With a perfect social strategy and a well-crafted posting calendar, you can be the greatest social media manager in the world – but that doesn’t mean you know how to take pictures. Maybe you should look into free stock photography instead.

No problem! We don’t blame you! We can’t all be good at everything. (For example: Even Grammy winner Michael Bublé doesn’t know how to eat corn like a normal person.)

Even if you’ve learned how to take good Instagram photos, sometimes it’s best to leave the images to the professionals. This is where free stock photos come in.

And lucky for you, the internet is a block full of gorgeous, royalty-free, royalty-free photos just waiting for a chance to dazzle your followers.

In fact, we’ve managed to put together 38 (thirty-eight!) of the best free stock photography sites to share with you. So if you’re looking for photos for commercial use that don’t cost a penny but will make your social posts look like a million bucks, read on.

(Looking for free stock video sites? We’ve got you covered there, too.)

How do we know if a stock photo is free?

Before you go on a shopping spree (or whatever it’s called when what you’re shopping for is absolutely free), it’s important to understand this clearly. how do we know if a stock photo is free.

If you accidentally share something that doesn’t give you commercial rights, you may be in violation of copyright law – with serious consequences for your brand and even for you personally.

And unfortunately, “I didn’t know” won’t fly as a legal defense.

So look for clear descriptions on the stock photo website such as “commercial use allowed”, “commercial use and modifications allowed” or “no known copyright restrictions”.

Anything licensed under Creative Commons or the public domain is also fair game.

But when in doubt, read the fine print.

You can learn more about understanding image copyright here, but here’s a handy flowchart that gets to the heart of it:


Source: Moyens I/O

And now, let’s get to the good stuff: free resources for social media photos that will amaze your followers and garner those likes.

38 free stock photography websites

one. remove splash

Gorgeous, editorial-style pictures are everywhere here. Photographers upload their content hoping to get someone’s attention for future paid jobs. Meanwhile, brands with or without a budget can take advantage of the wealth of stylish shots. Not sure what to look for? Browse featured collections like “Athletics”, “Travel” or “Technology” for inspiration.


two people walking by the river

Source: Kevin Lang remove splash

2nd. free

Gratisography really pushes the weirdness out here. Thanks to the “Peace” license, download any of the free high resolution stock photos for any use you want. Many illustrations are also available.

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person holding a mini donut on each finger

Source: Gratisography

3. Adobe Stock Free Collection

Find free photos, vectors and videos courtesy of Adobe, all of which meet the same licensing standards as the company’s paid content. Some shots are a little more overexposed than others and look like stock photos… but maybe this is what you’re looking for!

Note: You must create a (free) Adobe account to download.


smiling person wearing sunglasses and looking at the sky

Source: Adobe Stock Free Collection

4. Pikwizard

You guessed it: more free stock photos for editorial or commercial use. No attribution is needed here, so if you don’t want to give credit to the person who shot this pumpkin holding person, you don’t have to.


person holding a pumpkin and wearing a black dress and black nail polish

Source: Pikwizard

5. RawPixel

RawPixel has a good collection of Public Domain images (photos that are out of copyright or reserved for public domain). You can find what you’re looking for here… though you still need to open a free account to get it.

6. Splitshire

Download free high resolution stock photos instantly. The good news is because if you’re in a rush to schedule that Instagram post, sometimes time log in!


Traveler walking the white streets of Greece

Source: Splitshire

7. Burst (by Shopify)

Shopify wants their customers to have websites that look good, so they helped them with a collection of stylish, high-quality photos. Many (surprise) are retail or service oriented.


retail stylist organizing coats on hangers

Source: Burst

8. reshoot

Over 25,000 photos and 1,500+ vector illustrations are here at your fingertips… including this chubby sea lion!


sea ​​lions sitting on rocks in the ocean

Source: reshoot

9. Pixabay

There are nice squares on Pixabay… millions actually from them. What more do you need to know?


A view from Cinque Terre

Source: Pixabay

10. Food Feed

Sometimes you want your free stock photo site to be the focus. FoodiesFeed only offers good food photos. If you’re reading this review right before lunch, it’s not a great place to look, FYI.


maple syrup pouring over pile of pecan pancakes

Source: Food Feed

11th. StockSnap.io

Hundreds of new free high-resolution stock photos are added here each week in categories like “Nature”, “Dog” and “Family”.

12. pexels

Talented creators share their best free stock photos on Pexels. You can even explore the most viewed photos for a clue as to what really resonates with viewers at any given moment.

13. Snapwire Snaps

Seven new stock photos are uploaded each week. It’s a mixed bag, but it’s all good… and as you probably guessed, it’s all free.

14. Barn Pictures

While they have pictures of barns, they also have pictures of other things: hands holding cell phones, beautiful landscapes, and coffee cups on a messy office desk.


barn with pigeons on the roof

Source: Barn Pictures

15. freestocks.org

Three photographer friends create stock images in their spare time. Here you’ll find many documentary-style shots that can give a social feed a much-needed dose of originality.


cyclist on the bike path in the city center

Source: freestocks.org

16. picspree

Ok, I’ll start repeating at a certain point because it’s hard to say anything new about another collection of royalty-free images and stock photos. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a little search here for some Insta-inspo!

17. Pix’s Life

The “photographer of the week” feature highlights Life of Pix’s talented contributors each week.

18. Jay Mantri

Photographer Jay Matri has made a large selection of his photos available for free commercial use (“Do anything,” he says). We hope you like the trees and the waves!


foggy trees

Source: Jay Mantri

19. ISO Republic

No restrictions on any of the ISO Republic photos – download to your heart’s content and start posting.


Person with face painting of pride flag holding fist for Black Lives Matter movement

Source: ISO Republic

20. style stock

Self-described as “female” stock photography, the collections here are airy, bright, and often have an “Instagram influencer” making smoothies in a “burbs” mood. Which is sometimes exactly what you need.


impressive setup with booties watch laptop and jewelry

Source: style stock

21. Negative space

People, places, things: all the usual prices you could ask for from a free stock photo website.

22. I’m free

A clear distinction from IM Free is that they offer royalty-free images as well as free web templates and icons.

23. free range

Freerange promises “great photos”: What’s not to love? New free images every day.

24. Free Images

I mean, the name really says it all, right?


basketball net set on the background of blue sky

Source: Free Images

25. Deposit Photos

All these free stock photography websites look alike too… like an endless collection. But that’s good! This means you have endless resources to find exactly what you need to build engagement.

26. Flickr Commons

Here’s the trick to finding free photos on Flickr: Search for images that photographers have tagged with a “Creative Commons” license! Or check out Flickr Commons, the public database of photography from around the world.


old image of pilots on airplane

Source: flickr

27. magdeleine

“Hand-picked”, beautifully lit, high-resolution photos, whatever that means!


curious cat perched on office chair

Source: magedleine

28. picography

They’re gorgeous, high-definition, (you guessed it) free.

29. new old stock

Want to add a vintage flair to your social feeds? Get some of these free historical photos from the public archives.


Historical black and white shot of man standing in front of a New England gold mine

Source: new old stock

30. Realistic Shots

Lots of disembodied hands holding smartphones. Lots of beaches. Lots of women in beach hats. It’s a stock photo treasure!

31. jeshoots

Photographer Jan Vasek shares his work for free for websites or commercial projects.


person chopping kiwi and other fruits in the kitchen

Source: jeshoots

32. LeapingPhoto

Explore the vast public domain world through SkitterPhoto’s library. A great feature: you can see how many times an image has been downloaded… helps you avoid an embarrassing copycat situation

33. Thumbnails

The work of the late photographer Nic Jackson remains available the way you want – his family has made sure that all of his photos remain accessible and public.

34. morgue file

Morgue file was launched in ’96 as a free image exchange for creative professionals and teachers. Still alive and well, there are now images that anyone and everyone can use as they see fit. Lots of amateur stuff here, but also lots of hidden gems.

35. picture

Want Picjumbo to pick photos just for you? Sign up for their newsletter and they’ll send free stock to your inbox every week.


woman holding coffee and working on laptop

Source: picture

36. kaboom pictures

Find stylish (and very Instagrammable) photo shoots on Kaboom. Hot editing idea: Some textured photos can make great backgrounds or borders for any of the other stock photos you just downloaded.


close up image of a rose with raindrops

Source: kaboom pictures

37. Gender Spectrum Collection

To help improve the representation of gender in all its forms, Vice has created a collection of Creative-Commons licensed photos of gender-diverse and non-binary models that anyone can use.


two non-binary models napping together in bed

Source: Vice Gender Spectrum Collection

38. diaper

Another great attempt at improving representation in stock photography, Nappy only includes photos of Black and brown models.


Black woman holding newborn baby

Source: diaper

Wow! If you can’t find a stock image that fits your needs in this extensive list of resources… well, we don’t know what to tell you. Maybe consider using a stock video instead?

Once you find the perfect image, use Moyens I/O to easily upload, schedule and promote them across multiple social networks.