The 16 Best Sites for Free Stock Photos and Videos

August 29, 2017

by Tom Pick

There are lots of great reasons to include images with your blog posts and other marketing content. They add visual appeal. They can help with SEO. Visuals increase views on average by 94%. They improve information retention by up to 65%, increase engagement, and generate more likes and shares on social networks.

Can’t find an image that’s quite right to accompany your content on its own? No worries—there are numerous free and low-cost photo editing tools available that enable you to add layers, apply effects, overlay text, and make other enhancements to customize images.

It’s imperative, however, to understand photo licensing alternatives and avoid copyright violations. Don’t risk damaging your brand (and checkbook) by using random photos from a Google or Bing image search.

The sites below keep you safe by providing access to vast image libraries, in most cases free, with clear guidance on acceptable uses and any applicable attribution requirements.

Free Stock Photos

1) Pixabay
Google Review Count: 255

800,000+ free images and videos released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. Use them royalty-free in any application. Attribution is not required. Registration on the site (free) is required.

Sample review: “ (offers) thousands of copyright-free images that can be used on your blog or even for commercial use.” — BuzzBlogger

Showcase reviews: BuzzBlogger, StoreYa Blog

2) morgueFile
Google Review Count: 233

Over 350,000 searchable free stock photos for commercial use. Attribution is required for unaltered images; registration is recommended though not required.

Sample review: “Finding great images to use is not easy, especially if you want to avoid stock image disaster. (Among) my favorite resources (is) MorgueFile (for) original non-stock-style photography.” — Kathryn Aragon Media

Showcase reviews: Kathryn Aragon Media

3) Unsplash
Google Review Count: 223

A large catalog of images; search or check out the site’s collections. All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can use them for any purpose, for free, without attribution. Registration is optional. This is an excellent source for nature photos (trees, mountains, lakes, and sky photos—lots of sky photos).

Showcase reviews: BuzzBlogger

4) Pexels
Google Review Count: 215

Another large, searchable image collection you can use for any purpose, without attribution. No registration required. Also check out the “popular searches” collections such as Christmas images, beach pictures, landscape pictures, and sunsets.

Sample review: “You should not spend more than the minimum on stock photos and video elements. With all the free stock items available…you are bound to find something valuable 99% of the time..(check out) Pexels (for) free and attention grabbing stock photos.” — StoreYa Blog

Showcase reviews: StoreYa Blog

5) PhotoPin
Google Review Count: 199

On the plus side, you can search across millions of creative commons images here (no cost), and no registration is required. However, attribution is required and some of the photos are not free for commercial use—you need to check the specific license for any image chosen.

Showcase reviews: BuzzBlogger

Easy, power photo editing - PicMonkey

6) Compfight
Google Review Count: 195

Search for free photos and video clips. No registration required. License requirements (attribution, commercial use) vary, but you can use filters to limit your search, for example, only to “commercial” photos (images that can be used for commercial purposes).

Sample review: “Compfight is a visual locater that searches Flickr for commercial use photos. Make your brand stand out from the crowd with this step up from Google Images.” — Social Media Today

Showcase reviews: Kathryn Aragon Media, Likeable Media, Nikki Woods, Social Media Today

7) Creative Commons
Google Review Count: 170

Enables you to search across multiple sites for creative commons images with no registration required, but attribution requirements or other restrictions may apply—you’ll need to check the specific license for any image chosen.

Showcase reviews: Likeable Media

Google Review Count: 170

Search across a large database of images under the Creative Commons CC0 license. That means you can copy, modify, distribute any photo on the site, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission or requiring attribution. Registration is optional.

Sample review: “Go here (to for free beautiful stock photos. I use them when building websites.” — Entrepreneur

Showcase reviews: Entrepreneur

9) Shutterstock
Google Review Count: 158

Find amazing content for your next project - ShutterstockMore than 100 million images and other content–photos, vectors, illustrations, icons, video clips, and music tracks. All content is royalty-free but must be purchased; plans start at $29 per month. No-cost registration provides limited free content each week.

Sample review: “Shutterstock (offers) a seemingly infinite library of stock photography to choose from.” — SnapApp

Showcase reviews: SnapApp

10) 123RF
Google Review Count: 123

73 million stock images at great pricesOver 70 million searchable, categorized photos, vendors, icons, infographics, video clips, and audio files. All content is royalty free but must be purchased using credits; credits start at about $1 each, with volume discounts. The site also offers more than 45,000 free images. Registration is required.

Sample review: “One of the most affordable stock photography sites online. It’s about a dollar per image.” — BuzzBlogger

Showcase reviews: BuzzBlogger

Google Review Count: 121

Search or browse by category among nearly 400,000 free images. Attribution is not required for photos and registration is optional. The site also offers access to more than two million premium (purchasable) images.

Showcase reviews: Siasat

12) HubSpot Free Stock Photos
Google Review Count: 15

HubSpot’s library of 500+ free stock photos. No cost and no attribution is required, but registration is.

Sample review: “Searching for and buying stock imagery can be a pain in the you-know-what — especially when it comes to deciphering legalese for different use cases…That’s why our team decided to create a library of 550+ free and royalty-free stock photos. Whether it’s a unique image needed for an ebook or that perfect photo you want to add to a blog post, that collection should have you covered. ” — HubSpot

Showcase reviews: HubSpot

13) Smart Photostock
Google Review Count: 4

A collection of more than 3,600 categorized and searchable free images for bloggers. No cost, but registration and attribution are required.

Showcase reviews: Kathryn Aragon Media

More Free Stock Photo Sites

Freerange Stock
Google Review Count: 157

Thousands of categorized and searchable free photos. Attribution isn’t required but (free) registration is.

Showcase reviews: Mashable

Free Stock Videos

1) Videvo
Google Review Count: 160

Free stock video footage—more than 5,000 free stock videos and motion graphics for use in any project. These video clips can be used free of charge, in both personal and commercial productions. Registration is required; attribution is required for footage uploaded under the Creative Commons licence.

Sample review: “If you need video clips to create a video for your brand, (Videco offers) different elements that might help you create something engaging.” — StoreYa Blog

Showcase reviews: StoreYa Blog

2) Coverr
Google Review Count: 154

A large collection of beautiful, free homepage background videos. Just choose and download a video, upload it to your website, then add a few snippets of code to the page. No cost, no attribution required.

Showcase reviews: StoreYa Blog

3) Mazwai
Google Review Count: 99

Another large collection of beautiful, free homepage background videos you can download and use elsewhere.

Showcase reviews: StoreYa Blog

Showcase Reviews

Kathryn Aragon Media
Likeable Media
Nikki Woods
Social Media Today
StoreYa Blog

This post originally appeared on the Webbiquity blog

Photo credit: Flickr user Duane Storey

About Tom Pick


Tom Pick is an independent digital marketing consultant, focused on helping b2b technology clients improve their online visibility and business results. In his more than 20 years of b2b marketing experience on both the corporate and agency sides, Tom has won numerous awards and helped clients ranging from single-person businesses to $1 billion+ corporations improve their online visibility, web traffic, visitor engagement, and lead generation. He writes about content and social media marketing topics on the Webbiquity blog.>