Are you building a new website?
Or refreshing an outdated site?
Wherever you are in the website process, you’ll eventually need beautiful photos for your website and online content.
After all, a website with just text and no photos sounds…boring, to put it nicely.
(More like a total snoozefest, if I’m being honest.)
(And yes, I just legit used the term snoozefest. It’s getting real around here.)
There are a ton of reasons you may need website photos…
- Maybe you need a featured image to accompany your latest blog post.
- Or you want to highlight your services, but you don’t have any photos yet.
- Or you’re just getting started and haven’t had a chance to take pictures for your website.
Whatever the case, you need to find engaging, high-quality photographs that can represent your work online.
If you’re looking for beautiful and professional-quality photographs, check out these five free photo sources for your website.
Whether you’re building with Squarespace, WordPress, or Wix, these photo sites will have you covered!
And if you’re wondering about how to optimize photos for SEO and actually upload them to your website, I’ll be covering those processes soon. Enter your email to receive those tips directly in your inbox:
Before we get to the photography sites, there’s one final note.
Ye Olde Disclaimer
Lemme let you in on a secret…
Lean in close…
I am not…
I repeat NOT…
Despite my lack of legal background, I do my best to research photo licenses and pass on helpful information.
That said, please take all this information with a grain (or kajillion grains) of salt.
If you have any questions about whether you can use a photo on your website, please consult your lawyer — wait, what’s that?
Not everybody has a lawyer on standby?
Joking aside — please be sure you read through the photo licenses yourself.
To be super, super careful about photo use, take a screenshot of the image and license. Save your screenshots in an organized folder for easy future reference if needed.
Alright. With the legal disclaimer outta the way, let’s get on to the good stuff!
Here are the five sources for photos to use on your website.
Let’s start with one of the biggest free photo websites that made a bit of an – ahem – splash in recent years…Unsplash.
Created in 2013, Unsplash has over 2 million images you can use. These photos are not your traditional stockphotos, either. Unsplash is known for having artsy (some might even say gorgeous) photographs.
Unsplash images range from nature to cities, people to objects. Many of the images have a modern aesthetic — they feel like crisp, hip photographs.
Plus, good news for all you Squarespace users out there. Unsplash integrates natively with the popular website builder Squarespace.
Rather than having to download and re-upload images from Unsplash to Squarespace, you can add Unsplash photos directly within your Squarespace website.
What you can do with Unsplash photos?
Pretty much anything. The official Unsplash license is very permissive:
Unsplash photos are made to be used freely. Our license reflects that.
- All photos can be downloaded and used for free
- Commercial and non-commercial purposes
- No permission needed (though attribution is appreciated!)
Check Out Unsplash Now
Next up is another great source of free website images — Pexels.
Created in 2014, Pexels features tons of free images and videos. Again, much of this media doesn’t feel like traditional stock photograph or filler content. The images are again modern and aesthetically pleasing.
Plus, Pexels integrates with the free online design tool Canva. When you search for photos on Canva, some of the image results are automatically pulled from Pexels. You can add these images directly to your designs.
What you can do with Pexels photos?
As with Unsplash, the Pexels license is quite open and straightforward:
- All photos and videos on Pexels are free to use.
- Attribution is not required. Giving credit to the photographer or Pexels is not necessary but always appreciated.
- You can modify the photos and videos from Pexels. Be creative and edit them as you like.
Check Out Pexels Now
Pixabay has over 1.8 million photographs, illustrations, and videos. Some of the images feel more like traditional “stockphoto-y” pictures, but there are still plenty of other image options to explore.
Plus, Pixabay includes illustrations.
If you want to use any illustrations on your website or in materials, definitely check out the selection of Pixabay illustrations.
Like Pexels, Pixabay integrates with free online design tool Canva.
When you search for photos on Canva, you can add Pixabay images directly to your designs.
What you can do with Pixabay photos?
As with Unsplash and Pexels, the Pixabay license is straightforward:
What is allowed?
- All content on Pixabay can be used for free for commercial and noncommercial use across print and digital, except in the cases mentioned in “What is not allowed”.
- Attribution is not required. Giving credit to the contributor or Pixabay is not necessary but is always appreciated by our community.
- You can make modifications to content from Pixabay.
Check Out Pixabay Now
Gratisography is a cool site that I recently discovered for free photos. It bills itself as “the world’s quirkiest collection of high-resolution free stock images” — with an emphasis on quirky.
Although it’s smaller than the others in this list, Gratisography has a good collection of unusual, off-beat images.
Looking for a photo of a daisy wearing glasses? Check.
A woman eating donuts off each finger? Check.
A bunny costume hanging up with laundry? Um…also check.
One downside of Gratisography — there are tons of Shutterstock ads all over the site. If you can ignore those, the rest of the site is great for finding vibrant, unexpected photo options.
What you can do with Gratisography photos?
Again, the license is very permissive. You can use Gratisography photos in tons of ways:
Almost anything you can think of.
You may use Gratisography pictures as you please for both personal and commercial projects. You can adapt and modify the images and get paid for work that incorporates the pictures.
This includes advertising campaigns, adding your logo or text to an image, printed in any size print runs (e.g., book covers, magazines, posters, etc.), on your website, blog, or other digital mediums, and on merchandise as long as the picture itself is not the merchandise.
Check Out Gratsiography Now
Finally, let’s talk about an option that’s already come up a few times — Canva.
Canva isn’t exactly the same as a free stockphoto website like these other options above. Instead, Canva is a free online design tool with oodles of templates and formats for creating easy, beautiful designs.
They have icons and layouts for many uses…
- Facebook Ads
- Instagram Posts
- LinkedIn Banners
- YouTube Covers
- Email Templates
- And so many more!
When you’re just getting started with a website and marketing, Canva is a great place to explore. Plus they have the aforementioned integrations with Pixabay and Pexels — so you can search and use free images directly in the Canva platform itself.
Given the wide range of images on Pixabay and Pexels, it’s no surprise that Canva has a similarly wide array of photographs:
What you can do with Canva photos?
Images on Canva from Pixabay and Pexels are bound by their original agreements. For other free content, the Canva license allows a range of uses:
- All free media on Canva can be used for free for commercial and noncommercial use.
- If a photo, icon, music track, video or other media contains an identifiable person, place, logo or trademark, please ensure you check the source or contact us if you’re unsure. We can’t guarantee that any free media have the appropriate releases for commercial use.
- Attribution is not required but always appreciated.
- You can be creative and edit the media as you like.