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Art by Erik McGrew

5 excellent free stock photo websites you probably didn’t know about

Rejoice, visual content users! This one’s for you. Designers and creative professionals struggle to find free images that they want to use for their projects. Great stock photos will engage your audience, whether you’re looking for the perfect shot for your next marketing A/B test or something for social media design.

The challenge, however, is finding these amazing stock photos to use.

We have scoured the web to discover the five best free stock photo sites that designers often overlook, from public domain photos that are free to use to Creative Commons images with attribution.

Discover your next favorite website for free stock photos:

1. Vintage Stock Photos

The 80s and 90s vintage photography styles are slowly making their way back into the graphic design world. You have two options for finding imagery for your vintage-inspired project; either create your own elaborate photoshoot with props, models, and photographers or visit Vintage Stock Photos.

Originally a paid site, Vintage Stock Photos demonetized its incredible collection of images. They own all images, but the resized jpegs posted on their site are free for distribution.

Browse vintage gems by category or popularity, or search for a specific shot.


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2. The Public Domain Review

This non-profit magazine and online journal explore literature, arts, and ideas focusing on the public domain, which means that all out-of-copyright material is now free for the public to enjoy and share.

The Public Domain Review’s beautiful images and illustrations can be used without restriction and are described as a digital “cabinet of curiosities” that celebrates cultural commons and their creators.

Browse their collections or explore images by tags.


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3. Flickr Commons

“The Commons” has existed since 2008 but is one of the better-kept secrets of the online stock photography community.

As a result of the pilot partnership with the Library of Congress, the community and project have received overwhelming support and have continued to increase their publicly-held photography collections. Likewise, it is a crowdsourced project where users can add tags and other relevant information.

There are no known copyright restrictions on any photos, meaning they are all in the public domain for one reason or another and free to use in your upcoming projects.


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4. The Pic Pac

In their own words, The Pic Pac wants users to “do whatever you want with the pics.”

Matt Jones owns and operates this free stock photo website out of his love of photography and dislike of expensive stock photos. This free stock photo service offers good quality images in travel-themed collections at a price you decide. There is no obligation to pay, but the option for a small donation via GumRoad is available!


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5. Startup Stock Photos

Look no further for those founders and startup designers looking for free, high-quality stock photos of teams dealing with real-life startup activities.

These photos are listed under the CC0 license, which means they are free to use with or without credit for your project. Although, the team would love to see what you make with them.

Find all your office, techie, and meeting-related photos that will make freelancers and entrepreneurs everywhere jump for joy.


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Bonus: Old Book Illustrations

We couldn’t resist adding Old Book Illustrations as an exciting bonus, including illustrations from the 18th century to the first quarter of the 20th century. The images found here are all free to use and are part of the public domain.

If you are looking for Victorian or French Romantic illustrations, Old Book Illustrations is where to go. Whether you’re browsing the site or searching for a specific illustration to use, this site is a well-organized gold mine.

You can filter illustrations by subject, technique, or even the artist/year using the advanced search.


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Make your next project a success with these free images.

Thanks to this list of useful websites, these free high-quality images can now be used for your next project. The stunning stock photos are sure to boost your creativity.

Whether you need images for an article, website design, eCommerce store, social media ad, presentation, or any other project you may have, we are here to help.


Olivia Hoskin About the Author: Olivia Hoskin is a freelance writer with a background in tech and marketing. A true design fan at heart, you’ll find her writing about the latest industry trends, technologies, and the inspiring endeavors of fellow creators. She’s a champion of remote work, a lover of responsible technology, and a fitness geek and enjoyer of the outdoors in her spare time. Find her at oliviahoskin.com.


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