As a graphic designer and blogger, I use my own photos as much as I can. I enjoy photography but sometimes setting up a scene, composing a shot and post-editing take too much time. When I don’t have the time, resources and subject, I turn to high quality free stock photo sites that feature images licensed under Creative Commons Zero (CC0), a “do whatever you want” license that allows personal and commercial use.
CCO states that
The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission…
Here are my top 3 picks for high quality free stock photo sites:
Created by twins Ingo and Bruno Joseph from Germany, Pexels has over 3,800 photos uploaded by users and hand-picked from other free image websites like Unsplash and Gratisography. Everyday 10 new photos are added to their collection. They also have free stock videos.
Picjumbo features images taken by Viktor Hanacek, a photographer and web designer from Czech Republic. He made his own stock photo website because no stock photo agency wants his photos. I don’t know what’s the problem with those agencies, his photos are absolutely stunning!
The site offers a premium membership ($7.50/month) that allows users to get a copy of all the photos from the photoshoot. That’s about more than 30 new images a month and plus to all previous collections. They also have an Adobe Photoshop plugin and an All in One Pack with more than 600 photos.
From the Montreal-based freelancer marketplace Crew, Unsplash adds 10 new photos every 10 days to their database. Unlike other sites, they have a dedicated photo page with details such as date published, camera make and model, aperture, focal length, shutter speed and ISO. I like this feature because I’m a photography junkie that way 😉 There are times that I want to know those details.
In addition to the high quality photos with nitty-gritty fetails, another interesting thing about Unsplash is how they started: How side projects saved our startup.
Gone are the days of using gray boxes as image placeholders, thanks to the awesome photographers who generously share pictures for free.