Top 10 Places to Get Free Stock Photos for your Website
You already know that I’m going to harp on your Squarespace website’s aesthetic. As a designer, it’s my job to make sure that your Squarespace website is pleasing to the eyes and grabs the attention of all the right people. I also want to make sure that you’re working within your budget, so this post is bringing you the best places to find free stock photos for your website.
Getting your Free Stock Photos Legally
Now before you go running off to Google and trying to grab photos for your website, keep copyright laws in mind.
Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution says copyright laws are “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”
In English, please.
What this means is that the person who has taken a photograph owns all rights to that photograph. Unless stated otherwise, you can’t simply take someone’s photograph and use it on your website without their permission. For more in-depth information about how photography law works, check out The Law Tog.
Luckily, there are websites devoted to photographers who upload their original work that you can use for free because it is licensed under creative commons public domain. The creator of these photographs has waived all rights to their work, so you can edit them, use them on your Squarespace website, or even for commercial purposes, without crediting the original source.
If you’re going to grab free photos online, only use stock photos that are licensed under creative commons public domain.
Let’s check out the top 10 places to get free stock photos for your website.
Thousands of photos are added to Unsplash, every day, by over 10,000 photographers and counting. You can find almost any kind of photo that you could be looking for, in Unsplash. You can search by color scheme, tags, categories, or check out collections that other users created. You can also create your own “collection,” saving photos that appeal to your brand. That way, they’re all neatly organized in one folder for you.
These types of classy, feminine-styled stock photos used to be exclusively niche and hard to find without shelling out membership fees as high as $97 per month. Now there’s a whole website devoted to these stylized photos that are perfect for your content upgrades, Pinterest graphics, and Instagram. If this is your aesthetic, look no further than Styled Stock.
I know this post is mainly about free stock photos, but I have to throw Raw Pixel in here. Not only do they have free stock photos, but they also have free PSD files and vectors. So that mockup that you want to make for your content upgrade? Go ahead and find it here for free instead of paying $20 for it. They have plenty of ready to use mockups and files that you can download to add some dimension to your graphics.
Pexels has plenty of high-quality, free stock photos that you can use for your Squarespace website. Yet, Pexels is ahead of the game with one unique offering: free stock videos. Yes. Some Squarespace templates allow you to overlay your header with a short video instead of using a photograph and this can completely next level your Squarespace website design. If you’re thinking about adding videos to your Squarespace website, give Pexels a try.
When I first found Gratisography, I was surprised to find that these stock photos were a little bit different. But in a good way. If your website is a little more niche and you struggle to find stock photos that appeal to your audience, give Gratisography a try. They pride themselves in being on the quirky end of stock photography. You’re bound to find something different here.
The photos from Shotstash are out of this world. The photographers that upload to Shotstash seem to be well-traveled, as the photos come from gorgeous sceneries with fantastic views. For photos that show off the better parts of the world, check out Shotstash. Travel Squarespace websites can benefit from these photographs.
Negative Space is from up-and-coming photographers, but don’t underestimate their talent. You can find a little bit of everything from technology to nature to really, anything that you can come up with. Their collection is pretty extensive, and there are lots to find here.
Unlike all the stock photo websites, Death to the Stock Photo sends out a photo pack of 20 stock photos every month. If you want access to their previous stock photos, you do have to pay a membership, but you can bypass that by merely signing up for their free stock photos. They send you a free pack of new photos every month, and they’re free for you to use, forever.
Pixabay has been around forever, so it’s no secret that they house one of the largest free stock photography collections on the web. You can find anything here, from animals to people to landscapes. They do look a little more like traditional stock photography, but if that’s what you’re looking for, check out Pixabay.
Bright, colorful photos. Those are some first impressions you’ll get when you check out PicJumbo. A budding hub for stock photos, PicJumbo has an assortment of different stock photos including photos based on location. There’s also animals, foods, objects, and even seasonal stock photos.
So those are 10 places to get free stock photos for your website. I tried to keep them varied, so you have different selections to choose from, depending on what you’re looking for.
Using Squarespace’s Unsplash Integration
In October of 2018, Squarespace started a partnership with Unsplash. You can search directly for Unsplash images right inside of Squarespace. Here’s how:
First, open up the content blocks and click on Image.
Then click Search for Image
This will open up a search page. Type in the keywords for the images you’re searching for and that’s it! A collection of free images ready for you to use.
You can open up this same search bar anywhere you can put an image. This includes image blocks, gallery blocks, gallery pages, page thumbnails, cover pages, banner images, and backgrounds.
Do you have other free stock photography websites that you love? Share them in the comments below!