Best FREE Photo Sites: The Most Recommended Free Image Sites

Best FREE Photo Sites: The Most Recommended Free Image SitesLooking for the best free photo sites? Readers of my blog post Where to Find Images for Blogs and Social Media – Free and Legal! have suggested their favorite sources for free images for commercial use. I’ve checked them out and have brought you this list of favorites!

photo by spekulator via sxc, adapted by LouiseM [pinit]

Free Photo Search: Multi-site Photo Search Engine

free images for commercial use

What I like best about this photo search engine (besides that it searches 15 million free photos!) is that you can search by license. So, if you only want public domain photos – which require no attribution – you can easily search just PD photos. Be sure to check the first box in the “Licenses” dropdown if you wish to use images for a business website or social media.

In addition to searching by license, you can restrict your search by:

  • Type of account desired
  • Any or all of the 11 sources
  • Photo shape and minimum size (so helpful!)

best free photo sites: every stock photo

I also like that a larger preview image pops up when you hover over the thumbnails. Info from the site:

We are a search engine for free photos. These come from many sources and are license-specific. You can view a photo’s license by clicking on the license icon, below and left of photos. Membership is free and allows you to rate, tag, collect and comment on photos. Now searching: 15,752,094 free photos

Most Recommended Free Photo Site

Stock.xchng is a well known site for free images. What I like best about Stock.xchng is the “Most Popular” downloads pages. Browsing there, I discovered top-quality images that inspired me for ways to use them in social media and more. What I liked least was the need to contact the photographer or artist when you wish to use an image. It wasn’t problematical – just an extra step. The artist I contacted yesterday was pleased to hear from me and told me the only requirement is to be sure to attribute the work. The work here seems to be of a more commercial caliber than Wikimedia and I’m sure to return to “SXC.”

best free photo sites: sxc

Creative Commons Free Photo Search

This page is a starting point to conveniently access search services provided by other independent organizations. Enter your search term once, then pick any one site to search. From CC you may search:

  • Europeana: media
  • Flickr: Images
  • Fotopedia: Images
  • Google: Web
  • Google Images: Images
  • Jamendo: Music
  • Open Clip Art Library: Images
  • SpinXpress: Media
  • Wikimedia Commons: Media
  • YouTube: Video

best free photo sites: creative commons search

While you can select to search only free images and media for commercial use, understand that you are responsible for ensuring the results are free to use. CC’s words of warning:

CC has no control over the results that are returned. Do not assume that the results displayed in this search portal are under a CC license. You should always verify that the work is actually under a CC license by following the link. Since there is no registration to use a CC license, CC has no way to determine what has and hasn’t been placed under the terms of a CC license. If you are in doubt you should contact the copyright holder directly, or try to contact the site where you found the content.

With any of the sites, the responsibility is yours to understand the license and comply. I have heard that using Flickr images is dicey, as users come & go, and change their permissions. Wikimedia and YouTube are reliable sources. I don’t have experience with the other media sources offered. Trust but verify :)

For more ideas and insights, visit my blog post Where to Find Images for Blogs and Social Media – Free and Legal! If you found this useful, please Like or Share this post on the best free photo sites!

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  1. says

    Thanks for the great resource. Two of these are new to me and I’ll definitely added them to my bookmarks. I’m a long time user of SXC. Really love the search capabilities of everystockphoto!

  2. says

    I use Creative Commons on Flicker quite a bit. There are lots of great photographers out there sharing their work. Just make sure to give them credit in your article and provide a link to their other work if possible. I usually also provide a link to my article in the comments about the photo to show how I’ve used it.

    • says

      Thanks Denise, I’m glad to hear Flickr has worked out well for you! I’ve heard others complain that the contributors sometimes change permissions, causing problems, but I’m sure that’s a small minority.

    • says

      It’s tough when starting out, or if you produce a lot of content, to keep up with the cost of images needed. I’ve found these resources very helpful and hope your clients do too. Thanks for the comment!

  3. says

    Today was the day of total frustration in trying to find photos for my blog. My goal is to always respect copyright laws, so it’s been tough. Your resource has been amazing!

    Amber Genise

    • says

      Thanks for those, kulas!

      I’m a little wary of the 2nd one as I can’t read the site.

      RGBstock is included in searches at

      Thanks for visiting and commenting! Always good to have more resources.

  4. says

    very informative article. I think pinterest can also be a good option to find some images of your interest. Well described articles. Keep it up.

  5. says

    Hey Louise – it’s your no.1 kiwi fan here! Wanted to let you know that I found this post through a LinkedIn discussion from someone else – great stuff! All the best and thanks for sharing :o) Kellie

  6. says

    Thanks Louise for these sources. I wanted to get more involved with Pinterest in posting my tax and estate articles. They are not very well suited for pictures so I really have to work at it. I think I have to have pictures that relate to the subject matter but that can be tough. At one time I thought well maybe just put nice looking pictures that have nothing to do with the subject matter but am not sure. Any thoughts for this uncreative tax attorney?

  7. says

    Nice Information about Free Images Thanks for sharing this information. In last week i found a site where lot of vectors for web designer and Graphics designers. I also free download some vectors for my articles and website its really nice and great site for web designers, developers and graphics Designers.
    visit site

  8. says

    Me and my friend are amateur photographers (although we do some paid work every now and then) and we have created this website.

    We believe in free culture and we are going to post all our photos in full resolution on our website and can be used under following creative commons license.
    That means you can remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially. 100% free of cost.

    We have just started this project and within months there will be thousands of photos available.
    If you like our work and want to promote free culture then please spread the word to everyone who might want to build upon our work.
    If everything goes right then our plan is to recruit more like minded photographers and make this site really rich with 100% free stock photos.
    Thank you for supporting us.

    Kind regards,


  9. says

    Great free stock photos from photographers community. All photos are under Creative common license. No permission or attribute is required.

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