The best free websites for stock images

How often do you need an image for social media, but can’t exactly go out and quickly get a photo, so you type it into Google and save the first one you see? Well, did you know, most Google Images aren’t copyright free?

That’s right! Those images that you see are usually copyrighted, meaning you can’t use them unless given permission, or purchasing. They belong to people, and using one without permission could land your practice in a lot of legal trouble. 

Many pictures on Google Images may not have a watermark or price tag but that doesn’t mean they’re up for grabs. All original works of authorship (from photos and blogs to songs, software and more) are protected by copyright (meaning “the right to copy”). 

The number of images you use doesn’t matter. One stolen image is one too many. And the cost of infringement is steep, with bloggers and websites paying well into the thousands for photos that would have only cost them a few dollars (or nothing at all) if they’d asked for and received permission first. 

You could use stock image sights such as Shutterstock, but they’re a bit pricey and not in your budget.

We’ve put together a list of free stock image websites that we always recommend to our clients – take a look:


Over 2 million free high-resolution images brought to you by the world’s most generous community of photographers.

Unsplash is a platform powered by an amazing community that has gifted hundreds of thousands of their own photos to fuel creativity around the world. So sign up for free, or don’t. Either way, you’ve got access to over a million photos under the Unsplash license—which makes them free to do-whatever-you-want with.


Pexels is a free stock photo and video website and app that helps designers, bloggers, and everyone who is looking for visuals to find great photos and videos that can be downloaded and used for free. If you see a photo or video you like, simply download it for free (no strings attached!).


Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright free images, videos and music. All contents are released under the Pixabay License, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist – even for commercial purposes.


Canva is a fantastic, and free, resource for business owners that like to get stuck in and create their own design work. As well as offering design templates for logos, posters, Instagram stories etc., Canva also has a bank of copyright-free images to use in those designs.

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