Visuals Matter: check these three sites for free stock photos

Briavel Schultz
Briavel Schultz // May 9, 2017

Visuals matter. You’re more likely to click on an article with an image, so any blog post worth its salt is going to feature an inviting cappuccino on a picturesque desk with the title written in beautiful font. (Please see above.)

Sure, it’s been done, but all purpose coffee stock photography isn’t going anywhere. Audiences have to come expect beautiful photos with every post they read online. Luckily, this is one bandwagon that’s open to anyone.

The first step is knowing where to get free and legal stock photos. Here are my top three picks.


This is the website I check first when I need a picture of something specific like a food item, animal, vehicle or other random noun. It has the widest selection of images and even includes clipart and videos. I liken Pixabay to a thrift store because it requires a little bit of digging, but you’ll find both the bizarre and the awesome.

Pixabay: The only place I’d look for a free picture of a cheeseburger.


Featuring only Instagram-worthy images, Librestock has a nice selection of general office prettiness: coffee, cityscapes, computers and iPhones abound in plenty. The pictures are high quality and ambiguous enough to apply to just about anything. It’s like the Banana Republic of the free stock photo sites: the perfect place for tasteful wardrobe basics.

Librestock: Cubicle life has never looked this good.


Unsplash features the most stunning and impractical images of the three sites, at least for the average office worker like me. It has beautiful photos of the Grand Canyon, artisanal food and super hipster work spaces. I’m going to liken this one to Urban Outfitters: just fashion forward and bohemian enough that I can’t wear it to work.

Unsplash: I love it, but I can’t use it much. Pink cactus, anyone?

There is occasionally some overlap of images between the three websites, but for the most part I’ve kept them all on rotation. If none of these websites do the trick for you, you might want to consider a paid stock photo service like Shutterstock or Pond5. But it’s always worth checking the free sites first!