes calculating costs a bit more difficult.

PhotoDunePhotoDune

Not quite as big of a selection as iStockPhoto but they are my personal preference. I prefer them because the payment system is in dollars rather than credits, so you know exactly how much you’re paying for each photo.

LightstockLightStock

Some of the highest quality Christian photography you will find on the internet. Period. The prices aren’t cheap, but neither is the quality of the photos. If you’re looking for the best premium quality Christian oriented photography, this is the place to go.

mophotoMophoto

This has now become my favorite place to find imagery. Mophoto is a paid subscription site that features some of the best non-stock looking photography on the internet.

At only $5/month you get full access to the images on the site (constantly added to) and you’re free to use, share, and build upon them. The only restriction is for re-distribution and promotion/advertising of products in the photos themselves.

I recently interviewed the founder of Mophoto to get his thoughts on using images. You can view that interview here.

One Last Thing

As I was ruthlessly searching for the best sources for free images I had an idea– what better way to insure people had the highest quality images that were free to use and share that to create them myself?

So that’s what I did. I have gone ahead and created a page where I will frequently add new images for you to download, share, and use freely in your digital projects. Just visit dustn.tv/images to see what I’ve come up with so far.

free shareable images feature image

It’s still a bit of a work in progress, but the idea is to make sure you have all sorts of interesting images to use in your digital efforts. I’ll be slowly building out the functionality of that page as I monitor how it’s being used and what people are saying about it.

And just FYI, all images on dustn.tv are free to use as long as link attribution is given. All I ask is that you give credit where credit is due. Fair enough?

My hope is that you are now overwhelmed with sources to find legal images to use online. Sort through your options and find the sites that work best for you. Then bookmark them, and continue being awesome.

If you liked this post, be sure to share the love:

Do you have any resources that you would add to the list? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Comments

  1. says

    Incredible resource, Dustin.
    Your generosity is very much appreciated.
    One of the most time consuming elements of writing for blogs is the time spent trying to find that “just right” image to accompany the post.

    I’ve taken to using my own as much as possible, but there are times when it’s impractical to fly to the great barrier reef and snap a photo of a sea turtle.
    Thanks again.

    • says

      Ray, I am chuckling at the last part of your comment only because it’s so very true. I take most of my photos myself but can totally relate to not being able to find that perfect photo because I can’t hop on a plane or a boat to snap it. However, with people like Dustin helping us along the way, we can definitely include that sea turtle in our post!

  2. says

    Dustin,
    Thank you for the great resources. I am a blogger who is learning as I go. I have to say there is more to it then people think. It is a great outlet for my creativity for me and along the way I may help some one else. I look at it as a win both ways.
    Karen Marie

    • says

      Yes I did know that Charity. I have a few issues with their implementation though. They’re not responsive so they could potentially break websites that are responsive when viewed on a mobile device. They also intend to monetize the embedded images in the future with advertising– which also means they’re tracking them pretty closely. I’m also concerned about the fact that if Getty Images changes their file structure or a photographer decides to pull their photos, the blogger who embedded the photo now has a broken link uglifying their site.

  3. Peg Fitzpatrick (@PegFitzpatrick) says

    Great sources! I love your page with images to share online. Pinterest and Google+ are both really hard to find good images to use so I’m sure yours will be popular.

  4. says

    Wow! Not only is this a really well-written and useful article, but the header image seems to be of a rangefinder version of my old Contaflex! Thanks for the memories.

  5. Kristin Drysdale says

    Wow! This is an amazing collection, Dustin! Thank you so much for sharing with the growing community of people who want to do things right!

  6. says

    Thank you so much. Love the link to the vintage photos. Just what I need for my vintage blog! I am sharing with everyone I know. Thanks for taking the time to organize this! Woo hoo!

  7. Kathy Anderson says

    If searching for editable vector images, try Vectorstock.com. Some are free but not all. Edit with Illustrator, Photoshop.

    Thanks for the list!

  8. Sanjiv Manifest says

    Wow! … Thank you so much for sharing this valuable resource Dustin. I have about 15 such sites but you’ve highlighted some new ones.

    I hadn’t quite viewed Getty’s “opening up” their images like you but your points are quite valid – let’s wait and see what happens. Monetizing embedded images in future with advertising is a very sleazy idea (if I understand correctly) and will backfire. Hope they simply avoid that.

    As Ray says, finding the “right” image is the most time consuming aspect of posting so having a “quality curated” set will go a long ways to efficiency.

    Thanks again and have a great weekend! … You Rock :-)

  9. Sean Van Zant says

    Thanks for all of the suggestions! I will have to take some for a ride :-)

    Have you tried 123rf.com yet? I have used them before, and am going to use them for a little while longer, but may use one of the sites listed in this post later on.

    Thanks,
    Sean

  10. Jane Gardner says

    As usual, great content share! I think I only recognized two of the free photo sites and I have been in classes with video gurus for the last year. Got to add them to my bookmarks!

  11. says

    Superb list!

    Another that I use for blog posts is 123rf.com – they have a full free images section that is stocked to the eyeballs with great content. The only downside is that the free images are lower resolution than some of these sources, but you can get the hi-res versions for a small fee.

    There are a couple here I hadn’t heard of before, so will definitely be trying them out. Thanks!

  12. says

    Hello Dustin,

    It’s always time consuming to find relevant images for all our writing(s). I always stick on to Flickr and sometime Behance by giving them credit at the bottom of the post.

    Thanks for all these resources.

    Happy Blogging :D

  13. Virginia Deyoung says

    Dustin –
    This blog is an excellent reference source for images online. I really appreciate all the research work you did to put into this article. I will most definitely be checking out these various sites for some unique photos. Thanks for sharing my friend!!

    Virginia

  14. Kara says

    Hi Dustin – This is an AWESOME list! There are some real gems in here that I will definitely use. Thanks so much! (Love your new site BTW!)

  15. says

    Thanks so much for this incredible set of image resources Dustin. As a writer, far too often the text stands well on its own, but needs the perfect image to truly bring it out. Cheers!

  16. says

    Thanks for these links Dustin. I´ll be sure to check them out and see if I can use some of the images in projects or for my own sites. Since these are a bit more “normal” than the ones I usually use…

    Great post.

      • says

        Thanks mate. Why yes I´ve looked into getting a gravatar. It´s just that at this point I don´t have any good image of myself that I want to use as a gravatar. And this e-mail and website are going to be “my brand” so I don´t want to use the normal kind of gravatars I´ve been using in the past.

        So it is on my todo list. It will change hopefully soon.

  17. says

    Incredible resource. Thanks for putting this together. I will refer to this page again and again.

    There have been some other great sites shared in the comments that I will also make note of.

  18. Ruben says

    Thank you for this, perfect timing too. Might you have a follow up about apps used to edit images and quick tricks?

  19. says

    Canva, a graphic design website that’s mostly free, also has stock photos for $1, and you can use them in a variety of ways–as part of a layout (templates provided), and many other ways. It’s all drag and drop and a lot of fun to create images for my blog.

    But, hey, **free** is way more fun. Thanks so much. Wish I had found this list earlier.

  20. Angelique says

    Hey Dustin

    Very thorough list! I’ve used several, but always nice to have more resources.

    Just a question, since you didn’t specifically mention copyright, but that’s why we are all trying to use “legal” images.

    What about your gif clip for your thank you page and the “I’m a Dustn.tv fan” minion that you’re using? Where did you get that image for your use, especially since you modified it into a poster with your own D logo… isn’t that a trademarked image from Despicable Me?

    Thanks for always providing great content and design.

    Love your new website btw…sigh, mine is due for a revamp…kinda like the cobbler’s kids shoes :)

    Cheers,
    Angelique

  21. says

    Hey, thanks for this great list. I came across Unsplash, and Death to the Stock Photo last week and love them. My old favourite is Stock Xchng. Great I now have a few new ones for me to try. And interested in the debate about Getty. I agree with the previous comments about Canva being an awesome tool. Cheers Dustin for this list.

  22. Adam Dukes says

    Excellent resource! I spend entirely way too much time looking for that “perfect” blog post image. I like what I am seeing on PicJumbo. Not your typical stock photos.

    Thanks for putting this together!

  23. says

    Dustin, thanks a lot for this super cool list! As a blogger I am always on the lookout for photos to supplement the ones I take on my own and this info will come in handy. Thanks again; and ditto on: you rock!

  24. says

    Am working on a book and looking for images so your post is very timely… will take a closer look at these sites. You probably know this site http://www.fantero.com/ and i’d be interested in your point of view… just heard about it today as I’ve done some outsourcing with their mother company. Merci

  25. says

    What a great list, as the others have stated it is always nice to have a list where we can go to find free photo’s to use for our blog posts. Book marking this site for sure. Thanks for sharing.. Chery :))

  26. says

    Finding free images from sites where I can easily understand the terms of re-use is, for me, the single hardest thing about blogging.

    But no more… I had not heard of most of these sites. I am excited to check them all out. Thanks!

  27. says

    Thanks Dustin for sharing these great resources! You have created so much value for your site and every time I come back I just wanted to stay longer and learn more. What a great example of a successful website! :)

  28. Nicole Burg says

    Thanks Dustin! Love that you shared this, as a Graphic Design and Advertising student I am constantly in search of these kinds of sites. Many people and businesses that use social media need to keep legalities in mind when using and posting photos online!

  29. says

    The most difficult part of my day is finding photos and I have spent hours trying to find free images without all the CC attached. Thank you so much for making my days that much easier. I love what I do, but this just makes things a whole lot better! Again, Thank You.

  30. Ira Rabinowitz says

    photobucket.com in their terms of use http://photobucket.com/terms states:

    By making your content public, you are also giving other Members on Photobucket the right to copy, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and create derivative works from it via the Site, third party websites or applications (for example, via services allowing Members to order prints of Content or t-shirts and similar items containing Content, and via social media websites), provided such use is not for a commercial purpose.
    By uploading, you are confirming that the Content is yours—no one else’s—and that the uploading and use of your Content does not violate the privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, contract rights, intellectual property rights or human rights of somebody else. If we learn that you are infringing others’ rights or are using Content that is not yours, Photobucket has the right to remove this Content and you agree that you are responsible for any costs associated with the infringement.

    So you can use any public photo from Photobucket for non-comercial use.

    • says

      Yea, the only problem is– anyone can upload anything. Upon looking at one page of the animated gifs I saw several copyrighted items that weren’t uploaded by the owners.

  31. says

    I wish I found this blog earlier. I have a job in marketing without too much resources to buy images. I found some sites that are posted above, but some are completely new to me. Because photography is also a hobby of mine, me and a couple of friends decided to help out others who are looking for content by posting our own photos for free on a website. It’s like combining your hobby and giving use to the personal stock that accumilates over time. The result is skitterphoto.com. You don’t need to login, just browse and if you like something just download the original photo.

    Thanks,

    gr. Peter

  32. Dianna says

    Oh my word. You have NO IDEA how grateful I am to you for posting this. I can’t even remember how I just stumbled across your awesome blog, but I’m so glad I did.
    As kind of a newbie in marketing (and an artist who’s super-sensitive to copyrights), I’ve spent a ridiculous. Amount. Of. Time. hunting down free image sites.
    At first, my heart sank when 4 on your list were already in my Favorites bar.
    Then POW. So many more beautiful websites than I knew existed!!!!! (Yes Ray, I had nearly resorted to flying to the great barrier reef). I don’t even usually comment on blogs – this may be my first time! And I’m gonna share this awesomeness. Maybe even Tweet it.

    My little graphic design heart just went *boom*.
    You made my week, Dustin.

  33. says

    Thanks so much for this information. I am very new to blogging & need all the help I can get. I am passing on your help to others. Lots of love to you, Lisa

  34. says

    I don’t know how to thank you. And if am a girl definitely will send you a kiss.
    Because, i ‘ve been searching for the free sites that offer images for blogging. At some point i felt like i am lack of images for my blogs. And i am a victim of the copyright images case past when am a newbie to blogging. Thank You very much for such a golden useful resources Dustin. Thank you a lot.

  35. says

    Great list, super useful! I always freak out about using images on the internet in case they belong to someone so it’s reassuring to find lists like this!
    In addition to those mentioned, I use PRShots.com loads for my blog; they have literally thousands of up to the minute PR images from massive brands in the UK. It definitely makes blogging a lot easier!

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