50 free stock image sites & content creation tools

by Julie Delaforce January 21, 2015

Community and social media managers are often tasked with creating visual content. The question of where to find free, high-quality stock images and other tools to help create striking visual elements comes up often.

In this article we’ve rounded up some fantastic resources for you. We’ve included not only websites where you can find free stock photos, but also some cool online free or freemium tools to create a variety of visual content. The icing on the cake? You don’t need to have any design or software knowledge to use these tools.

Social Media Image Sizes

If you’re not sure what dimensions your images should be for all the various social media sizes, here are two great resources:

Autre Planete’s Social Media Image Maker is an online tool that shows you a template and makes it easy to resize your images. To begin, just drag and drop your files.

Always Up-To-Date Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet is a Google spreadsheet from Sprout Social that contains the sizes for all the major social networks.

Stock Images

Please use these websites ethically. You should always verify that you can use an image and it’s a good practice to credit the artist and/or the website.

bigfoto.com is a royalty-free photo agency. Photographs are categorised and it’s a particularly good source for images of locations around the world. There is no search function.

ComfightImage Finder, and Photo Pin are Flickr search tools.

Creative Commons Search let you search across multiple websites including Flickr and Google Images for content that you can freely and legally use. You can even search YouTube and Soundcloud for videos and music.

Death to the Stock Photo (DTTSP) is one of my favourites. You have two options here. You can sign up for free and receive a pack of stock images in your email every month. The second option is to go premium and get access to everything on the website for $10 a month. What I love about this website is that the high-resolution images are beautiful and sophisticated. They don’t look like the cheesy images you typically find on paid stock images websites.

Foter allows you to search free stock photos to blogs, forums, websites and other online media.

FreePhotosBank is straightforward. Images are categorised and there’s also a search function.

 

Gratisography (pictured above) offers beautiful, high-resolution creative photography. The downside is that the images are not categorised nor is there a search function. You just scroll and hope you come across that perfect photo.

IM FREE is another wonderful source for beautiful, curated photos. They are categorised and there is also a search function.

Kaboompics also offers a collection of beautiful images much like DTTSP, Gratisography, and IM FREE. They are categorised and tagged plus there is a search function. The only downside is that, at less than 900 photos, it is small collection by comparison.

Little Visuals will send seven high-resolution images to your email inbox each week for free. Otherwise, you can scroll or search the site for some lovely images. The collection is small.

Magdeleine’s tagline is “Hand-picked free photos for your inspiration.” The website appears to curate images from other sites including a few mentioned above. There are categories, tags, and also a search function.

New Old Stock is a collection of vintage photographs from public archives. There are no categories or search function.

Open Photo is  a photo sharing platform. Contributors have offered their images free of charge under terms of Creative Commons licensing. You can browse and search.

picjumbo has a fantastic selection of beautiful images for free use. They are categorised and tagged and there’s also a search function.

Pickup Image has only two descriptive categories, Destinations and Food Photos, but there is a search function and this website also includes clip art.

Pixabay is a repository for stunning public domain pictures, vectors, and drawings.

Raumrot lacks a search function and has only a few categories, but the quality of the hand-picked photos is excellent.

SplitShire offers a small collection of beautiful images that are categorised. There is no search function.

StockPhotos.io is a public domain and Creative Commons licensed professional free stock photos sharing community. There are numerous categories and a search function.

TheStocks.im is like an aggregator. It’s a gateway to Little Visuals, Gratisography, Magdeleine, and a few others.

Unsplash offers a collection of beautiful “do whatever you want” high-resolution photos. Subscribe to receive 10 new photos in your email every ten days. You can scroll through the catalogue, but there are no categories, tags, or search function.

Graphic Design

 

Canva (pictured above) is an easy-to-use graphic design online tool. Canva is freemium. There is no cost to use Canva. It’s free to upload and design with your own images and there’s a library of free images and illustrations to work with. Beyond that, there are thousands of stock images and illustrations, which cost $1 a piece. Canva also lets you see what others have created and its Design School contains free videos and tutorials to help you learn how to create gorgeous and effective designs.

Infographics

Creating infographics isn’t that easy, but these great tools help make the process less painful.

GIF Creators

You can create GIFs using Photoshop, but if you’re not adept with photo editing software, there are some good online tools such as GIFMAKER.meImgFlip, and makeagif. They are free and they have some limitations, but they are quick and easy to use. Currently, my personal favourite is YouTube’s own GIF maker.

It’s really easy to use. Sign into YouTube and find a video. Click on the Share button. You used to have three options here: Share, Embed, and Email. But now, on some videos, there’s a fourth option: GIF. Click on that and select the times in the video where you want to GIF to end and begin. You can even add text to it. YouTube hosts the GIF, which you can share or embed.

Add text to images

There are many free online tools that allow you to create a simple advertisement or motivational quote by entering your text and then selecting an image. The tool does all the work for you. There are also a number of websites with galleries of image quotes you can choose from. Here are a few:

Meme Generators

Similar to the text tools above, but more single-minded in their style, these meme generators are really easy to use. You just find the image you want, add text, and the websites or mobile apps put it together for you. They also have extensive galleries of popular memes so you just might find what you’re looking for and not even have to create it.

Other Cool Tools

Fonts

Do you need fonts? Google Fonts, Font Squirrel, and dafont.com are great choices for thousands of free fonts.

Icons

Iconfinder hosts the world’s largest collection of premium icons, with over 340,000 icons in stock. The catalogue is a mix of free and premium material.

The Noun Project is dedicated to creating a visual language of icons that anyone can understand. It’s really cool. Downloading the icons requires an account. Download the free icons in exchange for giving credit to the creators or subscribe for $9.99/month and receive unlimited downloads of icon licenses without giving the creator credit.

Word clouds

Create beautiful word clouds with Wordle. All you have to do is enter a group of words and Wordle does the work for you.  You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and colour schemes.

Company logos and other assets

If you want to use a brand logo, Find Guidelines provides the links to the brand assets pages of some major social media networks and brands. This is what  you need to know about how to use a brand image on your website and other work.

What are your favourite resources that we can add to the list?

Let us know in the comments!

An earlier version of this list was published at Stumble Down Under.