The term “stock photo” conjures up a pretty specific type of image for most of us: a fiercely fake group of people — often a range of different races and genders — who all look maybe a little too happy to be at the beach / pointing at a phone / eating a salad. Maybe your mental image is of a business woman in a suit looking important and angry, or perhaps an over-saturated couple frolicking in a field. Stock phototography definitely has its place (mostly in corporate brochures) but if you’re like me and die a little inside when someone asks for a stock photo, you’re in luck; that’s not all that’s out there.
Thanks to some fabulously talented and generous people, there’s a huge range of photos out there to suit your every purpose. The following are five of my absolute favourite (and absolutely FREE) stock photography sites: photos that are real, and pretty, and not over processed. Photos by creatives, for creatives. AND THEY’RE FREE. Did I mention that? Not even a single credit required.
Usually my first stop when looking for a photo. Unsplash have an awesome range of images submitted by different photographers all licensed under Creative Commons Zero, which means you can can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos, even for commercial purposes. The site is super clean and super easy to use, with ten new high-res photos released every ten days. You can browse all photos released so far, or sign up to their mailing list and get the ten delivered straight to your inbox! The image range is very broad, with some great lifestyle shots; styled food shots; nature and landscapes.
Death to the Stock Photo
Source of the gorgeous photo above! Death to the Stock Photo specialise in lifestyle shots, all with a very similar aesthetic, so if you’re looking for a series of photos this one is definitely for you. Signing up will get you a pack of free, very gorgeous photos sent straight to your inbox once a month, although to access all past images (over 400 of them) you’ll need to sign up for a premium membership. DTTSP images are published under the Photograph End User License, which means you can reproduce them; add them to a collection; and make adaptations of them for personal or commercial use; just don’t redistribute them. In other words, don’t include them in your own photo packs and pretend they’re your own work. That’s just rude.
Startup Stock Photos
www.startupstockphotos.com – attribution required
A little closer to your traditional stock photography, Startup Stock Photos are a good place to start if you’re looking for studio or tech shots — think Macbooks and iPhones, studio spaces and meeting rooms — but much more organic than your usual stock photography. Images from SSP are available to share, copy, edit and redistribute for any purpose (even commercially) BUT appropriate credit must be given, with a link to the license.
Fabulously styled food photography, all by amateur food photographer Jakub (with the cooking mostly done by his girlfriend Hana). Photos are available for download in small themed packs, ranging from meals to markets and everything foodie in between. All smaller packs can be downloaded immediately for free, and larger packs can be unlocked by simply following Jakub on Twitter. If you’re looking for a larger series, he also offers high-res thematic packages for a small, one-off cost. His photos are available for both personal and commercial purpose, are free to edit, and don’t require attribution — just no selling/reselling!
Some gorgeous travel imagery by photographer Jay Mantri, with seven new images posted every Thursday. All photos have a very distinct vibe and style, and are a great resource if you’re looking for something raw and energetic — pretty far from your usual stock photos. Published under Creative Commons Zero, you can copy, modify and distribute the images — for either personal or commercial purposes — with no attribution required!
Have you got any more to add to the list? Let me know below!