by Aïko Thurlow
on March 23, 2017

Free images for startups

Might it be for the header of your blog articles, to add on your website, to enhance their social media posts or to create advertisements: startups need images.


As a startup, chances are that you are using these images for “commercial purposes”, which vastly limit your options. Oh, and yes, you might also be on a tight bootstrapping budget so that $300 image might be off budget.


The good news is that there are lots of great websites that offer you free images which you can use for whatever you want (commercial, crop, edit, write-over,...) -no restrictions!

Most of them fall under Creative Commons Zero (CCO).


Here are some of my favorites:



Top websites to find free images for your startup



Looking for some “wow” of sceneries or beautiful pictures of everyday life? Unsplash is a pretty sure bet.

Their selection is impressive, with lots of breathtaking, artsy shots.


Unsplash Gif.gif

Screenshot from


You can use Unsplash's images as you please -your own creativity is the limit. If you’re looking for inspiration, have a look at what others have made with Unsplash’s collection.





If you’re looking for a precise search topic, you’ll want a site that has a wide selection of images. With hundreds of new pictures added every week, StockSnap is a great option.

Screenshot from

On top of searching, you can also browse photos based on what’s trending, top views and most favorited shots.




For all your foodies out there, you’ll want to have a look at Foodshot.

Their website is exclusively about food pictures: freshly washed berries, crisp French bread, artfully-crafted cappuccinos and mouthwatering cake. Yummy!

Images from




Finally, but not least, Flaticon. They have over 330,000 icons for you to browse. monochrome and multicolor. And if that’s not to your liking, come back next month; they add 19,500 new icons every month.

With such a massive selection, you can try looking up pretty much anything and, chances are, you’ll find it here. For instance, searching for “plant”, we got over 2k icons.

Screenshot from


Also, know that when you’re looking at monochrome icons, you can change your icon’s color prior to downloading it.

Gift Flaticon.gif

Screenshot from


You’ll notice that icons have either an "S" or a crown right below them, which relates to pricing.

"S" means that you can use the icon for free, as long as you give credit to the author. If you want to use the icon without giving attribution, you'll have to sign up for the premium plan.


You’ll be shown a pop-up like this when you’re about to download your icon so that you can select whether you want to credit the author or become a premium member instead.


Icons with crowns below them mean that they can be downloaded only if you are a premium member. These premium icons make up about 10% of the icons you’ll find on Flaticon.

So even if you're staying if Flaticon's free options, you'll still have lots of great options to choose from!




BONUS: Other fantastic FREE websites where to find copyright-free images




It’s good to have a few options of image websites as, if you’ll looking for a specific keyword, you’ll want to have as many search results as you can to find the perfect pic. Pexels is another great source of gorgeous online pics.

If you’re looking for video footage instead of images, check out Pexel’s sister site, Pexels Videos.




Visual Hunt has an impressively large database of images as it searches through not only CCO but also Creative Commons and Public Domains photos such as Flickr.

This means that you’ll get a wider selection but make sure to check the licensing detail for each photo to know if attribution is needed.


When you search for images, you’ll be able to narrow your search by the licensing options using their yellow nav bar. You’ll also be able to select color themes to narrow down your results.



More, more, more!

If you’re looking for even more options, check out what Toolmuse’s startup community has upvoted as their favorite sites where to find stock photos.

All these tools were added and upvoted by entrepreneurs like you.



You’ll easily get to see which ones have free options so that you can keep in mind your budget.

What are your favorites websites where to find your images? Come upvote them!

Or do you use something else? We’d love to discover it. Contribute by adding it to our list of tools and help others find amazing pictures too!


Looking forward to discovering your favorites!



Aïko Thurlow

Aïko is the founder of Toolmuse. Her love for entrepreneurship was shaped witnessing her parents' business as a child. She built Toolmuse for startups to empower each other through word of mouth recommendations.

Articles from our blog

Production featured image original v4adwj

How to take better notes with MindMeister


Live mind mapping: A short guide to better note taking at events

Production organize workflowy aj4x4u

WorkFlowy Overview - Free Productivity Tool

If you like notetaking and to-do lists, you'll want to give WorkFlowy a try [VIDEO]

Production amel derragui tandem nomads evwooh

Podcasting Toolkit: Amel Derragui Shares Her Business Tools

Interested in podcasting? The founder of Tandem Nomads shares how she does it. [VIDEO]