Tagged: stock photos

10 great free stock photo sites

Free Stock Photo Sites

As a designer, stock photography is your lifeblood. Finding clients these days that have a decent photography budget is difficult to say the least. There are plenty of low-cost stock photo sites out there, but even then it can be like pulling teeth getting a client to pay for photos. Thankfully there are plenty of free stock photo sites like those listed below.

Snapwire offers quality free photos

Snapwire photos

I’ve written about free stock photo sites I’ve found in the past. Recently, I came across Snapwire and thought I would share it with you all. Snapwire offers seven free photos every seven days. The photos all feature a CC1.0 license, which means they’re free to use in any way you wish. The site appears to be fairly new, so there isn’t a large collection built-up just yet. Hopefully it continues on for a long time.

Free stock photos from Unsplash

Unsplash photos

There’s nothing better than free stock photos, except maybe high-quality free stock photos. Unsplash offers up 10 new stock photos every 10 days.

You can visit Unsplash and download the photos individually, or sign-up for the email newsletter which contains a link to download all 10 photos in a single .zip file.

All the photos offered by Unsplash are of fairly high-quality, and though it doesn’t say so, each collection of 10 images appears to be of a particular theme. The images can be used for anything you wish (personal or commercial use).

There are lots of free photo sites out there, but I really like Unsplash because the images are fairly unique in their subject matter. You’re not likely to see similar images elsewhere.

The photos available on Unsplash are submitted by people just like you. So if you have a photo you want to make available for anyone in the world to use, feel free to submit it using the link at the top of the homepage.

Free public domain photo site offers categorized stock photography

Public domain stock photos

While I was searching for images for a project, I came across Photos Public Domain, which offers images of various quality with a decent range of subject matter. The site doesn’t have thousands upon thousands of images, but there are quite a few gems. The best part is they are, as the name implies, public domain, and free for commercial use. Donations are accepted of course, but not necessary. I particularly liked the holiday collection.

Free stock photos: San Francisco signs

On a recent vacation with my wife, I snapped nearly 1,000 photos – most of which will be of absolutely no interest to you whatsoever. But I did manage to (for some strange reason) collect 46 photos of signs in San Francisco, as well as a few from Alcatraz island.

San Francisco signs

46 random signs in San Francisco - for no apparent reason

Feel free to download and use these images in your work if you have a use for them. If you use them on the Web I would appreciate a link back to this article, but it isn’t a requirement.

All the images are stored on Flickr, and are approximately 3,400 x 2,300 pixels at 72dpi (approximately 11.5 x 7.5 inches at 300dpi), so they’ll work for commercial print if you so desire. Just click the photo you wish to download, then click the “All Sizes” button above the photo to choose the size image you want.

Looking for free stock photos? Visit the Morgue!

I’m always on the lookout for interesting stock photo sites. Everyone knows about stock.xchng for a huge collection of free photos. But there are other options out there. One of my long-time favorites is the Morgue. MorgueFile has been around for years, and is a great public image archive for creatives, by creatives. MorgueFile offers a massive collection of user-contributed images, free for personal or commercial use. The images are high resolution, and vary greatly in quality and content. It’s a great site to find photos of obscure topics.

Finding and using Flickr images for free

Blog posts and Web pages look better with images, this is a fact. But where can you find images to use that don’t cost a lot? You could turn to some of the free stock photo sites out there. Some are pretty decent, but most of the images have a distinct “stock photography” look about them. Instead, try using images from Flickr.

Creative Commons License

Photo by Spoon Monkey @ Flickr

Before you say “the images on Flickr are copyrighted, so they can’t be used for commercial work,” think again. Flickr offers thousands of great images under the Creative Commons, allowing you to use them absolutely free, with little more than a photo credit in some cases. Flickr offers non-copyright images in the form of several different licenses under the Creative Commons. The type of license the photographer chose to license the image under determines what restrictions you’ll have in using the images. Typically, these restrictions are limited to commercial vs. non-commercial, photo credits, and re-distribution.

Attribution license is your friend

The best Creative Commons license you can choose is the Attribution License. Images that fall under the Attribution License allow you to freely crop and alter the image, and use it any way you see fit for free, just as long as you credit the photographer. Generally speaking, you’ll know you’re looking at Attribution License images when you see one of the two icons above on the page.

Creative Commons images

Photo by Hyunlab @ Flickr

You can make your search for Attribution License images easier by starting on the Flickr Attribution License page. As I said earlier, there are several different kinds of Creative Commons licenses. The Attribution License is definitely the most flexible, but there are others that allow you to use Flickr images with more restrictions. For more info on the other available licensed images, visit the Flickr Creative Commons page.

Free stock photography at Absolute Vision

One of the many vital resources any designer makes use of is stock photography sites. We would all love to have the budget for a photoshoot on each job, but the reality is that 90% of the jobs out there have a budget more condusive to Royalty Free photos. The problem is, of course, that stock photos tend to get “old” quickly. You see the same photos being used everywhere. While I’m sure most designers know about Getty, Veer & Corbis, it’s the much smaller and specialized sites that can make or break your work – sites that don’t charge $500 for a single photo. The recent trend is going to the subscription model where you pay a flat fee per year for all the photos you want. One such site is AbsoluteVision which offers photos in the JPEG2000 format – which includes an alpha channel for “cutout” images, and custom drop/cast shadows for a realistic cutout photo. Did I also mention that AbsoluteVision offers a free photo download every week. You don’t even need to be a paying subscriber, just register and you’re off to build your own image library! My only “catch” is a warning to not go crazy with the royalty free photo use. Spend some time searching for just the right photo, with so many photo sites out there, I know you will eventually find it. Rushing through and picking a photo from the old PhotoDisc archives on Getty is a sure way to get people to laugh or ignore your 1970’s era photo in an add proclaiming how up-to-date your bank’s new secure deposit service is!