Looking for top-notch platforms like Pexels for quality, royalty-free images? You’re in the right place.
In this guide, we’ll cut through the noise and break down the absolute best Pexels alternatives.
Whether you’re a content creator, marketer, or designer, these platforms offer a wide range of high-quality images that can take your project to the next level. Let’s dive in.
Pexels is one of many platforms that provides some of the best free stock photos, videos, and royalty-free images directly shared by the creator.
At the time of writing, Pexels currently has a library of about 3.2 million stock photos you can use anywhere.
The platform is very easy to use, you can browse through the library using the convenient search engine and find free stock photos in minutes.
With so many different stock photo platforms, at first glance, they might seem similar. However, each platform offers unique photo types, varying library quality, and distinct features. That’s why exploring these 15 Pexels alternatives is worth the time.
1. Shutterstock – Best Pexels Alternative
Shutterstock is a stock platform just like Pexels, yet right from the start, it features more stock photos, images, and videos in its library than Pexels. Pexels features about 3.2 million items, while Shutterstock’s library consists of over 370 million items.
Both Shutterstock and Pexels have a very efficient search engine that allows you to find stock items you’re looking for in minutes, yet Shutterstock also features a trending section where you can browse items by the latest trends.
Also, when you make an account with Shutterstock, you can sign up for a weekly dose of inspiration where you receive free images and photos every week, which also get shaped according to your preference based on your likings on the platform.
This is something Pexels is missing and yet can be super useful since you don’t even have to search for the images, yet you can get them delivered to your email.
Shutterstock is a freemium platform so that you can access millions of stock items for free.
2. Unsplash – Best Free Pexels Alternative
Unsplash offers high-quality stock free photos and items just like Pexels, but its search capability and categories are much better designed to help you find specific types of content via search terms.
With a large database, you can still find almost anything you can think of on Unsplash, yet another advantage compared to Pexels is that Unsplash’s content is pre-approved by moderators, so everything you see was chosen for the platform.
While Pexels mostly focuses on marketing material, at Unsplash, you can find anything from nature, experimental, architecture, 3D renders, current events, and more. This helps Unsplash make a broader use and be used for a better purpose than Pexels.
Another tiny but important difference is that Unsplash allows you to use its advanced search engine by uploading a photo to find similar stock free images and photos, while Pexels doesn’t offer this integration.
Unsplash is a freemium platform where you can access and download millions of stock free photos and content for free.
iStock works similarly to Pexels, but it is a more advanced platform that strictly focuses on video, photos, illustrations, and music.
Even though iStock isn’t a freemium platform, its advantage is that it provides exclusive videos and images, unlike Pexels. However, you don’t have to worry about the pricing since it is very affordable, even for an exclusive stock platform that includes commercial-use licensing that allows you to use the content for any purpose.
iStock has a bit of an advanced search engine since it’s powered by artificial intelligence, which provides quicker and more accurate search results than Pexels’ search engine.
On top of that, iStock has plenty of categories for each type of stock content they provide, while Pexels only has a couple of categories for its library that features millions of items.
And of course, iStock includes music or even the ability to create videos, social posts, or use templates, which Pexels doesn’t provide.
For iStock’s latest pricing, visit their official pricing page!
Flickr’s biggest advantage over Pexels is that they don’t only feature stock free items, but Flickr also includes creative commons, commercial use, modifications allowed, and even U.S. Government works licenses.
Therefore, Flickr provides a much more versatile and convenient way to find stock photos and images for any project or purpose than Pexels.
Flickr’s search engine is also slightly better equipped than Pexel’s search engine because with Flickr, you can not only search for photos but also people and even groups.
When it comes down to photos, you get more filters at Flickr, such as color schemes, patterns, and advanced search settings to find stock items that perfectly match your needs.
Another big difference between Flickr and Pexels is that Flickr is more of a community stock platform to create an account and upload any images and photos. You also get to decide if you’d like to have them published and available for everyone or keep them private for yourself.
At Flickr, you can also make prints and wall art of either your photos or stock photos you find at the platform, which you can’t do at Pexels.
Pixabay is one of the most similar platforms to Pexels, yet some differences don’t meet the eye at first, such as the few graphics that Pixabay provides on top of the 1+ million stock photos and videos.
There is also even music and sound effects, which can be hard to find on stock platforms such as Pexels.
Search engines are pretty much the same on both platforms, yet Pixabay tends to include more categories that make browsing much easier, along with terminology. And when you search for a term, you even get an approximate number of stock items for your specific search, which is convenient.
Also, Pixabay features much better vectors than Pexels with very simple copyright to understand (CC0), where you can freely use all stock photos without any attribution requirements.
Pexels mostly features commercial-style stock photos and images, while Pixabay’s stock seems to be a lot more natural and versatile which is a better fit for more uses.
Remember that Pixabay is also a freemium stock platform, so you can get all your stock items for free and even upload your work to share it with the world.
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6. Adobe Stock
Adobe Stock is one of the most-known stock platforms that offers easier use of the stock assets you download.
Right from the start, Adobe Stock features more categories than Pexels, including videos, audio, templates, editorial, fonts, plugins, 3D, and more.
Adobe Stock provides a good combination of free stock items and paid stock assets that you can license.
Yet the biggest Adobe Stock advantage over Pexels is the ability to open any stock asset directly in any Adobe tool such as Photoshop. This helps you work faster, but you can even preview paid assets before paying for the license, so you know exactly what it will look like on your project.
So not only does Adobe Stock provide better quality in terms of stock items, but it also provides a much more efficient way of working with them.
Another interesting feature that Adobe Stock offers yet you can’t see on Pexels is the ability to sell your stock assets on the platform.
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7. Vimeo Stock
Vimeo is a stock content platform that focuses on stock free video, but it also combines this with marketing purposes, so you get to create live streams, screen recordings, and more with license stock footage.
So while this platform might seem similar to Pexels, it works very differently as you can even hire a video professional to help you come up with a great video using everything available on the Vimeo Stock platform.
While both Vimeo Stock and Pexels provide stock assets, Vimeo also provides a library, ad-free player, hosting, privacy, and collaboration tools that can help you share and do marketing with the content you create using anything you find in Vimeo Stock’s library.
These are the features Pexels is missing, and on top of that, Vimeo Stock allows you to create and host virtual seminars, publish your content almost anywhere on the web, analyze your campaigns, and even monetize your videos.
So while Pexels has features that only help you find the best stock assets for your needs, Vimeo Stock does the same yet includes plenty of other beneficial features that help you do more with stock free assets you end up using for both personal or commercial purposes.
One thing you should keep in mind, though, is that Vimeo Stock isn’t a freemium platform, so for the latest pricing, visit their official pricing page.
JumpStory biggest advantage is that it provides the most authentic stock photos and images you can find on the internet.
While Pexels mostly relies on stock assets from uploaders or photographers, JumpStory relies on international image licenses and even provides global insurance, which is missing at Pexels.
Pexels only focuses on photos, images, and videos, whereas JumpStory provides you with icons, illustrations, and vectors. Also, JumpStory includes image editing tools that Pexels doesn’t have, so you can remove background, edit photos, resize or crop images, and do much more.
JumpStory even features an artificial intelligence TextMatch feature to help you make better searches and find specific photos in a library full of millions of stock assets.
VistaCreate is an all-in-one versatile stock platform where you won’t only find stock free photos and images like you would on Pexels, but you also get access to a design tool to create custom designs from the stocks you’ve found.
There are templates for all types of social media posts, banners, and images of all sizes. So you only need to find stock photos, make as many changes as you’d like, and you’ll end up with a unique stock free asset you can use in any way.
While Pexels provides as good stock assets as VistaCreate, it’s missing the designer feature that can help the average user make all changes needed right in the browser.
VistaCreate also provides vectors that you can use directly in your designs. This is another advantage since Pexels doesn’t provide vectors, so you can’t find and design your stock free asset in three steps, the way you can on VistaCreate.
LibreStock took things further by combining more stock photo databases into one platform.
So as you search for stock free images and photos, you will get results from smaller stock photo databases that aren’t as popular as Pexels yet still have quality stock photos that may fit someone’s needs.
This is the biggest difference and the biggest advantage. Still, LibreStock also features a slightly better search engine that provides results from various databases and sorts the results in popular categories and search tags.
Search tags are very specific, so you can find anything that comes to your mind and still have plenty of stock photos to choose from. Along with stock photos, LibreStock provides stock videos.
Like Pexels, LibreStock provides stock free photos and images with a CC0 license which means that you can use assets for personal and commercial use.
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StockSnap is working in almost the exact same way as the Pexels platform, where the main difference is the selection of stock free photos and images you can find.
In comparison to Pexels, StockSnap gets new stock photos more frequently than Pexels, as it happens daily.
Another feature that StockSnap excels at is the partnership with Shutterstock, where you can get 10 free images if you don’t find what you’re looking for at StockSnap.
While both StockSnap and Pexels have very efficient search engines that can find specific stock photos in seconds, StockSnap has one tiny, but important, feature that can be a huge advantage. It displays the latest added stock photos first, so you always get fresh stock photos that haven’t been overused every time you perform a search.
Pexels is missing this feature, and instead, they sort the images by popularity.
One feature that remains the same between both platforms is that all stock free photos include a CCO license so that you can use them for both personal and commercial use.
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Getty works similarly to other stock free photo platforms, but its most significant feature compared to Pexels is the way it sorts and categorizes the stock photos.
It is a lot more thorough as it categorizes the stock assets in a couple of different categories. These categories include creative that includes subcategories, editorial, video, and music.
You should also keep in mind that Getty also provides illustrations and vectors, besides photos.
You can mostly find commercial stock assets at Pexels, while you can find a lot more creative stock free photos and images at Getty.
Another significant feature Getty includes, yet you can’t find at Pexels is the boards. Boards allow you to save all stock free photos you’re interested in once and then sort them and revisit them later.
However, keep in mind that Getty isn’t free like Pexels. Visit their official pricing page for its latest pricing.
Envato is a versatile platform with more stock free assets besides photos, images, and audio.
Even though Envato isn’t a free platform like Pexels, you get access to a larger stock photo database (over 54 million photos) for a monthly subscription. There are also video templates, audio sounds, presentation templates, graphic templates, fonts, WordPress assets, and even 3D models you can download as a part of the subscription.
While Pexels only focuses on graphics, Envato features add-ons, web templates, and more categories that can be used on creative projects.
Another difference between Pexels and Envato is that Envato also provides tutorials and even a tips & resources section where you can get help and learn how to take full advantage of all stock assets you can find on the platform.
You get unlimited downloads with the subscription, but you can also register for free and get 12 handpicked, stock free assets every month.
However, visit their official pricing page for the latest Envato pricing and subscription models.
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Depositphotos offers high-quality stock photos from a large database where you can find photos for almost any search, however, it includes features that Pexels doesn’t.
These features include tools such as VistaCreate editor, free background remover, image upscaler, and even an API program so you can integrate Depositphotos into your website.
Depositphotos also features royalty-free sound effects and vectors and illustrations, which is something Pexels doesn’t offer.
All stock photos, images, and other stock assets are well categorized in collections that are easy to navigate. Yet, you can always find stock assets using a very efficient search engine.
Even though Depositphotos isn’t free like Pexels, it still does offer free stock image and video collections you can download and use without worrying about the licensing. There are almost 70,000 free files, yet you can access the whole collection library for a very affordable price, which includes over a million files.
Visit their official website for the latest Depositphotos pricing structure.
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Freepik includes many more stock assets to download, and it also includes tools that help you edit photos and images directly on their platform.
You can benefit from Freepik’s collection of stock vectors, flaticons, presentation templates, editable illustrations, and PSD files you can open directly with Photoshop.
If you don’t own Photoshop, you can still edit stock photos and images directly on Freepik’s platform via their Wepik online design tool, which is convenient for quick and even slightly advanced edits.
Another feature that Pexels doesn’t include yet Freepik offers is the mockup designs where you can put your brand and logo on a physical product in the stock photo and see what it would look like in person if you made a print of the item.
Freepik also introduces a much more efficient search engine since you get to set many filters that will help you narrow down your search and find exactly what you’re looking for in less time.
However, keep in mind that Freepik isn’t free like Pexels, but it’s pretty affordable for all improvements it features. For the latest pricing, visit their official pricing page.
Pexels is a solid option for certain free stock needs. However, its top alternative is Shutterstock. Why? Shutterstock boasts a larger library and retains the search functionality found in Pexels. Additionally, it provides extra features. These are particularly useful for those who frequently need fresh stock images and photos.
Shutterstock is also based on the same freemium model that Pexels relies on, and it also seems to offer more choices, which is just one of many reasons Shutterstock might be worth trying over Pexels.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.