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8 Free (Anti) Stock Photo Sites That Won't Make You Cringe

Trying to find the perfect image to complement your blog post, website, and marketing materials used to be a frustrating - and often fruitless - endeavor. Heck, forget perfect! Even finding a halfway decent photo could be a challenge. Why?

Most paid stock sites have plenty of pics to choose from. Unfortunately, many of the images are painfully staged, outrageously expensive, unapologetically stuck in the 80s - or some combination of the three.

Want proof (or need a laugh?) Check out #badstockphotosofmyjob

Historically, 'free stock sites' were collections of clipart that served as a ploy to redirect you to paid stock sites. But luckily for cash-strapped entrepreneurs everywhere, a group of enterprising photographers and creatives got fed up with roadblocks and cheesy images. Over the last few years, these anti-stock trailblazers banded together to fix the problem once and for all. Today, you can easily search, edit, and use thousands of high-quality, free images. Without further adieu, we present the solution to all your stock photo woes.

Here are a few of our favorite free (anti)stock sites:

1. Reshot

This site is great for any small business owner looking for quality images. Lots of variety, all high-res, all free, no restrictions.

From the website:
Uniquely free photos. Handpicked, non-stocky images. Yours to use as you wish.

Attribution and usage:
Reshot grants you an irrevocable, non-exclusive copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Reshot for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer.

2. DEATH TO STOCK

As the name suggests, this site was one of the first to take an anti-stock stance. Since it's inception, the site has added tons of new artists and excellent curated content.

From the website:
Every month 20+ new photos. LIKE CLOCKWORK. Creative block is our number one enemy. We aim to keep things fresh for you every month — we add carefully crafted media packs EVERY 30 DAYS. We top your library off so you can stay creating. Dive in & shine on!

Note: Death to Stock offers a free option and a paid subscription. The free membership gives you access to a sampling of their media which will be emailed to you once a month. Their premium membership is a media library you can log in to any time, that hosts our searchable archive of everything they've ever produced.

Attribution and usage:
All Death to stock media is created to be used for the greater good and never evil. It is intended to support artists, entrepreneurs, and all people creating value in the world. With that in mind, we attempt to remove all constraints and roadblocks – mainly complex licensing and ridiculous pricing. All our media has a “make what you want” license, which you own for life once you purchase a subscription. We put you first. We put art first. We’ve got your back.

3. Pexels

Pexels was also an early adopter of the anti-stock movement. They add new hand-selected free images on a weekly basis, so the image library is ever-expanding.

From the website:
Empowering Creators. By providing free stock photos Pexels helps millions of creators all over the world to easily create beautiful products and designs.

Pexels provides high quality and completely free stock photos licensed under the Pexels license. All photos are nicely tagged, searchable and also easy to discover through our discover pages.

Attribution and usage:
All photos on Pexels can be used for free for commercial and non-commercial use.
Attribution is not required. Giving credit to the photographer or Pexels is not necessary but always appreciated. You can modify the photos. Be creative and edit the photos as you like.

4. Burst

Burst is one of the newest free photo sites to hit the web. Created by the team behind Shopify, a popular ecommerce platform, Burst offers tons of perfectly composed pics to help you polish your website.

From the website:
Free stock photos for websites and commercial use. Download free, high-resolution images.

Attribution and usage:
Some photos are released under the Creative Commons CC0 license and have no copyright restrictions. Others are made available for use under a non-exclusive license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, display and use in accordance with their terms of service. Read more.

5. Pixabay

If you have multiple projects your scouting images for, Pixabay is a great place to start. This top free site has a vast library of images, all free to use.

From the website:
Stunning Free Images. Over 1.5 million royalty free stock photos and videos shared by our generous community.

Attribution and usage:
Images and Videos on Pixabay are released under Creative Commons CC0. To the extent possible under law, uploaders of Pixabay have waived their copyright and related or neighboring rights to these Images and Videos. You are free to adapt and use them for commercial purposes without attributing the original author or source. Although not required, a link back is appreciated.

6. Foodies Feed

Own a restaurant? Have a food blog? Hungry and want to look at beautifully composed food photos? FoodiesFeed is the perfect free stock site for you.

From the website:
Foodiesfeed is a resource of awesome natural-looking food photos that are completely free to download.

Attribution and usage:
Food photographers from all around the world share their photos under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license to help accomplish the ultimate goal of Foodiesfeed; to make the online space related to food more beautiful and eliminate all the ugly sterile stock photos that people are using.

7. Gratisography

Like to think outside the box? Want fun photos? You're sure to find something unique (and maybe a little goofy) on Gratisography.

From the website:
Quirky, Creative, Always Free Photos. The world's quirkiest collection of free high-resolution pictures, comprised of the world's best, most creative images - photos you just won't find anywhere else. All completely free of copyright restrictions.

Attribution and usage:
You may use Gratisography pictures as you please for both personal and commercial projects. You can adapt and modify the images and get paid for work that incorporates the pictures. You just cannot use images on merchandise you sell.

8. Styled Stock

Looking for stock photos with a little feminine flair? Or just prefer carefully composed stock photos with thoughtful details? Check out Styled Stock!

From the website:
Feminine Stock Photography. Beautiful FREE styled images for your projects.

Attribution and usage:
You're allowed to use and adapt images for commercial or non-commercial purposes without attributing the original author or source. However, the image copyright is still the property of its author. Although not required, a link back is appreciated.


Bonus Resources

Looking for quality vintage photos? Need icons for an infographic, landing page, or web design project? Check out these high-quality freebies.

New Old Stock

Vintage photos add history to your story. Search for memories of yesteryear on New Old Stock and enjoy these visualizations of the past.

From the website:
The perfect vintage photo collections. Optimized, cropped, and edited for quick use. Minimum 1000px width, most at +1280px. Download is in .zip format containing jpg's. Free updates forever.

Note: In addition to free photos, the site also offers affordable marketing packs.

Attribution and usage:
Photos are from public archives free of known copyright restrictions.

FlatIcon

FlatIcon is an icon paradise for graphic designers and marketers. Enjoy browsing over a million editable icons that can be downloaded in multiple sizes and formats on just about any topic you can imagine.

From the website:
1,201,500 vector icons grouped in 24,289 packs. Flaticon offers users, high quality graphic designs: totally editable vectors carefully selected by our design team in order to provide our users with great content that can be used in both personal and commercial projects.

Attribution and usage:
Attribution is required unless you purchase a resonably priced premium subscription that can be paid monthly or annually.

FlatIcon also offers matching sets (some free, some premium) that give you access to icons grouped together by topic and style, perfect for infographics and site design. Details on how to cite the creator in order to use free icons can be found here.


Whether you need an image of a playful puppy, startup workspace, or a powerful athlete - you're sure to find the perfect pic on one or more of these sites. Free yourself from cheesy, overpriced, overused stock and have fun exploring the world of free anti-stock photos!