Whether you’re blogging or creating social media graphics, you will definitely need stock images for your content marketing efforts (unless you have the time and skill to take your own photographs).

There are numerous stock image websites where you can choose between premium and free photos.

But if you’ve just started your business (like me) or don’t need so many premium photographs, you can always get free images from these sites.

[Marketing Tips] 11 Free Stock Image Sites To Boost Your Content Marketing

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Things To Note When Using Stock Images

There are 2 key points you need to bear in mind when using stock images:

Always Check The License

Depending on your purpose for using the stock images, there are some key elements you need to look out for when checking the license:

  • Personal use or Commercial use
  • Whether you need to ask for permission
  • Whether you need to attribute the photographer

Photo by Studio 7042 Dominika on Pexels

If you use the stock images without abiding by the license terms and conditions, you might get yourself into some serious trouble.

See how this copywriter paid $4,000 for a $10 photo!

To avoid getting fined and staying out of these legal problems, you should never use images you found on the web or through Google.

Instead, you should download images from websites with the right license.

Photo by qimono on Pixabay

The sites listed below mostly fall under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license where you

  • Can use for commercial purposes
  • Don’t need to ask for permission
  • Don’t need to attribute the photographer

Always Credit The Source

Unless the owner or photographer says that no credit is required or that credit is optional, you should always credit the source.

I try to give credit for all stock images in my blog post. This can be done with either

  • Caption crediting the source
  • Link back to the source

Just see the above stock images for examples of how I credit the source.

Top Sites With Free Stock Images


With over 300,000 beautiful and high-resolution photos gifted by photographers around the world, Unsplash is one of my favorite go-to stock image site.

Stock Image - Unsplash

Simply search for the photo you want. You can also check out Collections and Explore for inspiration. Or download wallpapers for your desktop or mobile.

  • Use for both commercial & non-commercial purposes
  • Don’t need to ask for permission
  • Don’t need to credit photographer or Unsplash
  • Can also download, copy, modify, distribute, perform & use photos


Pexels is a database of stock photos where each photo is hand-picked. The photos are either uploaded by users or sourced from free image websites. Most importantly, Pexels ensures that all photos are licensed under CC0 so you can use them with no legal worries.

Stock Image - Pexels

Again, you can use the search function. You can also find out the popular searches, browse photos by colors and more under the Browse tab.

  • For personal & commercial use
  • Attribution is not required (no need to ask for permission or link back to the source)
  • Can modify, copy & distribute the photos


Pixabay is another great resource. With over 1.3 million photos, illustrations, vector graphics and videos, you will definitely find an image to your liking.

When you search for an image, you can

  • Sort by recency, popularity & more
  • Choose between photos, videos & more
  • Choose orientation: horizontal or vertical
  • Choose a category such as animals & people
  • Indicate the size
  • Choose the colors

Stock Image - Pixabay

Pixabay’s search functionality and filtering/sorting options are very advanced and comprehensive compared to the other sites.

  • Safe to use
  • Can be used for commercial purposes
  • Don’t need to ask for permission
  • Don’t have to give credit to the artist
  • Can copy, modify, distribute & use the images


StockSnap curates photos from photographers who share their work for free. They also feature high-quality images from the pool of submissions they received.

Stock Image - StockSnap

Not only can you search for photos, you can also browse through the Popular Categories.

  • Can use even for commercial purposes
  • Don’t have to ask for permission
  • No attribution required
  • Can copy, modify, distribute any photo on the site


The founder behind picjumbo is a photographer whose photos were rejected by stock photo sites due to lack of quality. He then created this stock photo site in 2013. Today, his photos have been downloaded more than 5 million times.

Stock Image - picjumbo

Besides searching for photos, you can also view the latest photos as well as browse the various categories.

  • For commercial use
  • Just respect registered trademarks & brands
  • Credit is not necessary but greatly appreciated


VisualHunt, as its name suggests, hunts for high-quality stock photos. They have photos with different license types so just ensure that you’re using photos of the correct license.

Stock Image - VisualHunt

Again, you can browse through the popular categories and photos. When you search for a photo, you can filter by license type and sort by relevance, recency and interestingness. You can also filter by dominant color.

  • Most photos fall under CC0 license
  • Use photos of the correct license type: Commercial Use, Non-Commercial or Public Domain


Freeimages.red features images (both photos and vectors) with CC0 license. They also accept submissions from users and photographers who are willing to make their works available to the public.

Stock Image - Freeimages.red

You can choose to search for photos or vectors. Then, sort by Most Popular, Most Downloaded, Date or Top Rated as well as show All images or only show Featured or Free images. There is also a list of categories to choose from.

  • Use for private & commercial purposes
  • No attribution required


Another free resource to find creative commons photos is FreePhotos.cc. It gathers images from other free stock photo sites and accepts submissions from users.

Stock Image - FreePhotos.cc

Unlike the other sites, FreePhotos.cc has a Photo Editor where you can edit your photo online. It also has way more categories.

  • Royalty-free images
  • Creative Commons photos sourced from other sites

Life Of Pix

All images at Life Of Pix are donated to the public domain. You can find high-resolution photos here. Plus, there’s a featured photographer every week where you can see their best shots. This is a great site to discover talented photographers and follow them.

Stock Image - Life Of Pix

You can choose between portrait or landscape orientation as well as dominant color. Or check out the Gallery for some inspiration. If you love images from certain photographers, you can always add them to your favorites.

  • For personal & commercial use
  • No mass distribution allowed


Created by amateur photographers, Skitterphoto was initially a platform for them to publish their own photos because it was hard to find good quality free photos. Now, it allows photographers to upload their own photos.

Stock Image - Skitterphoto

When you search for a photo, you can see how many times a photo was viewed, downloaded and liked. You can also sort photos by the number of views, downloads or likes. This comes in handy if you’re looking for a photo that isn’t overused.

  • For any purpose, even commercially
  • Can download & edit photos


The creator behind SplitShire has dabbled in photography for 10 years and thus, accumulated thousands of photos in the hard disk. Not wanting to let them gather dust, the creator shares all these personal shots to the public for free.

Stock Image - SplitShire

On top of photos, you can also check out the free videos. There are also various categories and each photo details page include the number of times it was viewed and downloaded.

  • For personal & commercial use
  • Cannot sell the photo as it is

Now It’s Your Turn

Stock images are indispensable for content marketing.

Just adding a few relevant photos in your blog post can help break the content and make it easier for your readers to scan and read your article.

These beautiful images, when used for your social media graphics, will greatly encourage users to share them with their family and friends.

You can also use these stock images to boost your other content marketing.

What other stock image sites do you use to download free photos? Leave a quick comment below and let’s pool our resources together.

Bear in mind that content marketing is just one way to drive traffic to your site. Check out online business classes and marketing and sales classes for more tactics to drive traffic to your site. Or watch streaming broadcasts of free online classes at CreativeLive!


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Nicole C. W. All Rights Reserved.

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