They say an image speaks a thousand words. Nowhere is this truer than on the World Wide Web. The WWW was simply text until browsers enabled us to add all the eye candy.
Your blog posts, your marketing materials, and your website all need images. As a small business owner, you probably think that photos come with an expensive price tag, but they don’t have to. Below are places to find images for every small business need.
The Small Print
Before we dive into the list however, let’s talk legal.
Image use is governed by a number of different copyright laws. These laws specify what you can and cannot do with the images you find online. What’s this mean in layman’s terms?
If you use images without legal rights, you could be sued. Or you may be rudely surprised to receive a demand letter claiming you owe thousands of dollars to the image owner.
As you make use of the sites below, be sure to follow the licensing terms set forth on each site.
Also, remember that even if a site claims images are “royalty-free” it does not mean the image is free. It just means a volume royalty does not have to be paid with each use. You may still have to pay a one-time license fee.
Further, keep in mind that on so-called “free” sites, you use the image at your own risk. The person who uploaded it may not have had the legal right to upload it in the first place!
Places to Find Images for Every Small Biz Need
These places to find images offer free, exclusive images that are hard to find elsewhere. Typically, the images included in these collections were taken by one photographer or by a small group of contributors
The genius behind Gratisography is Ryan McGuire who offers a good-sized collection of original high-resolution images, many of which are fun and whimsical.
Hailing from southern India, Jeshu John created DesignersPics to share his photos with other Web designers & developers. His isn’t a biggest collection of free photos however, he has a sharp eye for setting and mood.
A site with a global perspective, Photoeverywhere offers images from around the world, many of them exclusive to their site.
JÉSHOOTS is the home of Jan Vasek whose small collection of hi-definition photos (an example of one is shown below) can really liven up your online content.
Startup Stock Photos
If you’re a startup looking for images, then you should check out Startup Stock Photos. A startup themselves, they took many pictures along the way, many of which they share on this site.
Unfortunately, the talented young man who took the photos and created Little Visuals has passed on. Fortunately, his eye-catching photos are still online and free for you to use.
Jeffrey Betts if the photographer over at MMT, where he offers high-resolution photos (an example of one is shown below) that will knock your socks off. Jeffrey adds one new image every week so check back regularly.
KaboomPics is the brainchild of Karolina, a Polish Web designer who loves photography. She built the site, and its large collection, to serve the image needs of, “bloggers, website owners, small businesses, freelancers & social media ninjas”.
Photographer Jay Mantri offers a number of breathtaking photos on his Jay Mantri site.
A lover of all things food, Jakub created FoodiesFeed to share his gastronomic adventures. If you need food “non-stock image like” images of food (an example of one is shown below), then check his site out.
Free Nature Stock
Looking for outdoor photos of nature? Then head on over to Free Nature Stock where Adrian Pelletier adds new photos every day.
Daniel Nanescu shares years of photos for free on his SplitShire site. This one is definitely worth a look.
You’ll find a good-sized collection of photos covering a wide-range of topics (an example of one is shown below) over at Cupcake where Swedish photographer Jonas Nilsson Lee offers some of his professional collection for free.
Moveeast offers the photos of João Pacheco, “a Portuguese guy moving that decided that every photo of his experiences/travels should be used for free”.
Lock and Stock Photos
AJ Montpetit offers his photos for free on Lock & Stock Photos because, “I’ve benefited greatly from others who have shared stock photos for free, and want to do my part in giving back to the community online.”
The photos on Skitterphoto (an example of one is shown below) are all shot by three skitter photographers residing in Groningen, The Netherlands. They offer a good-sized collection of photos over a mix of categories.
Free Stock Image Point
All the photos on Free Stock Image Point were shot by one person who offers them to you for free.
Free Images offers a huge collection of free to use images, most of which are exclusive to the site.
David Niblack, an amateur photographer who loves to share his images, took most of the photos on Imagebase where he offers them for you to use free of charge.
Good Free Photos
You’ll find thousand of images to pick from on Good Free Photos. What’s really amazing is that one person took them all!
You’ll find a good-sized collection of photos covering a wide-range of topics over at Raumrot where photographer Markus Spiske offers some of his professional images for free.
Places to Find Images that are Free and Non-Exclusive
These sites fall into one of two categories:
- Free images taken by a large number of contributors who likely upload their images to multiple sites for you to use; and
- Image search engines that index other free image sites and then enable you to search for the images you need across all those sites at once.
Again, remember that you use “free” images at your own risk.
As you can see from the list below, there are a lot of these two types of sites out there. We recommend giving them a try until you find the ones that suite you best.
“Free” Image Upload Sites
- Abstract Influence
- Creative Vix
- FreeImages – they also offer premium images.
- Free Photos Bank
- Free Stock Photos.biz
- freeimageslive – this is the sister site to Free Images which was included in the section above. As opposed to exclusive images, this site feature uploads from users.
- Freerange Stock
- Image * After
- ISO Republic
- Large Photos
- Life of Pix
- Negative Space
- Photos – ByPeople
- Pickup Image
- Public Domain Images
- Public Domain Pictures
- travel coffee book – where folks share their travel photos for you to use.
- Snapwire Snaps
Free Image Search Sites
NOTE: remember to be extra-careful about usage rights when pulling images from sites below. Most of these sites pull an image to their own sites from another, but they don’t always list the copyright rules that the originating site applied to that image.
- IM Creator
- PD Photo
- Public Domain Image
- Public Domain Photos
- io – this site is like Pinterest where users can add free images that they find on other sites.
- Wikipedia Commons
Places to Find Images that are Hybrids
These sites bridge the gap between places you can get free images and places you can purchase images. This works in one of two ways:
- Smallest size is free: Images are usually available in differently sized versions. On hybrid sites, the smallest version is typically free while the larger sizes are available for a fee.
- Free image collection offered: on this type of hybrid site, you need to pay for images however, the vendor also offers a sizable collection of free images as well.
Hybrid Sites that Give the Smallest Image Size Away for Free
FreeDigitalPhotos is a robust site offering many images in a number of categories. As you can see below, the smallest images size is free:
You’ll find a number of picture collections on the KAVEWALL site, all of which can be downloaded for free. However, if you want any of the images at full resolution, you’ll need to purchase the collection.
You’ll find a lot of free images at 123RF of which, the smallest version of each is free.
Hybrid Sites that Offer Free Image Collections
Pond5 offers a good-sized collection of free photos alongside the ones they sell.
picjumbo puts a different spin on hybrid: they offer one or two images for a photo shoot for free and, if you want the rest, you need to pay.
Death to Stock
This humorously named site will send you a pack of photos for free each month however, if you want access to the Death to Stock collection, you need to subscribe.
While not as large as other sites, Refe still offers a nice collection of free images to use.
MadeinMoments offers a decent size collection of free photos.
Good Stock Photos
Places to Find Images that are Premium
Our last set of sites includes the heavy hitters of the royalty-free stock photo world. You’ll find almost every image you need on one of these sites and surprisingly, it won’t cost as much as you’d expect.
- Kozzi Images
- Creative Market – this is a great online market for all sorts of design needs however, one standout feature are their image packs where you can get hundreds of photos for one low price.
Images will draw attention to your content in a way that nothing else does. Use our list of places to find images for every small business need above to find the images you need. However, always protect yourself by paying close attention to the license applied to each images you use.