Where to find free (quality) photos

Posted by & filed under Design Tips.

Using high quality photos in elements of your branding is one of the easiest ways to help your business look professional.

Most businesses purchase stock photos from sites like istockphoto.com or shutterstock.com. But that can get expensive. Fast.

What’s a budget savvy business owner like you to do?

Don’t just go grab a photo off of Google image search. We know it’s tempting but it’s unethical to steal someone else’s work plus it’s illegal. Instead of saving money by using a free photo from the web you’d be putting yourself in danger of a lawsuit. Not good.

Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up our top 3 free stock photo resources for small businesses. All of these websites offer photos that are 100% free for commercial use. If your business doesn’t have the budget for a photographer or to buy stock photos then these websites are your best bets.

1. Pixabay

The Bench Craft design team LOVES Pixabay. This is the resource we use the most often when we’re looking for a stock photo for an advertiser. Pixabay has one of the largest collections of free professional quality stock photos on the web today.



The hassle:
You are required to sign up for a free account to download Pixabay’s photos. On the plus side, they’ve never spammed our inbox.

Pixabay has the most photos available (over 440,000 images!) out of any of our favorite free sources.
Most of the photos are professional quality and there’s several styles to fit the voice of your company.
They also offer a large selection of vector illustrations.

It can be hard to find what you’re looking for since the photograph’s are sometimes tagged in a foreign language.
Some of the photos are not very high quality.
Pixabay also shows sponsored images for sale on shutterstock which can get annoying.

2. Death to the Stock Photo

Death to the Stock Photo is one of the most well know free stock photo resources among graphic and web designers. Their photos all have a high end artistic quality that other free sources lack. DTSP also offer a premium membership ($15 a month) that gets you more of the good stuff. We recommend signing up for DTSP and archiving their monthly packages so you can browse through later when you need them.



The hassle:
Once again you’re required to sign up with your email address to get these photos. The photos are delivered as a download to your inbox 1x a month. Occasionally they’ll give out 2 in a month. No spam.

All their photos are artistic and the highest quality we’ve seen for free.
People in the photos are mostly anonymous (facing away from the camera, blurry or features mostly hidden), which can be helpful.
DTSP’s images are all very trendy and up to date.

You only receive a few photos 1x a month.
If you need a specific type of shot it’s unlikely you’d get it in this month’s set.
The photos look somewhat ‘hipster’ which might not work for a lot of companies.

3. Unsplash

The hassle:
There is none. You don’t have to register or give out your email to download Unsplash’s photos. You do have the option to subscribe and receive10 new photos every 10 days but it’s completely optional. It’s also worth noting that Unsplash’s has a Pixabay account and they use a lot of the same photographers so some of their photos may show up in Pixabay’s searches.


Amazingly high quality and artistic photos.
They use different photographers so you have several styles to choose from.
The website is clean, easy to use and doesn’t feature any advertisements.

Less inventory to choose from than Pixabay (more than DTSP though).
We can’t really think of anything else negative about Unsplash. If you only ever use 1 free stock photo source, we’d suggest it be this one.

That’s it! Those are our top 3 free resources for high quality photographs. We hope these websites will helpful for you next time you are searching for an image to use. If you found this post helpful, please share it on your social media pages so other people can use it too!