Stock photos suck.

For years, they’ve robbed the internet of any shred of creativity. Any time you needed an image for your website, blog, or email newsletter, you went searching for free stock images to fill the void. (and sometimes even paid ones)

And they were all terrible.

free stock images
*daydreams of a better world without stock photos*

Stock photos are so generic and bland that you probably didn’t even notice that this is actually Hollywood superstar Vince Vaughan parodying stock photos in this stock photo.

So, it was time for a change. The internet responded to our collective need for free stock photos with an amazing variety of high quality images in all sorts of categories.

There are a ton of resources here for free stock photos, but I probably only use about a dozen of them. They serve my needs just fine. But I’ll let you decide which one of these free stock photo sites is best for you.

41 websites to find awesome free stock photos

Use free stock photos wisely

I generally follow one simple rule when it comes to stock images. I never use them when I need an image of people. They always look fake, unnatural, and detract from whatever message I’m trying to convey.

The best times to use stock images, as you’ve seen in most of these websites, is when you need photos of landscapes. Nature, cities, wildlife, space, travel, etc…

If you’re in need of a photo of human beings, make sure it is genuine, natural, and unique.

Example of a bad stock photo

free stock images
Honestly, even the dog looks annoyed.

Example of a good stock photo

free stock images
This is more like it.

So make sure you use free stock images wisely.

And when you can, skip the image and use a custom illustration instead. It’s all the rage in web design these days.

Got a free stock photo site you love to use? Let me know in the comments!

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