Best Free Shutterstock Alternatives in 2018

If you are on a tight budget and looking for free Shutterstock alternatives. You have come to the right place.

There is a saying that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ and I honestly agree with it. Maybe so where you that’s why you are here in this article.

Photo by DariuszSankowski from Pixabay

Photos, and at great quality at that, is one of the best recipe to make your website engaging and attractive.

That is why the full-width above fold images are a thing for websites right now.

I can’t count how many times a new client of mine says that they want a full-width large background image or slider on the above fold of their website. 

If you have been struggling to find good high quality stock photos for your website then you have come to the right place.

We are so lucky that we are now at the age where royalty free images are all around us. No need to spend fortunes on them anymore.

Here is the list of free Shutterstock alternatives in 2018.

1. Pixabay

Pixabay is another free stock photos website which is backed by a huge online community sharing high quality photos, illustrations, vector graphics and footage.

The most recent record shows that Pixabay currently has over a million photos under their website.

Each of the photos uploaded in the website is expected to pass the quality standards set by Pixabay which contributes to the overall high quality vibe of the website.

All photos and videos in Pixabay are release under Creative Commons. This means that they can be used freely.

2. Burst

Burst is a free stock photo website brought to life by Shopify.

Their website currently has thousands of high resolution royalty free images, all came from the community of talented photographers.

Of all the websites in this list, this is the only platform that openly encourages the community to use their images for commercial use. Maybe that is the Shopify influence.

All the images in Burst are free for commercial and personal use.

3. Unsplash

Unsplash currently has over 550,000+ free stock photos in their website and this number will just keep growing.

The Unsplash community has some of the most active photographers and creators in the market counting to 90,000+ active members.

They boasts in their website that their photos has been used in world’s biggest stages including Apple Keynotes, default themes shipped by WordPress and some of the most popular websites.

You can freely use all the photos in Unsplash for personal and commercial use.

4. Pexels

Pexels is probably one of the biggest free stock photos provider in this list with hundreds of thousands of stock photos in their website.

One reason behind this is that they collaborate with other free stock photos websites in this list and added their images in their database.

All photos in Pexels are free for personal and commercial use under the Pexels license.

5. PikWizard

PikWizard currently have over 100,000 completely free images on their site.

Over 20,000 of those are exclusive to PikWizard. They are also adding new images to their library daily and their ultimate goal is to get to more than 1 million images.

What makes PikWizard stand out from the rest of the Shutterstock alternatives in this list. Is that they have a lot of pictures of people which tend to be rare in free stock photo sites.

And you can see this characteristic immediately once you visit their homepage.

Another thing that really caught my attention in PikWizard is that every image I clicked is in high quality. Which is really amusing.

Actually there is a second thing! PikWizard actually allows you edit their images using their online tool called Design Wizard.

This online tool allows you to add text heading, shapes or other image etc. on the image you are editing.

Alright I will stop there, I am not sure why I am discussing that in this list but it just caught my attention. And I think that it is a pretty good feature to add on a stock photo website.

All the images in PikWizard are free to use for commercial and personal use. You will see in some images that it mentions the Creative Commons Zero license while in others it just says Free.

But they both mean the same. You can use them all for free with no attribution required.

6. StyledStock

The StyledStock collection though small is one of the best high quality stock collection I have ever seen in my life.

They provide stunning and beautifully designed free images, they call it a by-product of feminine stock photography.

StyledStock images are free for commercial and non-commercial use.

7. StockSnap

StockSnap is another successful community backed website which provides high quality stock photos and their website is a treat to browse.

You will also see how humble the creators of the website are by thanking their talented photographers and showing gratitude to them.

Browsing through the site, immediately, you will see the quality in the images. And by reading some of their articles you will see a statement saying they review the first images the photographer submit.

This explains the great quality I see in their photos.

All the images in StockSnap are free to use for personal and commercial purposes as they also use the Creative Commons license.

8. Gratisography

Gratisography boasts that they have the quirkiest collection of free high resolution pictures and most creative images.

This is very telling when you start browsing through their collection. You will just immediately see the different vibe the images project compared to your usual stock website.

If you read through one of their articles, you will also see they pick the only images that gives them the interesting appeal. Thus why you can really see the consistency in quality of their images.

All the images in Gratisography can be used for personal and commercial projects.

9. Kaboom Pics

The story behind Kaboom Pics is just astonishing. Apparently, the website and it’s high quality images are made by a single person.

And the people in the photos are actual friends of the photographer. Browsing through her collection you can just see the talent and effort exerted in all of them.

The one thing that really caught my eye is the ability to search her photos with a color filter. This is so useful if you are looking for particular image color to match the color of your website.

All photos of Kaboom Pics can be used for commercial and non-commercial purposes.

10. SplitShire

SplitShire currently only has 992 photos under its name but the quality on all of its images is just remarkable.

This another personal collection website whose stock photos can now be seen in the popular websites like Huffington Post, CNN, Book Covers, Magazines and thousand of other websites.

All the images of SplitShire can be used for personal and commercial purposes.

11. Foodiesfeed

If your website is about food then you’re gonna consider this website a gold mine.

Foodiesfeed is the best place for you to get natural looking food stock photos, and the best part is they are all free.

The site also started as a personal collection of food photos website but later on transformed to a full online community of food photography enthusiasts.

All photos in Foodiesfeed is under the Creative Commons Zero license which means you can use them for personal and commercial use.

12. ISO Republic

ISO Republic is a quality stock photo website which currently has more than 3,000 stock photos in their website.

They are an independent website which is manage by a small team of contributors.

Looking at their collection, the quality is very apparent. In addition to this they also have free stock videos which quality are also just astonishing.

Reading through their article it appears like they created a food and drinks focused stock images website named Foodie Factor so go ahead and visit it as well.

All images and videos of ISO Republic is under Creative Commons Zero license which means you can use them for commercial and personal purposes.

13. PicJumbo

PicJumbo is another personal collection website with great and inspiring story behind it.

Believe it or not PicJumbo was originally planned as a paid service in the beginning. But we are all so glad this changes immediately as the quality of the free photos in this site is super awesome.

The site currently has 2,000+ quality images under its name and since the creator is still an actively traveling and talented photographer, this number will just keep growing.

All the photos in PicJumbo are free, however you would need to read their FAQs section thoroughly.


When I started creating this list of free Shutterstock alternatives. I actually started with a whole lot more. But at the end, I ended up with just 12 websites.

I have added a new one on November 13th and updated the list as well based on my experiences on the stock sites since then.

As I was getting down on my list and checking the website’s license information. Some of them are just not clear about the usage, sadly some doesn’t even sound like completely free at all considering the way they word things.

I was actually contemplating for so long whether to keep PicJumbo in this list because at some cases he would need you to buy his Photo Redistribution license.

Just thinking about it now my mind and heart is battling whether to remove it again as it is the only odd one in this list when it comes to the license.

But in the end I decided to keep it here because I was so captivated and moved when I was reading his story.

Just be sure to read his FAQs section thoroughly.

My main goal when I created this list is to provide the best websites that has very high quality and free stock photos that creators can use in personal and commercial purposes freely.

If you found an image that you wanted to add on your website. Be sure to use one of my recommended compression plugins so your website will not be slowed down by the image you are adding.

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