9 free stock photo resources that don't suck
Finding free high-resolution stock photos these days is not so hard. Finding great images is a bit more tricky, though. But fear not. We've been to these shores before, and got familiar with every nook and cranny of royalty-free photo resources. So, here's the list of the sites that boast with high-quality stock photography that looks beautiful and can fit into pretty much any design you have in mind.
If you've been on the road of searching for free stock photography before, you're already familiar with Unsplash. It's THE go-to website for all kinds of designers, as it's full of pictures submitted by users and carefully curated by the site admins. Little tip: the original site setting will show you the latest "curated" pictures, if you want to check the entire roster of approved photos, click the "New" tab on the top-left of the page.
Stocksnap acts as a depository for the various free stock photo websites. Chances are, you're going to find a lot of pictures from Unsplash and other sites mentioned here, but sometimes you'll stumble upon never-before-seen gems, so it's worth giving it a look when you're on to something specific. Stocksnap's search works a charm too.
Gratisography is a site run by Ryan McGuire - a "multifaceted whimsically creative visual artist", as he puts it himself. If you're looking for something that's #bright, #funky, #edgy and #creative, Ryan's site is your best pick. There are plenty of photos to choose from already with additional photos being added every now and then.
Splitshire is another royalty free photo site run by just one photographer - Daniel Nanescu. His pictures are slick and stylish, albeit, sometimes it's hard to navigate the site with so many options in hand. But, you'll get some nice finds if you get your fingers dusty.
Life of Pix is a neat little site set up by the Montreal-based ad agency. The photos are uploaded by the users and allow for free commercial and personal use free of any copyright. You can look for something you're after using the search bar at the top or spend hours looking through the beautiful pictures by pressing "Next", as the site only previews a handful of pictures at a time.
A Tumblr page of another public-domain stock photo site that provides free royalty-free photos suitable for any use, including commercial. The guys running the site claim that they only accept "natural looking" photos from contributors. They also accept iPhone photo entries, as long as they come in high-resolution. Check them out if you're on the hunt for authenticity.
Jay Mantri is a travelling photographer who just decided to share some of his most beautiful pictures with the world, royalty-free. His page is also Tumblr-based and, unfortunately, not searchable, so you'll have to browse through his many great images to find anything concrete. Totally worth it though.
Caution: do not approach on an empty stomach. Foodies Feed is THE place for the free food stock photography. Every image is more mouth-watering than the next one, and it gets hard to choose between them sometimes. You do, however, pay for the pictures with the social share (Twitter or Facebook). But a great picture is worth it.
ISO Republic is a small treasure trove of beautiful free stock photos. Their selection is not as vast as some other places, but if you're looking for a picture of a certain city or an architectural object, they have a great portfolio of those. And the selection of pictures with people observing art or walking past graffitied walls is quite sublime.
Worth having a look
There are some of the other sites that are worth to mention on this list. Some might not be completely free and others don't boast the same curation quality as the sites mentioned above, but, if all resources fail, you can look for additional free stock photos using these resources.