Blog: Bookmarks

Best sites with free stock photos and icons for web designers

There are plenty of similar lists on the Internet, but all of them have a major flaw: they pile up sites indiscriminately, without ranking them. Well, we will correct this. Here goes our list of resources for free stock photos and icons ranked by how useful they are to a web designer.

The criteria are:

  1. Quantity & quality of photos from “most wanted” designer’s categories.
  2. How easy it is to find those photos: does the site have a search and/or list of categories.
  3. Types of files (photos, clipart, video). Image size.
  4. License type.

As a web designer you probably look for certain type of photos all the time, right? In a nutshell, most wanted photos are of:

  • business people
  • busines meetings
  • office space
  • technology (computers & stuff)
  • people/person on white background (usually illustrating a concept)
  • good quality object on white shots
  • lifestyle, beauty, fashion
  • beach + palm tree + flip flops (promo vacation shots)

You almost never look for kittens, stunning desert sunsets and bearded hipsters doing their weird hipster things, right?

Well, the major problem with free stock photo sites is that they are full of images you don’t need, and are very under-stocked with photos from the most wanted list. Here’s our list of hand picked, best of the best sites that got those useful photos for your commercial projects

1. Pixabay.com

www.pixabay.com

The best resource by far. Very decent quality in most cases. A lot of photos from “most wanted”. And we mean A LOT for a free site.

Most wanted designers’ categories:

  • Business people // Decent collection, not very many shots though.
  • Busines smeetings // Good collection. Quite a few shots. Some can easily replace royalty-free rivals:
    startup-593341_640
    startup-593343_640
    entrepreneur-593361_640
  • Office space // Decent collection. Not too many shots. But some of them are good:
    doctor-548133_640
    seminar-594125_640
  • Technology (computers & stuff) // Very good collection. Many shots themed “desk full of IT toys & gadgets”:
    home-office-569359_640
    home-office-593382_640
    desk-601540_640
  • People/person on white background // Great collection for a free photo site! There are even sequences with one person – thing you normally only find on paid sites: check out other photos with the girl below.
  • Good quality object on white shots // Great collection. Plenty of food shots as well. Many pictures, great quality.
    crayfish-423251_640
    food-320863_640
    computer-1881_640
  • Lifestyle, beauty, fashion // This category is not so well represented, but still some interesting and useful shots are to be found:
    tape-403591_640
    bar-498415_640
    woman-506120_640
  • Beach + palm tree + flip flops (promo vacation shots). Galore!

Search:

Very good search. You can filter by image type, orientation, color.
Site has categories (scroll down on home page) and tags (under each image).

File types & sizes:

Photos, illustrations (clipart), vector files. Odd thing is: photos are of much better quality than illustrations and vectors. We can’t recommend pixabay.com for its vectors at all. Size vary from large to huge (up to 5000px wide).

License:

Mostly Creative Commons (means NO copyright basically). Read up on eventual use restrictions: http://pixabay.com/en/service/terms/

2. Flaticon

www.flaticon.com

Any designer’s dream come true. Your ultimate resource for icons. Huge collection, great shapes, literally everything and anything you need in the matter of icons.

Files types:

For each icon: PNG, SVG, EPS, BASE 64, PSD.

Search:

Good contextual search with hints.
Very good grouping by categories and use cases (like “material design”).

License:

You are free to use this image:

– For both personal and commercial projects and to modify it.
– In a website or presentation template or application or as part of your design

You are not allowed to:

– Sub-license, resell or rent it.
– Include it in any online or offline archive or database

Attribution:

Credit authorship of icons like:

Icon(s) designed by <a href="http://www.authorwebpage.com" title="Author Name">Author Name</a> from <a href="http://www.flaticon.com" title="Flaticon">www.flaticon.com</a>

Read up: http://www.flaticon.com/terms-of-use/

3. I am creator

http://www.imcreator.com/free

Excellent quality pictures, that can be compared to those “special” collections on paid stock banks. Pictures are expressive, some have elaborate settings, people are handsome and all that! You will probably find less variety here than on Pixabay.com, but if you find a good image, it will not be just good, it will be impressive. Collection is not yet very large, but has potential to grow.

Most wanted files:

Great business meetings, office space, business people, people at work & desk-with-computers collections:

by Waag Society @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/waagsociety/
by Highways Agency @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/highwaysagency/
By by citirecruitment @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/125303894@N06/

Tiny lifestyle / beauty collection, insignificant number of good objects photos, quite hipser-ish. Best shots are from Food & Drink category: http://www.imcreator.com/free/food-drinks.

Some very impressive shots in a small lifestyle collection http://www.imcreator.com/free/lifestyles.

To summarize, this site strong point is awesome business & technology related photos. But since it seems to be growing, we advice to visit it from time to time to check what’s new.

Search:

Simple search without options.
Site has good category structure. Many categories, have sub-categories as well. Still, browsing reveals hidden gems. Don’t rely solely on search or category surfing.

File types & sizes:

Mostly photos, some vector icons. Odd thing is: photos are of much better quality than illustrations and vectors. We can’t recommend pixabay.com for its vectors at all. Size vary from large to huge (up to 5200px wide).

License:

Mostly Creative Commons with attribution required.

4. Picjumbo.com

picjumbo.com

Small collection of nice, original photos by a single author.

Search:

Contextual search isn’t working too great. But site has both categories and tags that is handy. Take care, category and tag archives are split into pages, so don’t forget to click NEXT PAGE for more photos.

Most wanted files:

Most useful categories are “technology“, “things“,”people“. Good collection of work place, desk-with-computer, gadgets. Best thing on this site is to simply browse the categories for goodies. Tags help fine-tuning the search. We advice to pay attention to the tag “car” that has many really nice images.

File types & sizes:

Only photos. Size – large (around 3,300px).

License:

No copyright, no attribution required (but appreciated). Read up: http://picjumbo.com/faq-and-terms/.

5. Stocksnap.io

https://stocksnap.io

This site’s collection is small, if not to say tiny, but seems to be very new and growing.

Most wanted files:

The only useful category comes up if you search for “business“, “office“,”technology“. Many of photos on site can be found on pixabay.com as well:

Search:

No categories.
But a very nice search with sorting by relevance, downloads, views, date.

File types & sizes:

Only photos. Size – large (around 2,300 – 3,000px).

License:

Mostly Creative Commons, no attribution required. Read up: https://stocksnap.io/license.