The Five Best Places to Get Free Stock Photos

I do a lot of work with images here at Pareto Design. For awhile I relied solely on the the tried and true method of purchasing stock photos from all the usual suspects (I'm looking at you shutterstock) and never really put much thought into alternatives. 

One day I begrudgingly agreed to help a friend with his half backed idea for a startup (story for another day, didn’t end well). He gave me next to nothing to work with budget wise so in a moment of cheap innovation, I turned to the internet for a free solution. Turns out the stuff available for free is amazing and I was left feeling like a fool for ever paying way to much for stock photos for way to long. After tireless searching, I found the best and the brightest of the young free stock photo class. The five websites below have consistently provided great photos for my projects and while there are many more sources, I find these are the ones I always go back to. What will you do with this great free photo power?


Literally the only place you ever need to visit for stock photos for you project or business. All photographs can be used for any purpose — both commercial and personal. Blogs, art, book covers, t-shirts, and more — paid or unpaid — they’re all allowed under the license.

NYPL Digital Collections

Almost 680,000 free high quality historical photographs and documents. A great resource for Creating that Retro Look.

New Old Stock Photos

Vintage photos from public archives. Free of known copyright restrictions. These photos are literally so old copyright wasn’t a thing when they were taken. Pretty great for an edgy black and white vibe.

Photo Collections IO

A similar but less extensive version of Unsplash. More focused towards landscapes, nature, and architecture.

Gratisography- Photos By Ryan McGuire, some really quirky stuff like people doing stange faces and colorful shots of toys. Probably not the best for a law firm but depending on the project, and invaluable resource nonetheless.


If you Make something really cool post a link in the comments and I'll Check it out!