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Websites for downloading free photos for commercial and personal use

We introduce you to five websites where you can download fantastic stock photos with permissive licences that can be used free-of-charge for commercial or personal use.

The internet is a huge place abounding in all types of information. If one day you need a photo or illustration for any kind of project, with one quick Google search you will discover numerous options to use. The problem with this is that almost everything shown in general results is usually covered by copyright; this means that it mustn’t be used without the owner’s permission or without paying for the privilege.

Despite the sheer size of the internet, it is possible that if we use a picture which is covered by copyright, we could be found out by the person who took the picture and we would find ourselves with legal problems simply from posting the picture in a blog without having first asked for permission. Furthermore, it is unethical to use the work of others without attributing it to them and to ignore the rules that they had established over the use of their picture. The good thing is that we can also access plentiful resources with more permissive licences that can be freely used by you. To give you a good idea about where to start to look, here are our recommendations for five sites where you can download photographs free-of-charge and which can be freely used for personal and commercial purposes.

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At Raumrot there are 200 photos of different subjects organised by categories. Here you can find images covering food, transport, nature, technology and mountains, all in an attractive retro, vintage or natural style, or in vibrant colours. Several resolutions are offered (however, mostly the 2048×1536 pixel resolution) and they can be downloaded for personal or commercial use, although it does ask for users to ensure the images are attributed to their author, Markus Spiske.

Tinyography and Gratisography

Although at the present time Tinyography has very few photos, you can subscribe to be notified each time they add more. Here you will find photos taken with an iPhone, with a square format in the best Instagram fashion but boasting a resolution of almost 2,000 pixels. All the photos have a CC0 (Creative Commons Zero) licence, which means that you can do whatever you want with them – modify them, sell them, use them in commercial projects or whatever you fancy and you do not need to attribute them to the author.

Our next recommendation, Gratisography, is a project by the same photographer, Ryan McGuire, and contains many more photographs, with a lot of themes and effects. The most important thing about these sites, in addition to having free photos that you can use for any purpose, is that they are really original – they are not typical stock photos, which is very refreshing.

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Unsplash is another site using the CC0 licence that allows you to do whatever you want with the photos you download. The site is located in Tumblr, so it is not organised by categories and there is no search option, but there is a file where you will see miniature versions of all that has been uploaded up to that point, around 400 photos. You can subscribe to see the most recent 10 photos uploaded in the last 10 days and you will receive images with all types of subjects: animals, nature, urban planning, mountains, food, technology, etc.

Little Visuals

Little Visuals is similar to Unsplash because they are both hosted by Tumblr and use a similar format. Here once again you have CC0 images and you can subscribe to receive seven new photos each week by email. There are now around 100 photos that you can download one at a time or through a compressed file provided each week. If you want to see what is available, just visit their archive.


The great thing about Pexels is that they have a lot of photos (over 1,000, according to their web page) which have all been handpicked, making sure that they have a CC0 licence so that users can use them as they wish without paying a penny. They have so many because they compile them from sites such as Unsplash, Gratisography and Little Visuals (which we mentioned above), which, in turn, means that photos shown are lovely, interesting and unique. You can use the site’s search feature to look for what you need or you can also follow the hashtags.

Photos by: Markus Spiske

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