Updated Jan. 2018
Finding the right picture for your project can be time consuming and costly. The best source of photos are the ones you take yourself but sometimes that is not possible to do. I am sharing my collection of FREE “royalty free image sites” that took many many hours to find over the past couple of years. You can use the stock images from these sites for personal and commercial use. They are great for content writers, social media, web sites, book covers, CD, DVD covers, projection projects, marketing materials, etc. However many do have restrictions on print-on-demand templates from sites like Cafe Press and Zazzle, whereas the picture is the main selling feature. This site is my go to reference list when I need photos quickly. Bookmark this site for future references. When chosing a photo, I make a copy of the page that states the image is free for my records. The descriptions are from the websites.
Keep in mind that the term “Royalty Free” does not mean the images are free. It means that you don’t need to pay the photographer a royalty each time you use the image. However, this selection of sites offer “free royalty-free images”. My personal word of caution is that any photo(s) of a trademark product should be used carefully as well as pictures of people, especially children unless they are not identifiable. If you can see their faces, I would suggest requesting a model release. Those are my words of caution. These sites are creditable and some offer model releases.
Pixababy – Free photos and videos you can use anywhere. Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives sharing copyright free images and videos. All contents are released under Creative Commons CC0, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist – even for commercial purposes.
Pexels – It’s hard to understand complex licenses that is why all photos on Pexels are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means the pictures are completely free to be used for any legal purpose.
Abstract Influence–You may use any of the photos in our system free of charge for any commercial or personal design work, if you obey the specified restrictions concerning each photo you download. Selling these photos (individually, or as a whole) without written permission is prohibited. Using the photos in website templates, on postcards, mugs etc. doesn’t count as selling. Very unique artistic site that has an active forum. Free but registration required.
Photo Rack – has a huge collection of over 27,000 images nicely categorized. Really nice and very well organized.
Free For Commercial Use – Stunning lifestyle imagery for modern creatives. FREE authentic unstock/non-stock images for your next commercial or personal project. FREE download hi-res 300dpi photos. You can do whatever you want. Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, no rights reserved, without copyright, it’s public domain. Currently available: 1050 images (12.08.2017)
FreeFoto.com- Editors Pick– is made up of 132516 images with 182 sections organized into 3639 categories. FreeFoto.com is the largest collection of free photographs on the Internet (link back and attribution required). ANYONE, by which we mean commercial and non-commercial alike can use FreeFoto.com images in an online setting, providing they provide attribution to the image and a link back to FreeFoto.com (either the image or the main site). The only requirement the attribution and link back. Creative License for noncommercial and one time fee for commercial projects in certain medias. Free Use Terms
Free Digital Photos – Editor’s pick. extremely nice. Many catergories Download free and premium stock photos and illustrations for websites, advertising materials, newspapers, magazines, ebooks, book covers and pages, music artwork, software applications and much more. All free images are of high quality, produced by the community of professional stock photographers and digital illustrators. Royalty free photos for corporate and personal use. Every image is free, with an option to buy larger images at reasonable prices. Images are mostly of people and business.
3DXtras.com – 10343 + 3d models downloadable for free. This is a free exchange websites for artists. All the models are not copyrighted unless stated. All the 3d models meshes, scenes and graphics in this website are not copyrighted unless stated. You are free to use these models in your projects to generate games, animations, multimedia, printed graphics, web graphics and others. However you are prohibited to resell, or create your own license or give away 3d models individually or as part of a collection or bundle to get profit.
Morguefile is a completely free source for stock photos creatives by creatives. Over 350,000 free images for your inspiration, reference and use in your creative work, be it commercial or not! This morgue file contains free high resolution digital stock photographs and reference images for either corporate or public use. The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for illustrators, comic book artist, designers, teachers and all creative pursuits.
Free Stock Photos.biz – FreeStockPhotos.biz is your best source for free stock photos and clip art. Our collection contains 14,889 free images available in a variety of commercial and editorial licenses, including public domain, creative commons, and custom agreements. All images on this site are completely free to download and use. No payment or registration is required, although you must abide by the Image License and Usage Terms listed on the photo download page.
Public Domain Pictures: This site is a repository for free public domain images. They boast 17,931 free pictures. You can download high quality photos or upload your own pictures. You can donate funds to buy the photographer or illustrator a cup of coffee or buy premium stock photos starting from $1.00. This site makes it easy to to find a favorite photographer based on their work.
PIXNIO — High quality copyright friendly images. Images explicitly placed in the public domain, no rights reserved. Public domain images can be used for whatever you want, use it freely for any personal or commercial use.
Keywords: free photo sites, free stock photos for commercial and personal use, free royalty free stock photos, essential free online tools for bloggers, essential free online tools for influencers.
Resources: Here are some sites you may like in addition to mine. They list different resources for free photo for personal and commercial use.