60 Types of Photography

If you are into photography, no doubt that you are aware that there are a number of categories in which a photographer can work. Well known categories are landscape photography and street photography. Wikipedia distinguishes 19 categories, or genres as they call them.

Turns out there are quite some more. JenReview.com, an authoritative source for reviews on many topics and products, published a comprehensive list of no less than 60 types of photography, dubbing it The Ultimate Guide. I bet your favorite type is on this list!

And while you are there, you may also want to read the longread How to Choose a Camera. It’s excellent.

New Camera

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The Longest Curated List of Free Photo Sites (300, and counting)

It’s been well over three years since I wrote a blog post for the well-known Dutch online marketing site Frankwatching, about free photo sites. The article was read 250,000 times, which is quite substantial for a post written  in Dutch.

Apparently the article fulfilled a need. In the last three years, all across the web lists of free photo sites were published. Some of them short, like my initial article, some with 50, 70 or even 100+ free stock photo sites. When looking at these sites, you will find a lot of quality photography. Images that are original, authentic, different.

With all these sites around, why are still so many websites and presentations illustrated with dull, boring, cliché stock photos.  Why do we settle for less than using the very best pictures out there?

Maybe the issue for website designers, developers, content managers and online editors is that they do not know where to look for great pictures – or simply don’t allow themselves the time to find images that stand out. Or are afraid that they accidentally use pictures that are copyrighted after all and get a claim.

That’s a pity, really. Because there are hundreds of websites that offer great collections of pictures that are free to use.

So we decided to write another article about free photo sites. This time with a big ambition: to create and curate a list of at least 300 photo sites where at least part of the offering can be used free of charge.

We started from scratch, and searched the internet for websites with collections of photos of which at least a substantial part can be used free of charge, which is not necessarily the same as free of copyrights.

We used many of the existing lists as initial sources, but unlike many other sites we checked each and everyone to see if they were up and running and to check if they had at least a substantial collection of photos that can be used free of charge. In addition, we put a lot of effort into research, searching the internet for websites that were not listed before.

The result? 305 websites where you can find images in any category, style, originality and quality. There are stock photo sites, photo search engines, aggregators of photosites, communities and single photographer sites.

Together these 305 websites form the The Most Comprehensive, Curated and Rated List of Free Photo Sites!

The sites are featured in alphabetical order. Gradually we will review each of these sites. For now, we have given a short description of the site plus a rating.

We give each site a rating of 1-5 stars or rather, flashing cameras. This rating is based on a combination of quality and authenticity of the pictures and user experience of the site.

The rating should be interpreted as follows:

  Very poor site. Avoid.
  Poor. But still, maybe you will find here just what you were looking for.
  Good enough. Worth your while.
  Very good. Recommended without hesitation.
  The best of the best. Everything is 100% here. Unbelievable these photos are for free.

 

1 Million Free Pictures

Rating: 
Type: Photographer site
Free: Fully
Size: 10,000 photos

 

123RF

Rating:
Type: Stock agency
Free: Partly
Size: 89 million of which several thousand free

 

4 Free Photos

Rating:  
Type: Marketplace
Free: Fully
Size:  Not revealed, several thousands photos

 

4 Shared

Rating: 
Type: Marketplace
Free: Fully
Size:  Not revealed, several thousand photos

 

500px

Rating: 
Type: Community and Marketplace
Free: Partly
Size:  Millions, of which several thousand free

 

A Digital Dreamer

Rating: 
Type: Photographer site
Free: Fully
Size:  1,000+

 

Aarin Freephoto

Rating: 
Type: Photographer site
Free: Fully
Size:  1,000+

 

ABS Freepic

Rating:  
Type: Stock agency
Free: Fully
Size:  1,000+

 

Abstract Influence

Rating: 
Type: Community
Free: Fully
Size:  1,000+

 

Aflo Images

Rating:
Type: Stock agency
Free: Partly
Size:  10,000+

 

Alamy

Rating:
Type: Stock agency
Free: Partly
Size: 123 million of which several thousand free

 

Alana.io

Rating:
Type: Stock agency
Free: Fully CC0
Size: Unrevealed, several thousand. Note: site is down sometimes. Check back later.

 

Albumarium

Rating: 
Type: Community
Free: Mostly
Size: Unrevealed, several thousand

 

Alegri Photos

Rating: 
Type: Photographer
Free: Fully
Size: 3,000

 

All Free Download

Rating: 
Type: Marketplace
Free: Partly
Size: Several thousand

 

All The Free Stock

Rating: 
Type: Aggregator
Free: Partly
Size: –

 

Amazing Textures

Rating: 
Type: Marketplace
Free: Fully
Size: Thousands

 

Amsterdam Picture Library

Rating: 
Type: Historical Archive
Free: Fully
Size: Tens of thousand

 

Ancestry Images

Rating: 
Type: Historical Archive
Free: Partly
Size: Thousands

 

Animal Photos

Rating: 
Type: Aggregator
Free: Fully
Size: Thousands

 

Baj stock

Rating: 
Type: Photographer site
Free: Fully
Size: Ten thousand

 

Bara Art

Rating: 
Type: Photographer site
Free: Free to use
Size: Several thousand

 

Barn Images

Rating: 
Type: Photographer site
Free: Fully
Size: Several thousand

 

Best of Free Photos

Rating: 
Type: Aggregator
Free: Free to use
Size: Around 1,000

 

Best Stock Photo Free

Rating: 
Type: Single photographer
Free: Free to use
Size: 1,000

 

Bigfoto.com

Rating: 
Type: Aggregator
Free: Free to use
Size: Several thousand

 

Bigstock

Rating: 
Type: Stock agency
Free: Partly
Size: Millions

 

Blend

Rating: 
Type: Stock agency
Free: Partly
Size: Thousands

 

Bossfight

Rating: –
Type: Site seems to be discontinued
Free: CC0
Size: –

 

Bucketlistly

Rating: 
Type: Single photographer
Free: CC0
Size: 5,000+

 

Burning Well

Rating: 
Type: Aggregator
Free: Public domain
Size: Ten thousands, however not maintained since 2006

 

Burst

Rating: 
Type: Stock agency (part of Shopify)
Free: Partly
Size: Thousands

 

Canva

Rating: 
Type: Aggregator
Free: Partly
Size: 1,500,000+

 

Can stockphoto

Rating: 
Type: Stock agency
Free: Some
Size: 18,000+

 

Carpictures

Rating:  (actually: 4 for content, which is unique; 2 for user experience)
Type: Aggregator (niche)
Free: Full (CC-BY)
Size: Thousands of car pictures, ordered by manufacturer.

 

CC Search

Rating: 
Type: Photo Search Engine. Indexing collections from 500px, Europeana, Flickr, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Public Library and Rijksmuseum.
Free: Fully (CC)
Size: 10 Million

 

CC0.photo

Rating: 
Type: Photographer
Free: Fully
Size: Several thousand

 

Shutterstock

Rating: 
Type: Professional Stock Photo Agency
Free: Partly
Size: 198 Million

 

Cepolina

Rating: 
Type: Photographers
Free: Fully
Size: 20,000 photos of travel and nature

 

clker.com

Rating: 
Type: Stock photos and clipart
Free: Fully
Size: Several thousand

 

Compfight

Rating: 
Type: Photo Search Engine
Free: Partly
Size: Millions

 

Create Her Stock

Rating: 
Type: Stock agency
Free: Fully
Size: 230

 

Creative Convex

Rating: 
Type: Stock agency
Free: Fully
Size: Several hundreds

 

Creative Market

Rating: 
Type: Market place
Free: Partly
Size: Over 1 Million

 

Creativity 103

Rating: 
Type: Stock agency
Free: Partly
Size: Thousands

 

Crestock

Rating: 
Type: Stock agency
Free: Partly
Size: Millions

 

Cupcake

Rating: 
Type: Photographer
Free: Fully
Size: Tens

 

Daily Photoblog

Rating: 
Type: Photographer
Free: Non-commercial use
Size: Thousands, 1 new photo each day

 

DaveGH

Rating: 
Type: Images and Structures taken from 90s video game
Free: Yes, except for use in video games
Size: Thousands, not growing

 

Death to the Stockphoto

Rating: 
Type: Stock agency
Free: Fully, monthly subscription
Size: Thousands

 

Deposit photos

Rating:
Type: Stock agency
Free: Partly
Size: 80 Million

 

Designers Pics

Rating: 
Type: Photographer
Free: Fully
Size: Severals hundreds

 

Divvy Pixel

Rating: 
Type: Aggregator
Free: Fully
Size: Several Thousands

 

Dreamstime

Rating: 
Type: Stock Agency
Free: Partly free (Paid images are royalty free)
Size: 77 Million

 

Dribbble Free Photos

Rating: 
Type: Community. Several groups of free images, e.g.:
Dribbble Free Nature Photo
Dribbble Free Vintage Photos
Dribbble Free Workspace Photos
Free: Fully
Size: Several thousands

 

dustn.tv

Rating: 
Type: Photographer
Free: Fully
Size: Several hundreds

 

End The Echo

Rating: 
Type: Photographer
Free: Unclear
Size: Several hundreds

 

Epicantus

Rating: 
Type: Photographer
Free: Fully
Size: Several hundreds

 

Epicva

Rating: 
Type: Photographer
Free: Fully
Size: Several hundreds

 

Europeana Collections

Rating: 
Type: Art Collections, EU funded
Free: Partly, check https://www.europeana.eu/portal/en/rights.html
Size: Over 52 Million

 

Every Stockphoto

Rating: 
Type: Aggregator. Site is broken but still active.
Free: Partly
Size: 30 Million

EyeEm

Rating: 
Type: Market place
Free: Partly.
Size: Over 100 Million photos offered by 20 Million creators

Free flowers pictures

Rating: 
Type: Stock agency
Free: Fully
Size: Several hundreds, offered via Facebook pag

 

(more…)

Bliss. This Windows wallpaper is the most viewed photo ever.

The standard Windows wallpaper of Windows XP called Bliss is without a doubt the most distributed and most viewed photograph ever.

‘Bliss’, default windows wallpaper of Windows XP. Photographer: Charles O’Rear

The name of the photo is Bliss, however Dutch users of XP may have noticed that the Windows wallpaper is called ‘Ierland’ in their version. Understandably, we have since then come to see this as a typical Irish landscape.

You have probably never given it a second thought, but this photo has a maker. His name is Charles O’Rear, an Irish name confirming our assumption the photo was taken in Ireland.

Charles O’Rear took this picture 1996 and sold it a couple of years later to Corbis, the stock photo company owned by Microsoft. I could not find out how much he was paid for it, but I doubt if it was more than a couple of hundred dollars. Too bad for him, because had he entered a royalty-deal of one 1 cent per sold XP-license, his bank account would now show a figure of at least 4 million dollar.

However. This photo was not taken in Ireland, but in Napa Valley, California, USA, not far from O’Rear’s residence. And indeed, as it now begins to dawn on us, ignorance is bliss, O’Rear is not an Irishman, O’Rear is a born American.

Once I found that out, I became curious about what we are really looking at in this picture and what the photographer saw around him. My idyllic idea about this place was that he could have pointed his camera in any direction and still get the same picture. I have lived in the west of Ireland for two years myself and where I lived this actually was the case – except maybe for the fact that the skies were grey more often than blue.

But this illusion was shattered too. In the first place by the picture below, made by the artist collective Goldin+Senneby in January of 2006, form the exacgt same point of view as O’Rear. Not only the weather conditions were quite different from the original photo. The soil had been cutivated and was turned into a vineyard. Quite appropriate, considering that O’Rear made his living primarily out of photobooks on wine.

After Microsoft. Remake of Bliss in 2006, by Goldin+Senneby

That left me with one question. How does the rest of the scenery in this place actually look? What do we see left and right of the photographer, and behind him?

Google Streetview brings us the answers. Below are four pictures taken by Nine Eyes, the camera on top of the Google cars that collect streetviews. This camera rises high above the care, giving a total different angle of the scenery in front of us. And the rest of the scenery is, well, less blissful than I thought it would be.

By the way, the coordinates of this place are 38.248966, -122.410269. In case you ant to have a look for yourself.

Bliss by Google Streetview

Bliss. What the photographer saw at his right hand side.

Bliss. What the photographer saw to his left.

Bliss. What could be seen behind the photographer.

Update August 29, 2011: turns out the photographer actually did earn a nice sum with the photo. Read all about it on NapaValleyRegister.com

Note:  This post about the most viewed photo ever was originally published on August 27, 2011 on the Dutch photography blog Picture This. The post was much quoted, shared and linked to. Nowadays, Bliss has its own entry in Wikipedia. It is still a fascinating story so we republished the blog post on Piles of Pics in May 2017.