Working in the world of web development and design for over 5 years now, whether it’s filler content for a new project or shiny new photos for a live production, I’ve spent countless hours scouring the internet for quality photography. While there are many fantastic paid solutions out there, free photography can be a great solution for lower budget projects. I’ve compiled a list of excellent free photography resources that I thought I’d share with the web community.
1. THE STOCKS
This is typically my go-to, this resource offers a great collection with varying styles of photography — free for personal and commercial use (be careful as I’ve noticed that some of the “sponsored” links are now requiring a license — regardless, still a great resource).
This is a rather recent find of mine. Again, another great resource with the added functionality of a search bar!
High quality photos for personal and commercial use free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free for anything you like. A web designer’s delight!
For those with limited time (and patience) available for digging through pages of photography, morgueFile does a great job at streamlining and simplifying the search process.
For great aerial, textured, or contemporary photos, this is my go-to. I’ve found that if you desaturate and lower the opacity, many of these photos work as great backgrounds to spice up a web page.
This site has over 7000 photos (categorized mainly by location) and specializes in photos of state parks, national parks, national landmarks, and historical sites. It also has business, tech, animal, plant, and food photos as well. All photos are free to use for commercial and personal use.
Attribution, Licenses, and Why Google images are a “No-No”
I’ve found that more often than not, the images supplied to me for a project are grabbed from a quick Google search. This is not always the best approach as in most cases, the photos are still covered by photographers’ copyrights.
If you want to use a photo for your personal or commercial use, and keep yourself out of copyright trouble, you’ll need to locate the origin of the photo and where the website explicitly defines the copyright license of the image. Some of the most common license types you’ll typically find are Creative Commons zero and Creative Commons with attribution. Creative Commons zero means that you can use the photos in any way that you’d like (personal or commercial) without asking permission. Creative Commons with attribution means that you can use the photo in a personal or commercial project, but you are required to credit the creator of the image.
If you have any thoughts/resources you’d like to share, feel free to post them below in the comments section!