21 Best Websites for Free & Royalty Free Images (2023 Update)
Here you find the best websites for free and royalty-free stock photos on the web
For presentations, websites, flyers and much more you always need good pictures. We’ve put together a list of the best sites for free royalty-free images to help you find the right photos for your projects.
Everyone has had the problem of needing a nice picture and not having one at hand. If you use Google, it can quickly lead to a lawsuit, so this is something you should definitely avoid if you want to make it proper. The solution is royalty-free images from certain image databases that are accessible for best of all: free of charge.
Worth mentioning are also databases that offer CC0-license-free images. Therefore we have written an extra article and also explained what CC0 means. Here are 12 websites for royalty-free stock photos – with CC0 and free of charge
Please read before using free pictures
It is important that everyone, but especially businesses, be careful when using free images they find on the Internet. Just because an image is freely available does not mean that it can be used without restriction. Many images are copyrighted and require the permission of the rights holder for use (License to use).
Before using a free image, it is important to check the terms of the license to understand any limitations or usage requirements. Some licenses may allow use of images for non-commercial purposes, while others may require attribution or payment of royalties. Ignoring the terms of a license may result in legal consequences, such as the payment of damages or the issuance of a cease and desist order.
To avoid potential legal problems, it is advisable to use Creative Commons or public domain licensed images. These types of licenses usually allow the use of images without permission or payment of fees, as long as the terms of the license are respected.
According to Unsplash, they publish every 10 days 10 royalty-free pictures with which you can do everything because they are also under CC0 and therefore license-free for all projects. The pictures are really very high quality and well selected. The database of royalty-free images is also nicely sorted and helps to find the right stock photos quickly.
Especially at Unsplash the selection of really high-quality images is excellent and has made it to MoreThanDigital’s personal favorites, which we use regularly.
Great platform that offers hand-picked royalty-free images under the Creative Commons Zero license agreement, also called CC0. This means that the images can be used for personal and business purposes without attribution, i.e. mentioning an author, etc. The great search function of the site also allows you to quickly find the desired image.
Definitely one of the best platforms for free royalty-free images for everyone, but the stock photos on the platform are used by many people so you will see some good images more often.
Pikwizard gives you access to high-quality free stock photography and videos. You can also take each image and edit it on their own graphic design tool. There’s no attribution required, meaning you can take each image and use it as you please for commercial and non-commercial use.
A great resource with over 100,000 high-quality images and videos as well as an image editor.
Vecteezy has a large library of images. Although only some of them are really free, it’s worth to have a look here. The team has strict quality controls when uploading and the collections are also very usable. Please also pay special attention to the usage rights here, as it is worth reading carefully before using the images here.
Here you can find many images that you can also use for free and it is also worthwhile to search this image database.
The stock photos on the website come from a pool of photographers who provide free and royalty-free images from their arsenal of stock photos. Slowly the community around the site is also being built up, providing additional content. The goal is to provide really good and very high-resolution images.
Great project for really great pictures from amateurs but also professionals, which can accompany you for some projects guaranteed.
The motto “not to be some shitty stock photo site” is implemented by StockSnap.io really nice. You could spend hours scrolling through the great shots and viewing the hand-picked masterpieces of royalty-free images. Definitely worth a few views/clicks, because here you can find pictures that are not available elsewhere.
StockSnap is a little insider tip for royalty-free images that are otherwise not so easy to find or otherwise expensive to pay.
The New Old Stock image database has a great selection of black and white images and really unique shots. If you like vintage, you should definitely bookmark this picture platform. Please note that some of the images are not completely free to use, read below the image to find out more.
Really great platform which is specialized in nostalgic, old, or old made pictures. Please read here exactly the picture rights, because there are some not license-free pictures.
Really large database of images, vector graphics, and much more which can be filtered or sorted by orientation, media type, etc. Pixabay also offers royalty-free images & other content like videos, vector graphics, etc. under the Creative Commons CC0, so you can use it everywhere without any problems.
Pixabay should be a favorite with anyone in the “Royalty Free Image Databases” who is often looking for beautiful stock photos, as it is one of the largest databases for stock photos and even offers other content such as videos.
For bigger projects like websites, blogs, etc. everything can be found here. Picjumbo offers a lot of pictures of the highest quality and also the packages for premium content and the plugins for Photoshop are very nice.
Another large image database with over 2500+ stock photos. Here you can download a huge selection of royalty-free images in one place in one package.
As the name suggests, this website is designed for startups. But don’t be surprised if you also find pictures for your company even you are not a start-up company. The pictures are specially designed to display content, apps, and other things, so that you can put on a professional appearance without much effort for photoshoots with models, etc. If you need to market a new app, website, or just want to have a nice photo for a presentation, this might be the best place to find your royalty-free photo.
For all those who need mockups or nice pictures from time to time to place their website etc.
Very beautiful and unique stock photos from Karolina Grabowska. Several thousand pictures are especially suitable for Instagram and Social Media. Here you definitely find a special shot. We recommend reading the license agreement to be on the safe side.
The royalty-free pictures of Karolina Grabowska are definitely something special and stand out well from other sites.
Started as a smaller project, this platform for royalty-free images already has a considerable collection of stock photos. More than 350,000 images are included in the collection, which has the motto “for creatives, by creatives. was founded.
Morguefile is a large photo database with thousands of pictures from amateurs to absolute professionals. If the image should not be changed (e.g. by a logo etc.) then you should name the artist as the source.
A large array of unique license-free pictures you get for free. The best part is that you can really see and feel the love Daniel Nanescu puts in all his pictures. With all these beautiful stock photos online, you will definitely find your picture.
Definitely a tip for royalty-free images that nobody else has so quickly.
One of the new websites is from Shopify (a webshop provider). The goal is to give entrepreneurs access to good images. Shopify makes many images in-house and provides them under the CC0 license. However, some images are covered by the Shopify license. Therefore you should pay attention before using an image.
On Burst you can find great royalty-free images, some of which you can download under CC0 license. (Pay attention to the license for each image!)
Also new on the list is Reshot. All manually selected royalty-free images for private but also commercial use. Great pictures are available. You won’t find “normal stock photos” in the wide selection.
Great selection of hand-selected royalty-free images for private and commercial use.
Looking for mouth-watering pictures? Here you will find a great website with thousands of pictures of food, nutrition, ingredients, and cooking. Important to note is also that all pictures are available under CC0 Licences and are completely free to use for whatever you want to do.
Great website for free pictures around food and all cooking related images.
Negative Space makes many photos available for free use every week. Again, the photos are handpicked, easy to find and the categories are helpful to quickly get to your desired images.
Negative Space has some images that you won’t find on other royalty-free platforms. If you need more special pictures, you should have a look here.
Gratisography says about their royalty free image database that they have a “Peace Of Mind License”, which allows to use the images commercially but also personally for all projects. There are many photos in the database and some are also completely unique and not found on other databases.
Image database with many royalty free images with the promise of easy license.
Not one of the biggest platforms out there, but there is also a selection of some images for free. Many images are provided by the partner Adobe and can only be obtained for a fee. Photographers can donate their images here and make them available to the public for free.
Smaller database where photographers can donate their images
Flickr is a great platform that is actually there to put pictures online and present them. With the practical filter function for “licenses” you can also find images here that can be used free of charge and also for commercial projects. Just set the filter to “Commercial use & mods allowed”.
Large image platform, which also provides commercially usable free images
Over 300,000 images online and a large database of unique free images. But please be careful here, as their own license agreements may restrict use in certain areas. Read the license agreement carefully before using the images!
Large database however you should read carefully for the image rights
Guide: Using Google Image Search (without risk)
When using Google Images for creative projects, it’s important to make sure I’m using images that are free to use under a Creative Commons licence. Use the search bar from Google to find pictures according to your search terms. When seeing the desired image results, go to “Tools” and then “Usage Rights”. From here, I can choose to see only images that are free to use under a “Creative Commons licence”.
Once you’ve found the right picture, click on it, so the preview on the right is visible and then right-click “Save Image As”. This saves the image to my computer so that you can use it in my project.
7 steps to get free photos without royalty attribution from Google:
- Search pictures with Google images search
- Go to “Tools”
- Click on the optioons of “Usage Rights”
- Select “Creative Commons licenses”
- Select the picture you like
- Check the copyright information
- Right click on the picture and select “Save Image As”
Please note: Don’t use any picture on the internet without first checking that you have the right to do so. Even if an image is labelled with a Creative Commons licence, it might still have certain restrictions attached. For example, some licences require you to credit the creator of the image (known as attribution), even if you’re using it for commercial purposes. So make sure you read the small print before using any image!
Our MoreThanDigital Favorites
Probably you also want to know what we like and use the most. We from the MoreThanDigital editorial team like to use Unsplash or Pexels for our beautiful pictures on the articles. As an NGO initiative, we are of course also dependent on free pictures as well. Through our limited budget, we are happy to find so beautiful stock photos and make our articles even look better for you but be compliant with licences and stock-image rights. This is why both offer a great opportunity as they can be comercially used in any way, so we don’t have to worry about our image choice.
More websites and an explanation of CC0 licenses can be found in the related article:
12 websites for royalty-free images with CC0 and for free