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Top 17 Free Stock Websites [For Images, Icons, and Mockups]

Alexandra Mercier, April 13, 2020

Whether you’re a professional designer or not, finding beautiful stock images can be a very time-consuming task - especially if you’re looking for free images.

In this guide, our team has made a shortlist of the best free stock image websites to help you spend less time searching and more time designing.

Bonus: we’ve included the top sites for royalty-free icons and mockups as these are essential resources for any serious web designer.

Contents:

Best websites for free stock images

There are hundreds of websites that offer free stock images.

However, there are only 4 that are good enough that they deserve to be bookmarked right now.

Each one of the following sites offers:

*Note about free image licenses:

The free stock websites presented below offer a license agreement that is equal or very similar to the creative commons zero (CC0) license. This means that you can use their content for commercial and non-commercial purposes without offering any sort of credit or payment. However, there are always certain restrictions that are based on common sense. For example, you can’t resell the images or download all the images to create a competing website.

Unsplash

Overview:

Unsplash is the best source when it comes to finding beautiful images for your designs. With over 1.7 million assets from over 180,000 photographers, we’d recommend starting your image searches here.

To help you find your images quickly, Unsplash offers several features including: image filters for orientation, color, and sizing, as well as helpful suggestions while you search.

Because of Unsplash’s popularity, unique images can be slightly harder to find than some of the other stock image websites, and image relevancy is not as good when searching for specific images using several keywords.

Pros:

Cons:

Pexels

Overview:

In our opinion, Pexels is a close second when it comes to free stock images.

Although you might come across more “stock” looking images on Pexels, the site makes up for it with several features not available on Unsplash: 28 available languages, free videos, pre-built apps and plugins, as well as slightly better search functionality when it comes to finding specific images.

The other benefit of using Pexels and Unsplash together is that the same search brings up a variety of different images, so you don’t feel like you’re always getting the same content.

Pros:

Cons:

Pro tip: clicking on a photographer and exploring their collection is a great way to match image color tints and find photos from the same photoshoots. This can be helpful when mocking up designs for your clients.

Pixabay

Overview:

When you look at the features offered by Pixabay, you would think it would be at the top of our list for free stock images. However, the quality and relevancy of the image searches are not as good as Unsplash and Pexels. Another thing you notice right away is the presence of advertising throughout the site.

Despite a few setbacks, Pixabay is still a solid source of content, especially if you connect to their database using one of the available third party apps and plugins. Interestingly, the site also offers vectors, illustrations, videos, and music.

Pros:

Cons:

StockSnap

Overview:

Stocksnap offers millions of free stock images for you to choose from. With good-quality images and decent search functionality, StockSnap is a good site to check out if the other resources mentioned above don’t work out.

Because of slightly lower site traffic and popularity, you might be able to find unique images that aren’t commonly used by other designers. In fact, hovering over an image on StockSnap shows you the number of views, likes, and downloads, which makes it easy to know how popular each image might be in the design community.

Pros:

Cons:

Pro tip: If you can’t find the images you’re looking for in a reasonable time on the sites listed above, we’d highly recommend looking at premium stock websites. Certain premium sites offer massive collections of stunning images at very reasonable prices.

It’s also important to note that there are several professional tools, such as PageCloud’s website builder, that offer native integrations enabling you to get deep discounts on premium images.

Best websites for premium stock images

There are only 3 big players when it comes to premium stock images: Shutterstock, iStock, and Getty. Because this article is primarily focused on finding you the best images at the lowest prices, we will cover the different resources quickly.

If you’re looking for a more detailed overview, we’d recommend checking out our detailed analysis of Shutterstock vs iStock.

Shutterstock

Overview:

If you are price sensitive, we’d highly recommend Shutterstock as they offer the best value for the quality of their images. This is especially true if you need several images. For example, certain plans give you access to images for under $0.25 per image. With over 1 billion assets, including 300 million images, it’s unlikely you won’t find what you’re looking for.

Pricing:

Pros:

Cons:

iStockPhoto

Overview:

iStock was acquired by Getting in 2006 to compete in the value-priced stock image market. Although iStock prices are slightly higher than Shutterstock, iStock gives you the ability to purchase individual images while offering the flexibility to rollover unused image credits when you purchase a subscription. Despite having a smaller collection than Shutterstock, all of iStock’s content is exclusive, meaning you won’t find it anywhere else.

Pricing:

Images on demand

Subscriptions

Pros:

Cons:

Getty images

Overview:

If you are price sensitive, we’d recommend immediately skipping to the next section. Images downloaded on Getty will range between $150 to $575 per image. Despite the quality being second to none, this pricing is aimed at large brands who can afford the premium price tag.

If you’re comparing the price to shooting the images yourself by hiring a professional photographer and models, Getty prices start to seem more reasonable.

Pricing:

Pros:

Cons:

Best websites for free icons and graphics

If you’re looking to create a professional website, chances are you will need icons and graphics to elevate your design. Although you can always create them yourself, most designers rely on third party libraries to help save time.

Unfortunately, most websites that offer free icons and graphics require you to give attribution (in the form of a link) to the source where you found the assets.

In this list, we’ve handpicked the best sites where you can download icons for free or get access to huge librairies at very low prices.

Material Design - By Google

Number of icons:

Pricing:

Example license agreement:

“We have made these icons available for you to incorporate them into your products under the Apache License Version 2.0. Feel free to remix and re-share these icons and documentation in your products. We'd love attribution in your app's about screen, but it's not required. The only thing we ask is that you not re-sell the icons themselves.”

Source: https://google.github.io/material-design-icons/ 

Feather Icons

Number of icons:

Pricing:

Remix Icon

Number of icons:

Pricing:

The Noun Project

Number of icons:

Pricing:

Streamline Icons

Number of icons:

Pricing:

Nucleo App

Number of icons:

Pricing:

Best websites for free mockups

Whether you’re looking to present your work to clients or simply want to overlay an image on top of existing products, there are hundreds of reasons why you might need mockups. Just like icons, you always have the ability to create your own by cropping existing images. However, with so many free resources available, this might not be the best use of your time.

Here are the top websites to find free photoshop mockups:

Mockupworld

Number of mockups:

Pricing:

Example license agreement:

“Mockup World makes sure that each item added to the collection is explicitly described by its author as freely usable in private and commercial contexts. However, sometimes the creators may change the license without informing Mockup World – so please double-check the license on the final download page before using the mockup in your projects. It is your responsibility to respect the creator’s wish!”

Source: https://www.mockupworld.co/faq/

Unblast

Number of mockups:

Pricing:

*It is always recommended that you read the fine print to ensure the mockup you download is free to use for commercial projects without attribution.

FreePik

Number of mockups:

Pricing:

Place it

Number of mockups:

Pricing:

Final thoughts

By leveraging the resources mentioned in this article, you will be able to cut costs, impress your clients, and reduce the amount of time you spend searching for images, icons, and mockups.

Another way to improve your efficiency as a designer is by testing out some of the latest technology. For example, if you’ve been using Photoshop for the last 10 years, why not give Figma a try. And, if you’re still designing website layouts in a desktop app, it might be time to try a pro-grade website building platform like PageCloud.

Written by

Alexandra Mercier

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