20 Best Sites for Cheap or Free Photos, Videos & Illustrations for Your Website

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Stock Photography… think before you download

I wrote this article about how to find free and cheap photos for your website a few years ago. Customers were downloading photos that they did not purchase and getting demand letters and I thought this would be helpful.  Recently,  I was told of some amazing resources including websites dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion.  Although I’ve always been a believer in the rights and importance of inclusion and diversity, I did not recognize that we did not include enough diversity and inclusion in our imagery until a colleague recommended some stock photography sites that specialize in this type of stock photography.  So this article is being revised to ask you to think before you post an image.  Are you representing all people of all backgrounds?  If not, please consider some of the stock photography sites bolded below.

Here are some of our top picks for finding stock photos free

  • Unsplash.com:  find  free photos at unsplash.com 
  • Nappy.co for beautifully diverse photos
  • genderphotos.vice.com is a free creative commons stock library offering authentic photos of trans and non-binary people representative of all identities.
  • Photopin.com – Make sure you select commercial images if you will be using the photo for your business. Once you find an image, just follow their easy instructions for appropriate crediting. They have photos of local places, too, many from Flickr, etc. Do a search, and you’ll see what I mean. We highly recommend this site for finding stock photos free that are OK to use and easy to credit.
    Visit http://www.photopin.com/
  • Videos, photos and Illustrations at Pixabay
  • FreeImages – You will need to create an account, but it’s a good resource for free images. You won’t need an account to check the site out, only once you want to download a photo. If you don’t see what you want, it also shows you results for “premium” images from IStockphoto.com that are not free. So you can kind of compare the free ones to the ones that you have to pay for and see if the cost is worth it.
    Visit https://www.freeimages.com
  • Creative Commons
  • Dreamstime free photos and illustrations, try https://www.dreamstime.com/free-photos
  • PICoGraphy, Stocksnap.io
  • artgrid.io

Free resources for specialty images like illustrations, icons, patterns, health and wellness photos, historic images and animated photos and gifs.

Here are the best places for inexpensive (ie: cheap) stock photos & illustrations and videos

Still can’t find the right stock photo?

When you can’t find what you want in the cheap and free options, try these; they have the best selections for quality stock photography:

When this doesn’t work, find a local photographer; they can either take a photo for you, or they may just have what you need!

Why not create your own graphic and image?

  • Use PicMonkey.com this is a great tool for making your photos fun with words and graphics.  You can make great collages as well.
  • I love www.canva.com for creating graphics with sayings and photo collages.
  • SomeEcards.com is great for making your own  sharable greeting card graphics.
  • Remember, read the fine print, some images and tools are free for personal use and not for commercial use.

Related reading: Images & Copyright – What To Look Out For

Credit:  This article was updated to share some of the photography sites that offer diverse images to support diversity and inclusion, they were first shared with us by Oomph, an award-winning digital services firm.

About Sara Mannix

Sara Mannix founded Mannix in 1996 with a goal to get clients found on the web through organic search engine optimization (SEO). The company now serves over 1500 clients worldwide and employs a team of 30 specialists, operating under the tagline "Success Measured." The tagline reflects the company's focus on measurable results for every client. This multifaceted company is an industry leader, specializing in organic SEO, conversion rate optimization, SEO-friendly website design, paid advertising (PPC). Mannix Marketing has two divisions, one side is focused on lead generation for nationally competitive businesses. The other side is focused on local businesses. Mannix has one of the largest portfolios of tourism and city guides in Upstate New York. These guides, (Albany.com, Saratoga.com, LakeGeorge.com, and Adirondack.net etc), reach over 10 million visitors a year. Corresponding social media profiles for the region extend this reach to millions every month.