116 Sources for Free and Public Domain Photos

Free Stock Photos

Last updated November 27, 2016

You already know that good photography is essential to your online marketing efforts. It helps liven up our blog posts and social media shares and catches the eye quicker than the most carefully crafted headline. And while you may understand the value of quality images, you're eager to spend money every time you want to publish a blog post or update your company's Facebook page.

It's not uncommon to see novice online marketers using Google Image Search to find "free" photos. Don't make this mistake. Those photos aren't free - most of them are protected by copyright, and using them commercially could result in a cease and desist letter, a hefty invoice, or even land you in court.

We're here to help with a comprehensive list of truly free photo sources that you can use legally without compromising on quality.

Our Favorite Free Photo Sites

This is a huge list, so you may want to bookmark it for later if you need to find a photo in a hurry. To make things easy, we'll start you off with the best free photo sources we've found. Many of these sites offer images under a CC0 license, so they're essentially in the public domain. A few use their own slightly more restrictive licenses, but at the time of this writing, all allow for commercial use without attribution

  1. Unsplash -
    Unsplash stock photo by Faye Cornish
    Photo: Faye Cornish via Unsplash
     Unsplash has amassed a library of over 80,000 CC0 licensed photos since their launch in 2013, and appears to be one of those rare cases where staggering quantity doesn't mean lackluster quality. It's really hard to believe some of this work is available for free. The search feature is nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.
  2. Pixabay -
    Pixabay by Karsten Kettermann
    Photo: Karsten Kettermann via Pixabay
    Over 670,000 photos from multiple sources, with one of the most full featured search engines you'll find on a free photo site (search by orientation, media type, color, or resolution). Also offers free illustrations, vectors, and video. Download multiple sizes, so you don't waste bandwidth on a huge file when you only need a small version. You'll have to create a free account to download, but it's well worth the minimal effort.
  3. Pexels -
    Photo: Pexels.com
    Over 10,000 free photos, with plans to add 1000+ photos every month. The overall quality is high and you'll find some truly exceptional photos in their catalog. Pexels library is searchable and you can also browse (but not search) by color. Offers instant downloads in multiple sizes.
  4. Magdeleine -
    Connor McSheffrey via Magdeleine
    Photo: Connor McSheffrey via Magdeleine
    This lovingly curated gallery has some amazing work from a variety of photographers. Some of them require attribution, so be sure to check the terms for each photo, but there's a filtering feature that allows you to limit your search to only the public domain photos if that's what you're after.
  5. Gratisography -
    Ryan McGuire via Gratisography
    Photo: Ryan McGuire via Gratisography
     Public Domain stock photographed by Ryan McGuire, in categories such as Animals, Nature, Objects, People, Urban, and Whimsical. There's some really fun and offbeat stuff here, well worth a visit if you're looking for something unusual. The archive is searchable, with one-click downloads and  no account required.
  6. FindA.Photo -
    Bolun Yan via Finda.Photo
    Photo: Bolun Yan via Finda.Photo
     Searchable archive of 10,000+ photos from various sources (including others on this list). You can also browse by color  look through curated collections of related images. High quality photos and easy downloads make this a great place to look when you need photos in a hurry.
  7. Negative Space -
    via Negative Space
    Photo: via Negative Space
     Hundreds of searchable images with more being added every week. You can also search photos by color and copy space, which is rare on small free sites. Negative Space is especially useful if you're looking for photos with space for copy or to use as backgrounds. Popular categories include Technology, Work, Abstract, and Architecture.
  8. Skitterphoto -
    via Skitterphoto
    Photo: via Skitterphoto
     This excellent collection comes to us via a group of photographers from The Netherlands. It features nearly a thousand searchable, high-quality photos, dedicated to the public domain, in categories that include Flora, Fauna, HDR, and Urban. It's unique and high quality work and we hope the collection will continue to grow.
  9. Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs Online Catalog -
    Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange
    Photo: Dorothea Lange for the FSA
    How about some public domain photos from famous photographers like Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange? The Library of Congress has an extensive library of historical images, and because they were works for hire made for the US government, they are not eleigible for copyright protections and thus in the public domain. Highlights include Ansel Adam's photos documenting the Japanese internment camp at Manzanar during WWII and Dorothea Lange's famous shots of migrant farm workers for the FSA. Highly recommended for history buffs and photography fans alike.

Other Free and Public Domain Photos

While these sites didn't make it into our favorites, all contain photos that can be used freely in commercial projects, with no attribution required. Like our favorites, many of these use CC0 or Public Domain licensing.

  1. Lensicle - Were it not for their rather small selection of images (about 500 at the time we visited), Lensicle would certainly be among our favorites. The images are very high quality, and the site boasts several features we haven't seen elsewhere, including the ablity to download images in any size you want (so you don't have to resize them for your blog) and an innovative editor that lets you edit photos before downloading - you can apply filters, crop, rotate, and more. It's almost as if someone mashed up a stock photo site and Instagram. Definitely worth a look if you like to give your photos a more personal touch.
  2. Visual Hunt - Search through over 60,000 public domain photos, and search millions more CC licensed photos with the ability to filter them for commercial use. You can refine your search by color and download in 6 different sizes without needing an account.
  3. Free Range Stock -
    Chance Agrella via Free Range Stock
    Photo: Chance Agrella via Free Range Stock
     Thousands of searchable images, mostly high quality, with many from in-house photographers so you won't see them elsewhere. Some images are available under a CC0 license while others use Free Range's own license (which also allows commercial use without attribution). A free account is needed to download images.
  4. Makerbook - A collection of photos hand-picked from over 30 other free stock photo sites, with a focus on photos for startups. You won't find anything unique, since the photos are sourced from other sites on this list, but they do have a nicely curated selection of high-quality technology and workplace photos.
  5. Skuawk - Not the largest library by any means, but all of the Public Domain photos here are of the highest quality, in categories like Landscape, Urban, and Technology. There's no search function, but it's not much of an issue for a collection of this size.
  6. Life of Pix - About 1000 photos (with more added weekly) are sorted into galleries and searchable. The photos are high-quality and complemented by a library of 200+ free videos.
  7. SplitShire - Here you'll find 600+ images (and growing) from photographer Daniel Nanescu, searchable and sorted into categories. There's a lot a variety and most of the work is very well done.
  8. Stocksnap - Stocksnap has built an impressive library with thousands of images. The quality of most photos is very high, and they're all searchable (though a lack of categories or tags can make casual browsing difficult).
  9. Free Stock Photos from Hubspot -
    hubspot stock photo
    Photo: Hubspot
     HubSpot hired a professional photographer to produce this collection of 565 stock photos, which are mostly "around the office" type shots and along with a collection of holiday photos. You'll have to fill out a short form to download the collection, which is packaged in zip files and isn't searchable.
  10. Free Original Photography by Daria - Daria Nepriakhina makes this photo collection freely available. They're not searchable, but include a good mix of urban and natural landscapes, details, and food.
  11. FancyCrave - Free stock photos from designer & photographer Igor Ovsyannykov. Two new photos are added every day to a searchable archive which include categories such as Abstract, Architecture, Food, Nature, People, Tech, and Auto.
  12. Barn Images - Over one thousand freely available images. Oddly enough, none of them are of barns. The quality is good, but they tend to be more artistic than your typical polished stock photography (which can be a good thing). The archive is searchable and sorted into categories.
  13. Realistic Shots - Seven new photos per week, searchable and in categories like Architecture, Nature, People, Travel, and Technology. While it's not the largest collection, the shots they have are very high quality.
  14. Free Nature Stock - One new nature photo added daily (the archive has about 500 so far). Lots of landscapes, beautiful skies, and flowers.
  15. FreeStocks.org - Over 300 photos in a variety of categories.
  16. Refe - Refe's free section has hundreds of photos you can use on your site. Even though they're free, you have to go through a "checkout" process to download them, which is not very convenient.
  17. ISO Republic - About 700 free photos for your web site. Searchable and categorized. They also have premium packages of photos available a reasonable prices, but don't relentlessly upsell them to you as you browse the free section.
  18. PolarFox -
    Photo: Benjamin Combs via PolarFox
     What this small collection lacks in quantity is makes up for in quality, and new photos are added regularly. Probably not the best place to go if you're looking for a typical stock photo of a laptop or business person, but if you're in the market for high-quality artistic shots, it worth browsing.
  19. Cupcake - Photos from Swedish photographer Jonas Wimmerström. Not searchable, but you'll find some good photography if you browse the archives.
  20. Jay Mantri - This collection from Jay Matri isn't searchable or even organized into categories, but there's enough beautiful work here that it's worth checking out.
  21. jé shoots - A few hundred free high resolution photos (mixed in with some premium PSD mockups). Organized into categories, but not searchable.
  22. Kaboom Pics - Over one thousand searchable photos in categories like Abstracts, City & Architecture, Fashion, Food, and Landscapes.
  23. LibreShot - 1200+ beautiful and free-to-use photos from Martin Vorel. You have the option to download either full-sized photos or a lower resolution (so you don't need to deal with huge files if you just want to use it in a blog post).
  24. Little Visuals - Sadly, this archive of images from Nic Jackson won't be getting any larger, as the young photographer passed away. But there are some lovely shots here, primarily landscapes and abstracts.
  25. Lock and Stock Photos - A fun but tiny collection of photos.
  26. MMT Stock - Over 300 photos by Jeffrey Betts, searchable and sorted into categories. Lots of nature shots, as well as architecture and technology.
  27. Moveast - Travel photography from Portuguese-born designer João Pacheco is a nice source for pictures of exotic locales.
  28. Oliur Rahman - A small collection of CC0 licensed photography by Oliur Rahman, including technology and landscapes.
  29. Picography - Currently houses about 150 high resolution images from various photographers.
  30. Public Domain Archive - Hundreds of public domain photos, searchable and sorted into categories.
  31. Snapwire Snaps -
    Snapwire Snaps
    Photo: Ryan McQueen via Snapwire Snaps
     There are over 600 free photos here, with a reasonably good search function, but the lack of categories or thumbnails makes it tedious to browse. Still, the quality of the photography is very high, so it's a worthwhile source of both images and inspiration.
  32. Startup Stock Photos - A nice collection of photos targeted at startups, though most of them could work for any business. There's no search, categories, or thumbnails, so you'll have to scroll though the photos one by one, but you may find some gems.
  33. Stokpic - Hundreds of photos from photographer Ed Gregory. Search or browse through 16 diverse categories, including Backgrounds, Technology, and Lifestyle.
  34. Photocrops - A small collection of good quality images. It's not yet searchable (the site says tags are coming soon), but that shouldn't stop you from browsing through the current crop of photos.
  35. Old New Stock - Vintage photos from various public archives on Flickr. Most are in the public domain and can be used without restriction, but you should click through to the Flickr source to double-check before using any of these in a commercial project.
  36. SpaceX Photos - Elon Musk and SpaceX made this collection of aeronautical and space images free for public use. While this is a rather limited niche, there are some unique and interesting photos here.
  37. Travel Coffee Book - A nice selection of travel photography, updated from time to time.
  38. Unrestricted Stock - Free photos (along with illustrations and vectors) arranged in galleries. The selection (mainly travel photos) is a bit small, but the quality is good.
  39. Designers' Pics - 300+ high resolution photos for personal or commercial use.
  40. Free Images - Search thousands of free photos (displayed alongside premium images from Getty). The selection of free images is broad, but the way they're displayed in the search results along with paid downloads is a little confusing, and in some cases draws unwelcome attention to the quality gap between the free and paid results.
  41. From Old Books - 3,500+ images taken from antique and vintage books. The copyright has expired on these images and thus they can be used freely, though they do bear a small watermark with the site's name.
  42. Stocka - Hundreds of free stock photos, although there are even more links to paid images from Shutterstock, so you'll need to be careful if you're only interested in Stocka's freebies.
  43. The Light Painter's Loft - Photographer Sabrina Milazzo offers many of her images for free, organized into galleries by theme, with categories like Architecture, Abstract, Food, and Nature. Additional images can be downloaded with a premium membership (only a few dollars a month)
  44. Best of Stock Photo - The site has some good looking photos, but there appear to be less than 200 of them, so the "best of" in their name may imply that they're just being extremely selective. Still, the quality is high and if the limited selection intersects with your needs, you can't beat the price.
  45. Foodies Feed - As the name implies, you'll find only food photos here, over 600 freebies and more available to premium members.
  46. Picjumbo - Created by photographer Viktor Hanacek in 2013, Picjumbo now has nearly 1000 free images in 16 categories.
  47. The British Library -
    The British Library
    Photo: The British Library
     This collection of public domain works from the national library of the United Kingdom consists of over one million images digitized from old books. You won't find anything remotely modern here, and the engravings and illustrations far outnumber the photos, but if you need imagery from 17th, 18th, and 19th century Europe, this is a goldmine.
  48. One Million Free Pictures - One million, in this case, is a goal, not a reality. The site actually showcases about 5000 photos by a self-described amateur photographer.
  49. Viintage - Viintage showcases hundreds of vintage posters and signs that have entered the public domain.
  50. PDPics - A repository for thousands of free public domain photographs of mixed quality.
  51. Pickup Image - Contains over 17,000 photos of varying quality. You'll need to create a free account in order to download.
  52. Good Free Photos - Over 7,000 photos from a single unnamed photographer, heavy on cityscapes, landscapes, and travel shots.
  53. Freeimages.red - Over 4000 photos, categorized and searchable. A free account is required before you can download.
  54. CC0 on Flickr - Search thousands of CC0 licensed photos uploaded to Flickr. Thousands more are available under other Creative Commons licenses with various restrictions, be sure to check the license on any image you want to use.
  55. Free Stock Image Point - A handful of CC0 licensed travel images, including pics of Amsterdam, Bali, and San Francisco.
  56. Good Stock Photos - Over 1000 photos in sections such as Nature, People, Activities, and Buildings.
  57. Photogen - Nearly 2000 searchable images, heavy on Travel, Nature, and Animals. Easy one-click downloads with no account needed.
  58. Photo Collections - Over 300 photos, mostly nature and landscapes.
  59. Creative Vix - Several hundred photos under a CC0 license, with plenty of landscape and travel shots. The search feature is not terribly useful, but there are some decent shots if you're willing to sort through them.
  60. Shutteroo - A collection of free travel photos by Klaye Morrison of Australia.
  61. Photos Public Domain - Over 4000 photos, categorized and searchable. They're all from the same family of photographers and not sourced from other collections, so you'll find unique images, but the quality is hit and miss.
  62. CC0.photo - Over 400 public domain photos by Raffael Herrmann and Peter Janzen, largely travel and nature shots.
  63. Reusable Art - Over 3000 public domain images scanned from old books and magazines and out of copyright in the United States.
  64. Picdrone - Several hundred photos, organized into galleries. Most images fall under Nature and Travel. The search feature relies on Google Custom Search so it's lackluster to say the least - you're better off browsing the galleries.
  65. Phototeria -
    Photo: Phototeria
     Hundreds of photos organized into galleries (not searchable). The quality of most is fairly amateurish, but there are some gems - the New York gallery has some impressive shots of the Big Apple.
  66. FreePhotos.se - 1200+ images from Magnus Rosendahl and family, sorted into galleries and searchable. Plenty of unique images, with a snapshot-like quality that may appeal to those who don't like the typically polished look of most stock photos.
  67. ABS Free Pic - This site is fairly new yet has thousands of images and a pleasant interface. It provides no information about the photographers, though, and allows users to upload photos, so heed the warning in their terms of service: "You use the site and the photos at your own risk!"
  68. Image*After - Image*After's catalog includes over 28,000 images and textures. Photos are sorted into categories and searchable, and can be filtered by color. Most photos are unprocessed, so you may want to look elsewhere if you're looking for ready-to-use photos, but if you're will to do a little editing you'll find some unique images here.
  69. RGBStock - Over 100,000 photos, free for personal and commercial use without attribution under RGBStock's own license. Most images are high-quality and ready to use on your blog or web site, though you'll need to create a free account before you can download photos.
  70. Smithsonian on Flickr - 3000+ public domain photos from the Smithsonian Institution, organized into albums. As you'd expect, most of the photography is historical in nature, with an emphasis on Science and American History.
  71. UPICM - It's not the biggest library of images, and search is weak (Google custom search only), but UPICM has some quality photos that we haven't seen elsewhere. If you're looking for a fresh perspective, you may find it worthwhile to browse their galleries.
  72. Stockvault - Search over 80,000 photos, sorted into categories, with no account required to download. Sponsored thumbnails from (non-free) Shutterstock are abundant, so it's a little too easy to find yourself leaving this free photo site.
  73. TurboPhoto - TurboPhoto is home to over 2000 images in 10 general categories (animals, cities, food, etc). The quality is fairly good, but the search feature was broken when we evaluated the site.
  74. A Digital Dreamer - Over 1000 free images, heavy on textures, skies, and animal photos. The last update looks to have been in early 2015, so we're not sure if this library is still growing, but there are some intersting textures and abstracts that we haven't seen elsewhere.
  75. Abstract Influence - This collection of over 7000 free photos spans the usual categories, like Architecture, Industrial, People, and Nature. The qualaity of most photos is good, but search is limited by Google Custom Search, so it can be a bit tough to find what you're looking for.
  76. FontPlay Free Photos - A collection of 10,000+ free photos from photographer Dennis Hill and his friends. It's an interesting and unique collection, but with the lack of search and a frame-based design that feels decades-old, you're going to have to work a little to find what you're looking for.
  77. USDA Agricultural Research Service - The US Department of Agriculture has made available this collection of over 2000 public domain photos. As you might have guessed, it's focused on agriculture, with categories like Crops, Animals, Plants, and Insects. The photos look like the work of professional photographers, and this is a great resource for anyone in need of agricultural photography.
  78. BlackWhite - A small (about 250 images) but hopefully growing collection of black and white photography. The gallery is searchable and sorted into categories like Travel, Urban, and Graffiti.
  79. Fotoscopy - Fotoscopy is a collection of free public domain images submitted by members. Because they rely on member submissions, the quality can vary quite a bit, but there are some good photos to be found if you dig around.
  80. NOAA Photo Library - Government-funded (and thus free from copyright), this collection from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is rich with imagery of America's coastal areas, severe weather, and aquatic life.
  81. StreetWill - A beautifully designed site with gorgeous photos. Sadly, there are no categories so browsing is difficult, and most of our searches turned up only a few results so either their library is small or the search function needs work. Hopefully they'll continue to grow the library, because the photos are top-notch.
  82. Photober - Home to about 500 photos in categories like Nature, Objects, and People. Free to use both personally and commercially without attribution.
  83. Free Media Goo - A small but growing collection of free photos and textures by a single (unnamed) photographer. Allows unlimited commercial and private use without attribution.
  84. Digimad Media - Collection of about 400 stock photos that may be used commercially without attribution. The quality of the photos is quite good, but no categories and lackluster search can make it a challenge to find what you're looking for.
  85. StockPhotosForFree - 100,000 photos that can be used commercially without attribution. Most are still frames from HD videos, so resolution may be limited but they should be fine for online use. A free account is required to download un-watermarked images.
  86. Photo Rack - Nearly 30,000 photos in 149 categories. The quality is good, but the most of the photos are rather small so they're not suitable for anything where you'd need a large photo for a background or full screen display. They should be big enough for use in blog posts, though.
  87. [NEW] FreeUse.io - This nicely designed archive currently hosts around 6000 CC0 licensed photos with easy search and tagging. Easy, one-click downloads with no account required.
  88. [NEW] Vintage Stock Pictures - This collection of vintage, copyright free, public domain images have been curated from the various online sources by a professional photographer and shared with the world. You'll find lots of black and white images including many of celebrities.
  89. [NEW] US Fish and Wildlife Service Digital Library - A wealth of public domain images created by the USFWS to illustrate their mission to "conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people."
  90. [NEW] Davalign Public Domain Image Library - A modest sized collection (about 500 photos at the time we visited) of mostly travel photography from the United States and Europe.
  91. [NEW] Snappy Goat - This photo search engine lets you search over 12 million free and public domain images from mulitple sources. Search is fast and the results are presented as thumbnails in a manner similar to Google's image search.
  92. [NEW] FreeQration - Search 2,000,000+ public domain and free photos. Images are free for private and commercial use. No attribution is required in most cases, but images come from a variety of sources to be sure to check the license on individual photos.
  93. [NEW] DrStockPhoto - Creative Commons Zero licensed photos organized by tags. There's no search feature, so you have to browse through the tag pages, but the quality is good and there are some unique images available.

Sites with more restrictive licenses

The following sites tend to have more restrictive licenses, most requiring that you credit the site and/or photographer in order to use their photos. You'll have to read the terms carefully so you understand your responsibilities, but we're including these archives because they contain photos of especially high quality or offer images and features you won't find elsewhere.

  1. Foter - Foter searches through millions of CC-licensed images, with the ability to filter by license (commercial or personal use) and color. The images library seems more focused on quantity than quality, but what makes them unique if there Wordpress plugin, which allows you to search and add images without leaving Wordpress, even automatically adding the attribution that many of the photos require.
  2. Morguefile - Browse or search thousands of quality photos uploaded "for creatives, by creatives." Morguefile does have some unusual licensing terms, requiring that photos be modified in some way before you use them, so be careful to read the terms before use. But if you don't mind doing a little photo editing, there's some great material here.
  3. Tookapic - Featuring over 100,000 photos by thousands of photographers, Tookapic has built an huge library of images. As is often the case with quantity, the quality of the work varies (a lot!), but there's a lot to choose from. All photos require attribution and a link back to the site.
  4. WOCinTech - While women of color tend to be sadly underrepresented in stock photos, the WOCinTech group aims to changed that with this release of 500+ images portraying women of all ethnicities working with technology. Attribution is required.
  5. IM Free - Curated design resources (mostly photos, but also icons and templates) from a variety of sources. Thousands of photos, concentrated around cityscapes, nature, and people, all free to use with attribution.
  6. Superfamous - A collection of photos by Folkert Gorter, with many abstract and closeup shots that could make great background images. Attribution required.
  7. Raumrot - Over one thousand photos from Markus Spiske. Quality work, sorted into "sets" which seem a little random, but there's good stuff here if you sort through it. Attribution required.
  8. Albumarium - Many good quality images organized into galleries. You can search for Galleries but not individual photos. Galleries can be filtered to show only images that can be used commercially. Attribution is required.
  9. Wikimedia Commons - A sister project of Wikipedia, Wikimedia has a huge archive of Creative Commons and Public Domain licensed images. Be sure to check the license on any files you want to use - not all photos are available for commercial use and many require attribution.
  10. Death to Stock -
    Death to Stock
    Photo: Death to Stock
    Not a traditional stock photo site (as you should expect from the name). After entering your email address, Death to Stock will send you free stock photos every month. The images tend to be very high quality from professional photographers.
  11. Every Stock Photo - A stock photo search engine that searches 30 million photos from a variety of CC licensed sources. By default it's search results include photos that require attribution and can't be used commercially, but there's a filter that allows you to limit your search to Public Domain photos.
  12. Image Finder - Image Finder is another aggregated search engine that searches a variety of free photo sites. There is currently no way to limit your search to Public Domain images, and the search results also include paid images from Shutterstock, so you have to be make sure you read the license for each photo - they're not all free, but many are.
  13. StockPhotos.io - A Pinterest style site that curates the best photos from a variety of sources. Some of them require attribution, but they only permit images that have been licensed for commercial use, so it's still a good source of images for business web sites.creative
  14. Creative Commons Search - This search page, from the creators of the Creative Commons licenses, makes it easy to find CC licensed images through a number of sources, including Google Image Search. Many require attribution, though, so be sure to read the license for each image before using.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below if we've overlooked your favorite source for free stock photos, or share your own experience with any of these sites.