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Kyle Luke
Kyle Luke

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Designer's Take: Stock Image Sites that Aren't ... "Stocky"

As a designer turned developer, some tools are relevant to both and need to stay sharp in the toolbox. One of those tools I have found are the use of stock images. But unfortunately when it comes to stock images (especially on a budget), it can be difficult to find a set that aren't...well...cheesy. I have collected this list of image sites by category, and hopefully it provides you with some additional free stock image resources for your own toolbox that aren't too "Stocky".

Free Stock Image Sites (by Category)

Heavy-Hitters (Large Photo Selection)

These free stock image platforms have enormous amounts of images available, with an image for every search term you might need. They also are, for the most part, less "stocky" than other sources.

Adobe Stock: Free Images Filter

More Curated Photos (Less "Stocky")

These platforms don't have nearly the same amount of available stock photos, so searching for more particular search terms may require more time and effort. But what they lack in numbers, they make up for in quality. This list of stock image resources tend to leave out the "cheese" and keep the "steeze".

Life of Pix
Negative Space
Kaboom Pics
Death to Stock (*Honorable mention with paid plans)

Diverse & Inclusive Photos

In an age where inclusivity and diversity is very rightfully becoming more and more important, we all should be putting efforts into making sure our stock imagery also reflects our values. These platforms are some of my favorite resources for diverse and inclusive stock images.

Pexels: Diversity
Pexels: LGBT
Pexels: Disability


With the right box of sharpened tools, we all can produce more beautiful, more powerful, and more effective work. One of the tools you should include in your dev toolbox is the resources for finding beautiful, not "cheesy", and also diverse stock images. I hope you find some value in these resources, and are able to pick and choose your own favorites to sharpen this small but important tool in your box.

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