Pictures are all the time an ignored piece of SEO and UX, albeit fine pictures can have a vital impact and legitimate use can be extremely valuable.

If you aren’t sure where to find the best images for your site, and don’t want to pay for them, check out this list of free image sites that offer royalty free graphics and images.

How do they monetize those free images? How can they win back the maintenance costs? How can they afford a Lambo if they don’t charge you with the royalty or any payments? The answers are as follows: advertising, donations, affiliate marketing (selling photos from paid stocks next to free photos). Usually you can’t find enough good images at one free stock, which ends up with buying a photo on stock. But now when you know EIGHT free stocks – we are sure, you will find the one you really need! Let’s check them out:

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A subsidiary of Getty Images, Freeimages.com offers more than 400 000 really free images. Some of them need crediting authors, some don’t.

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“Made with love by Ryan McGuire”, as it states on the main page, gratisography.org offers free high-resolution pictures you can use on your personal and commercial projects, free of copyright restrictions.

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Morguefile is a free photo archive “for creatives, by creatives.” Founded by Michael Connors in the early Internet days of 1996, the site was created to serve as a free image exchange for creative professionals and teachers to use in their work. Why is it called Morguefile? A morgue file is a place to keep post production materials for use of reference — an inactive job file. This term was popular with newspapers to describe the file that held past issues flats.

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Viktor Hanacek is 24-year-old photographer, online entrepreneur and life enjoyer living in the Czech Republic. In 2013 he has created this stock photo site called picjumbo with free pictures that are today used by millions of bloggers, designers and marketers all around the world.

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Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright free images and videos. All contents are released under Creative Commons CC0, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist – even for commercial purposes. Sponsored images are shown to finance Pixabay and to provide a choice of professional photos. Those images are marked with the Shutterstock logo. Image authors can receive donations through PayPal.

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This website specialises exactly on photos in public domain. This means, you can even sell those photos, if you want. So far, it has 428,958 photos downloaded, and offers a $10 Premium account, which allows to download free photos in bulk, get rid of ads and have access to some premium collections.

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Superfamous is the Los Angeles-based studio of Dutch interaction designer Folkert Gorter. Images found on this site are available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license, which means you can use the images for whatever you like as long as they are properly credited.

Unsplash photos screenshot

This one is completely free and only asks for crediting (but doesn’t require anything). The images are high-res, and the main advantage of Unsplash is collections. You can create your own collection to save photos you love and to find them anytime you need. You can also look for similar photos in other collections. Unsplash acts like Pinterest with its “boards”, but without links (although some creators and agencies use it for promotion of their websites).

Well, this is it. If you like this list – feel free to share it on Facebook/Twitter/whatever. Also check out other articles on our blog.