As a full time webmaster and designer, I use royalty free photography on a daily basis. As noted, iStockPhoto is my royalty free image source of choice, but there are some good sources of free photography and vector images available to you. I have collected what I consider to be the top 10 free stock photography sites for use in a commercial setting, many with no attribution requirements. If you know of any other completely free photography resources, feel free to comment.
Top Ten Royalty Free Stock Photography Resources
Photoree – I love this site and so will you. You can search stock photography by license which is a real time and effort saver. Many of the images are of the same quality and workmanship you would find on sites that charge a pretty penny. Yes – the image to the right was found on Photoree!
FreeRangeStock – This is not a large photography site, but I love the fact that they share ad revenue with their photographers. Many of their images are clean, hi resolution, and great for side projects such as scrap-booking.
StockVault – These guys have some very clear images, and offer other resources in a similar, smooth layout – such as images specifically for web designers and niche fields.
FreePixels – Another free stock photography website with superb quality, commercial grade images. As of this post they have just over 4,000 images, which while not a lot – you are completely free to use them in your commercial projects.
ImageAfter – While ImageAfter does not have the highest quality free stock photography, they do have a cool tool. Their color picker tool allows you to pick HTML hexadecimals (N.B. codes) and find images that match your color choice.
RGB Stock – I enjoy this stock photo site due to it’s clutter free layout, and the great implementation of category structure. Their images of buildings stand out more than other sites, but that may just be an opinion. They do require that you register to download full size photos, but it takes less than 1 minute, and it is a simple email validation process. The building below is from RGBStock!
photl – Photl allows you to download a set limit each day, currently up to 35 Mb. They have a unique cropping tool that allows you download parts of images. I found this to be handy when I found an image of a coffee cup, but I didn’t want the beans that were with it. This image cropping tool can be a real time saver.
Woophy – If you need regional photography – this place has it nailed. Being from Oregon, I clicked on their map in the general area I am from and found some amazing photography. I added this one to my bookmarks right away. N.B. – This site is for non-commercial use only but it’s map overlay was too cool for me to leave them out.
AllOurStock – This is a smaller and newer site, but there are some photography gems to be found. All the images on AllOurStock are public domain, so you can use freely as you need.
GeekPhilosopher – Yet another smaller site, but the images are free. There are many abstracts that can be used in your web projects.
I also wanted to note that a quick way to get up to 52 high quality stock photos each year, is to visit iStock Photo on a weekly basis. They give away one free photograph each week, and you can download it in the highest resolution they offer which makes this a win-win for you!