by H Burke|Rivermile posted 1.2.18, revised January 23, 2018
In the ideal scenario, any images you use in projects are owned by you or the client. Original photography, in addition to uniquely displaying your content and character, is a surefire way to steer clear of copyright infringement.
Of course, that's not always an available option. Our curated list of photography sources below can help you find the perfect image for a given layout. Some of these collections are free to use in any manner, others require simple attribution, and a few are commercial in nature, but at bargain rates.
More than 300,000 high-resolution photos, all contributed to the repository from photographers around the world. Originally (and still) heavy on landscapes, the collection has continued to expand since its start as a Tumblr blog in 2013.
Images are free to use as you wish. Photographer attribution is recommended when possible.
Another repository of largely free images. These are Creative Commons CC0 licensed, meaning free and safe to use without permission or attribution, for commercial purposes or otherwise.
While not as carefully curated as Unsplash, you'll find a wide variety of images at Pixabay.
A smaller – and odder – collection of images, leans toward the quirky. Free to use as you wish.
Colorstock brings culturally intelligent stock photography, fitting a clear need to better represent people of color. Many of the "people" oriented stock sites don't serve this angle very well at all.
If you have a little bit of budget, Colorstock's pricing model offers any simple $20 per image for most any use.
An affordable and versatile stock graphics site, DepositPhotos goes beyond jpeg images to include a lot vector graphics that can be "just the right" base for a digital rendering.
We keep our eyes out for temporary deals on AppSumo, which has had occasion to offer a hundred image re-usable pack at DepositPhotos for as little as 39 cents per image. A hundred images in your account can, of course, last a long, long time.
Beyond the bargain packages, though, DepositPhotos is still a good deal, with on demand pricing often around $5 per image or less.