6 Absolutely Free Stock Photo Websites

There are loads of free stock photo websites and image galleries all over the web. Some are generic submit-your-own sites such as giant Flickr, whereas others cater for specialised niche markets such as travel photos, landscapes, people and macro photography. Stock image providers such as Istockphoto charge per image download; at the other end, others such as Rgbstock offer stock photography free of charge in return for the publicity generated. Other stock photography websites fit somewhere in between.

Working through the terms and conditions of each site to work out which offer free commercial and non-commercial stock photography can be a headache at the best of times. That’s why we have put together a list of the best free stock photo websites on the web for you. Images free for personal and commercial use.

6 image archives free for personal and commercial use

1. RGBStock

A fresh, clean website that is easy to use. All images are free for personal and commercial use including websites, blogs, brochures and marketing.

2. High Resolution Stock

This is technically a texture share website, but should be included it here as it is a great designer image resource and involves photos. The website design here is probably the most tasteful on this list. Create your own, upload, download and share your textures. This is a bloggers must have, and also a great tool for webmasters, presentations or school projects.

3. The morgue file. Don’t let the name put you off – this is one of the web’s biggest and most popular free image archives. The self-proclaimed image archive by creatives for creatives. The purpose of this free image website is to provide image reference material for illustrators, comic book artist, designers, teachers and all creative pursuits. Some free stock photos do carry conditions such as link back or author credit.

4. Photogen

Free stock photos for almost all use (you cannot resell the images, sell on printed tshirts, sell as part of a website template, or use in a logo).

5. Jeyjoo Gallery

A niche image archive concentrating on high quality free images of a travel and macro photography genre. They are actually a Sheffield web design company offering absolutely free stock photo downloads for commercial and private use in return for the publicity generated. Linkbacks and/or author attribution are requested.

6. Free Digital Photos

Similar to Jeyjoo, Free Digital Photos offer free image downloads for commercial and private use on small photos, with the option to purchase larger photos. Linkbacks requested. A nicely presented website, and images are easy to find.

The giants of image archivery I feel this talk on stock photography wouldn’t be complete without quick look at the giants of digital stock photography. Getty Images, Istockphoto, Fotolia, Big Stock Photo, Jupiter Images and are all in this category. Most of these sites charge per image download. Because anyone can upload their pictures, the same photos can appear on different sites and it can be difficult to find really great pictures as images are not given a quality check.

Save time – If you don’t have time, Every Stock Photo is a free image search engine, that saves you time by scrapping a range of websites for you. Membership required.

Digital Photography For Beginners – How To Make More Money With Stock Photo Sites

With the literal explosion of websites offering stock photos for sell it can be difficult to make money in this market. Of course this can be solved by approaching the problem armed with an effective strategy. In this case we will take a look at such a plan that can help you spend your time taking the most profitable photos for a specific stock photo website. If done properly this means you can spend more time taking the right kind of photos. This means you will make you more money in the long run. The rest of this article will discuss this important strategy of…

Understanding The Stock Photo Sites You Will Put Your Photos On

There may be a number of you wondering what we mean by the word “stock photo website”. For the purposes of this article we are referring to a website that allows you to sell your digital photos. The key to making this work for you consistently is to have an understanding of who is actually in the market on the other side of the transaction for a specific stock photo website.

As a general note it should be observed that when it comes to these sites most of the buyers will not be professional photographers. This means in the absence of other information they will be looking to purchase photos that are bright, vibrant and have strong simple compositions.

Our goal will be to determine through market research who is using these sites the most and then use that information to allow us to make more precise planning for our photo projects and compositions.

Here Are The 4 Action Steps You Need to Implement

Step 1) Decide what stock photo sites you will be working with.
Step 2) Determine their ideal user.
Step 3) Prioritize this user’s wants and desires.
Step 4) When planning and taking pictures focus on the themes that this user would want.

Implementation Problems

Issue #1
Some of the biggest issues people have had in the past comes with Step 1).

Solution To #1
One of the ways you can get past this is to answer the following three questions:

Q1) What photo sites will you work with?

Q2) Who are they known to cater to?

Q3) Do you have the ability to take the needed type of picture?

Issue #2
Another big issue people have had with implementing this is trying to determine the ideal user’s demographics.

Solution To #2
One of the easiest ways to get the answer to this issue is to use to free websites that can provide you the needed information. The first site you can use is Google Insights. We can use this to get the regional preferences for people that would use stock photo sites. This can help us determine what they will and will not like in the type of photos they are looking for. For example, if we found that the people that would frequent the sites your pictures are going on are states that border the ocean then we can use that information to think they will favor ocean background perhaps over non ocean backgrounds. Of course you will have to use your lateral thinking abilities for this to get the best results.

How To Use Google Insights For This Purpose

  1. Google search and type in “stock photo sites”.
  2. Click on the link That says “Google Trends”.
  3. In the resulting search bar type in “Stock Photo Sites”.
  4. Under the section labeled “Regional interest” click the United States. (i.e. if you’re in the US or click the region you are interested in)
  5. Under the same section click the List button. This will return with a list of the top ten regions that have searched the search string you initially typed in.

So now you know where the searches have come from for these type of websites. You can use this to start refining your photo taking plan of action. The second site we will be using to get more demographic and psycho-graphic information is Quantcast. This site will tell us some specific information about the users of a website. Here you can expect to find out the following useful bits of knowledge

Quantcast Demographics

  1. Gender.
  2. Age Range.
  3. Kids/No Kids.
  4. Income.
  5. Education Level.
  6. Ethnicity.

How To Use Quantcast For This Purpose

  1. Go to “http://www.quantcast.com
  2. In the resulting search bar on their site type in the site you want data on.
  3. Click on “Search” button.
  4. Record the demographic information that is returned.

If you know that the typical user of a site like this who is looking for pictures has kids then you have been given a clue. If you know that they are married and went to college then you have another clue. The idea is to use this information to come up with an ideal version of a customer for your photos. Then you will validate your best guesses by taking a look at the number of downloads that existing pictures in the genres you have come up with have been getting. The stock photo sites will also provide the upload date so then you can use this to determine a downloads per day number. This can also be used to gauge the general profitability of a type of photo since you know the retail price to purchase and that most sites will pay the photographer at least 15%.

In this article we looked at the concept of using simple market research to increase your chances at making money fro stock photo sites consistently. If you are able to follow the steps we outlined then you can expect a much more efficient use of your photography time. You will also be giving yourself a greater ability to make money on the stock photo sites. The strategy we have outlined will be most effective when you are able to gather key demographics about your prospective customers. Conversely, it will be of little to no help when you are not able to get the requisite customer demographics.

How to Become a Stock Photographer Selling Stock Photos Through a Picture Agency

Do you like to take pictures and do you regard your photography as a serious activity you try to improve all the time? – Then to become a stock photographer might be a challenging engagement for your future photography.

To become a stock photographer you need to be capable of producing a continuous flow of salable pictures of professional quality. It isn’t enough that you have taken 10 photos you regard as saleable and of professional quality.

When you start to engage in stock photography you need to have hundreds of really good pictures – as good as the ones you see published in magazines of many kinds. In fact you will need thousands of saleable photos to do well in stock photography – but all coming stock photographers have to start from somewhere – so don’t feel turned down by this statement.

The most important is that you are capable of shooting some kinds of photos that are of commercial use and of a competitive quality and creativity.

Saleable photos are the kind that can be used as an illustration for something. It can be very concrete things, but illustrations of conceptual character or moods are often doing better. Lifestyle stock photos are in high demand these years, too.

Each photo should be describable with a rather few labels or keywords to be found in a picture search engine that picks the photos from the picture database and display the results to customers.

When you feel sure you have the right kind of pictures you need to find one or more picture agencies.

An alternative would be that you start your own picture agency and start selling your pictures as stock photos online from your own photo website. This isn’t the focus of this article as that will demand that you change your efforts form being a photographer to be a marketer of your pictures – at least partly – and want to cope with the full competition in the stock photo world.

Nowadays there exist a lot of smaller picture agencies and rather few really big agencies. In addition to the professional picture agencies you will find a growing number of so-called micro-stock agencies or micro-stock websites. These are offering photos for very small fees and most of the people who offer their photos through micro stock sites are amateur photographers, though some are very capable photographers.

How stock photography works

The mechanism in stock photography is to deliver your best and most salable photos to be stored in a picture database at a picture agency. You will keep your copyright to your pictures, but you commission the picture agency to give their customers the right to use the pictures after some specific conditions, including paying a fee to the picture agency.

A typical agreement between the photographer and the picture agency will imply that the photographer receives 50% of each ‘sold’ picture. A better wording would be ‘each rented picture ‘ as the customer will only buy the full right to a picture in very seldom occasions.

In the stock photography world the payment to the picture agency and finally to the photographer is called the royalty. This is the classic model for use of stock photography.

Parallel to this model of so-called licensed stock photos or rights managed model is the model called the model of royalty-free stock photos. In this case the customer buys the right to use the picture to whatever purpose he or she wants. With royalty-free pictures there isn’t any reporting to the picture agency about the actual use of the picture and it can be used many times. The drawback of this model for the customer is that a lot of customers might have bought the same picture and used it endless times for different publications. Viewers of the final publications might accordingly not find the pictures as attractive as if they were looking at a publication with new ‘fresh’ pictures.

The stock photo industry has become a more and more competitive business in the recent decade. Due to Internet and globalization everyone can offer stock photos to everyone.

Being accepted by a picture agency

Your first big challenge will be to be accepted by a stock photo agency. Some picture agencies are general picture agencies – covering all kinds of commercial valuable pictures. Other agencies are specialist agencies – from regional agencies, e.g. Antarctica, to highly specific agencies covering just one topic like car race, birds, wine or business.

Take your time to investigate different options. Be aware of the potential threat to the stock photographers – is the picture agency an economic success? Do photographers complain about not getting their money on time etc.

Be also aware of aspects of exclusivity. Do you have to be ‘married’ to the picture agency or can you engage in other agencies with other pictures? In all cases you should expect to have each photo (and your similar shots) only at one picture agency.

Concentrate your efforts on one picture agency at a time. Be very, very careful with your first submission of a selection of your photography to be accepted.

Read the submission guidelines very careful and follow ALL specifications. Let other give you critique on your choice of pictures before sending the final edited selection. Response from potential users of stock pictures might be more useful than response from other photographers.

Some types of stock photography are flooded with submissions from photographers, like the fields of nature photography and travel photography. Other fields of photography are higher in demand and often better paid like lifestyle stock photography and business photography.

Model release and property release should be in place before the submission, if needed.

Use the links below to get into the field of stock photography on your way to become a real stock photographer.