Find Free High Quality Photos Online

The heading sounds like SPAM, but this is a legitimate post. Honestly.

A couple of years ago, I started adding featured images to my posts. The featured image is the one you see on top of every post. I used to take a few of them myself, and back in the days I was an avid amateur photographer. I even took a proper photography course once. You’re probably not that impressed, but it’s one of the few times I’ve paid someone else out of my own pocket to have them teach me about a hobby. My photography interest has faded, though, and my trusty 300D, and lens collection is silently collecting dust in the basement.

So now the majority of the featured images you see are shot by someone else. Finding photos online is pretty damn easy, since every major search engine has an image search feature. So any joker can just lift a photo from another site online, and use it. But most of the photos you find through search engines are copyrighted. Someone else owns them. And you wouldn’t steal a photo, would you? Or perhaps you put yourself above the law? Then you’re an idiot. If you are, now is your chance to stop being an idiot: I’ve put together a list of sites that offer free high quality pictures with no copyright attached.

In the selection process, I’ve used these simple criteria:

  • The site is searchable. You’d be surprised how many “free photographs” sites that are simply a large, non-indexed collection of images.
  • It’s not necessary to register to download images from the site.
  • Photographs on the site are free for both personal and commercial use.
  • I searched for the word “camera” and looked at the quality of the search result: Relevancy, number of hits, and the image quality of some random hits.

The List


I accidentally discovered Pexels a few days ago. It’s the site that opened my eyes, and made me realize there are a lot of free high quality image on the internet outside of Flickr. The featured image used in this very post comes from Pexels. The site features over 40,000 free stock photos, and every month at least 3,000 new high resolution photos are added. All photos are hand-picked from photos uploaded by Pexels users or sourced from free image websites. The Pexels admins make sure all published pictures are high-quality, and licensed under Creative Commons CC0.


As of right now, Kaboompics features 7,710 free high quality photos you can use as you wish, with one exception: Redistribution is not allowed. But that will not be a problem for 99.99%% of you. While the number of pictures in Kaboompics’s collection might not be super-impressive, their search feature is rock solid. In addition to searching for keywords, it allows you to add orientation, and color palette to your search criteria. The latter, in particular, can be very handy for those of you looking for a picture using a specific color palette.


German site Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright free high quality photos. All contents are released under CC0, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist - even for commercial purposes. To make sure they only offer high quality images, everything submitted to Pixabay has to follow their quality guidelines to be approved.


Unsplash feature over 550,000 free high quality photos brought to you by the world’s most generous community of photographers. With a huge library of photos and thousands more being added each day, chances are you’ll find what you’re looking for on Unspash. Like Kaboompics, Unsplash doesn’t use a Creative Commons license, but instead their own custom license the prohibits redistribution.

There you go. The internet overflows with free high quality photos. No one will ever run out of featured images.


This post has no feedback yet.

Do you have any thoughts you want to share? A question, maybe? Or is something in this post just plainly wrong? Then please send an e-mail to vegard at vegard dot net with your input. You can also use any of the other points of contact listed on the About page.


It looks like you're using Google's Chrome browser, which records everything you do on the internet. Personally identifiable and sensitive information about you is then sold to the highest bidder, making you a part of surveillance capitalism.

The Contra Chrome comic explains why this is bad, and why you should use another browser.