"2017 Edition: Top 10 Free Stock Photo Sites (update: Shopify’s Burst Reviewed) "


Because ain’t nobody got time to search more than 10 sites.

News: Shopify has launched a free stock photos site, Burst. Better late than never, welcome to the party!

Just one month ago we published our list for the Top 10 Free Stock Photo Sites of 2017 based on 5 criterias for a good free stock photo resource:

1. Must have own photos (aggregators like Raydar won’t be listed, only those with own photos. E.g. Pexels)

2. Must NOT require sign up or account creation to search/download photos

3. Must have high resolution, high commercial value photos

4. Quantity of database (should have a strong community of contributing photographers)

5. CC0 (must be ok to be used for commercial projects)

At that time, this was our curated Top 10 (in no particular order):

1. Unsplash (community based, mostly unique photos)

2. Pexels (aggregator + community)

3. Pixabay (aggregator + community — includes vectors and illustrations)

4. Bossfight (independently managed)

5. Negative space (community based)

6. Free Nature Stock (independently managed, nature photography focused)

7. StockSnap (curated collection + community)

8. MMT (independently managed, mostly unique photos)

9. Realistic Shots (independently managed, unique photos)

10. Freestocks (independently managed)

If you’ve been a frequent user of free stock photos, I’m sure you will be familiar with many of the names above. So how exactly does Shopify’s Burst stack up to our criterias? Let’s dive in.

1. Must have own unique photos. (yes, but limited numbers)

After about 2 hours of research, we are still not exactly sure about the quantity and depth of Burst’s unique photos. We have found 3 key photographers listed on the site, with most of the photos being traced to Matthew Henry, who also shares his photo on Unsplash. So great quality photos? Yes. Unique? Some.

What we liked most are their themed collections. Very focused and targeted (for a typical Shopify’s merchant — sell enamel pins?).


Burst’s Business Collection

2. Must NOT require sign up or account creation to search/download photos. (check)

3. Must have high resolution, high commercial value photos. (check)


Some bath bombs for you mdm?

4. Quantity of database — should have a strong community of contributing photographers. (quantity: still small. community: no.)

Though targeted, the quantity of photos on Burst is still rather small compared to other free resources.

Currently their FAQs has no mention of a method for photographers to submit photos directly. This likely means all photos on Burst are directly curated by their team. This is a good way to ensure quality but not helpful in building up a community of contributing photographers like Unsplash has. This may or may not change in the future though, so don’t count it out just yet.

5. CC0 — Must be ok to be used for commercial projects (check)

In conclusion, though a great effort by Shopify to build a good resource for their community and customers, there are still some ways to go before it is able to nudge up our list of Top 10 Free Stock Photo Sites. Below are 3 areas we feel Burst can improve on:

1. More depth to their themed collections. More photos!

2. Open up submissions to more photographers for variety.

3. Have seasonal collections.

And there it is! Do you agree with our analysis? Is Burst able to replace your current free stock photo go-to sites? Let us know in the comments below!