Hi everyone! Today I’m finally typing out the post I’ve eagerly planned to share with you. It’s my quasi secret top 5 collection of sites with amazing free stock photos.
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Why use stock?
Personally I have many reasons to use stock photography. I use them in my shop previews, for drawing reference, instagram posts and much more! You can imagine that unless you’re a photographer, taking all those pictures yourself might be a long process. I also believe that some people are just better at capturing everyday scenes or visions than I could.
Since stock photography is someone elses creative work you always have to check in which way you can use them. If for example you use a free stock photograph to copy for a painting and then sell, you might run into problems if that is not allowed under its license. For my previews I usually buy stock with a license that allows for my usage. For drawing practice however, I’m simply not rich enough to purchase every single reference image. That’s where license free images come in.
License free stock sites (my top 5)
So where do you find these license free images? You can usually do a google search for license free images. You always have to check, check and double check the licenses for the terms to be 100% sure you’re not violating someones copyright.
By now I’ve gathered a list of go-to websites that usually have exactly the images with licenses I need. Most pictures there are license free for both commercial and personal use. I do find it a good habit to give a nice shoutout on social media to the generous people making their work available to us.
So here follows a list of my favourite sites to find beautiful free stock. Make sure you check the license at the time you read this since they may of course change over time.
Wow, their free photo library is just gorgeous. They have separate collections of very well done photographs. The mood and their skill is just perfect! I use a lot of their stock for drawing reference and even in my shop previews. Most of my Milano Sky previews were done with their stock. The high resolution is just fabulous and I can’t thank them enough for sharing this work. I’m sure you’ll enjoy a look at their site.
I love this site! It totally thrives on the generosity of amazing photographers sharing their work. Both Commercial and Personal use is allowed without giving credit. They do encourage you to give credit if possible for obvious and totally fair reasons. They have over 300.000 stock photos and new ones are added on a daily basis! I really find it hard to NOT find what I’m looking for there.
On Unsplash you can build collections and follow your favourite photographers. I love to build collections around a subject I’m studying. If you’re a blogger or have a certain branding style, making these collections can be absolutely perfect to save time when you need a certain image quickly.
Pexels is one of the first free stock sites I used. I love their variety and quality as well. They also have a free videos section which I haven’t used yet so I couldn’t tell you about that yet. Currently I believe they have over 40.000 stock photos. Not as many as Unsplash but 40k is still quite an amount of free imagery.
Pixabay is huge! It has photos, graphics (also vector), video and more. I love it for its variety. Because I do feel more drawn to a particular style, this is not the first place I go to. However, I do always end up there when the other sites didn’t have what I was looking for. Pixabay usually has it because of the huge library of over 1 million assets.
I turn to Stocksnap for a lot of people related images. They also have a lot of floral images that I love (you know I love florals!)
There are more
There are a lot more license free images but these are the ones I usually go to. If you haven’t used stock much before, this will get you started. If you do use stock a lot, I hope you find some gems you didn’t know about!
I also love to find new gems, so please do let me know your favourite free stock sites in the comments!
Take care and happy creating! xoxo Manon