Where to find free stock photos for Instagram and stop buying content!

Social Media are dominating all forms of marketing activities. In the last 5 to 10 years, social media have made their mark, and they are growing as we speak. Among hundreds of different social platforms, Instagram has become one of the leading social platforms. This simple guide on where to find free stock photos for Instagram will help you to find high-quality images for free and use them for any commercial purposes without breaking the law 😀

As a freelance Instagram marketer, I found it challenging to create eye-catching content if you don’t have the right content with you. This is where most of the marketers failed to deliver what they intended to achieve. And creating content for Instagram is not always ‘top-level’ graphic design. By experience, I know that Instagram is not necessarily a platform to show off your graphic designing skills.

Finding free stock photos for Instagram really matters?

To date, I have managed almost 1000 Instagram clients. Some needed just to grow their audience by doing organic interactions with targeted people. Some were well-against following/Unfollowing people. They needed content, and they intended to grow their audience by sharing content with value to their targeted audience. When you are doing client management (As a freelance social media marketer), you should always make sure you are not spending too much money on anything. If your expenses are high, then you should charge more from your client, and that may negatively affect your overall strategy. In simple words, you’ll lose your client if you need to charge more.

As a freelance social media marketer, if you have to pay for the content (i.e., finding high-quality images), then you should re-evaluate your strategy and make sure you stay within your profit margin. You should give value to your time, effort, creativity when creating content for clients. This is where paying for content might not be ideal for you, especially if you are a new freelance social media marketer.

Finding high quality, free content really matters when you need to economize your overall strategy and keep your clients happy. Everyone would love to get their jobs done as economical as possible while preserving the quality of the end products. As a freelance social media marketer, I learned that when you are dealing with a new client, they always try to keep all the operations ‘low-budget’ until they get to know your better.

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Why Instagram?

I mainly focus on Instagram as I have been helping my clients with their Instagram. But the truth is, finding high-quality content plays a pivotal role not just in Instagram management, but in any form of social media management. If you have access to high-quality content, then you are halfway there to create high-quality content for all your social media needs. When you are doing client management and content creation for them, it really matters.

Don’t forget that Instagram is not a simple photo-sharing platform. It started as such. But now things have changed drastically. Instagram still the best photo-sharing platform. Yet, it is one of the most powerful marketing tools available.

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Instagram statistics in  2020

Numbers never lie, and if you look at the numbers, it is evident that Instagram is rocking. If you are new to this freelancing game and have some knowledge of social media marketing, I recommend you try and learn Instagram. All the numbers are promising and growing as we speak.

Top 10 Instagram stats

Source: Hootsuite Blog

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5 stock photo website for free Instagram Images

These are not the only free stock photo sites that you can use to find amazing high-quality images for your Instagram content creation needs. But I have used all these free stock photo sites and they have saved me a ton of money and time. And I’m sure all these will help you with your Instagram content creation and all kinds of social media content creation.

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Burst by Shopify

Burst by Shopify

Burst is solely designed for eCommerce website owners. As Shopify exclusively works on the eCommerce ecosystem, Burst was created, keeping eCom business owners in mind. Yet, Burst is a good source of high quality, royalty-free stock images for all your social media requirements. In my quest on ‘Where to find free stock photos for Instagram,’ I found Burst is the best stock photo sites to find amazingly unique content for all your Instagram needs as well.

Burst is bundled with a whole lot of business-related stock images. For many of my client needs, I used Burst, and it got my back. It never failed me. I personally think that Burst is an ideal option if you or your client needs content related to the business niche.

And Burst offers its high-quality content in two sizes. (High resolution and low resolution)

Where to find free stock photos for Instagram

Some services require you to sign up/Sign in to download content, even though they are free. But, with Burst, you don’t need to sign in/sign up. You can directly download whatever you need.

Burst by Shopify-collections

Burst also has a nicely categorized collection of images. When you hover the mouse over ‘Collections,’ it will show you another menu with all the different categories they offer. It will save you a ton of time and help you to find the ideal high quality, royalty-free images for all your Instagram needs.

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Pixabay is one of the earliest free stock photo sites. It has over 1.5 million high-quality content, and before Burst, Pixabay helped me in countless ways. Pixabay is also an ideal place to find free stock photos for Instagram.

Pixabay offers 4 different sizes of the same image for you to download. Which is super handy as it will take out the extra effort you need to resize the image for your needs.

Pixabay-different images sizes

And it is recommended to sign up for a free Pixabay account as it will remove some restrictions when downloading images from Pixabay.

If you are not a registered user, you will not be able to download the highest resolution images.

Pixabay-highest reselution image

And sometimes even you will have to resolve a captcha to download high-quality content from Pixabay.


To avoid such restrictions, I highly recommend you to sign up for a free Pixabay account. With a free Pixabay account, you can download an unlimited amount of high-quality content for your Instagram needs, whenever you need them.

NOTE: With Pixabay, you can download high quality, high-resolution videos for your needs as well. If you create Instagram stories, IGTV videos for your clients or for you, then you should give it a try as well

And the other beautiful thing about Pixabay is, you can select the size of the image you need to download, and you can check the resized image directly from the browser. You don’t have to download the image to check how it looks.

Pixabay image preview

All you have to do is select the size you need and click on the ‘View’ button right next to the ‘Download’ button. It will open a new browser tab, and there you can see the image.

Impressive, isn’t it?

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Pexels is almost similar to Pixabay. With Pexels, you don’t need to sign up for a new account to download any image of any size. But Pexels is a bit different than Pixabay.

When you need to download an image from Pexels, all you have to do is click on the image you need to download.

Then it will give you a new window with few other options.

Pexels image download

All you have to is select the size you need and click on ‘Free Download.’ That’s it. Easy, right?

And if you haven’t missed it, you can have your own dimensions apart from what Pexels has already provided (3). You can type in the width/height of the image you need, and while keeping the aspect ratio, you can have a resized, high-quality image downloaded.

And there’s more. Pexels allows you to keep collections of photos. They can be downloaded later and keep them as collections. Let’s say you are finding several fashion-related images, and to save time, you can first find them and then download them.

To make this process easy and time-saving, you can create a collection. But to create collections, you will have to sign up for a free Pexels account.

And it will take you no more than 30 seconds to sign up. You can either use your email to sign up or can use your Facebook.

Once sign up, you can create as many as collections and add as much as images to each collection you created.

Creating collections on Pexels

As these images can be reused, creating collections on Pexels will save you a ton of time when you are creating more Instagram content for different clients.

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Unsplash is another content-rich free stock photo site that will help you find unique content for all your Instagram needs. Unsplash has almost 1 million royalty-free images, and the number is growing as we speak.

And it is a good sign that Unsplash’s content has quality as better as paid stock photo sites.

Unsplash offers different sizes of the same image. You can download your preferred size without registering for an account.

As Unsplash also offers the ability to keep collections, then you will have to sign up for a free account. Signing up is super easy, and with a free Unsplash account, you can keep a good track of images you selected, downloaded, and redownload them whenever you need content for your Instagram or any social media needs.

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Morguefile is one of the oldest stock photo sites, and unfortunately, it doesn’t have a massive collection of images. Yet, there is some high-quality content, and you can download them for free and can be used on all your social media needs.

If you are creating content for Instagram clients, then Morguefile should be in your bucket list as well.

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FAQs: Where to find free stock photos for Instagram

Can I use stock photos on Instagram?

Yes. Instagram is all about creating and sharing high quality, engaging content. If you don’t have your own high-quality content, then it is totally fine to use stock photos on your Instagram. But, keep in mind when you post any image which is not yours, you should credit the content owner accordingly. It is not a must. But, a good etiquette. And if you download the stock photo from a free or a paid service, you can still post those images, and you don’t have to credit the author. It is not a must. And I write this guide on ‘Where to find free stock photos for Instagram’ keeping you in mind. This guide has listed 5 of the best free stock photo sites for your Instagram or any other social media needs, and you better check all these services to get a clear idea.

Can I use stock photos for free?

Yes, as long as your photo/content comes under the Creative Commons license, you can use them. Since you are looking for free stock photos, you better check the 5 free stock photo sites I listed on ‘Where to find free stock photos for Instagram’guide.

How can I get an image without copyright?

Either you should purchase the image from a stock photo site, which expensive and not recommended if you are a new freelancer who is on a budget or you should download the photo with Creative Commons license. Almost all the stock photos downloaded from free stock photo sites come with Creative Commons license. So you are safe from any copyright issues.

Do I need to credit stock photos?

Not necessarily. If you have purchased photos, then you don’t have to credit. But if you have downloaded images from a free stock photo site, then it is an excellent manner to credit the author.

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Conclusion: Where to find free stock photos for Instagram

Instagram is a rapidly growing social platform that solely depends on high-quality content. If you are a freelance social media marketer and creating content for you or for your clients, finding high-quality content can be challenging. Not just challenging, but also can be an expensive operation.

This guide on ‘Where to find free stock photos for Instagram’ prepared keeping freelancers who are doing content creation for Instagram, in mind. But, the guide itself has provided sources that can be used by any social media marketer without spending a penny on high-quality content.

Nimesh Madushanka
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