Janet Peischel

Janet Peischel

Anyone who’s worked in print or electronic media — which is pretty much everyone these days—knows that finding good stock photo images is a challenge.

I find myself on a mission every week looking for authenticity—images that feature real people doing real stuff.

I avoid those shots of insanely beautiful white people posing for the cameras. We’re a multiethnic community, so I also need images that reflect our diversity.

Happily, we may be getting closer to sunsetting the uninspired stockphoto images we’re accessing now.

Kudos to those who are taking stunning pictures 24/7 and sharing their work. Take a minute to thank them.

These are some of the free stockphoto websites:

1. Pexels (pexels.com). An extensive, free collection of beautiful, high-quality stock photos. Includes a useful feature that presents similar photos to the one you’re reviewing.

2. Unsplash (unsplash.com). A handy search bar to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take a look at the Collections of photos, such as Green, Workplace, Minimal, etc. This feature can help you identify a large collection of images at once.

3. Pixabay (pixabay.com). High-quality vectors and illustrations as well photos. Pixabay makes it easy to make a small donation to the artist by buying them a coffee.

4. Stock Vault (stockvault.net). A large collection of free textures work as backgrounds for text-based Instagram posts. This is 100 percent free; no attribution necessary for any images you find on the site.

5. Burst by Shopify (burst.shopify.com). A great source for free Instagram photos. An e-commerce platform, Burst has business-related stock images to help you create better social media campaigns, websites and marketing materials. New images added every week.

6. Gratisography (gratisography.com). An especially great photo source if you run a travel, nature, or animal-related Instagram account. New photos are added weekly. Use them without attribution.

7. Death to the Stock Photo (deathtothestockphoto.com). You need to become a member to access this highly curated selection of images, but you can still do this for free. Premium photos, videos, graphics, and media downloads. You’ll only get a certain selection of images per month at the free membership level.

8. Foodie’s Feed (foodiesfeed.com). Professional-quality food pictures for foodies. These images are stunning, though the quantity is limited. Use these to supplement your own food images.

9. StyledStock (styledstock.co). Think female entrepreneur vibe for your Instagram feed or blog. Collection is small, but quality is high.

10. FreePhotos (freephotos.cc). A mix of both free and paid content, but a good selection of quality free photos. Easy search by category.

The photography is clever, creative and original

These websites are a big step up from traditional stockphoto sites.


For one of my clients, I need to find blog and social images every week for a demographic that is laughingly underrepresented on these websites — those 40 and older!

Also missing are business photos showing job variety. These websites also don’t have huge volumes of images. But key in your search word and see what happens. They’re well worth the effort—the images are beautiful.

Need help with your marketing? Contact me at 510-292-1843.

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Contact Janet at 510-292-1843 or jpeischel@top-mindmarketing.com.