6 sources for unique stock photos

Looking for offbeat images? These sites offer a wide variety of free stock photos when you want to shake things up a bit.

It’s no secret that for today’s bloggers, many websites are offering free, high-quality stock photography.

While lots of these websites are wonderful, the sheer volume of images available on them can be overwhelming to sift through. These sites tend to be generalists, offering a smaller number of photos across a broader range of categories. If you’re looking for something unique, specific or offbeat, you might end up searching multiple sites to find that one perfect image you need.

Luckily, a handful of free stock photo websites are targeted toward a specific niche or category. Whether your blog caters to foodies, history buffs or creative freelancers/marketers, you can find a stock photo site worth checking out.

Note: Each website has its own licensing rules; check before downloading and using any photos. Also, different rules may apply if you want to change an image or use it commercially. You’ll also need to verify whether any of the photos you select require attribution.

1. Gratisography

Gratisography is a great place to find free, high-resolution images that are quirky, offbeat, and just plain fun.

All images are taken by visual artist Ryan McGuire, with new pictures added weekly. Images can be used for personal or commercial use, and no attribution is required.

You can filter by big bucket categories (e.g., animals, people, nature), or do a custom keyword search. Pictures range from whimsical (piglets donning party hats) to wacky (a man mowing the lawn wearing just his undies and a beer helmet).

If you or your client approach content with a sense of humor or satire, then Gratisography should definitely be added to your stock photo toolkit.

2. New Old Stock

If you’re looking for free vintage stock photos, New Old Stock is a good place to start.

Free of known copyright restrictions, these photos have been thoughtfully curated from participating institutions on The Commons on Flickr. (Note: It’s a good idea to double-check the institution’s rights statement, which can be found by clicking on the link for the image’s original Flickr posting provided for each image.)

Browsing New Old Stock, you’ll find a variety of beautiful, vintage stock photos from the world’s public archives—great for historical topics, blogs and societies/organizations.

Whether you’re looking for antique images depicting city life, farming or transportation (e.g., automobiles or trains), this website is a great one to bookmark for sourcing snapshots from bygone eras.

3. FoodiesFeed

As the name suggests, FoodiesFeed offers free, high-resolution food photography—perfect for food bloggers and food-related businesses.

Its collection of food photography is available for personal or commercial use, and images are grouped into broad categories like Coffee & Drinks, Cooking & Baking or Grocery & Ingredients. The numerous display ads are a bit annoying as you scroll, but the array of appetizing imagery makes it worth the inconvenience.

In addition to its collection of free images, FoodiesFeed offers a few premium packages, which grant you lifetime access to hundreds of more photos, regular updates/notifications and thematic photo bundles.

4. Startup Stock Photos

No stuffy suits, phony smiles or post-meeting high fives here-Startup Stock Photos offers free business stock photography for the modern creative professional.

Founded in 2014 by Sculpt, an Iowa City social media marketing agency, Startup Stock Photos caters to creative freelancers, agencies and the startup community.

Its collection of photos features plenty of casually clad workers (think flannel and beanies), either working solo on MacBooks or participating in a brainstorming session at a coffee shop or downtown warehouse loft.

Many big names have used images from Startup Stock Photos; their client list includes Mashable, Forbes and The New York Times (among many others).

Bonus Round

While not targeting one particular niche, these free stock photo sites cater to a particular aesthetic:

5. KaboomPics

Here you’ll find beautiful images related to fashion, food and interior design—often pairing modern elements with rustic accents (e.g., an iPhone and laptop on a flannel blanket in the grass).

Images are free and can be used for personal or commercial use.

6. Minimography

Modern, minimalist photography (think lots of white space and clean lines, with purposeful pops of color). Categories include nature, objects, animals and architecture.

All images are free for personal or commercial use.

Where’s your favorite place to find stock photos? Let us know in the comments below.

Rachel Guyah is a freelance writer, editor and content strategist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She also hands out humorous and heartfelt commentary on motherhood over at her blog, The Mama Logs. A version of this article originally appeared on The Write Life.

(Image via)

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