Yet for some reason, many publishers continue to push out cheap (and usually cheesy) stock photography to serve as a representation of their brand.
The truth is, high-quality stock photos don't have to come hand-in-hand with a hassle or high price tag. To prove it, we've compiled a list of 20 awesome resources for free, high-quality stock images for websites, blogs, and similar online properties.
From enviable office spaces to stunning scenery, we're certain you'll find exactly what you're looking for with the help of this roundup.
Free Stock Photos
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20 of the Best Free Stock Photo Websites for Royalty-Free Images
Negative Space offers up new free stock photos every week. All of its photos are shared without copyright restrictions, meaning you're free to use them however you please.
From architecture to technology, Negative Space's continuously growing collection of images is one you'll find yourself tapping into again and again. The best part? It's easy to filter through the gallery of photos, which are sortable by category, copy space position, and color.
When founders and photographers, Allie and David, noticed how challenging it was for businesses, bloggers, and creatives to find free high-quality images that fit their "vibe and tribe," they stepped in.
As a result, Death to Stock was born. Simply submit your email and enjoy a new batch of photos delivered to your inbox every month.
If you do have some extra budget to spend, Death to Stock also offers a Premium membership for $15/month or $180/year. The cool part about the paid membership is that a percentage of the profit is used to fund photography trips and other creative projects to keep the resource moving forward.
Karolina, a web designer from Poland, is the creative eye behind this awesome resource for high-quality photos. From fashion to food to landscapes, her images cover a variety of different scenarios. And users have the freedom to use them for anything they'd like -- commercial or not.
While there are no formal attribution requirements, Karolina does ask that you include photo credit with a link back to the site when possible. This request will help her grow the website, and in turn, provide even more awesome photos for everyone to use.
All of the photos on the Freerange website come from a pool of both in-house photographers, as well as a growing community of external contributors.
Not only is there a lot to choose from, but the photos are good quality, too: "Images provided directly (in-house) by Freerange Stock originate one of two ways. They are either digitally photographed on Canon DSLR cameras or they are a high resolution (4000 dpi) Nikon scan of an original 35mm slide," according to the site's 'About Us' section.
Unsplash serves up 10 new "do whatever you want" photos every 10 days.
What we love most about this resource is the uniqueness of the photos. With pages upon pages to choose from, you won't run into any cheesy, "Smiling Boss Shaking Hands With Male Employee" shots.
Not to mention, every photo published on Unsplash is licensed under Creative Commons Zero, which provides users with the freedom to copy, modify, distribute, and use all of the photos without permissions or attribution.
SplitShire offers a ton of awesome free photos for you to use without commercial restrictions. Powered by Italian photographer Daniel Nanescu, all of the images available on the website are "made with love" -- and it shows.
From stunning portraits to sleek work stations, we've got a feeling you won't have any trouble finding the perfect photo for your next project or blog post.
All of the images are donated to the public domain, and are available for personal and commercial use.
As if that wasn't enough, Life of Pix also has a counterpart, Life of Vids. According to its website, Life of Vids serves up free footage videos, clips, and loops, weekly. Like the images, the video content contains no copyright restrictions, and can be easily downloaded on its Vimeo account.
These photos are carefully handpicked from a variety of free image sources to ensure that you're getting only the best of the best.
All of the photos that make the cut are under the Creative Commons Zero license, meaning that they are free for personal and commercial use with no attribution required. And thanks to its search functionality, turning up the right photo for your next project is super easy.
With new photos added weekly, Gratisography is another awesome website serving up high-resolution photos covered under the Creative Commons Zero license.
All of the photos are taken by Ryan McGuire, a "whimsically creative visual artist, based in Ithaca, NY." And while these photos are a bit more quirky (we're talking everything from monster feet slippers to Vespas to bananas), they are entirely usable for the right project.
This collection of vintage photos comes from the public archive via Flickr Commons. According to the website, the photos are free of any known copyright restrictions.
That said, while it's likely that they are safe to use for things like blog posts and hero images, you'll want to read up on the rights and usage below before you use them for any type of commercial project.
Pixabay serves as a repository for a ton of quality photos that released under Creative Commons CC0 into the public domain. The site is clean and intuitive, making it easy to navigate your way through the 780K+ free photos, vectors, and illustrations.
The main search bar even allows you to filter your query down by factors like media type, orientation, color, and minimum dimensions.