39 Places to Find Images for Better Conversions

Are you wondering how to make your optins and other marketing materials look better without breaking the bank?

We all know that a good image will get more people reading and clicking, but it can be hard to know where to find images that aren’t overused.

In this article, we’ll show you where to get high quality sales and marketing images for free or cheap so you can get the attention of more of your target audience.

Stats about Using Images in Sales and Marketing

You probably already know how important it is to use images in your sales and marketing. But just in case you’re still on the fence, here are some useful stats that make the case.

When used in content marketing and social media marketing, images definitely get attention. Jeff Bullas found that posts with images get 94% more views. And Stone Temple Consulting’s research shows that tweets with images are 68% more likely to get retweeted.

Images rock for email marketing, too, which is why we suggest adding them to optins. According to Pinpointe, 65% of people prefer emails with images.

Hubspot’s research says that around 37% of marketers see visual content as essential. That’s not surprising, as using a relevant image helps people retain the content.

But getting great images isn’t so easy. As Venngage’s research shows, just over one third of marketers struggle to produce engaging visuals reliably.

They’re right to be concerned. Poor images create a bad impression and can ruin your email newsletter. And recent changes to email programs mean that using great images is more important than ever.

According to the 2017 State of Email report from Litmus, Apple devices are the most used for opening email, followed by Gmail. That’s important for two reasons:

  • Apple devices show images by default.
  • Google’s Inbox by Gmail now allows “glanceable” newsletters, which display previews of some emails with image thumbnails.

That means you have less time than before to make a good impression.

Before we get to the image sources, let’s look at another important issue: figuring out if you really can use the images you find online.

How to Know if Marketing Images are Free

Just because you find an image in Google, it doesn’t mean it’s ok to use it. Using an image without permission could cost you a lot, both in expensive legal fees and your reputation.

So how can you tell if an image really is free to use?

It’s all about copyright and image licensing.

The two most important terms you need to look for when it comes to free marketing images are public domain and Creative Commons. They’re not the same, though sometimes there’s an overlap.

What Are Public Domain Images?

In the US, public domain images are either:

  • images where the copyright has expired
  • images where the image creators have waived their right to the copyright.

It’s worth knowing that under US copyright law almost anything created prior to 1923 is automatically in the public domain. Why almost? Because there are some legal nuances related to whether publication was authorized and where the item was published.

Images created by US government agencies are also usually in the public domain. Copyright laws vary in different countries, so check what applies where you are.

What Are Creative Commons Images?

Creative Commons images are images where the copyright holders let people use, share and sometimes adapt the images they have published. In many cases, but not all, you are required to link back to the image creator.

find images for websites

There are multiple Creative Commons licenses, but the important ones to know for business use are:

  • CC0, where the image creator has waived copyright restrictions.
  • CC BY, which means you can use and adapt an image but have to credit the author.
  • CC BY-SA, which means you can use an adapt an image, must credit the author, and must license derivative works under the same terms.
  • CC BY-ND, which means you can use the image as is, and must credit the author.

The bottom line: when choosing a Creative Commons image, make sure it’s licensed for commercial use.

Other Types of Image Licensing

There are two other types of licensing you’ll find when looking for sales and marketing images: royalty-free images and rights-managed images. Sorry, but you’re going to need to have a budget for these.

What are Royalty-Free Images?

Despite the name, royalty-free images aren’t free of charge. They are images uploaded to a stock photo site and you have to pay for their use. So what’s the “free” part about? It means that once you pay, you’re free to use the image without paying a royalty fee each time it appears.

This can be an affordable option when you need to find images to use in your optins and other marketing, because the fees are usually reasonable. However, you’ll need to be careful that you’re not using the same overused stock images as everyone else.

What are Rights-Managed Images?

People who want to avoid that problem may go for rights-managed images. This is a great way to get high quality, or even professional quality, images without having to spring for a photo shoot.

You pay a fee – and it isn’t cheap – to have exclusive or semi-exclusive use of an image for a certain period. However, you can only use the image once for the purpose you specified when you bought it. So if you buy an image for an ebook, and want to use it on your website, you’ll have to buy another license. That can add up fast.

Where to Get Marketing Images for Free

Now that you know all about image licensing, let’s take a look at where you can get marketing images for free.

Most of these have a wide variety of images including landscapes, animals, people, and much more. It’s worth noting that all the licenses prevent resale, repackaging or use of the images on questionable sites.

1. Albumarium

Created by Vilem Ries, Albumarium showcases a number of beautiful images.

  • Number of images: 1000+
  • License: CC BY
  • Special features: Images are pre-sorted into dozens of albums. When browsing albums, you can identify those available for commercial use by clicking on a tag at the top of the page.

2. Death to the Stock Photo

Death to the Stock Photo is a small but high quality image collection. Photos are collected into packs and you can easily browse the most recent ones on their site. There’s a premium subscription which gives you instant access to all photos, as well as a few other goodies.

  • Number of images: 1500+
  • License: Free to use and adapt; attribution not required.
  • Special features: Monthly emails of photo collections. Death to the Stock Photo also has unusual collection names, like “Ride or Die” and “Tactile”.

3. Flickr

Now owned by Yahoo, Flickr’s biggest advantage is also its biggest difficulty. It’s got lots of images to choose from, but it can be hard to find the ones you need. The solution is to start your search from the Flickr Creative Commons page and use the drop-down menu to select the licensing you need.

  • Number of images: Billions
  • License: Various, but use Creative Commons search to find those suitable for commercial use.
  • Special features: The ability to refine your selection by the “interesting” tag which can help you find unusual high-quality images for marketing.

4. Foodies Feed

Need food pictures? Foodies Feed has you covered. Taken by photographer Jakub, this small collection has some beautiful high-quality image for marketing. They’re arranged into themes such as healthy food, pasta and pizza, drinks and so on. If you use a lot of food photos in marketing, it might be worth paying the $5 fee to download them all to your Dropbox account.

find images on foodies feed

  • Number of images: 1,000+
  • License: Free to use; no attribution required.
  • Special features: The horizontal archive, which is a good way to find photos in landscape mode.

5. Freepik

Around 80 designers participate in the Freepik community to create and upload new vectors, icons and PSD files that you can use for free. The collection covers a wide range of themes, and it says hundreds of new images are added daily.

  • Number of images: 100,000+
  • License: Free to use; attribution required.
  • Special features: Includes web elements, web templates and logo templates.

6. Freerange

According to Freerange, it has thousands of images that are totally free to use. Top image categories, according to the site, are people, landscapes, industry and food.

  • Number of images: 1000+
  • License: Free to use; attribution requested but not required.
  • Special features: There’s a button on site which sends images to Pixlr for free editing online.

7. Free Stock Textures

Paul Wozniak and Eva Sajdak are the people behind Free Stock Textures. As the name suggests, the site focuses on textures. It’s a small collection, but it could be a good starting place if you need a different sort of background image for your optin or marketing project.

  • Number of images: 850
  • License: Free to use.
  • Special features: At the time of writing there were only 12 categories, but they were interesting. For example, you could search for “concrete” or “liquid” textures.

8. Gratisography

Visual artist Ryan McGuire created Gratisography to make his collection of high-resolution images absolutely free to use for any purpose. There’s a nifty “filter as you type” feature, though the pink rabbits in the background as results load is a little weird.

  • Number of images: 100+
  • License: CC0
  • Special features: Check out the “whimsical” category for some unusual images.

9. Image*After

Image*After hasn’t updated its design in a while, but don’t let that stop you from trying it. The site includes both images and textures. Even though the front page is a bit cluttered, you’ll be pleasantly surprised once you get to the actual images. There’s also a neat search by color feature which could be useful for finding images to match brand colors.

  • Number of images: 1000+
  • License: Free to use.
  • Special features: You can change image size and resolution before downloading by using the boxes above each image.

10. Kaboompics

Kaboompics has a small collection of high-quality images, divided into a few categories. These include cities and architecture, food and drink, and nature. The site has huge image previews so you can check out the image in detail before you decide to download.

places to find images

  • Number of images: 1680+
  • License: Free to use; attribution appreciated.
  • Special features: Check out the fashion and abstract categories.

11. Libreshot

If you’re looking for free high-quality images for sales and marketing, you’ll want to have a look at Libreshot. Photographer Martin Vorel has uploaded a lot of photos. It’s hard to access all the categories from the dropdown menu, but there are a few interesting ones worth looking at.

  • Number of images: 1000+
  • License: CC0
  • Special features: If you need photos of Mongolia or Buddhism, this is the right place to look.

12. Life of Pix

The Leeroy Advertising Agency in Montreal, Canada started Life of Pix as a resource for digital marketing projects. The fancy design makes the site a little hard to navigate, but the search features are great.

  • Number of images: 1000+
  • License: CC0.
  • Special features: There’s a sister site offering free video clips. Predictably, it’s called Life of Vids.

13. Light Painters Loft

Ever wondered what to do with all those thousands of unused digital photos? Sabrina Milazzo decided to share hers online via the Light Painters Loft. While the collection is obviously limited, it includes some beautiful photos.

  • Number of images: 100+
  • License: CC0
  • Special features: You’ll need to use the search box to get access to the categories, which appear on the results pages below each image.

14. Little Visuals

There’s a sad story that goes with Little Visuals. The person who created it to share these images died suddenly at a young age. While the images are still there and are free to use, the family has asked those using them to make a donation to help supply schools with portable defibrillators.

  • Number of images: About 100
  • License: Free to use; donation requested
  • Special features: You can download each set of 7 images in a zip file.

15. MMT Stock

Jeffrey Betts is another photographer who’s created a site to share his unused photos with the world. MMT Stock only has a few categories, but these include some stunning photos.

  • Number of images: 100+
  • License: CC0
  • Special features: Follow the blog so you know when new photos are added. Also, check out the explore link for themed collections.

16. Morguefile

Since the last time we looked at it, Morguefile has had a major facelift, and it’s a big improvement. It’s now easy to see popular and recently added photos, and the search features are lightning-quick. You can even search by photographer if you have a favorite.

It says it has over 350,000 free stock photos for commercial use. It also has links to other photos from other stock photo sites as well as creative,. You need to upgrade in order to use the on-site editing features and pressing the download button makes you agree to license terms.

  • Number of images: 350,000+
  • License: Free to use; unaltered images must be credited to the photographer.
  • Special features: MorgueFile has onsite photo editing tools.

17. Negative Space

Negative Space is a community of photographers who are all making their work available for free. There are only 12 categories, each with a few hundred photos, but they are beautiful.

download free stock images

  • Number of images: 1000+
  • License: CC0
  • Special features: Check out the black and white section for some stellar images.

18. New Old Stock

Designer Cole Townsend has curated New Old Stock, a collection of vintage public domain photos.  Sure, you could probably find them yourself, using some of the other sites in this roundup, but New Old Stock is a good starting point.

  • Number of images: 1000+
  • License: Public domain, but see below.
  • Special features: Check your images carefully; the site includes a few Creative Commons images licensed only for non-commercial use.

19. Pexels

Pexels is pure eye candy, with lots of attractive images for your digital marketing projects. It’s also got Creative Commons videos, which is a bonus. The site has multiple categories; we particularly enjoyed browsing the “universe” collection.

  • Number of images: 30,000+
  • License: CC0
  • Special features: Pexels has an easy-to-use search by color function, which is helpful when looking for the perfect image to complement an existing design.

20. PhotoPin

PhotoPin isn’t really a stock photo site, as such, but we’ve included it for a special reason. It’s one of the easiest ways to search and find Creative Commons images.

  • Number of images: 100,000+.
  • License: Creative Commons
  • Special features: Watch out for the sponsored images in the top row; those aren’t free.

21. Picjumbo

Picjumbo was created when Viktor Hanacek couldn’t find the photos he needed for a project. So he decided to create a place to help others who had the same problem. At the time of writing, the site had 16 categories, including holidays, roads, love and, interestingly, sunlight.

  • Number of images: 1000+
  • License: Free to use; some limitations for SaaS and app usage.
  • Special features: PicJumbo has a cool “test drive” feature that lets you preview images in one of 8 possible layouts.

22. Pickup Image

Pickup Image is available in multiple languages and has a wide range of categories. The largest of these is nature, and there’s also a huge collection of mountain photos. The site also includes clipart.

  • Number of images: 1000+
  • License: Free to use; attribution not required.
  • Special features: This is a great site if you need photos of a particular destination, whether in the US or abroad.

23. Picography

Created by Dave Meier of Irish design company Hidden Depth, Picography has a small collection of high quality photos.

  • Number of images: 100+
  • License: Free to use
  • Special features: Premium collections are also available, to help Dave fund a trip to Iceland.

24. Pixabay

If you’re looking to find images for marketing, Pixabay is a good place to start. It has a huge collection of photos and its search features work well. You’ll need to complete a captcha before downloading an image. To avoid this, sign up for a free account; it’s worth it if you use the site a lot.

free marketing images on pixabay

  • Number of images: 910,000+
  • License: CC0
  • Special features: Pixabay lets you download images in different sizes. Also, check out the music and emotions categories.

25. RawPixel

RawPixel has a small collection of images, but the quality is great. You’ll have to opt in before you can download them, though.

  • Number of images: 100+
  • License: Free to use; attribution requested but not required.
  • Special features: All images are model-released, which means the people shown have agreed that their photos can be used.

26. Skitterphoto

Skitterphoto was started by a group of Dutch amateur photographers who later opened it up to allow other photographers to upload photos as well. The industry category is one to watch.

  • Number of images: 1000+
  • License: CC0
  • Special features: Check out the admin picks and featured photos to see the best of this collection.

27. Snapwire Snaps

Snapwire Snaps is the public domain arm of Snapwire. It was last updated a few months ago, but there are lots of images available. The images aren’t categorized but the onsite search box will let you find pretty much anything you need.

  • Number of images: 1000+ (estimated)
  • License: CC0
  • Special features: You can subscribe to a weekly email to get 7 free photos.

28. Splitshire

Splitshire‘s another site created by a photographer to share images with the world. This is a beautiful site with some unusual categories. It also includes a few free videos.

  • Number of images: 100+
  • License: Free to use.
  • Special features: Check out the blur backgrounds and still life categories.

29. StockSnap.io

StockSnap.io is a collection of high-quality images curated by Snappa, who add hundreds more images every week. Onsite search is fast and accurate and you can even type a color into the search box to find matching photos.

free digital marketing images

  • Number of images: 1000+
  • License: CC0
  • Special features: Edit photos online via Snappa’s graphic editor.

30. The Pattern Library

The Pattern Library was created by Tim Holman and Claudio Guglieri. Unless you’re using Microsoft Edge as your browser, it doesn’t load quickly and is pretty hard to browse, but if you’re looking for an unusual pattern, it could be worth it.

  • Number of images: Dozens
  • License: Free to use
  • Special features: Some of the patterns are truly amazing.

31. Unprofound

Unprofound is another free stock photo site with a dated design, but it’s still got some great photos, if you can find them. Site search isn’t great, so you’ll want to keep terms simple.

  • Number of images: 1000+
  • License: Free to use.
  • Special features: There’s a good search by color function, though founder Jim admits that white is a catchall for anything that doesn’t fit elsewhere.

32. Unsplash

Since its launch, Unsplash has been a destination where you can find images that aren’t overused and that look absolutely gorgeous. There’s direct download of the high-res photos, though you’ll need to sign up to curate your own collections.

creative marketing images - unsplash

  • Number of images: 1000+
  • License: CC0
  • Special features: The collections, which have interesting names like “childhood memories”, are a great starting point for finding images with a touch of flair.

33. Vintage Stock Photos

Vintage Stock Photos is a good place to find images from the past, though you’ll have to register to download them. The photos are great quality, and when you click on any of them, you’ll see multiple tags you can use to refine your search even more.

  • Number of images: 1000+ (estimated)
  • License: Free to use; some limitations for website templates and products for sale.
  • Special features:  Images are available in multiple sizes.

Where to Find Images in the Public Domain

As mentioned earlier, images with a CC0 license are effectively in the public domain, but there are also a number of sites which have photos that are actually in the public domain because of the copyright terms. These include:

34. Getty

Don’t be confused because we mentioned Getty earlier as a source of paid images. They also have a couple of thousand public domain images from over the centuries. If you’re looking for something truly vintage, this could be an excellent resource.

  • Number of images: 2000+
  • License: Public domain
  • Special features: If you don’t mind paying for historical archive photos, this is an excellent resource.

35. Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is a great place to look for images from the news, old and new, that are in the public domain. You’ll also find company logos here. Basically, the collection is so huge that it’s always worth looking, you’ll almost certainly find images you can use.

  • Number of images: 37 million+ (no, that’s not a typo!)
  • License: Free to use; check individual images for attribution and other special requirements.
  • Special features: Most images are available in multiple sizes.

36. Public Domain Archive

Public Domain Archive  is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of public domain images from around the world, including a stunning one of the Eiffel Tower under construction. It only takes a couple of clicks and then you’re free to download.

free public domain images

  • Number of images: 1000+
  • License: Public domain
  • Special features: Check out the “pastel” and “dream” categories.

37. PD Pics

The images on PD Pics are public domain as promised, sorted into 19 categories. However, the site’s creators request that anyone using the images link back to the site. You’ll have to decide whether it’s worth it, with so many other sources of public domain images to choose from.

  • Number of images: 1000+ (estimated)
  • License: Public domain
  • Special features: Linking back is required.

38. NASA

If you want to find images of space, there’s no better place to look than NASA. This collection includes photos, videos and audio clips and many of them are truly amazing. There are some usage restrictions, so check the NASA advertising guidelines to be sure that you’re compliant.

  • Number of images: 1000+ (estimated)
  • License: Public domain; with some restrictions relating to advertising and astronauts.
  • Special features: A great resource for all space and sci-fi geeks.

39. USA.gov

If you want to find all public domain government images and videos, then USA.gov is an excellent starting point. The search is pretty quick, and the site’s also available in Spanish.

  • Number of images: 1000+ (estimated)
  • License: Public domain
  • Special features: Clicking on an image thumbnail will take you offsite to the original image source.

Other Places to Find Images

You can also find images via the revamped Creative Commons search, which lets you set your licensing and collection search parameters on one page.

Google Image search is another way to find images that’ll work for your optins and marketing. Make sure you use the “more tools” button on the right of the results page to specify the type of licensing you want. Google Images also lets you refine search results by image formats and colors.

google image search

One cool trick is to use Google reverse image search to make sure the images you find aren’t overused. To do this:

  • Click the camera button to the right of the search box.
  • Upload your chosen image or paste the URL into the search box.
  • Google will show you other places where that image appears.

google reverse image search

If there are too many results, then you know it’s time to look for a different image for your marketing project.

reverse image search results

The Best Paid Stock Photo Sites

If you have a budget for image licensing there are a few sites where it makes sense to find  images. These include:

Depositphotos is worth special mention because approximately once a year they have a deal offering 100 images for a very low price. It’s already happened this year, but it’s worth monitoring in 2018.

Best Practices for Using Images in Email Marketing

Now that you know exactly where to find images for free to improve your optins, email marketing and digital marketing in general, here are some tips on using them effectively.

If you’re using images in email, make sure that you don’t only put important information on the image. Some people have images disabled, so if you do that, they might miss something important. Anything you want people to know must be in the text as well.

Related to this, always use alt text for images. Not only does this make them accessible to people with disabilities, but the descriptions might encourage people with images disabled to enable them to view your image.

Even plain text emails can include a single image, says Aweber. That can help with branding.

Most importantly, make sure any images you use are clear and relevant; don’t just use images for the sake of it.

With the long list we’ve shared today, it’s up to you to decide which are the best free stock photos sites. Once you choose a favorite, you’ll be able to find images for all your marketing projects. See our beginner’s guide to email marketing for more tips on refining your strategy. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more in-depth guides like this one.

Sharon Hurley Hall is a technical writer at OptinMonster. Sharon has been a professional writer for more than 25 years. Her career has included stints as a journalist, blogger, academic writer, university lecturer, and ghost writer. Find out more about Sharon at sharonhh.com

Comments

  1. I’ve been looking for some other free images sites. Thanks for sharing Sharon! I will definitely check those out. By the way, is there a site where we can make our own infographics? any recommendation? 🙂

    1. Sharon Hurley Hall May 30, 2017 at 5:18 am

      Happy to help, Emmerey. 🙂 Infographics are a great idea for creating content upgrades. Two sites to try for infographic creation are Visme and Piktochart.

      1. Thanks Sharon for the recommendations. Helps a lot! 🙂

        1. Sharon Hurley Hall June 6, 2017 at 7:21 am

          Happy to help, Emmerey. 🙂

  2. That’s a really good list of photo sites, thanks! A couple of new ones I have not seen before. I also use StockVault but I didn’t see it on your list. It’s great.

    1. Sharon Hurley Hall June 12, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Thanks for the addition, Tony. 🙂 We’ll keep StockVault in mind the next time we update this list.

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