Free Stock Sources for Marketers & Designers

By Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder
Published: Mar 26, 2024
Discover top free stock sources like Pexels, Unsplash, Pixabay, and Reshot, and elevate your projects with high-quality imagery without breaking the bank.
An iMac screen displays a collage of various high-quality images, likely sourced from a free stock photo website, set against a blue-lit background.

Looking for high-quality, free stock photos for your marketing or design projects? You’re in luck! This guide compares top free stock sources like Pexels, Unsplash, Pixabay, and Reshot, offering insights into their image quality, diversity, licensing, and ease of use. 

Plus, discover niche sources for unique needs and learn how to effectively use free stock images to enhance your work.

Quick Comparison:

SourceImage QualityDiversityLicensingEase of Use
PexelsHighWideFree useEasy
UnsplashHighVery WideFree useVery Easy
PixabayHighVery WideFree useEasy
ReshotHighWideFree useModerate

Whether you’re creating a website, presentation, or social media content, the right stock photos can elevate your project without costing a dime. Remember to choose images that align with your brand and message for maximum impact.

Balancing Custom vs Stock Imagery

It’s a good idea to use both custom and stock photos. Custom photos show off your brand’s special features but can be pricey to keep making. Stock photos are a cheaper way to fill in the gaps. You need to think about which pictures need to be unique and which ones you can find online. 

For example, the main picture on your website might need to be special, but stock photos can work well for other parts of your site. You can even test to see if custom or stock photos work better in some places.

Selecting Relevant Stock Photos

There are tons of stock photos out there, so picking the right ones is important. Think about what you want to say and who you’re talking to. Tech companies might want pictures of people using gadgets, while travel brands might show happy travelers.

Putting together a collection of photos that fit your theme can save time later when you need them for things like social media.

Enhancing Brand Consistency

While it’s great that there are so many stock photos to choose from, using too many different styles can make your brand look messy. Make sure to stick to your brand’s look, like using the right colors and styles. Only use high-quality photos that look like they could be custom. 

Keeping your photos looking similar by editing them the same way can also help make everything look consistent.

Marketers & Designers: Criteria for Selecting Free Stock Sources

A person in a beanie sitting at a table with a laptop showing a photo gallery, while another person with a plate of food is across the table.

When picking websites for free photos, think about these important points:

Image Quality

Take into account aspects like the resolution since you need to make sure photos are clear and sharp, especially on big screens. They should be at least 1920×1080 pixels, composition following that good photos have nice lighting and look well put together, and the aesthetic, all the style of the photos should match what your brand looks like.

Diversity of Collection

The variety  It’s good to have many different types of photos to choose from for various needs. Things like quantity based on the more photos available, the better, and new Images are great if the site keeps adding new photos so you always have new choices.

Licensing and Usage Rights

A must-have for this topic is commercial use, make sure you can use the photos for business stuff, not just personal. The attribution is important since some sites might require you to say where you got the photo from. And do not forget about restrictions, check if there are any rules about changing the photos or where you can use them.

Comparative Analysis of Top Free Stock Sources for Marketers & Designers

1. Pexels

Image Quality

Pexels gives marketers & designers pictures that are clear and look good, even on big screens. Most pictures are big enough to stay sharp when you zoom in. They’re taken by professionals, so they look really nice, with good light and colors. Pexels picks its photos carefully, so they always look modern and cool.

Diversity of Collection

It counts with a huge bunch of over 1 million free pictures. They add new ones every day, covering all sorts of things like nature, work, gadgets, trips, food, and more. There’s a lot to choose from for whatever you need.

Licensing and Usage Rights

Marketers & designers can use all the photos on Pexels for free, for anything they’re working on, whether it’s for fun or for work. You don’t have to say where you got the photo from, but it’s nice if you do. You’re also allowed to change the photos if you need to.

Ease of Search and Navigation

Finding the right photo on Pexels is easy. You can use the search bar and filters to find what you need quickly. You can see big previews of the photos to make sure they’re right before you pick them. Downloading photos is simple, with just one click, and you can even get a bunch at once. They also have a page that sorts photos by color and style, making it easy to find photos that look a certain way.

2. Unsplash

Image Quality

Unsplash offers photos that are really clear and look great on any screen, big or small. Most of their photos are super clear, even if you make them bigger. They work with professional photographers, so the photos are well-made with nice light and colors. The photos look modern and are usually a good fit for lots of different styles.

Diversity of Collection

It has a huge library of over 2 million free photos. They add new ones every day, covering all kinds of things like nature, work, tech, travel, food, and more. You’re likely to find what you need for just about any project.

Licensing and Usage Rights

You can use any photo from Unsplash for free, whether it’s for work or just for fun. You don’t have to say who took the photo, but it’s nice if you do. You can also change the photos however you want. The only thing you can’t do is sell the photos directly.

Ease of Search and Navigation

Finding the right photo on Unsplash is easy. You can search for what you need and use filters to narrow it down. They show you big previews so you can really see what the photo looks like before you download it. Downloading is quick, and you can grab more than one photo at a time. The photos are sorted in a way that makes sense, into categories and collections that match what people usually look for.

3. Pixabay

Image Quality

Pixabay has really clear, high-quality photos that still look great even if you make them bigger. Most pictures are big enough for any project. They’re taken by professionals, so they have good lighting and look really nice. The style is modern and works well for lots of different uses.

Diversity of Collection

With has a huge selection of over 2 million free images on all sorts of topics. They’re always adding new photos, so there’s always something new to find. Whether you’re looking for pictures of nature, business, tech, travel, or food, Pixabay has a lot to choose from.

Licensing and Usage Rights

You can use Pixabay photos for anything, work or personal, and you don’t have to say where you got them. They’re all under the Creative Commons CC0 license, which means you can even change the pictures if you need to.

Ease of Search and Navigation

Finding the right photo on Pixabay is easy. They have good search tools and big pictures to look at before you decide. Downloading is simple, and you can even grab a bunch of photos at once. They also sort photos into categories, making it easier to browse if you’re not sure what you’re looking for.

4. Reshot

Image Quality

Reshot has really clear photos that look good on any kind of screen. Most pictures are big enough to stay sharp and detailed. The photos are well-taken, with good light and colors, and they have a modern look that fits many different projects.

Diversity of Collection

With a big collection of over 1 million free stock photos, covering lots of topics like work, tech, nature, people, and food. They add new pictures every day, so there’s always something new to find.

Licensing and Usage Rights

You can use Reshot’s photos for both personal and work projects, and you don’t have to say where you got them from. You can also change the photos if you need to. The only thing you can’t do is sell the photos as they are.

Ease of Search and Navigation

Finding photos on Reshot is easy. You can use the search bar and filters to quickly find what you need. The site shows you big previews of the photos, so you can check them out before downloading. Downloading is quick, and you can download more than one photo at a time. The site also has categories that make it easier to browse for photos.

Niche Free Stock Sources Worth Exploring for Marketers & Designers

A person from behind reviewing images on a digital camera's display, with a laptop showing a food blog in the background.

Some free stock photo websites are less well-known but can be super useful for specific needs.

Historical Stock Photos

For old-timey photos, check out these sites with lots of old photos anyone can use:

Vintage Stock Photos – This site has over 100,000 old photos that are free to use. Perfect for projects that need an old-school look.

The Public Domain Review – This site collects unique old photos from museums and archives. It’s great for finding unusual historical images.

Flickr Commons – This is a collection of old photos from libraries and museums around the world. You can find lots of interesting historical images here.

New Old Stock – Another good site for vintage photos from public archives. The images are high quality and sorted to make finding what you need easier.

Specific Themes & Styles

If you’re looking for photos that fit a certain theme or style, these sites might help:

Startup Stock Photos – This site has free photos perfect for new businesses. It has modern-looking photos of offices, technology, and lifestyle.

Designerspics – This site is made for designers. It has really clean and striking images.

ISO Republic – If you like simple, minimalist photos, this site is for you. It has lots of photos with plenty of empty space.

Kaboom Pics – This site has fun, colorful photos. It’s great for brands that want to look playful.

There are lots of places to find free stock photos besides the big names like Unsplash and Pexels. Keep looking, and you might find the perfect photo source for your project!

Conclusion

Finding free photos you can use for work as marketers & designers is helpful. Nowadays, there are lots of websites that let you download high-quality pictures without paying anything.

It sure is an excellent strategy for accessing high-quality imagery without breaking the bank. By comparing platforms like Pexels, Unsplash, Pixabay, and Reshot, users can find diverse images suited to their project needs while adhering to licensing requirements. Additionally, balancing custom and stock imagery ensures a cost-effective approach to content creation while maintaining brand consistency. 

Remember to select relevant stock photos that resonate with your audience and enhance your brand message. With careful consideration of image quality, diversity, licensing, and ease of use, marketers and designers can effectively incorporate free stock images to elevate their projects and achieve maximum impact.

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Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder

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