The best free stock photo sites for designers in 2017

The best free stock photo sites for designers in 2017

While it would sure be nice to use custom photography in every project you do, sometimes that’s just not quite feasible. Photography takes both time and money, and especially if you’re working with a client on a budget, it might not be in their cards. Luckily, free stock photos have really come a long way and actually provide decent options for those who need professional images at zero cost.

Whether you’re searching for blog images, looking for new homepage backgrounds, or just want some new photos to practice your Photoshop skills on, there’s sure to be a free stock photo that can help you get the job done. Just remember to always check the usage license for every photo you download. While these resources are all free, they have different attribution expectations, and it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Ready to find some high-quality images? Check out our list of the best free stock photo sites for designers in 2017!


best-stock-photo-sites-2017-pexels Get this photo here.

As far as free stock photo sites go, Pexels is a personal favorite of mine. (If you look around Layout, you’ll see quite a few from there!) Not only do they have a wide variety of images, but the search functionality is perfect if you’re looking for something specific like a beautiful desk scene or someone scrolling on a mobile device. Attribution is not required for any of the photos on the site.


best-stock-photo-sites-2017-unsplash Get this photo here.

Unsplash features free, high-resolution photos that are perfect for any creative. They have some really stunning nature photography, or if you’re looking for something a little more tech-based, try browsing through their Office Collection. These images are Do Whatever You Want images, meaning no attribution is required.

best-stock-photo-sites-2017-stocksnap Get this photo here.

This free stock photo site has a huge selection of images to search through. Not only can you search for specific subjects, but you can also sort photos by the date they were added or if they’re trending. It’s also not uncommon to discover several photos from the same shoot, allowing you to keep a consistent look with a variety of images. These photos fall under the Creative Commons CC0 license, meaning no attribution is required.


best-stock-photo-sites-2017-pixabay Get this photo here.

Looking for more than just free stock photos? Try Pixabay – they also have free illustrations, vector graphics, and videos. Their search bar will even let you filter what type of media you’re looking for, that way you can find some assets super fast without wasting time looking for the wrong thing. All images on Pixabay do not require attribution.



If you’re looking for high-quality images that aren’t your everyday stock photos, Gratisography has you covered. The majority have some sort of surreal element, like gorilla hands typing on a laptop or people with exaggerated features. They won’t work with every project, but if you’ve got a quirky design style going on, this is the stock photo site for you. Attribution is not required, but there are some common sense rules that Ryan McGuire lists here.

Negative Space

best-stock-photo-sites-2017-negative-space Get this photo here.

Negative Space recently redesigned their logo and site, creating a beautiful place to download free, high-resolution photos. You can search for specific images or browse categories like Technology and Work for some fantastic desk shots and computer images. These images fall under the CC0 license, meaning attribution is not required.


best-stock-photo-sites-2017-picjumbo Get this photo here.

Picjumbo is another stock photo site with a bunch of wonderful options for any designer. If you’re not limited to only free photos, they also have a premium membership with some pretty sweet perks. Either way, you’re sure to find a high-quality image that works on your site. Attribution is not required, but you can find the whole list of terms here.

ISO Republic

best-stock-photo-sites-2017-iso-republic Get this photo here.

Along with stellar stock photos of urban settings and technology, ISO Republic has a category designers may find really interesting: Textures. Featuring wonderful shapes, colors, and of course, textures, this site can help you find some really great backgrounds for whatever project you’re working on. Attribution is not required for these images.


stock-photos-designers-burst Get this photo here.

Burst is a new stock photo site from the Shopify team, and it’s full of useful photos for any designer. With categories ranging from business to coffee, you can find just about anything you need knowing that the collections were created with entrepreneurs in mind. Plus, there’s a whole section all about business ideas (including photos to help kick-start that specific business)! Hello, inspiration. Attribution is not required for these images.

Where do you get your favorite stock photos from? I know there are tons more great resources for free images on the web. Share your best resources in the comments below!


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