Where To Get Images For Website Design: 25 Best Photo Library Platforms

Where To Get Images For Website Design blog image

Knowing where to get images for website design can decide whether users stay on your site, or navigate out. Whether you’re launching a new online venture, refreshing your existing website, or simply looking to enhance your online presence, a visually engaging website is a must.

In this article, we will discuss where to get images for website design enhancement.

From stock galleries to user-generated content platforms, knowing where to go to find high-resolution photos can increase your site traffic, as well as your website’s search engine optimization rankings.

Takeaways
  • Websites and platforms to find high-resolution images online, like Shutterstock, Unsplash, and more
  • How to find completely free premium images, high-quality stock images, and royalty-free photos
  • Google images and other public domain image resources to find copyright-free pictures for your website
  • The image formats best suited for website use

Top 25 Best Places to Get High-Quality Images for Your Website

These stock photography websites cater to a wide range of preferences and budgets, ensuring that you can find the perfect high-quality images to elevate the visual appeal of your website.

Some will offer free images, while others will require payment or subscriptions for personal use. All photo websites also have a search function, making it easier to sort through the most images for your specific needs.

Remember to review their terms of use and licensing options to find photos for your specific needs.

  1. Unsplash: Unsplash is a go-to destination for stunning, high-resolution, and royalty-free images. Their vast collection is contributed by a community of talented photographers.
  1. Shutterstock: Shutterstock offers a massive library of images, illustrations, and vectors for purchase, but they also provide a selection of free images weekly.
  1. Adobe Stock: Adobe Stock integrates seamlessly with Adobe Creative Cloud, offering an extensive collection of premium images and visuals.
  1. Pexels: Pexels provides a wealth of high-quality and free stock photos and videos, all available under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.
  1. Pixabay: Pixabay offers an extensive collection of user-contributed images, videos, and music. All their content is available for free and can be used for commercial purposes.
  1. iStock by Getty Images: Getty images offers a diverse range of images and illustrations, including exclusive premium content, suitable for various project budgets.
  1. Canva: While primarily known as a graphic design platform, Canva also provides access to a library of stock photos and illustrations, some of which are free. They also offer a graphic design tool to create images, resize images, modify images, and more.
  1. Freepik: Freepik specializes in vectors, icons, and illustrations, making it an ideal resource for enhancing the visual appeal of your website.
  1. Depositphotos: Depositphotos is a comprehensive platform offering millions of high-quality photos, videos, and vectors for purchase or subscription.
  1. Reshot: Reshot is a platform dedicated to providing handpicked, non-stocky images for creative projects, with an emphasis on unique and authentic content.
  1. 500px: 500px is a community of professional and amateur photographers, showcasing their talent through high-quality images that can be licensed for website use.
  1. Burst by Shopify: If you need to find professional images, look no further. Burst offers a collection of free, high-resolution photos, particularly geared toward e-commerce and online business websites.
  1. Picjumbo: Picjumbo is a source for beautiful and free high-resolution photos that cover a wide range of categories and themes.
  1. Rawpixel: Rawpixel features a wide selection of creative and premium images, including illustrations, templates, and design assets, all available with a subscription.
  1. Barn Images: Barn Images is a niche platform with a focus on rustic and natural-themed photography, making it perfect for websites with a specific aesthetic.
  1. Gratisography: Gratisography offers quirky and offbeat images that can add a unique touch to your website’s visual content. All images are free to use.
  1. Kaboompics: Kaboompics, created by photographer Karolina Grabowska, provides a variety of high-quality images, many of which have a modern, lifestyle-oriented aesthetic.
  1. StockSnap: StockSnap boasts a vast collection of high-resolution images, updated daily, and available under the CC0 license.
  1. Life of Pix: Life of Pix offers an assortment of free high-resolution photos, including a selection of captivating black and white images.
  1. New Old Stock: For a vintage or historical vibe, New Old Stock provides a collection of curated, public domain vintage photos from various archives.
  1. Flickr: Flickr is a popular platform where photographers and artists share their work. While many images are available under various licenses, you can use the search filters to find photos with licenses that permit commercial use and modification.
  2. Dreamstime: Dreamstime offers a vast collection of stock photos, illustrations, and videos. They have a user-friendly search feature, allowing you to filter by image type, orientation, and more to find the perfect visuals for your website.
  3. EyeEm: EyeEm is a community-driven platform that features a diverse selection of high-quality images. It’s a great place to discover unique and creative visuals contributed by photographers from around the world.
  4. Fotor: Fotor not only provides an online photo editor but also offers a collection of free stock photos for personal and commercial use. You can explore a variety of categories to find the right images for your website.
  5. Morguefile: Morguefile is a user-friendly platform that offers a wide range of free high-resolution images. It’s a valuable resource for website owners and content creators looking for quality visuals without the hassle of attribution or licensing fees.

High-Quality Images for Your Website

Where Can You Find Copyright-Free Images for Websites?

Copyright-free images are a treasure trove for website owners seeking to avoid legal complications and ensure hassle-free personal or commercial use. Several websites on our list offer stock photos, making them a safe and valuable resource for your creative endeavors.

The choice between free vs. paid image sources hinges on your project’s unique demands and financial resources.

For businesses seeking a polished, exclusive look, investing in premium images can be worthwhile.

Conversely, free sources remain a valuable option for those with budget constraints, offering a vast array of free photos that can significantly enhance your website’s visual appeal.

Find out where to get images for website design below.

Free stock photos and royalty-free images

Here are some of the most popular free website images sources to find the perfect free stock photo website:

  • Unsplash: Unsplash leads the charge in providing high-quality, free stock photos, thanks to their generous community of photographers who contribute their work under the Unsplash License.
  • Pexels: Pexels, much like Unsplash, offers an extensive collection of free stock photos under the CC0 license, ensuring you can use them for any purpose, including commercial ones, without attribution.
  • Pixabay: Pixabay also falls into the copyright-free category, granting users access to a broad array of premium website photos and videos without the need for attribution.
  • Burst by Shopify: Burst caters to e-commerce businesses by offering high-resolution web images that can be utilized without any legal concerns.
  • Gratisography: Gratisography is considered one of the best photography sites for web designers, and provides quirky and unique images that are free to use without copyright restrictions.
  • New Old Stock: For those who wish to infuse a vintage charm into their website, New Old Stock’s public domain vintage photos are both free and copyright-free.

By opting for free stock photographs from these platforms, you can enhance your website’s visual appeal without worrying about potential legal complications.

Free vs Paid Image Sources: Which Is Better?

The decision to use free images or paid image sources largely depends on your specific project requirements and budget. This will impact your search for where to get images for website design projects.

Let’s weigh the pros and cons of both options to help you make an informed choice:

Free Image Sources

Pros:

  • Cost-Effective: Free image sites are typically budget-friendly and ideal for those with limited financial resources.
  • Diverse Options: You can find a wide variety of stock images on free stock image sites, catering to different styles and themes.
  • License Flexibility: Many free sources offer images with permissive licenses, allowing you to use them for commercial purposes without attribution.

Cons:

  • Limited Uniqueness: Since free images are accessible to all, an image library only offering royalty-free images may lack exclusivity and uniqueness.
  • Lower Curation: Quality control can be less stringent on free platforms, resulting in a mix of both exceptional and subpar content.

Paid Image Sources

Pros:

  • Premium Quality: Paid sources to find images typically offer higher-quality images, often shot by professional photographers or artists.
  • Exclusive Content: You’ll find more unique and exclusive professional images that can set your website apart from the competition.
  • Legal Safety: Paid sources often provide stronger legal protection and support in case of copyright disputes.

Cons:

  • Costly: The primary drawback is the cost. Accessing premium content usually requires a subscription or one-time purchase, which may not be feasible for everyone.
  • Limited Budget: For small businesses or personal projects with tight budgets, the expense of paid sources can be a significant drawback.

What Are the Best Places to Get Free Images for My Website?

When it comes to enhancing your website with high-quality images on a budget, there’s no shortage of excellent options. Most image library websites that charge for photos also provide free images that can help beautify your online space without incurring any costs.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to always review the licensing terms and conditions on each platform to ensure compliance with their usage guidelines.

This list may look like the list we provided above, naming the 25 best online resources to find images on the internet. However, below you’ll find every visual search engine that offers free high-quality stock photos. Although they may not be entirely free sites, this is where to get images for website needs, for free.

  1. Unsplash
  2. Shutterstock
  3. Adobe Stock
  4. Pexels
  5. Pixabay
  6. Canva
  7. Freepik
  8. Depositphotos
  9. Reshot
  10. 500px
  11. Burst by Shopify
  12. Picjumbo
  13. Rawpixel
  14. Barn Images
  15. Gratisography
  16. Kaboompics
  17. StockSnap
  18. Life of Pix
  19. New Old Stock

How Do I Attribute or Give Credit for Images on My Site?

old mansion left to fall apart

Using images from free or paid sources often comes with the requirement to give appropriate attribution to the original creators. Providing proper credit is not only a legal obligation but also a way to acknowledge and respect the work of the photographers and artists who contribute to these platforms.

By following these steps and being diligent about image attribution, you can ensure that your website is legally compliant and respectful of the talented creators who contribute their work to these image platforms.

Always prioritize accuracy and compliance when providing attribution for the images you use on your website.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to attribute or give credit for images on your website:

  1. Understand the License: First and foremost, carefully read and understand the licensing terms associated with the image you want to use. Licensing terms may vary from platform to platform, so it’s essential to know whether attribution is required or not.
  2. Check for Specific Requirements: Some images may require specific attribution formats or information. This can include mentioning the creator’s name, the source of the image, and the license type. Be sure to follow these requirements precisely.
  3. Include Attribution Near the Image: If attribution is necessary, display it near the image on your website, even for your own photos. This ensures that visitors easily see and associate the credit with the image. You can typically include this information in a caption or a text block directly adjacent to the image.
  4. Link to the Image Source: Whenever possible, provide a clickable link back to the source of the image. This allows your website visitors to access the original image and learn more about the creator. It also demonstrates good faith and respect for the source.
  5. Create a Dedicated Page: If your website features multiple images from various sources, consider creating a dedicated “Image Credits” or “Attribution” page. List all the images used along with their respective attributions. This page can be linked in your website’s footer or menu for easy access.
  6. Use Image Plugins or Tools: There are plugins and online tools available that can help automate the attribution process. They generate proper attribution text and links for images, saving you time and ensuring compliance.
  7. Keep Records: Maintain a record of all images used on your website, their source, and their licensing terms. This record can serve as a reference in case of any questions about attribution or licensing.
  8. Be Transparent: If you’re using images under a license that doesn’t require attribution, you can still choose to give credit as a courtesy. Transparency in image usage fosters trust and a positive online reputation.

Can I Use Images from Google on My Website?

Google images on My Website

Google Images is a widely used resource for finding pictures and graphics. But, the legality of using images from Google on your website can be a complex and often misunderstood issue.

Google has become an indispensable tool for everyone on the internet, from using the search engine to using it to find images on its digital library. Google offers a vast repository of photographs and illustrations, making it a go-to resource for countless web creators.

However, utilizing Google as the resource to find images for your website is not as straightforward as you would think. There are intricacies to image sourcing online—Google, as it turns out, is not just a free account for images.

Are Google Images Copyright Free?

No, Google Images itself is not a source of copyright-free images.

This powerful platform functions as an image search engine, indexing images from various websites and sources across the vast expanse of the internet. It’s important to understand that the images you discover via Google are not owned by Google.

Instead, they originate from diverse creators and owners across the web, and many of these images may indeed be subject to copyright protection. Using such images without the proper permissions or adherence to copyright terms can lead to potential copyright infringement issues.

To ensure the legal and ethical use of images found through Google, it’s crucial to follow a few key steps, which we’ll explore in the next section.

How Do I Legally Use Google Images?

To use images found through Google Images legally on your website, follow these guidelines:

  1. Search for Licensed Images: In the Google search tool, use the “Tools” menu and select “Usage Rights.” This allows you to filter images based on licensing options, such as “Labeled for reuse with modification” or “Labeled for noncommercial reuse.” Choose images with licenses that align with your website’s purpose.
  2. Visit the Source: After finding an image you wish to use, click on it, and you’ll be directed to the source website where the image is hosted. Ensure the source website provides information on the image’s licensing terms and that it allows the type of use you intend (e.g., commercial use or modification).
  3. Verify License Compliance: Read the licensing information provided by the source website carefully. Confirm that the image is offered under a license that allows the specific use you have in mind. Some images may require attribution or have other conditions.
  4. Attribute When Necessary: If the stock image requires attribution, ensure you provide proper credit to the creator and follow the specified attribution format.
  5. Download Images Legally: Download the image directly from the source website or image library according to the terms they provide. Avoid using the right-click and “Save image as…” function directly from Google, as it doesn’t always provide the source’s licensing information.
  6. Keep Records: Maintain records of the images you’ve used, the source URLs, and the applicable licensing terms. This documentation can be essential if any questions or disputes arise.

Even when following these guidelines, there may be instances where image ownership or licensing is not accurately represented on the internet.

To avoid potential legal issues, you can also consider using other photo sites, as mentioned earlier in this article, that clearly outline their licensing terms and often offer copyright-free or royalty-free images. This can provide greater peace of mind when selecting the right photos for your website.

Can I Use Public Domain Images on My Website?

Public Domain Images on My Website

Public domain images are a fantastic resource for website owners because they are completely free to use and come with no copyright restrictions and unlimited downloads. You can find a high-quality image and an endless amount of stock photos for personal use that are not owned by anyone.

When using the public domain to find free images for your website, you can typically do so without any attribution requirements. However, it’s still a good practice to provide credit to the source when possible, as it shows respect for the work that has been made freely available to the public.

Keep in mind that the status of images in the public domain can vary from one jurisdiction to another, so it’s essential to verify the public domain status in your specific legal context. In most cases, images in the public domain are a safe, cost-effective, and ethical choice for enhancing your website with stunning visuals.

Explore the use of the public domain to find free images for your website or blog post.

Where Can I Get Public Domain Images?

Searching for high-quality stock images in the public domain offers you a vast resource of visuals for your website. Whether you’re looking for historical snapshots, artistic masterpieces, or vintage charm, images in the public domain can be a treasure trove of inspiration.

So where do you find these royalty-free, oftentimes professional photos?

There are various online sources where you can discover images in the public domain, from dedicated databases to institutions and platforms dedicated to curating these copyright-free gems.

Here’s where you can access the visual wealth of the public domain:

SourceDescription
Public Domain DatabasesOnline databases and websites dedicated to providing free stock images, including Public Domain Pictures, Public Domain Archive, and Wikimedia Commons.
Government WebsitesGovernment websites that host collections of free images, particularly related to historical events, public figures, and educational materials. Look for government archives or institutions in your country.
Creative Commons Zero (CC0) RepositoriesImage platforms like Unsplash and Pexels that offer images released under the CC0 license, placing them in the public domain. These platforms provide a source for high-quality free images.
Old Books and MagazinesVintage images can be found in old books, magazines, and newspapers. Many publications from the past have images that are now in the public domain.
Museums and LibrariesWorldwide museums and libraries that are digitizing their collections, making historical and artistic images accessible to the public. These resources are rich sources of public domain high-quality images.
Photography CollectionsSome photographers, artists, and institutions voluntarily release their work into the public domain. Websites like FreeImages or Pixnio may feature such royalty-free images.
Free Stock Photo SitesSome stock photo websites have dedicated sections for free stock images. These sections often contain images that are free to use and don’t require attribution when used in blog posts.

What Image Formats (e.g., JPG, PNG, WEBP) Are Best Suited for Website Use?

Selecting the right image format for your website is crucial because it directly impacts the loading speed, visual quality, and user experience. Each image format has its own set of advantages and is best suited for specific use cases.

In this section, we’ll explore the most common image formats and their suitability for website use.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

JPEG is a widely used image format for photographs and images with many colors, gradients, and varying shades. It’s known for its high compression capability, making it a preferred choice for images with a lot of detail. However, it uses lossy compression, which can reduce image quality if compressed too much.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

PNG is excellent for images that require transparency, such as logos and graphics. It uses lossless compression, preserving image quality but often resulting in larger file sizes compared to JPEG.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)

GIFs are best suited for simple animations and images with a limited color palette. They are a popular choice for icons and animated images due to their small file size and support for transparency.

WEBP

Developed by Google, WEBP is a modern image format that offers a good balance between image quality and compression. It provides both lossy and lossless compression options, making it versatile for various web design needs. It’s especially effective for reducing image file sizes while maintaining quality.

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)

SVG is ideal for logos, icons, and simple graphics. Unlike raster formats like JPEG and PNG, SVG uses vector graphics, which means images can be scaled without loss of quality. This format is perfect for responsive web design.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)

TIFF is an image format often used for professional photography and print materials that are high quality. It is not typically used for the web due to its large file sizes.

BMP (Bitmap Image)

BMP files offer high image quality but have large file sizes, making them less suitable for website use. They are generally avoided in web design to optimize loading times.

Choosing the Right Image Format

Determining the best image format for your website depends on what the image will be used for, and how you will use it.

Is it the final image, or do you intend to create graphics or modify it? Do you need to resize the photo for social media posts or animate with audio clips? Do you intend to use the same image twice? Will they be background images, or must they be very high quality?

  • Content Type: Is the image a photograph, logo, or graphic? Different formats work better for different types of content.
  • Transparency: If your image requires transparency, PNG or WEBP are good choices.
  • Compression: If file size is a concern, consider using JPEG or WEBP with lossy compression for photographs and detailed images.
  • Animation: For simple animations, GIFs are suitable. For more complex animations, consider video formats.
  • Scalability: For responsive web design and vector graphics, SVG is an excellent choice.
  • Loading Speed: To ensure fast loading times, optimize your images by using appropriate compression and resolution.

It’s often a good practice to use a combination of formats to optimize visual quality and performance while keeping your website’s loading speed in check.

Final Word

To create a professional website, high-quality images are crucial. Whether you’re launching a new site, updating an existing one, or capturing your audience’s attention, images play a pivotal role.

This article offers a list of image sources, regardless of your budget, from stock photo sites to user-generated content platforms, some free, others paid.

We discuss copyright-free image sources, balance between free and paid options, and image attribution. Making informed decisions about image selection, legality, and optimization is vital for your website’s success. Every choice contributes to your online presence.

Follow these steps to ensure your site is visually appealing and effective.

Next Steps: What Now?

Learn More About Website Building

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use other people's images on my website?

Using someone else’s images on your website can lead to copyright infringement unless you have proper authorization. To avoid legal issues, opt for images from reputable sources that provide appropriate licensing or ensure the images are in the public domain. Always attribute images if required and respect intellectual property rights.

How can I tell if an image is copyrighted?

Determining if an image is copyrighted or are free images can be challenging, but there are some general guidelines. Assume all images are copyrighted unless you can confirm otherwise. Look for licensing information, such as Creative Commons licenses, which indicate the permissions and requirements for use.

Additionally, search for public domain or copyright-free designations, or contact the image source for clarification.

What images can I use for commercial use?

For commercial use, it’s crucial to check the licensing terms of the images you want to use. Some images are specifically designated for commercial use, while others may require payment or attribution. Reputable sources like Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and some images on Unsplash offer images suitable for commercial use. Always verify the license to ensure compliance.

How do I change a picture to avoid copyright?

Modifying an image doesn’t necessarily make it free from copyright restrictions. If you plan to alter an image, ensure you have the appropriate permissions from the original creator. Some licenses, like Creative Commons, may allow modifications, but it’s vital to follow the license terms, which can vary.

Can I use images from Pinterest on my website?

Using images from Pinterest on your website can be a legal gray area. Many images on Pinterest are user-generated and may not have proper permissions for use on external websites. It’s best to track down the original source of the image and determine its licensing terms. When in doubt, choose images from dedicated image sources with clear licensing.

Are Shutterstock images copyright-free?

Shutterstock images are not typically copyright-free. They are protected by copyright, and you must purchase the appropriate license to use them legally. Shutterstock offers a range of licensing options, including standard and extended licenses for various uses, including commercial projects. Always respect Shutterstock’s licensing terms and provide attribution if required.

It’s advisable to seek legal counsel or consult the specific terms and conditions provided by image sources when in doubt about image copyright and usage rights. Using images legally and ethically on your website is essential to avoid potential legal complications and to respect the rights of content creators.

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