IT Education

Where do graphic designers get their images?

And although they make up a small fraction of Adobe’s overall stock photography offering, the selection of free content is still very significant. In addition to the free stock photos, Canva also offers an even bigger selection of premium stock photos (more than 100 million) that can be accessed through a Canva Pro subscription. With over 110,000 unique images that have been curated and screened for quality, this is a good source for stock images that is a bit limited on the licensing options.

best free photo stocks for designers

Free stock photos are great resources for designers because they are easy to find and can save you money. However, it’s important to understand how to use these images properly so you don’t end up with a copyright infringement problem down the road. The best way to avoid problems is to buy a license, like a royalty-free license.

Which is the right stock image site for you?

However, since it’s all absolutely free, it’s worth taking the time to sniff out the highest quality images. If you’re looking for more sites that prioritize the photography community, Life of Pix is a great Flickr alternative. Life of Pix is a community-focused stock photo site that allows professional and novice photographers alike to curate their own portfolios. The site features contributors in a photographer-of-the-week challenge, which makes it a great site for finding photographers who are engaged with the platform and constantly uploading fresh content. The photos on Flickr are known for containing rich metadata, including geolocation information, EXIF data, tags, and more. So if you want to find photos taken in France, select the World Map under the Explore dropdown, and click on one of the pink dots that pop up in that country.

Pexels offers a wide variety of free photos and videos to use in your next project, and the website is fast and easy to use. Knowing the ins and outs of stock photography license types is essential for anyone who oversees a digital marketing campaign. Because some of the image sites listed here are what is known as aggregators, they might be offering you free stock images with different copyright restrictions placed upon them. Many of the stock photo sites I tested now offer AI-generated images, either alongside human-generated photos or instead of them. I found 123RF to be the most useful option because, while it does offer AI-generated stock images, you can choose to filter those results out.

Fancy Crave – Inspiring Travel-Focused Stock Photography

But I discourage you to cheat with stock images in your portfolios, since the portfolio represents your skills, and many employers and universities take it seriously. Many designers also create their own images or graphics, using software like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or Procreate. This gives them complete control over the look and feel of the image and allows for complete customization, ensuring their designs are truly unique.

  • Burst is a free stock photo site powered by leading eCommerce platform Shopify.
  • The enormous collection of images with over 100,000 new photos added weekly is an absolute dream for designers and marketing teams.
  • PikWizard is under the same ownership as DesignWizard, which offers online design software.
  • A reasonable sized collection of quite good photos is available at Stockvault.
  • Many of the images are sourced from pre-existing free-use libraries, so all of the pictures can be trusted to be free from copyright restrictions.

Finding images that are free for commercial use isn’t as hard as it might sound, thanks to a number of sites that aggregate photos, illustrations, and vectors. These sites usually let you search and filter by keyword or category, making it easy to find what you’re looking for. You’re not a photographer, but you also don’t want to use the same boring, corporate stock photo every other website uses. The good news is there are still a few stock photo sites out there that offer a wide variety of unique—and free—images for your creative projects. Vecteezy is one of the most popular platforms for designers, marketers, and freelancers, but even major brands are known to use it on occasion.

Startup Stock Photos – Free Stock Images for Startup Businesses

Good graphic designers know how to choose and use stock photos, and those are the ones that get paid well above the average. But learning how to effectively use images in graphic design can take quite some time, so it’s important that you put in a lot of effort. Adobe Stock has a library of over 100 million high-resolution images, all of which are integrated into Creative Cloud. For designers and illustrators, finding, purchasing, and using Adobe Stock’s imagery is quick and easy.

best free photo stocks for designers

It’s also a good idea to closely review your proof copy so that you can inspect the quality of your printed stock art with your own two eyes. If you get sick of seeing ads as you browse Flickr, you can upgrade to an ad-free experience for $5.54/month. The premium subscription also comes with unlimited storage (free users get one terabyte of storage). And if you want to do even more with your stock photos, connect Flickr to Zapier to do things like share new Flickr photos on social media or back up new Flickr photos to Google Drive.

Best for up to 30 images per month

Photutorial tested the best stock photo sites for designers to help you find the top option for keeping yourself stocked up with beautiful visuals. Adobe Stock is our top choice for designers thanks to excellent Creative Cloud integration and a large collection of stock images. As a budget pick, you should consider the very affordable Envato Elements. Read on for the rest of our tested picks to find the best stock photo site for designers based on your needs.

Artists who submit their work here receive a portion of the advertising revenue. Although the selection is a bit limited, the images are of excellent quality and resolution. The site—which boasts more than ten billion images—brings together professional and amateur photographers from around the world. These pre-selected sizes can save you hours of cumulative time spent cropping and resizing images for social media. You can even apply a filter, add text, and remove the image’s background directly from the site before downloading it.


Regarded as one of the best among stock photo sites, it boasts quick responses via live chat and email responses within one to three business days. Depositphotos takes user experience up a notch with features such as integration with the VistaCreate editor and additional tools like a free background remover, an image upscaler, and an API. If you’re best stock photography for designers unsure, the 7-day free trial lets you take 10 royalty-free images for a spin. As always, your printer is your number one pipeline of information when it comes to finding the best stock photo sites for print. They can help you check the resolution of your images, as well as warn you if your selected art isn’t high-quality enough for printing.

best free photo stocks for designers

And if you’re looking for free stock photos for Instagram or other social media sites, 123RF makes your search easy. Pixabay hosts more than 4.1 million photos, illustrations, vector graphics, and videos—all of which are free to use. Click Images next to the search bar to look for images by type, or you can search more granularly by becoming familiar with Pixabay’s advanced search options. Pixabay lets you search by photographer, orientation (i.e., landscape or portrait), size, and even color. The site also features an Editor’s Choice curation section, which highlights the best images chosen by the Pixabay team. Click the Explore dropdown menu in the upper-right corner of the site to see their selections.

In addition to exclusive photographs, Adobe offers other visual resources, such as illustrations, vectors, videos, templates, 3D assets, and more, all seamlessly integrated with your favorite Adobe apps. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had a look at the prices on some non-stock photography sites (pictures of Gummy bears for $769.00 anyone?), but they reach far beyond the budget of the typical designer/developer. Even expert designers such as those at WebFX in Harrisburg use stock photos, and these are some great places to find them.

best free photo stocks for designers

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