Where I Get Free, Hi-Quality Stock Photos

No more excuses! After reading this post, you’ll be equipped to get all the high-quality, free to use images your heart desires. When I need a stock photo…

First: I check my personal stash. Take your own photos, for crying out loud. Do you have 10 minute periods between projects when you’re not doing anything except checking emails or waiting for a download / upload to complete?

– Keep a running list of photos you think will be helpful in upcoming projects. (ex: chalice and paten, crucifix in our sanctuary, people shaking hands, etc.)

– When you have a few moments, grab your camera and see what you can snap!

– Store them on your drive, organized in folders by subject.

In addition to photos taken in-house, my “stock stash” also contains photos from free stock services to which I’ve subscribed. These will send you an email periodically (generally once per week) with a collection of fresh photos:

Death to the Stock Photo

Little Visuals


Second: I check my ‘top pick’ websites for the photo I need. Here’s that list, in order of preference:

Free Images – Requires a free account. Be sure to check below the image preview for usage requirements. Most images here are ready to use, but some photographers request their permission be granted before a photo is used for your project.

Flickr’s The Commons

Splashbase – Requires a free account.


Refe Free Photos Category – Photos of people & tech

Refe Mobile – Hi-res photos taken on mobile devices

Third: Scrounge around elsewhere. *If* I still haven’t found something I need (rare, but it happens), I’ll run down this list – in no particular order:



MorgueFile – Check the license before using.

New Old Stock – Many of these you’ll probably find on Flickr’s The Commons, since they’re old photos in the public domain. You also can’t search this site by keyword, but it’s nice if you’re willing to check in once in a while.




Hope that helps! Next week, I’ll share some of my favorite resources for other free communication tools. Enjoy! – Angela


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