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Free Stock Images for Your Startup

It’s really hard to justify paying for stock images on your blog when your startup is just getting off the ground.

While large companies may justify an in-house designer, custom photography, or very specific high-quality photos from paid sites, it’s hard to spend that kind of money when you’re just starting out. That said, you can probably make it a lot further than you think with one of the free options for stock photos I’ve listed here.

The Importance of Having Images in Your Blog Posts

But first, why should you have images in your blog posts at all? Isn’t the focus primarily on the writing?

Yes, you should spend most of your time writing great content for your blog and promoting that content, but images are important too. For example:

  • They help break up long spans of text and give readers a break.
  • They are great for SEO (especially if they’re unique).
  • Stock images can illustrate or summarize your point.

Unfortunately, stock images can be bland and expensive. In this post, I’ve collected some of my favorite sources of free stock imagery. These sites are great for startups that want to add high-quality images to their blog posts but don’t have a huge budget to do so.

How I Create Unique Images for My Blog

As an example of how you can use some of the tools below, I created this video showing how I create unique lead images for my blog. Unsplash and Bannersnack are free, so in just five minutes, you can make eye-catching, original images that make your blog posts stand out on social media!

This workflow works for me, but Unsplash and Bannersnack aren’t the only resources around.

Free Stock Images for Your Startup’s Blog

Unsplash - My personal go-to for stock images because it’s effortless to search and use. Attribution is also optional.

Creatopy - Great for customizing stock images to use for blog posts, social media ads, or other marketing materials.

Moose - Stock Photos Designed to Work Together — For Free

Pexels - Lots of great photos with an interesting leaderboard for contributors.

AllTheFreeStock - Get all the free stock images, videos, music, and icons under the Creative Commons Zero license.

Burst by Shopify - Their collections offer nice groupings of photos for specific use cases.

Death to Stock Newsletter - Subscribe to get free stock photos emailed to you every day.

EveryPixel - Uses artificial intelligence to index and search 50+ stock image providers for the best match.

FindA.Photo - Allows you to search by keyword or color, which could be handy if you need a specific hue.

Flickr Creative Commons - Creative Commons is a non-profit that offers an alternative to full copyright. There are different levels of CC licenses on Flickr.

FoodieFactor - FoodieFactor is a collection of 1200 of the best free food and drink stock photos currently available on the internet.

Foodiesfeed - Natural-looking food photos that are free to download or use.

Foodshot - Handpicked high-resolution food photos with new ones posted every day.

ISO Republic - ISO Republic provides free stock photos for creatives and has published over 3,000 CC0 licensed images since its inception.

LibreStock - Allows you to search multiple stock photo sites at once.

Magdeleine - Search by keyword, color, tag, or category to find the perfect attribution-required stock images.

Negative Space - Beautiful, high-resolution free photos for personal or commercial projects.

New Old Stock - Vintage photos that no longer have copyright protection and are free to use.

Picjumbo - Thousands of free stock photos with upgrade options to get even more with a premium membership.

Pikwizard - Over 100,000 completely free stock photos that don’t require any attribution. High-quality images of people that can’t be found on other free stock photo sites.

Pixabay - Over 1.2 million community-generated photos of just about everything you can imagine.

Rawpixel - Most free images on the websites are exclusive and comprise photography, vector art, and mockups.

Skuawk - Another great option if you just want to filter by a category, but the UI is pretty weird (hint: use the three bars in the top right to navigate).

Startup Stock Photos - Free photos for startups, bloggers, publishers, websites, designers, developers, and creators.

Stock Up - Search their collection of 20,000 free stock photos.

StockSnap.io - Hundreds of free, high-resolution images added weekly.

Stockified - The search isn’t great, but the photos are pretty interesting.

Stockio - Thousands of free photos licensed in multiple categories such as nature, abstract, models, and many more. No attribution is required.

Did I miss a free stock image site that you love? Email me to suggest your favorites.

Karl Hughes

By Karl Hughes

Karl is a former startup CTO and the founder of Draft.dev. He writes about technical blogging and content management.