Are you looking for great visuals to accompany your project, website or blog? Istockphoto and Shutterstock are great options if you want to shell out. There are also a variety of Creative Commons media licenses you can look to (including Wikipedia), but it can always get a bit tricky giving proper attribution to the artists and determining what commercial usage is acceptable.  

As content marketers, one really great trend we’ve seen over the past few years is an explosion in websites that offer rights free media that doesn’t require attribution. It’s a win-win for many photographers – gain a following, build an audience and then figure out how to monetize it. For many starting (and even established) artists, sites like Unsplash and Pexels have provides audiences of millions more than they could ever hope for on their own. 

Here’s our list of 10 excellent resources of the best, completely free, high-quality stock videos and images. 

01. Unsplash

From what we can tell, this is the company that started it all. Unsplash is hands down the best place on the internet for royalty-free stock photos. With their collection of over 1M+ images, and over 150,000 photographers – chances are good that you’ll find something to work with. The Unsplash team manually combs through all submissions curating the absolute best images. It’s usually the first place we go when looking for our featured image. If you are looking for creative inspiration – these folks have built an amazing community. 

What we like about it: 

  • With partners like Squarespace and Trello using by their API, the Unsplash library can be used in all kinds of ways to power your creative ambitions.
  • It’s easy to explore images by theme with the Collections tab
  • The best part – just like ReviewStudio, they are made in Montreal!

02. Pexels

We couldn’t do a post on free stock videos and photos without mentioning Pexels. All of the images are under listed under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, meaning they are free for personal and commercial use with no attribution required. Where they differ from Unsplash and others on this list is that along with their own community content, they scrape images from other sites as well. 

What we like about it: 

  • They have a pretty cool blog that highlights some really great art and artists. 
  • Where they might lack in creative quality, they make up in sheer quantity.  
  • You can also access a decent library of free stock videos.

pexels stock photography

03. Pixabay

While Pixabay is best known as a free stock resource for photography, they also have a great selection of free stock videos, no strings attached. Their collection is somewhat geared towards business and marketing, which is often helpful for content marketers. 

What we like about it: 

  • Apart from videos and photos, they offer illustrations, motion graphics and vector files that are handy for websites. 
  • The video files are provided in an MP4 format with a wide choice of resolutions. 
  • You can find some niche clips, such as cutting bread, which makes it a helpful resource for someone who’s looking for more specific footage. 

04. Stock Footage For Free

This website has a very decent library of stock footage that can be used to spice up your projects. While their videos are free to use, you do need to sign up for a free account to download them. One small caveat is that under their licensing you cannot simply use the file as is – if you are using it, you must modify it, and to quote “add substantial value”. 

What we like about it: 

  • We particularly like their impressive collection of drone and nature footage! 
  • The website focuses on quality, rather than quantity, so you can rest assured you’re using the best video for your project. 

05. KaboomPics

KaboomPics is a little different from some of the free photo websites but in a good way. These  completely free photos are refreshingly original and do not feel like traditional stock photos at all. This is not at all surprising considering all images are created by the photographer who runs the website – Karolina. She styles and shoots all the pictures found on the site. 

What we like about it: 

  • You can search for content by photoshoots, i.e. A Business Woman Works at a Desk With a Laptop, to find all pictures from a series. 
  • With a focus on lifestyle, the images would be perfect for marketers who work with lifestyle brands and interior design companies. 
  • Cool touch – all images display an auto generated color palette with hex codes in the sidebar that you can download along with the pic. 

color palette tool for stock photography

06. PicJumbo

Created by a 26-year-old photographer and designer, PicJumbo started when all the other major stock websites rejected his work. Now it’s a thriving free stock photo library that offers a wide selection of high-quality images across a wide range of themes.. 

What we like about it: 

  • PicJumbo makes browsing easier than most, by categorizing images and then showing several examples from each category on their site, making it easy to find similar images. 
  • While navigation can feel cluttered, they do a good job of recommending images.

07. Gratisography

Living up to its tagline, Gratisography is “quirky, creative and always free photos!” They don’t have as much variety as other websites, but their selection is original and fun and can be perfect for anyone looking for out of the box images. 

What we like about it: 

  • The images on this website are quirky and different and are perfect for anyone looking for interesting or different imagery. 
  • It’s a creative space – if you are lacking inspiration, this is a fun place to go.

08. Clipstill

Clipstill is dedicated to cinemagraphs – still photos containing a small repeated animation that plays on a loop. The effect is hypnotic and a great way to grab viewers’ attention. There’s only a small selection of cinemagraphs available free (most of the videos on the site are premium content), but they’re high quality and change each month, so it’s well worth keeping Clipstill bookmarked.

What we like about it: 

  • Cinemagraphs are available to download as small video files and are particularly well suited to web design. If you want HD you’ll need to shell out. 
  • Their content is really eye-catching!

09. Rawpixel

Rawpixel is on a mission to deliver exceptional design resources, which is not only limited to photographs. Their Free selection includes high-resolution photos, PSD templates, icons, and handy illustration files that can be useful for all creatives out there. You’ll only get 5 free downloads a day, but if you need more than that, it’s not that expensive.

What we like about it: 

  • The vector files, PSD mockups, and illustrations are always handy for designers and marketing agencies.
  • Their paid option contributes towards Hope for Children which is a great cause.

Here’s to your boundless creativity…

One last note – all the images on these sites are free to use for personal, editorial or commercial purposes, but there are still a couple of restrictions to bear in mind. The primary limitations apply to photos of identifiable people, trademarked products and privately owned property (not only people’s homes but also some landmarks). Getty Images has an excellent guide to intellectual property, which is worth checking out. 

And once you have your project going, you’ll probably want to try ReviewStudio for your photo proofing needs – and get your review and approval of your photography projects done faster..

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