It’s always a challenge to find the perfect image to accompany your designs. We all know that powerful images can make a huge difference in getting your message across.
Trying to find great images can be incredibly time-consuming, let alone if you like to find free ones. So we decided to come to the rescue by compiling a list of 15 sites that allow to to download great images (photos and illustrations) for free to make your Bizplay channel (or whatever medium you like to use them on) look even more amazing.
They have thousands of images, in various themes and all under CC0 license, which they cleverly changed into “Unsplash License”. You can browse pre-defined featured or curated collections, explore images in Unsplash categories, or search for a specific topic image in the search bar. If you’re looking for food- or office pictures, they have it all! Before downloading your favorite picture, you can see technical info and how often it was viewed and downloaded. Most of the pictures have an ‘Instagram feel’ for a contemporary look.
It’s a joy to browse through Pexel’s catalog of great photos. All of them are available under the CC0 license. Many of them can be conveniently used as fullscreen background photos. Be sure to check out the “Browse photos by color” option to quickly find a picture that perfectly matches your color scheme.
Gratisography is a project started by Ryan McGuire; “I’m an avid photographer that enjoys capturing slightly eclectic images. I created Gratisography so anyone can download high-resolution copies of my photos for free, and use them on personal and commercial projects”. There is an option to download in bundles at a cost of $5 per bundle. If you’re looking for out of the ordinary, whimsical, pictures you’re at the right place. The pictures will enhance your message and attract attention for sure!
Don’t be daunted by the homepage, the gallery has a nice clean look with themes. Next to the listed themes, it shows the number of pictures for that theme. Some themes have hundreds of pictures, where other themes have limited pictures. Good thing is that there are weekly new uploads. They also have the possibility to search by photographer so you can find your favorite photographer and see if he has won the award “Photographer of the week”. They have an option for free videos where you get directed the website with the name (unsurprisingly): Life of vids. Most pictures are edited with Photoshop, or like programs. It makes the pictures look with an ‘Instagram feel’, just as before mentioned Unsplash.
Pikwizard is a new kid on the block with a great selection of high quality pictures. Not only that, but you'll also find a good selection of free videos. Be sure to check out the popular categories in the footer for quick and convenient access to sets like "Happy birthday images", "Pictures of flowers" and "Wood background".
With a claim to have over 1.3 million images, the homepage looks a bit overwhelming. Not only they have pictures, but illustrations, videos and vector images as well. Our tip is to click the “More” button. You’ll be directed to the page where you can filter your search for the perfect picture. You can filter on: orientation, category (20 categories), size in pixels and even color to match the mood of your page. As one of the few free stock photo sites, Pixabay has an app you can download from both the Play Store and App store.
These pictures are mostly nature pictures, urban pictures and an occasional food picture. The site doesn’t offer loads of pictures and fresh uploads have lacking been some time. The upside is that the pictures are free and can catch various moods.
Stocksnap is also one of the big players, like Pixabay and Unsplash. On their website is the claim they upload hundreds of photos on a weekly basis. That should give you more choice than you can chew! You can choose pictures from 150 (!) categories or select all pictures and filter on several conditions, like trending, views, downloads, favorites and date. Looking at the trending photos, the vast majority has a mood filter. But there are also a lot of pictures with a clean look.
Like Gratisography, Pic Jumbo is a project from one single photographer. Pic Jumbo is started by a Czech called Victor Hanacek. The site offers 1500+ free pictures, next to paid options. The pictures are categorized in 16 categories and are in black and white or have a nice mood filter. The young Czech has our sympathy. Read his ‘about page’ to see why.
Picography offers gorgeous free images, all under CC0 license. The images are not categorized, but do have tags to find the matching image to your page. The site has images in the nature, urban, categories, all with a soft filter for a vintage look.
If you’re in need of some old, mostly black and white, images you can give this a try. The images are not sorted in any way, not in categories nor with tags. So, it will take some time to go thru all the images. But it can be worth your while.
Free stock photos for creative professionals is the claim on their site. Since we are creative professionals working with digital signage, a good match. They have fourteen categories to choose from. And each category has plenty images. In the rare occasion, you can’t find your perfect picture, they have a redirect to Shutterstock.
A personal favorite is Dreamstime. They have loads of CC0 images, illustrations and vectors. First, you’ll need to specify you’re looking for free photos. After that you’re set to browse in fifteen categories, all containing sub-categories for refining your search. The images have a mix of a clean standard look and with a filter to create a mood.
It’s important to understand what is meant by the different licensing and copyrights of images. It can be hard to know if you are legally allowed to use or modify an image you find online for your personal or commercial uses, so the Creative Commons Zero license is especially valuable. According to the Creative Commons website, the CC0 license “enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright- or database-protected content to waive those interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and re-use the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.” In other words, you are free to use that great image you found under the CC0 license for any purpose. Here are the best free stock photo sites we found whose images fall under CC0. Although you are free to use any image under the CC0 license, it’s a kind gesture to add a credit line next to the image.