Finding the right photos or icons for your website is a crucial part of web design that is often underestimated. The use of the right images can mean the difference between a website that just looks “ok” and a website that has that professional edge.
Unfortunately finding either one of these can be both pricey or time consuming if you don’t know where to look.
In regards to photos if you have a talent for photography (and own a nice camera) you might be able to get away with taking pictures yourself. In most case however you’re likely stuck hiring a photographer or using one of the various expensive stock photo websites available such as Ghetty, Shutterstock or IstockPhoto.
When it comes to icons if you’re an experienced graphic designer you might be able to create these yourself. If you require several icons however drawing them one by one with your favourite vector software will takes time, often more time than you have.
Luckily however more and more free stock photo and icon websites have started to make their way onto the internet (and making life way easier on web developers. In the best of cases these are not only free for commercial use but don’t even require a backlink or attribution.
We’ve include our personal list of favourites below that most web designers should be aware of if they’re not already. Keep in mind it is still YOUR responsibility to check into the legal rights of any image/icon you download in case there is any fine print or other details we may have overlooked. Enjoy!
Free Places To Get Free Photos For Your Website (Including Commercial Use)
Stocksnap.io – StockSnap is easily one of the best free stock photo resources available and is super simple to use. No signup is required and it has a surprisingly large and diverse library of free images. You can find most pictures you’re looking for with a simple search and download them straight to your desktop. It will ask you first to check it’s affiliate photo editing software Snappa (which is not free) but it’s not mandatory a small price to may for such a great collection.
Flickr – It’s surprising how many people still choose to forget about Flickr considering it’s one of the largest photo sharing websites in the world. Flickr for anyone who doesn’t know is a website where people can sign up for a profile and show off their best photography (while mingling with other photographers of all levels). The only real hangup is in order to find photos that can be used for commercial purposes you’ll have to narrow your search to include “no known legal restrictions” only. Sadly this severely limits the number of photos available but you’re still likely find several hidden gems depending on the subject matter.
Pixabay – Pixabay is another fantastic option for high quality free stock photos and signup is again optional. There is a wide variety of professional images to choose from and it even allows you to specify the size you need. You might prefer a small image for a website or a larger high resolution image for a presentation or print material. The only small hiccup to be aware of is they are sponsored by Shutterstock a pay stock photo service. Their photos will always be displayed at the top first under “sponsored images” so make sure you know the difference before downloading.
Pexels – Pexels is pretty much par for the course with all the other free stock photo websites listed above. It has a strong selection of overall photos from a faily broad list of categories. You have the option to add your own photos to the website and there is also a free tool you can add to your internet browser (in Google chrome only). The Pexels extension contains a cool little feature where you can open up a cool new photo with each tab you open with quick links to your favourite websites.
Life Of Pix – Life of Pix has a free photo collection that’s slightly more modest but downloads are free even without signing up for an account. It is in association with Adobe Stock Photos (which requires a paid membership) so don’t confuse the two when searching for images. What’s unique about Life of Pix however is that it actually features free videos as well, that can be shared on your website for commercial purposes as well. If you don’t want to risk sharing a video on YouTube without the proper permission this is an alternative way to go to give your websites a little more life.
Free Places To Get Free Icons Your Website (Including Commercial Use)
1. Icon Monster – Icon Monster is a cool little website that features free (black and white only) icons for both personal and commercial use. Although there is some fine print in the licensing agreement (which you should read before downloading) icons are free without an attribution required. With over 3, 500 icons available and an easy to use search feature you want to keep this one in your favourites.
2. Find Icons – Find Icons is a fun and well presented website with a huge supply of free icons for your website. Most icons are in full colour with a strong level of quality and regular contributors. With Find Icons ypu will have to pay attention to the licensing details in each search. Whereas some are completely free or “freeware” others may require an attribution or may be for non-commercial use only. Either way there is more than enough free options to keep you happy, you’ll just need to do a little digging first.
Icon Gallery – Icon gallery also has a strong selection of icons which are more hand drawn or cartoon based in nature. Similar to the provisions with the Find Icons website the same rules apply here as well. You’ll need to find the icons with the “free for commercial use” designation first before downloading. The cool thing about Icon Gallery is it doesn’t try to mix pay stock photo images in with it’s free library which is often an annoyance.
Icon Finder – Icon Finder claims to have over 100,000 icons all in one place, an impressive number indeed! With Icon Finder the website contains contributions from various designers along with a link to their website. So in actuality it’s not just one website but a network of many. Although each website will feature some great free icons again the terms and conditions of each author may vary slightly. Nonetheless it’s on of the biggest icon data banks in the world today.
Free Pik – Although most the content on Free Pik does require an attribution of some sort we simply couldn’t leave it off the list. Along with great free icons it also offers free photos and Photoshop (PSD) files as well. You can consider it a one stop shop for web developers just starting out who need free materials fast. The selection is impressive and Free Pik even has an interesting “We’re Hiring” section where you can contribute icons, photos or blog articles depending on your talents.
Jeff Moyer – Professional Web Developer & Blogger
Jeff is the owner of Advance Web Solutions a web development and digital marketing company based in Calgary, Canada. He has worked over 10+ years in the web design industry and blogged for several high profile websites. To contact Jeff regarding any web related services please visit our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.