Free Stock Image Sites

It’s quite a difficult task to find clean, crisp, relevant, yet legal images to use on a Website. If you understand what copyright is you will know that you can’t just grab any old image you see on the web and place it on your own site. So where do you get images from? Stock photography is the answer for many web designers – well those that aren’t the sort that carry around a digital SLR in their bag anyway. The problem here for most small sites is that a good stock image doesn’t come cheap, and I hear you saying…”why pay when I can just download free images from the net”. Good question. To get to the point, your main concern here should be legality. I am certainly not going to trust any old “Free Clip-art download site” where you don’t so much as even see a legal notice or licence for the image you are getting. However I have found a few sources of free legal downloads of stock images where the licensing of the images is very clear. These photos are sometimes referred to as public domain images.
Free Stock Image sites:
SXC <- Has many free images, with some extra sharp premium paid images which cost.
Morgue File <- All free, a good source for images.
Dreamstime <- Has some free images, mostly pay images.
Image After <- All free images.
Vecteezy <- Very cool site with some free vector images, and sorted by licence type (source of bikini image above).

Good luck pic hunting.

20 thoughts on “Free Stock Image Sites”

  1. Hi Simon, Es told me about your site so thought I’d check it out. I’m impressed! One suggestion – I checked out the links for the free stock image sites so I’m assuming all your links are the same – they don’t open in a new window, so clickers are taken away from your site. Have a link open in a new window so that’s the secondary site, and yours is still the principal.
    Just a thought.
    Cheers, Louisa

  2. Thanks, for the suggestion and comment Louisa. It was very lazy of me to leave off Target=”_blank” from my links….I will sort that out. Cheers!

  3. Those are great graphic sites.

    I also recommend using GIMP ( as a free image editor program. It’s as powerful as PhotoShop, but free!

  4. thanks for the list of sites it could be handy when looking for photos 😀 also some pay sites some times have some free photos but you will not get a lot of choice.

  5. You might also consider getting free images from Flickr. If you go to the site,, click on advanced search, type in your search query and select the creative commons option down at the bottom, all of the images you see will be free for personal and commercial use under the CC license.

    Thats where I get all of my pics now days.

  6. Thanks for the list of stock images. I have some more listed if you want to add them. I will be adding some of yours also since they all are good ones.

  7. That is a great list of stock images. Searching Google for images always provides good results for me in the past, but I will have to try out these sites for a change of pace.

  8. Thanks for the list of stock photo sites. Every now and then it makes it easy to pick some free stock photos up when i need to make a new site. Enjoy the blog you have something good every time.

  9. Thank you for the useful list. When building a website, good pictures is very important. (Free) pictures can add much to the look and feel of it.

  10. Thanks for the links.

    sxc is definitely my best-loved one.

    I got a list for myself ( at ), maybe it will help enlarging this one.

    However, you should be careful with licensing, free photos usually come under different licensing options. I like CC photos as their licensing is clear and strict.

  11. Thanks i need some stock imags for a new site. I will look over the ones you listed. I like the fact you listed how many each site has free and wich one has vector images.

  12. Thanks simon thatis a good list. i agree most people do not realize they need permission or have to find ones that can use for free. I saw atree at pebble beach golf course and it had a sign that no one can use a photo of that tree for any comercial website or business. I think even personal blog that creates income would not be allowed so that is a perfect example of what you mean. some stock broker or mutual fund owns the rights to the tree and it is well known photo of it on thier site and ads.

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