Connect with your audience visually with truly free stock photos

Let’s be honest! A good image in your blog post or your social media page can make or break a first impression. I mean, let’s just take our own example, how likely are you to hit like or even follow someone on social media based on what you see? Very likely, right? Because we are visual creatures.

  • 65% of human beings are visual learners. Our brains are wired that way. 1/2 of our brain is dedicated to visual function!
  • 2 out of 5 people respond better to visual information than plain text.
  • Website content with images receive 47% more clicks than those without.
  • We retain up to 20% of the information we process in a visual format as opposed to only 10% of the information we read. Thus, when things are laid out in front of us in the form of an image or a video, we are more likely to remember it than just plain text.

All those stats sound good but how do you create that kickass first impression? I am not a photographer, so do I go ahead and hire a photographer each time I want to write a blog post or create a social media image? Simple answer, no! Stock photos are quite expensive and cost upward of $50 for a photo you may use one time. You can subscribe to a site which typically costs approximately $199 for 10 to 20 photo downloads a month. Paid stock photo sites have more generic photos.

Good news, there are plenty of websites which offer amazing (I repeat, amazing) stock photos for free, to download, customize, and use it to share your message with your audience. More good news! You don’t have to scour the internet looking for them. We have hand-picked the sites for you which offer you these truly free stock photos.

Before you start downloading these visually incredible photos there are some important copyright terms to keep in mind when it comes to the world of online images.



  • Creative Commons  Here’s the official definition from Wikipedia: 

    “A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. A CC license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that they have created.”

  • Royalty free – Royalty-free, or RF, refers to the right to use copyright material or intellectual property without the need to pay royalties or license fees for each use or per volume sold, or some period of use or sales. This means that you are allowed to use the image without paying any license fees to the owner. However, royalty free images sometimes have guidelines associated with them, and it is always a good practice to read them before you begin using the image.
  • Completely free – Completely free refers to images which are truly free – no attribution required and are free for both commercial and non-commercial use.

I have curated a collection of websites where you can find gorgeous, free stock imagery for commercial and non-commercial use. You can begin to download free photos today to amplify your online presence. Most of them have a search feature which you can use to search and download photos for your specific needs. Some don’t and you might have to sift through to find what you are looking for. Some even offer a subscription service where they send you free photos directly to your email (every month, week or even day) if you sign up.

Also published on Medium.

So there you have it! 25 amazing sites where you can find completely free stock photos. Go ahead and begin making your brand and content more visual and captivating!

What free sites do you use? Do you use one that isn’t on my list? Please comment and share it with me.

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Angela Swanson

Angela Swanson is the Founder and Owner of Simple, a web design & web marketing agency dedicated to a holistic approach to the online presence. Angela’s forté lies in creative problem solving and go-getter strategies delivering amazing results to businesses and their brands--without sacrificing authenticity. With actionable steps, she helps businesses go beyond average and embrace their incredible potential. The outcome? Awesome sales and profits and a rockin' brand identity. With years of experience in marketing, organizational communication, and management, Angela brings a diverse and valuable skill set to her approach. She is also Founder and Co-Owner of Sweet Papaya Creative, a creative video production and editing company, in the portland, OR area.