This article is part of a larger series on Small Business Websites.
Finding high-quality free images for websites has become easier with sites offering advanced search tools where you can sort images by color palette or industry. Some even have free video, audio clips, and tools for creating custom graphics. While some sites offering free stock images require attribution (meaning you’ll need to credit the photographer), they’re still free to use. Below is a list of the 15 best places to get free images for website design.
VistaCreate is a new graphic design platform from print marketing giant VistaPrint. Access 75,000-plus premade templates for web banners, animated logos and graphics, blog post headers, and over a million stock images starting with a free plan, or access over 70 million images with a low-cost subscription. Start your free trial today.
Places for Free Website Images At a Glance
Getting free templates for logos and web graphics, over 1 million stock graphics, and free editing tools
Advanced searches to find a specific type of free image or video
Getting free unlimited downloads of images, video, and audio clips for websites with a low-cost subscription
Finding free images by color or collections by topic
Obtaining free high-resolution images by photographers you can hire for other projects
Creating and editing graphics online, including use of free stock photos and thousands of templates
Those wanting to browse one of the largest libraries of free images (many with Creative Commons licensing)
Visual searching to find images or art with Creative Commons licensing
Downloading a large library of stock images for a low price
Getting free images for bloggers—especially food and lifestyle bloggers
Finding free graphics and vector illustrations
Creating product mock-ups to use on your website for free
Finding free animated stock images, stock footage, audio clips
Limited access to free photos, graphics, and videos from one of the best-known brands
Downloading free photo kits specific to a variety of business types
Best for: Getting free templates for logos and web graphics
|Free online graphic design platform with 75,000+ templates and 1+ million images, including animated graphics||Access to full library of over 70 million graphics, images, and templates requires a paid subscription ($10 per month)|
|Templates for wide variety of image-based marketing (e.g., website, email, social media)||Storage limited to 10GB in the free version|
|Create a brand kit for visual consistency in marketing materials in the free version|
Vistaprint, a company that has long made it easy to design marketing materials such as business cards, postcards, and more online, now offers VistaCreate. VistaCreate is a new online graphic design platform that you can use for free with limited access or purchase a low-cost subscription to access more than 70 million assets, from templates to images and video.
Not only is VistaCreate a great resource for getting free images for website design, but it’s also a one-stop shop for designing a range of digital and print marketing materials. For example, you can create static and animated graphics and even videos for social media posts. You can also build a header for your email newsletter, and design business cards, brochures, e-books, T-shirts, and more.
You can even design a brand kit for your small business in the free version, or create multiple brand kits with the paid plan. This makes it easy to develop brand consistency across all of your marketing materials, from print materials to social media posts, paid social ads, and email newsletters as well as your website.
Best for: Advanced searches to find a specific type of free image or video
|2.3 million+ images, graphics, and videos||Can’t search for a mix of media types at once|
|Advanced search and filter features||Sponsored images get top billing|
|Includes SafeSearch to filter out adult images||Downloading a high-resolution photo requires signing up|
If you’re just starting to make a small business website, consider finding images you need at Pixabay. It provides over 2.3 million free images and videos for non-commercial and commercial use. It’s one of the best ways to find professional images for your website because of its advanced search function.
You can sort through various parameters, including orientation, media type, and category. If you want to use the highest resolution of an image, you need to sign up for an account, but this is also free.
With every search you perform, you’ll see a strip at the top of the results for paid stock photos, but you just have to scroll down to get to the free images. Pixabay’s images are royalty-free, so you can use them or modify them for almost any use without providing attribution.
3. Envato Elements
Best for: Getting free unlimited downloads of images, video, and audio clips for websites with a low-cost subscription
|Unlimited downloads of 5.1 million+ stock photos, graphics, video, and audio||No free plan, only a 7-day free trial|
|7-day free trial, bulk discounts for five or more users, and students save 30%||No option to resize stock images for website use (only full resolution downloads)|
|Widest range of asset types of any of the providers on this list|
Envato Elements is a stock photo and footage site that offers free unlimited downloads of all of its assets with a paid plan. Individuals pay $16.50/month for unlimited access to the platform’s full range of asset types and unlimited downloads. It’s an especially great option for startup business websites as you’ll have access to all the images you need to build your site and promote your business in print marketing materials, social media posts, and more.
For example, in addition to stock graphics and images for websites, there are slide presentation templates, graphic templates, social media posts, infographics, video, and audio clips, sound effects, fonts, WordPress plugins, web templates, and more. Once you start searching, you can further refine results by color palettes or software, such as locating graphic templates you can edit in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.
You can use any digital content for personal or commercial use with the Envato license, with a few fairly standard guidelines for stock assets. In addition, members get access to Twenty20 images, most of which can be used for websites and other commercial marketing purposes.
Best for: Finding free images by color or collections by topic
|1 million+ images, graphics, and videos||Results don’t always match your search|
|Discover feature groups images by categories||Default download is original size (no option to resize images for web)|
|Search and filter features|
When you review examples of the best small business websites, you’ll notice most make a high visual impact through imagery. Pexels is an excellent resource for finding high-quality, royalty-free images and videos for your website or blog. With more than 1 million media files available, you’re sure to find something that fits your needs. Resolution varies for each image, but you’ll get the original version when you download one without specifying the size.
A unique feature of Pexels is the ability to search by color. So, if you need an image or video with a specific tone, you can browse collections or filter results by color. The search function can be a bit hit or miss, though. Some image results don’t fit the search precisely, so you may need to be more specific with your search terms.
Best for: Obtaining free high-resolution images by photographers you can hire
|2 million+ images and option to hire photographers||Results may be broad|
|Related searches and collections suggestions in results||No videos|
|Visual search function|
With over 2 million professional photos, Unsplash is one of the most popular free stock photo sites to find images for websites. It also provides free stock images for Squarespace users directly within its editor. This is a contributing factor to the visually striking websites you can build with Squarespace, and why it’s one of the best website builders. Unlike some other free stock photo sites, it doesn’t have videos.
Try to be exact with search terms, or your results may be too broad. However, within the results, you can find related searches and collection suggestions so you can home in on your preferred photo. You can upload an image you have in the visual search engine to find similar images to the one you have. Plus, if you sign up for an account, you can contact Unsplash photographers who are available for hire.
Best for: Creating your graphics using Canva’s free stock photos
|Free online graphic creation, editing, and publishing tool||Access to full library requires a paid subscription ($119.99 billed annually)|
|Free forever account (limited access) or low-cost paid plan inclusive of five users||Restricted use with some photos|
|60 million+ images and thousands of premade templates||Only 5GB of storage in the free version (compared to 10GB with VistaCreate)|
Canva is an online graphic editing and publishing tool where you can create graphics, presentations, logos, videos, and more, for free. As with VistaCreate, you can set up a brand kit so that it’s easy to keep all your marketing materials consistent with the use of your logo, brand colors, and fonts. You can even upload fonts from your devices, such as a font you purchased to create your logo or use in your marketing materials.
There are nearly 1 million free graphics and images for website design and your other marketing materials. Not all of Canva’s 60 million images and templates are free to use, though. For one-time license fee for a Pro image, you must pay (usually $1 per image). Or you can get a paid account for $12.99 per month (or $119.99 billed annually), which allows up to five users to use all media available on the platform for free.
In addition to the graphic design tools, images, videos, and elements, Canva also saves all your designs, so you can download or print them again. Plus, you can use Canva’s free templates to save time, such as when creating Facebook or Instagram posts, logos, posters, and invitations.
Best for: Browsing one of the largest libraries of free images (many with Creative Commons licensing)
|2 billion+ images||More restrictions than other free image sites|
|Search by color, collection, and pattern||Large ad at the top of results pages|
|SafeSearch on by default to eliminate mature content||Many images include watermarks and names, and many are low-quality|
Flickr is a veritable treasure trove of free images on the internet. Much like other free stock photo sites, you can search for any type of image you need and are likely find it. The advanced search can help you narrow your search by photo, video, size, and orientation. Be prepared to spend some extra time as there are quite a few low-quality or dated-looking images among the high-quality options available.
One of the most helpful Flickr search filters is the copyright restrictions dropdown filter. To use an image from Flickr safely, look for Creative Commons licensed media and check for restrictions on how you can use an image and how you should attribute the photographer. Some licenses allow you to use images for non-commercial use only, while others may allow modification or commercial use.
8. Same Energy
Best for: Visual searching to find images or art with Creative Commons’ licensing
|19 million+ images||Results aren’t often exact|
|See related results when you click on each image||Many images come from other sites (Flickr, Reddit, Instagram, etc.)|
|Search by words, images, or collection/topic|
Same Energy is one of the newest sites where you can get free images for websites, but it handles searches for images a little differently than other platforms. The homepage shows you a mix of images that may or may not have anything to do with one another. The idea is that you browse and click to find images you want or need, making it a good visual method of finding inspiration.
You can type in a search term and find images that match, but the results are sometimes mixed. The source for the images at Same Energy could be from many other public sites, so you may see duplicates if you use other photo sites to find professional images. Plus, you’ll have to check each image to find what sort of license it uses before you can use it on your own site.
Best for: Downloading an extensive library of stock images for a low price
|4,000+ high-quality free photos for websites||Smaller database of photos than competitors|
|Download all images for a fee or individual images one at a time||Limited results|
You’re likely to find images on Picjumbo you won’t find elsewhere because this free image site showcases photos from a single photographer. All images are free to use if you download them one at a time. If you’d like access to the photographer’s whole collection of photos, you can pay $15 for the kit.
As Picjumbo doesn’t have a huge selection of photos, there’s a good chance that some of your searches will come back with zero results. However, the site does offer some alternatives in the form of paid stock image advertisements.
Best for: Getting free images for bloggers—especially food and lifestyle bloggers
|20,000+ free images||May not find what you need|
|All photos have a very similar aesthetic, making it easy to build a visually-cohesive website||Smaller library than competitors|
Kaboompics offers a library of more than 20,000 free photos for websites as well other types of business uses—as long as you’re not selling or redistributing an image. As with Picjumbo, every image was shot and edited by one photographer, and as such, they all have a similar quality. Most photos would work well for blogs, especially for showcasing housewares, holidays, food, and lifestyle themes.
Best for: Finding free graphics and vector illustrations
|12.9 million+ images||Requires a monthly subscription to access most images|
|Wide variety of images and illustrations||Must include attribution unless you have a paid plan|
|Low-cost paid plans for full access||As with Flickr, not all images are high-quality|
Freepik offers millions of images for websites, but for full access or unlimited downloads, you’ll have to sign up for a paid membership. Thousands of images are available in the free version, including photos, vector graphics, and Photoshop files.
However, there are use limitations, and you’ll have to provide attribution unless you purchase a paid plan for one month for $14.99 or an ongoing subscription for $10 per month. Also, as with Flickr, since anyone can upload images to the website, you’ll have to sift through mixed-quality results to find the best images for your website.
Best for: Creating free product mock-ups to use on your website
|Free forever version with access to over hundreds of mock-up templates, including model-based images||Some features and templates are locked behind the paid plan ($89.69 with annual billing)|
|In addition to mock-ups, create custom graphics for gaming, logos, videos and more|
|Save 50% over the cost of monthly billing with annual plan|
The best use of Placeit is as a free mock-up generator for product images for your website. It’s a graphic design tool that lets you use thousands of mock-up images to create your own branded products using your images or stock images or illustrations. You can get a free account forever, but it’s limited both in terms of access to templates and premium features.
Small businesses that want to show off books, branding, apps, or websites would do well with Placeit. Placeit offers both isolated and photo mockups with models so that you can create a product image or a product image with people and a background from a stock photo. There are also tools for creating custom logos, animated graphics, a free video editor, and more.
Best for: Finding free animated stock images, stock footage, audio clips
|Wide variety of stock images, videos, animated backgrounds, and more||No free plan|
|1 million+ stock footage and online video editor||Paid plans are more expensive than competitors|
|433,000+ photos and illustrations|
Storyblocks is a stock photo, video, and animation site. It’s a membership-only library, so you’ll have to pay to access any of the professional images, videos, or audios you want to use. Searching for footage is easy, and you can filter by the type of media you need. Uniquely, though, it has a video editor subscribers can use for free.
You can also create a free account to use Storyblocks’ free video editor and easily search and import Storyblocks images, footage, and audio from the editor. This is a great way to use Storyblocks for free, but everything you create and export will have a watermark until you upgrade to a paid plan.
14. Adobe Stock
Best for: Limited number of free photos, graphics, and videos from a well-known brand
|70,000+ free photos, videos, and graphics||Limited stock reserve, full access requires a subscription|
|Multiple filters to narrow your search||Paid plans are much more expensive than competitors on this list|
Adobe Stock is well known for its paid plans and assets, but it also offers a free section with more than 70,000 assets. You can find thousands of photos, illustrations, and videos free to use for personal or professional projects.
You can also employ multiple filters to get precisely what you need. For example, you can search for a digital asset that includes or excludes people. While these particular images are free to use, you still need to sign up for an account with Adobe Stock. It only asks for an email address, the country you live in, and your birthday.
Getting access to premium files, however, requires a far more expensive subscription than others on this list. For example, while you get unlimited access and download to everything on Envato Elements for $16.95 per month, you’ll pay $29.99 per month to download up to 10 standard assets monthly with Adobe Stock or $49.99 per month for up to 25 downloads and 3 HD (high definition) videos monthly.
Best for: Free high-resolution images with entrepreneurs in mind
|Over 20,000 royalty-free high-resolution photos||Topics represented aren’t as comprehensive as some competitors|
|Powered by Shopify and provided by Shopify users worldwide, so all assets can be used for commercial purposes|
|Photo image kits for dozens of business types (e.g., restaurants, ecommerce, beauty, and so on)|
Burst by Shopify is designed to integrate with the platform’s ecommerce websites, so users can easily add high-quality stock photos to Shopify stores. However, use is not restricted to Shopify users. Burst’s 20,000 plus royalty-free images are shot by a global community of photographers and all are free for commercial use, with no attribution required. This makes it easy for businesses to add professional-looking images to websites, blogs, and online stores.
Ideal Image Sizes for Websites
When creating images for your website, you’ll want to use an image size that is large enough to be clear and easy to see but not so large that it slows down page loading time. A good rule of thumb is to use an image size of 2400px by 1600px for websites. Of course, the specific image size you use will depend on the overall design of your website and its placement on a page.
The images you use on your website should be large enough to be seen clearly on different screen sizes. Here are some guidelines for choosing the right image size:
- Web banners: These images should be around 900 pixels wide by 300 pixels tall.
- Slider images: These images should be around 1000 pixels wide and 400 pixels tall.
- Product images: These images should be at least 600 pixels wide and 600 pixels tall.
- Blog images: These images can be any size, but they should be at least 400 pixels wide.
In addition to height and width, your images must also be optimized for web use. For example, sizing images for websites could entail reducing print quality or high-resolution images from 300 dpi (dots per inch) to 96 or 72 dpi.
The best website builders provide free images for websites and make it easy to resize images for web use. For example, they have premade templates and content blocks that automatically size images for each section as you build your small business website. Wix and Weebly both automatically compress images for faster site load time. In addition, both Squarespace and GoDaddy have design studios you can use for free to create graphics for your website.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Where can I get background images for my website?
Get free background images for websites from many of the sites above by searching the site’s content for abstract or background images. Another option is to use professional images and make them blurry or semi-transparent for use as a background image. Reusing images this way also contributes to a cohesive website as colors and image styles will be consistent. Professional website builders like Wix even offer free background images to use on your site.
Can I use stock photos for free on my small business website?
Whether you can use a particular stock photo for free on your website depends on the image’s licensing. Some allow you to use an image free for personal use while requiring you to purchase a license to use the image for commercial purposes. Also, remember that some free professional photos require attribution, meaning you cite the source or author of the image and are usually required to link back to the source site.
Can I use copyright-free images on my website?
Yes, there are a few great sources you can use. The providers listed above offer royalty-free images, and you can also find many free background images for websites by searching Google Images. Read the terms and conditions of any image before using it, as some sites require attribution or restrict use to non-commercial purposes only. Alternatively, you can hire a freelance professional from Fiverr for custom website artwork for as little as $10-$15.
Finding free stock photos for building a small business website has become much easier with so many great creators and sites that offer fair licensing—many for free. For example, when you build your website on Squarespace, you not only get an intuitive business website builder along with hosting and a free domain, but you also get access to a stock image library, premade image-based templates, and content blocks.
Alternatively, you can join multiple stock photo sites to find the professional images and videos you need for all your projects—personal and commercial. Also, you can always hire a graphic or web designer to find or create custom images for your website for as little as $5 on Fiverr.