Buying stock photos for your design work is becoming expensive. I used to use dollarphotoclub.com a lot. But recently Adobe bought dollar photo club and absorbed the library into it’s expensive photo club. I don’t mind paying a lot for an image I know I will use – but often when designing i tend to go through a lot of images. I like to have a number of high quality (not comps) images that I tweak and experiment with until I settle on my final design. The Answer? Free photo websites.

I discovered that there are in fact plenty of quality, free photo websites out there. What’s the catch? Well nothing really. They don’t make you sign up. You’re allowed to use the images in your work and the images are actually good. In fact in some cases they’re even better than stock photos – produced by photographers looking to celebrate the artistry of their work rather than  a generic stock photo.

Here is 5 Amazing free photo websites. There are plenty more out there (If you know of one share it in the comments below). I have found these sites to be very helpful in my quest for great design which I integrate into my web marketing projects. Credit goes to Sam from Everlest design who told me about most of these sites:

1) www.unsplash.com

I love this site. It is a growing site of dedicated photographers who share their amazing work. The landscape, cultural and cityscape photos here are amazing. These photos will bring a professional, artistic vibe to your design.

They have recently added a “collections” feature so you can see the photos grouped in categories. It has a growing community of amazing photographers who contribute to the site with their amazing work. You can download full resolution images and do whatever you want with them. In fact the license on the site is “free, do whatever you want high resolution photos”

 

2) www.gratisography.com

For quality images that are a little quirky, check out gratisography.com. These images are ideal for high impact eye catching design. A lot of the images here focus on modern western culture and personality.

Their images are divided into 6 categories. Animals, nature, objects, people urban and whimsical. For something really different check out their whimsical category. You’re likely to find something completely original here so get digging and see what you find.

3) www.imcreator.com/free

Another solid library of free images. The site is well organised into categories and sub categories. Images here are free for commercial use but attribution to the photographer must be made (creative commons license)

For something a bit different check out the “Faces” category. http://www.imcreator.com/free/people/faces

4) nos.twnsnd.co

Here you will find a public archive library of vintage photos. As the site says all photos are free of “known copyright restrictions”. Most of the photos have some age, authenticity and history to them.

If you’re working on a project that requires that vintage feel, these images will definately do the trick. No need for noisy, dust and scratches plugins, these images already have them. As an added bonus all images contain some background information like location, age of image so you’re not left wondering where they came from.

5) http://www.splitshire.com/

Another site full of quality images. These images have great colour and very usable for web design as backgrounds. You won’t find copious amounts of photos here, but you will find a boutique selection of pics ready to be used in your projects.

I particularly appreciated the easy to find “Top best photos” (http://www.splitshire.com/topbestphotos/). All the photos here looked great and are presented to you complete with a parallax text overlay so you see how it will look in your web design. In fact it can’t be overstated how important it is to see how text interacts with an image before you go to the effort and time of downloading it and trying to make it work. Its nice to see how usable these pics are for backgrounds.

Free Photo Websites Provide Inspiration

So there you go a selection of great pictures. I appreciate the fact that people are willing to share their amazing work on sites like these. The non commercial (non stock) nature of the photos on these sites frees you up to truly get into design mode and create something inspirational and amazing. Thats why we love designing websites!

Have you got any free photo websites you would like to share? share them in the comments below.