Best Free Stock Image Sites For Graphic Designers

585 396 Derek Kimball

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Poor images can ruin an otherwise good design. As graphic designers, we have a few options. We can either take our own photos (which isn’t always an option), pay for stock images through sites like Istock or Shutterstock (usually the best option, but can get expensive), or find free images through sites like those listed below.

Here are some of the best free stock images sites on the web..while not comparable to the quality of the paid sites, they still offer some decent images; you just have to search harder.

Unsplash: A new free photo site that offers 10 new free high quality images every 10 days. You can do whatever you want with the images. This is one of my favorite free image sites because most of the pictures are really good.

ADigitalDreamer: This simple site includes a decent amount of images with categorized search options. Some very nice fire and flame images can be found here.

Stockxchng: Weird name for the largest and most popular free image site online. What I like most is the ability to search by very broken down categories. Another great feature is being able to see the pixel dimensions of an image before you download it. The site includes a “Hall of fame”search option which displays the top rated and downloaded images.  The “Recently added” search option is also very convenient because it allows you to revisit the site and see what’s new.

MorgueFile: The great thing about this site is that there are very many images in their collection, and their search narrowing filter is quite handy. This is definitely a go-to site for free images.

ImageAfter: Not at the top of my list, but still worth checking out. You can find some unique imagery as well as a wide selection of textures here. I recommend sorting the images by “hits down”.

FreeRangeStock: You are bound to find a couple of keepers when you do a search by “most popular images”.

Flickr: You can find some very interesting images here that you won’t find on many of the typical stock image sites. Just make sure you narrow your search down to “creative commons” and double check all images for restrictions before downloading.

Dreamstime: One of the more popular sites for free images. Sure worth checking out.

BlueVertigo: This site is more or less an all in one listing of some of the top pay and free stock image sites on the web. Think of it as a directory.

CGTextures: Loads of awesome textures can be found here. This is my favorite place to go for free textures.

TextureKing: Another great resource for textures. They have a huge collection worth checking out.

Do you have any stock image sites you would like to share? Please comment below.


Derek Kimball

Derek is the founder of DesignBuddy and a full time graphic designer. He specializes in logo creation and visual branding. Over the past 13 years Derek has helped hundreds of clients grow their business and establish a stronger brand identity. View his portfolio, or get in touch. If you'd like to receive an occasional free newsletter with useful design related content, please subscribe here.

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