Free images for commercial use

By Leann Priebe on December 9, 2020

By Leann Priebe on December 9, 2020

Whether you’re writing blogs, social media posts, or any other type of digital marketing content, it’s beneficial to include images. That visual content helps make your content more readable and keeps them engaged. If all you post are pages full of nothing but words, people find it more challenging to read.

The most common type of visual people use is a photo—or even more than one if you’re feeling ambitious. Just don’t use too many! A lot of images can be overwhelming for your readers and may come off as cluttered and chaotic.

That’s all well and good, but where can you find those photos?

Why we avoid free images

Most of the time, we use a paid stock photo website for our photos. Typically that’s Depositphotos, although from time to time, we use other paid sites as well. The reason? Free services can get tricky. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’re sued for using a copyrighted service.

One of our clients reached out to us a while back because they received a threatening letter from an attorney that an image on their website was violating copyright. As it turned out, they had written their blogs and found their own photos, and they didn’t have the rights to use one of the images they were using. At that point, it didn’t even matter if they took it off the website.

On the other hand, we recently received a similar letter. We were able to email a screenshot of our receipt from Depositphotos, and the attorney closed the case immediately.

So in our humble opinion, the safest route is to use a paid, reputable service.

Free stock photo websites

That said, there are some fairly reputable free stock photo websites. The photo options they have are much more limited than the paid websites, and they’ll often show paid results from partners who charge for stock photos.

Here are a few of th options available to you:


Pexels boasts free stock photography and videos that anyone can use with no strings attached. They accept photos and videos from everyone. Pexels also shows paid photos from iStock.


The images on Pixabay are copyright free, and they also have videos and music. They’re safe to use for businesses.


Unsplash has over 2 million free high-resolution images. You are free to use them however you’d like, and Unsplash doesn’t even require you to register for an account.


Burst is a stock photo website from Shopify. They have thousands of photos that you can use for free for commercial use with no attribution required.


Technically speaking, Canva is a drag-and-drop online design tool primarily used for social media graphics. But even with their free account, you get access to stock photography as well. And if you want to use their tool to design, they make inserting stock photos in your design super easy! Canva also now owns both Pexels and Pixabay.

And there you go! We know everyone doesn’t have the budget to pay for stock photos. If that’s your situation, all of the services listed here are reputable, and you can be use them with pretty low risk.

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