Find Free High-Resolution Images for Your PowerPoint Decks
by Avantix Learning Team | Updated October 9, 2021
Applies to: Microsoft® Word® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)
You can find beautiful free pictures that you can use in your PowerPoint presentations online. There are plenty of great stock photo sites that offer high-quality images at no charge. Images can make a big difference for audience engagement and can help your presentations look more professional. You can search for images on these sites by keyword and download images at different resolutions. Most of them allow personal and commercial use of images based on their license terms.
Some stock photo sites have free images and may also offer paid images on a premium plan. For free images, there is an element of risk in terms of copyright (as many users upload images). However, the following sites have better policing, known copyright owners, review processes or business backgrounds so they have a higher trust ranking. Be sure to check the site's license terms when you're using images.
Here's our list of the best sources for free pictures to use in your PowerPoint presentations (links below):
- Life of Pix
If you have PowerPoint 365, you should also have access to Microsoft's new stock images (through Insert Pictures).
Recommended article: How to Compress Images in PowerPoint to Reduce File Size (10 Ways)
Do you want to learn more about PowerPoint? Check out our virtual classroom or live classroom PowerPoint courses >
The following are our picks of the top 10 websites (in no particular order) where you can find high-quality, free stock pictures for your presentations.
Unsplash was started by Crew, an online platform connecting freelance creatives with customers, that turned viral. It was started as a give-back project. Their images have a modern and artsy style and are high quality. Unsplash started as a Tumblr blog offering leftover professional shots for free. It has grown into a stand-alone website offering more than half a million royalty-free stock photos from contributing photographers.
Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash
License Details: Unsplash uses their own custom license, enabling free use in commercial projects with no attribution required (just like a Creative Commons Zero) but forbidding image compiling.
PIKWIZARD is a professional stock photo site with over a million free high-quality images in multiple popular categories. It's owned by Wavebreak Media, a stock video and photography production company led by Irish videographer and entrepreneur Sean Prior. The images come from various contributors, most of whom are known stock media producers. PikWizard also offers great image editing with a DesignWizard tool where you can add text to images.
Photo by PIKWIZARD
License Details: PikWizard has their own custom license allowing free use in commercial projects, with a sensitive use clause. They don't allow resale or use in products for resale (t-shirts, posters, etc.), but those are the only copyright restrictions.
3. Life of Pix
Life of Pix is owned by Canadian digital marketing agency LEEROY and provides hundreds of thousands of artistic and high quality photos. All files have been submitted by photographers and are free to download and use.
Photo by Cyril Mouty on Life of Pix
License Details: Life of Pix images are Public Domain so they are not subject to copyright. This allows free usage for commercial purposes, no attribution required, but the site does not allow mass distribution
Public Domain licenses should be safer for commercial use since there's no copyright attached to the images. However, this only works if the contributor who donated them is the original copyright owner and all other required rights (such as model releases) are cleared. Since Life of Pix is owned by a reputable company, it is capable of providing trust in its free images.
BURST was launched in 2017 by Shopify and offers free stock images intended for e-shops and commercial use in general (although you can use the images for social media, blog posts and presentations). The site has a large library with thousands of high-resolution images with a current style covering popular commercial categories. Burst images are sourced from hired photographers and user submissions and all images are free to use.
Photo by Burst.
License Details: Burst has two licenses: Creative Commons Zero (CC0) which is free usage for commercial purposes and a custom license which is almost identical to CC0 but which allows using photos in products for resale and has a sensitive use clause. Besides a no compiling term, there are no other copyright restrictions.
Picjumbo was created by stock photographer Viktor Hanacek and hosts a library of more than 2,000 high-quality, commercial-ready, royalty-free stock images for free. People in the images are intentionally unrecognizable.
Photo by Viktor Hanaceck on PicJumbo
License Details: PicJumbo uses a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license so images are free for commercial projects. Be sure to use due diligence when using brands and trademarked subjects.
Rawpixel was founded by Robert Churchill and has thousands of trendy, authentic and high-quality images submitted by qualified contributors. It offers free and premium pictures and you need to be sure you search for the free images. Users are limited to 100 free downloads per user per month.
Photo by Rawpixel
License Details: Rawpixel uses a custom license with free usage for commercial purposes. There is a sensitive use clause and no resale is permitted.
Pexels is a free stock photo site offering hundreds of thousands of royalty-free stock images in high resolution submitted by artists or added from other free photo sites. It was created by German twin brothers Bruno and Ingo Joseph. The images are beautiful and modern and all images are free to download and use. Pexels accepts user submissions but also aggregate images from multiple other sites which increases the risk of potential copyright or right of privacy infringements.
Photo by Marta Dzedyshko on Pexels
License Details: Pexels photos are licensed under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) so are free for commercial purposes, no attribution required.
Pixabay is a free stock photo site founded by German technology experts Hans Braxmeier and Simon Steinberger. It is crowdsourced from a global group of users. The library is huge (over 1 million) and the royalty-free images are all available for free. Most of them are high definition and suitable for commercial use. Pixabay has a professional curator that manually reviews and vets images for technical quality as well as legal validity. There are also paid images that will take you to another site for purchase.
Photo by Amy Irizarry on Pixabay
License Details: Pixabay uses a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license so images are free for commercial purposes with no attribution required.
Kaboompics is owned by designer and photographer Karolina Grabowska. It offers free high-quality stock photos with a natural feel and multiple subjects. There are more than 8,000 images in the library and the pictures are quirky and modern. You can even search by colour palette.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Kaboompics
License Details: Kaboompics has a custom license granting free usage for commercial purposes that includes a sensitive use clause. Images may not be sold as-they-are-downloaded (so alterations to the original file are a requirement) and redistribution is also forbidden without permission. There is also a warning about the commercial use of photos with brands or trademarked subjects on them.
StockSnap.io is a stock image site by Christopher Gimmer and Marc Chouinard who also developed the graphic design tool Snappa. The site offers free high-resolution images in a modern and trendy style. Users submit the photos and all images are free so there is the usual risk in terms of copyright. There are also paid images that will take you to another site for purchase.
Photo by Travel Photographer from StockSnap
License Details: StockSnap uses a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license so images are free for commercial purposes.
There are many other websites offering free images but these sites combine the benefits of quality, library size and trustworthiness.
This article was first published on May 17, 2020 and has been updated for clarity and content.
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