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Nonprofit stock photos: 9 free photography websites

January 12, 2022
A nonprofit professional sits in front of a monitor while another leans over to look for suitable nonprofit stock photos together.

High-quality, captivating photos can strengthen your nonprofit organization's brand, capture potential supporters’ attention, and add a professional touch to your promotional materials and website. If your nonprofit has few professionally taken photographs, you can supplement your designs with stock photos. With royalty-free stock photos, you can get excellent images quickly at little to no cost.

Millions of nonprofits exist across the globe, making for a wide range of diverse causes. To stand out in the nonprofit sector, you need high-quality images that align with your purpose and reinforce your unique brand. These websites can give you the resources you need to do just that. 

1. Unsplash

Unsplash has more than three million high-resolution images to choose from. Its diverse images are sorted into categories like current events, animals, and fashion. Unsplash’s team reviews each image submitted by their community of photographers to ensure the photos are high-quality. 

Once you download a photo from their site, you can use it for marketing or promotional purposes without having to worry about licensing, copyright, or paying for a subscription.

2. Gratisography

Gratisography has quirky, unique photos that can be attention-grabbing and fun. This website is selective about which images they accept, and they strive to collect images that truly bring something new to the table. You can use all of the photos hosted on Gratisography for free in most projects, including marketing campaigns, websites, blogs, and print media.

3. Burst

Burst by Shopify is a free service that allows photographers to upload their photos to reach wider audiences. Businesses, creators, and purpose-driven organizations can use these high-quality images in their personal and commercial projects. Burst makes it easy for your nonprofit organization to find the photos you’re looking for with dozens of collections ranging from broad themes like “nature” to specific subjects like “caterpillars.”

4. Public Domain Archive

Public Domain Archive houses collections of images that are in the public domain, meaning no person or entity owns exclusive intellectual property rights to them. Once you find the image you’re looking for, your team is free to distribute and edit it as needed. Public Domain Archive also has a list of other useful free stock photo websites your organization can use for any project.

5. Pexels

Pexels has an extensive range of photographs to choose from and is ideal for nonprofits looking to find stock photos quickly. With its search function and filtering options, you can quickly find the exact photo you’re looking for, whether you need a banner for your nonprofit website or a feature image in a blog post. Pexels also has a wide variety of photo categories, including images that are sorted by color so you can quickly find stock photos that are relevant to your cause and branding.

6. RawPixel

RawPixel has more than one million free photos, vectors, and PNG elements. It also has a range of free fonts to choose from, so your nonprofit can find almost everything it needs to create compelling graphic design work in one place. RawPixel also has a premium paid account option that offers even more resources.

7. Barn Images

Barn Images offers stock photos of sweeping landscapes, animals, architecture, and cityscapes, making it a great option for nonprofits with specific purposes like organizations that advocate for preserving historical landmarks. Your organization can use any of Barn Images’ photos for free without needing permission from the photographer. You can also receive updates about when new photos get added to the site by signing up for their mailing list.

8. Pixabay

Pixabay has over 2.7 million free stock photos, videos, and audio files your nonprofit can download and use at any time. Not only is this a great resource for free, high-quality images, but it also has everything you need to create videos. To find the perfect royalty-free song to pair with your videos, you can search Pixabay’s music library by genre, mood, and theme.

9. Reshot

Reshot offers free icons and illustrations with “no cost, no attribution, and no worries.” This site is quick and convenient to access as you can download files with no paywalls or watermarks without needing to sign up for an account. Plus, each graphic is available in SVG, PNG, and vector file formats so you can download the one that works best for your project.

Nonprofit stock photos: The bottom line

With these resources, you can step up your nonprofit’s stock photo game without needing to allocate funding to paid image sites. If your organization is ever in need of more complicated graphic design support or is interested in taking original photographs, explore options like paid graphic design and professional photography services to meet your needs and deliver elevated graphic design materials.

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