Should you use free images for social media?
Well, think about all the copyright restrictions you might end up infringing in case you don’t have image usage rights. It’s not a fun experience to receive a cease and desist letter for not owning an image’s license. For this reason alone, we recommend that you start using free stock photos.
Not all of us are gifted photographers or cinematographers, and that’s totally understandable. But that means we also can’t shoot our own image. Luckily, there are plenty of free image sites you can use to curate the perfect visuals for your social media strategy that also match your brand.
Let’s learn more about the immeasurable potential of free stock photos.
Streamline your marketing with an efficient social media strategy template.
- Using free stock photos helps brands avoid potential copyright infringements. It’s a legal and hassle-free way to source high-quality images for commercial use, including those licensed under the Creative Commons.
Businesses can use tools like Canvas to customize stock photos to match their brand. Canva’s integration with platforms like SocialBee makes it easier to create, import, and share designs directly to social media channels.
- Selecting less generic imagery and resizing for different social media platforms ensures your visuals stand out. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn require specific dimensions for optimal display.
- The article highlights 20 popular sites where free stock photos can be found. These sites provide diverse options, from high-resolution photos to GIFs, to meet various aesthetic needs and cater to different industries.
Table of Contents
How to Use Public Domain Images in Your Social Media Posts
What exactly are free stock photos? They’re basically high-quality images that are allowed for commercial use or that are licensed under the Creative Commons.
Either way, there are no known copyright restrictions for such imagery, meaning that you have full permission to use it precisely as you see fit.
Although many free image platforms grant unrestricted usage rights, there’s still a contingent of individuals seeking free images via search engines. However, it’s important to be cautious when sourcing images through search engines like Google, since a substantial number of them are not free of copyright restrictions or royalties.
Unsure about how you can enhance the typically generic royalty-free photos you may find online? If so, we’ve got some awesome tips for you.
Here are the top 3 tips on how to use public domain images in your social media posts:
- Customize your stock photos with Canva
- Go for less generic imagery
- Resize your visual content for each social media platform
1. Customize Your Stock Photos with Canva
Let’s be honest, most free stock photos are quite… bland. In fact, there are very high chances that your competitors might download the exact same photo you plan to use for your next social media share or even blog post.
Don’t let this discourage you! Canva’s customization features allow you to create amazing images without too much fuss. Use your brand’s colors and fonts for a personal touch. Then, get creative by experimenting with the templates, graphics, and stock images provided by Canva’s graphic design tool.
Have you heard about SocialBee’s Canva integration? If not, you should know that it allows you to create, import, and share your latest designs to your social media channels from the same dashboard.
Use Canva to create personalized visuals directly from SocialBee’s content editor.
Canva is a versatile graphic design tool that can help you customize free stock images in creative ways.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Social Media Graphics: Use Canva to customize free stock images and create eye-catching social media graphics for your various platforms. Add text overlays, stickers, and illustrations to enhance the images and make them stand out in feeds.
- Quote Cards: Turn free stock images into beautiful quote cards by overlaying inspiring quotes or messages. Canva offers a wide range of fonts and styles to customize the text, allowing you to create visually appealing graphics that resonate with your audience.
- Infographics: Transform free stock images into engaging infographics using Canva’s drag-and-drop interface. Combine images, icons, and text to present complex information in a visually appealing and easy-to-understand format.
- Blog Graphics: Customize free stock images to create visually appealing graphics for your blog posts. Add titles, headings, and your website’s branding to make the images consistent with your blog’s overall design.
- Collages: Use Canva to create collages by combining multiple free stock images. Arrange and resize the images creatively to tell a story or evoke a particular mood.
- Meme Generator: Put a humorous twist on free stock images by turning them into memes using Canva. Add witty captions or popular internet phrases to create shareable and viral content.
2. Go for Less Generic Imagery
We know how tempting it can be to choose the first royalty-free picture you find. It’s quick and effortless.
However, we’d like you to think outside the box. As mentioned earlier, it would be a real bummer to realize that your rivals are fans of the same free stock photo site you bookmarked, right?
However, make sure to always choose images that are not copyrighted. Unique images sometimes come with author copyrights, so offer them when necessary.
3. Resize Your Visual Content for Each Social Media Platform
Yeah, you’ve probably heard this one before and we’ll say it again for the ones in the back ━ you must resize your impressive collection of free stock photos for each social media platform.
Make sure you are aware of the image sizes for the most visual social media channels.
Access the only up-to-date cheat sheet you need for social media image sizes.
20 Sites for Free Stock Photos
Nowadays, with the constant increase of free stock photo sites, it’s easier than ever to find high-quality images that are either free or part of public archives. Ready to download some free images? Perfect, we have the perfect resources for you.
Here are the best 20 sites to find free stock images for your social media posts:
- Styled Stock
- Adobe Stock Free Photos
- Life of Pix
- Death to Stock
- Getty Images
If high-quality photos are what you’re looking for, Unsplash is the ultimate resource for all things high-resolution. Their impressive gallery of free photos is certain to spark your creativity.
Whether you’re in search of breathtaking landscapes, powerful portraits, or innovative illustrations, Unsplash has it all. Every image on the platform is carefully curated to ensure the highest standard of quality, offering you an array of visually compelling options to enhance your content.
To make things extra easy for you, try out SocialBee’s Unsplash integration. That way, you’ll add any file from their website to your latest social media post in only a matter of seconds.
Open Unsplash within SocialBee and add royalty-free images to your social media content with ease.
By integrating Unsplash with SocialBee, you can streamline your content creation process like never before. Forget about the tedious task of switching between different tabs and platforms; SocialBee allows you to directly access, select, and include Unsplash photos into your social media posts.
Perhaps stock images are not your thing. That’s quite alright. How about a GIF to spice up your social media presence? GIPHY is the holy grail of animated photos and we’re here for it.
Surprise, surprise! SocialBee’s GIPHY integration is here to help you create some head-turning posts.
Add dynamic GIFs to your social media posts from SocialBee.
Whether you’re looking to share a quick reaction, a trending dance move, or a thoughtful visual metaphor, GIPHY is your go-to platform. In a social media landscape where visuals have taken center stage, dynamic and engaging content like GIFs can skyrocket your engagement and make your posts stand out from the crowd.
However, be aware of the fact that not all social media platforms are made for GIFs. For instance, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok do not support GIF files.
Use Unsplash and GIPHY Directly from SocialBee!
3. Styled Stock
Do you have a brand that aims for a more refined aesthetic? If so, Styled Stock offers a carefully curated selection of elegant images that are the perfect fit for commercial purposes.
They describe their gallery as ‘feminine styled images’. Do you have a female target audience? This website should be the obvious choice for you.
Just type your keywords in the search bar and find photos for your next visual project!
Powered by Shopify, Burst is a go-to resource for entrepreneurs, bloggers, and creative professionals.
Constantly updated with new free images, this free resource is guaranteed to catch your eye for all the right reasons.
Premium or standard content, you get to choose. With Adobe Stock, you can choose your next favorite stock photo quite effortlessly.
Adobe Creative Cloud users are probably already aware of how easy it is to edit stock images in either Photoshop, InDesign, or Illustrator. With an awesome selection of stock photos, videos, templates, vectors, and even music, we’re certain that you’ll create some unique posts.
Browsing through all those images and videos featured on Pexels should be quite the ride. Their comprehensive collections will help you find images by topic and even by color.
From art, fashion, food, landscape, and even animal photos, Pexels is a fan favorite when it comes to free image websites for obvious reasons.
Launched in 2009, Depositphotos offers high-resolution photos, videos, music tracks, and sounds for commercial use. If you think that’s all, wait until you see their vector art and illustration collections.
Looking for the perfect stock photo for your next Instagram post? You can now rest assured that you’ll find the right one on Depositphotos.
Licensed under Creative Commons, Picography offers its visitors a selection of vibrant public domain photos that are ready for sharing.
Some of their available categories include architecture, food, technology, or wildlife, depending on what your brand is all about, making it one of the quite diverse stock photo sites.
Released under the Pixabay License, over 2,3 million free stock images are ready for commercial use.
Their extensive library is nothing short of breathtaking. Similarly to all other free image websites we’ve shared with you so far, you can choose the image orientation, size, color, and even filter the images based on their date of publishing.
Launched in 2013, Picjumbo showcases a huge free stock image collection that is as diverse as it should be.
With new images added every day and 8,709,799+ downloads from all across the world, Picjumbo deserves to be bookmarked. Some of their categories include people, business, abstract, and even sunlight.
Licensed under Creative Commons Zero (CC0), the images that are readily available on StockSnap can work for any online business.
Emphasize the use and meaning of your products and services with a compelling stock photo. Unsure about which keyphrase to look for? Go ahead and check out the trending photos of the week.
12. Life of Pix
A photographer-oriented website, Life of Pix is a careful selection of high-resolution photos that can take your business’s social media presence to the next level. All you have to do is pick a unique photo without commercial rights.
Perhaps the coolest thing about their website is that it features a page with all their photographers. This can make the image search quite fun.
13. Death to Stock
Many businesses, brands, and entrepreneurs are getting tired of the stereotypical stock photos. There is a new era of free photography rising and Death to Stock is here to revolutionize the aesthetic of the internet.
They offer state-of-the-art free and premium memberships. Free memberships are limited to email, while the premium ones feature a full-blown media library. Any modern brand known for its innovation must go beyond the regular stock photo search.
With the internet viewed almost exclusively via the mobile phone screen, VistaCreate is ideal for those of you who want to make an awesome impression on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest. Their free graphic design software is, simply put, a revelation.
Look up a template and customize it for each of your social media profiles. Featuring 70 million+ free images, videos, and vectors, they only require you to create a free account for full access to all their website functionalities and graphic resources. Give it a try!
Are you strict when it comes to the color palette you use? Fair enough. Kaboompics was created for businesses that take their visuals seriously.
Choose the color you love and search through a library of 26,000+ images. Don’t worry, the Kaboompics license is similar to the Creative Commons one, so you are definitely allowed to use their content for commercial projects.
16. Getty Images
Who in the world hasn’t heard of Getty Images yet? Their brand history is legendary. They boast the ‘strongest legal protection in the industry and feature one of the largest libraries of royalty-free images out there.
Simply search for a key phrase that might fit and make sure to filter the results to only feature royalty-free content. That’ll do the trick.
Every designer out there dreams of a world where illustrations and icons are free. Wait, have you heard of Reshot? It seems like dreams do come true!
Instant downloads, no strings attached, no pesky newsletters or limits. These public domain icons and illustrations will look incredible once you’ll use them for your latest social media posts or website.
How about a website where you can download free vectors, stock photos, fonts, templates, and PSDs?
Freepik has been an industry favorite for quite a few years. Photoshop lovers will be pleasantly surprised while browsing through this impressive collection of must-have assets.
However, it’s worth noting that free images don’t mean necessarily free to use when it comes to FreePik. Some of them have partial usage rights, requiring you to offer credits to their creator. Make sure they are copyright-free images or credit the author at any times. If you want to have access to non-copyright images, you can choose to upgrade to their premium plan.
Videvo is a great resource for stunning royalty-free stock video footage, perfect for adding an extra layer of visual interest to your social media. The Videvo library includes a range of oceanic clips, from the serene beauty of a sunrise on the beach to the powerful force of crashing waves.
The hospitality industry, particularly restaurant or bar owners, needs to pay close attention right now. Oh, if you’re a food fanatic, this one’s for you too. Foodiesfeed brings you free mouth-watering photos of delicious foods and drinks.
Do you have a vegan brand? The healthy category will prove useful. A concerned nutritionist on Instagram? How about a photo of a dangerously sweet cake to serve as a warning? Dig your fangs into this visual deliciousness!
Powered by Getty Images, iStock allows you to download up to 10 free images with their one-month trial.
As expected, their gallery is diverse and abundant. Their AI-powered search is a benefit since it prevents you from wasting too much time browsing through millions of photos.
SocialBee’s AI-powered social media management tool revolutionizes content creation with its advanced image generation capabilities. With the help of cutting-edge AI algorithms, SocialBee’s image generation feature effortlessly transforms your ideas into captivating visuals, enhancing your social media impact.
Using detailed prompts, you can unleash your creativity and watch as SocialBee’s AI generates eye-catching images that perfectly complement your content. Say goodbye to writer’s block and tedious image design, as this powerful tool handles the process for you.
With SocialBee’s AI image generation, you can:
- Create stunning visuals that resonate with your audience
- Customize and optimize images for each social media platform
- Effortlessly repurpose existing content into engaging visuals
Unleash the potential of AI and take your visual content to new heights with SocialBee.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Get Access to the Best Free Stock Photos
We are certain that you’ll bookmark at least one of the twenty free image websites featured in this article. As you can probably tell by now, there is no point in illicitly sharing copyrighted photos when there are millions of free photos to pick from.
So you found the right images, edited them according to your brand’s visual identity, and are now ready to share them with your followers. Go ahead and try SocialBee.
You’ll find that our Unsplash and GIPHY integrations will prove most useful as you create mesmerizing content. Not to mention the AI image generator. Start your 14-day free trial today and explore all the visual features SocialBee has to offer!