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Free stock photo services (royalty free – free use license model) January 11, 2018

Posted by Steven in The-Web.
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I am involved in a couple of website projects at the moment. One thing I always tell my customers is: An excellent site needs excellent photos. And I usually recommend talking about the structure and goals of the website first and then directly sketch out where to get the media (i.e. collaborate with a photographer or studio).

In many cases or for smaller more experimental projects you may want to search or suggest good stock imagery.

If everything needs to be real fast then here is a list of services / providers which let you download photos for free (commercial) use. To be clear they all provide royalty free images with a nice flexible free (i.e. CC0) license.

  • Pixabay
    That was my original suggestion. A big site offering free photos under a flexible license. Search is decent but the selection can be generic and a bit out-dated at times. Nevertheless a good place to get started.
    https://pixabay.com/
  • Pexels
    This was fairly new for me. I discovered, that the new WordPress editor gives you a Pexel photo search right within the media dialogue. I jumped to their website and I must say it’s a good service. As far as I see it uses standard public domain CC0 license and provides a ton of free and up to date images (for example this sweet happy 2018 graphic).
    https://www.pexels.com/
  • Death to Stock
    This is an interesting one – I actually found out via a Wired article. It is basically a window to a more broad design community and service. How it works? You sign up and then you get a monthly link with 10 stock photos for download. The service tries to bundle images according to topics and tries to give artists a platform and also tries to draw in the customers to seek more images from these artists or get more involved in other services. The images are great, very modern, very unique and high quality in my view.
    https://deathtothestockphoto.com/
  • Pixelio
    This one seems a bit old school and maybe focusing on the German market. Nevertheless it’s a nice little database of good and slightly quirky individual images. It seems there are two licences around one editorial use and one editorial and commercial use.
    https://www.pixelio.de/
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