Step Aside Google – The Best Image Search Engines to Find the Images You Want

Sometimes the best image search engines aren't Google after all.

The Best Image Search Engines Featured

Google is far from the only place to search for images. In fact, it’s often not even the best option. There are numerous sites to find images for whatever project you’re working on, including commercial projects. The next time you need a great image, try this list of the best image search engines instead.

Tip: You can do a reverse image search on your iPhone or Android phone.

1. Yahoo Images

The Best Search Engines For Images Yahoo

Google definitely isn’t the only image search engine around. Yahoo Images works similarly but has much better filters to find what you need. Filter by color, size, type, license, and more. Unlike Google, the filters are much easier to find and use.

2. Bing Images

The Best Image Search Engines Bing

While Bing Images looks similar to Google, the results are actually slightly different. Plus, unless you’re signed in, you don’t have to deal with personalized results, thanks to Google trackers (learn how to delete your Google history here). You may actually get a wider variety and better selection of image results. The filters are off to the right side, making them a little harder to find, but once you click the filter button, everything displays under the search box, just as you’re used to.

3. Everypixel

The Best Search Engines For Images Everypixel

Everypixel is one of my personal favorite sites to find images, both free and premium. It uses AI to search over 20 sites for CC0 licensed photos, so you can use them for any purpose without attribution, though you can provide attribution if you’d like. There are also exclusive free-use images available that do require attribution and premium stock photos. Detailed filters help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

4. Openverse

The Best Image Search Engines Openverse

Search for Creative Commons licensed images on Openverse, formerly Creative Commons Search. While all are licensed for reuse, attribution and commercial use rights do vary. However, there are over 600 million images to choose from, so you’ll easily find something that works for your needs. Openverse is a WordPress product, so if you own a WordPress site, it’s a great tool for finding free images to use.

If you want to stick with Creative Commons licensed images only, check these sites.

5. Flickr

The Best Image Search Engines Bing 1

Flickr is more than just a social photo-sharing site. It’s also one of the best sites to find images. However, you do need to filter your search results by license to ensure you’re able to use an image for your project. From absolutely no restrictions to no changes allowed, there are multiple license types to choose from.

6. Shopify Burst

The Best Image Search Engines Shopify

Shopify is well-known for helping entrepreneurs start businesses online. However, Shopify Burst helps them find free stock images to use on their sites. You don’t need to be a Shopify customer to use them, though. These are great for businesses and business blogs, and you can use them for commercial sites and projects. The only downside is there aren’t any real filters, only keyword searches and categories.

7. Unsplash

The Best Search Engines For Images Unsplash

Unsplash has a constantly growing collection of high-quality stock photos to use for any purpose. Attribution for images isn’t required, but it does help give the site and creators more exposure. Search or explore collections to find images in specific niches. While more filters would be nice, beyond orientation and color, tags help you navigate through the vast number of images.

8. Pexels

The Best Image Search Engines Pexels

Pexels is similar to Unsplash, giving you access to numerous free stock photos. You can also find free-use videos. There are a few more filters here, but otherwise, it’s a pretty straightforward image search engine. If you can’t find something on Unsplash, make Pexels your next stop.

9. Pixabay

The Best Search Engines For Images Pixabay

Pixabay is one of the best sites to find images. While it looks similar to Unsplash and Pexels, you also get access to videos and music. Plus, when you search for free-use images, you also get premium recommendations from iStock. This helps you search two sites in one place. All images on Pixabay (not iStock recommendations) are considered public domain.

10. Freestocks.org

The Best Image Search Engines Freestock

The name says it all. Freestocks.org is filled with great free-use images to use in any type of project. Filters would be nice, but it’s a simple image search site that has some surprisingly great stock photos. If you’re looking for something current, check out the popular tags section to the side to see what people are currently searching for the most.

11. Vecteezy

The Best Search Engines For Images Vecteezy

Vecteezy (previously Photo Pin) features both free and premium images. It’s one of the best sites to find images if you need premium photos for major commercial projects. Images are clearly marked free or pro. Different licensing plans are available based on your needs. You can also look for vector images and videos.

12. Shutterstock

The Best Image Search Engines Shutterstock

For premium images, Shutterstock remains one of the top sites to find images. With over 370 million images to choose from, you’ll always find something perfect here. Plans start at just $29/month for 10 images. You can also subscribe to video plans. Searching is easy and advanced filters make navigating the content a breeze. There’s also a free trial available to let you see whether Shutterstock is right for your needs before committing to a monthly plan.

13. Rawpixel

The Best Search Engines For Images Rawpixel

Rawpixel has an incredible variety of images to choose from, including illustrations. Search through free, premium, and public domain images to find exactly what you’re looking for. Filters make it even easier to find what you need. You can also browse collections for curated images. You’ll also find vectors, PSD mockups, and graphic templates. It’s a great all-in-one resource for all of your image needs.

14. Adobe Stock

The Best Image Search Engines Adobe

Search through millions of royalty-free stock images at Adobe Stock. Vector images, templates, music, and videos are also available. Fotolia (another royalty-free stock image site) has merged with Adobe Stock. Plans start at $29.99/month for 10 assets. The growing library makes it a strong competitor to Shutterstock. You can sign up and get 10 free stock images.

15. FreeImages

The Best Search Engines For Images Freeimages

FreeImages, formerly Picspree, is a free-use image site. Images can be used for most any purpose and attribution isn’t required on many of them. Of course, read any licensing details on any image you download to be on the safe side. As with Pixabay, premium images from iStock also show up in search results. There aren’t any real filters to use here.

16. iStock by Getty Images

The Best Image Search Engines Istock

Purchase high-quality images, illustrations, and videos from iStock by Getty Images. Subscriptions start at $29/month for 10 images. You can search through Essentials and Signature images with the latter being exclusive images not found anywhere else.

17. Getty Images

The Best Search Engines For Images Getty

One of the ultimate sites to find images for commercial projects, journalism articles, and more is Getty Images. It’s the site major news outlets turn to when they need images. While rather pricey for the average user (the cheapest option is $50/download for a single small image), it’s hard to beat the collection of high-quality images and videos. From celebrity pics to creative stock photos, there’s a little bit of everything here. There is a free section with over 16,000 images, though.

18. Canva

The Best Image Search Engines Canva

While Canva is more known for its templates for creating marketing material, there is also an image search feature included. Search through millions of high-quality images to use on Canva projects or anything else. Everything’s free, though there are a few restrictions on use. However, licensing is clearly laid out.

On the other hand, you can also edit video for free with Canva.

19. EyeEm

The Best Search Engines For Images Eyeem

EyeEm is another premium stock photo site where you subscribe to monthly plans to buy packs of images each month. The cheapest per image option starts at $4.50/image with a pack of 1,000 images. Collections and search filters make it quick and easy to find what you need. The constantly growing collection always has something new and creative to choose from.

20. Yandex Images

The Best Image Search Engines Yandex

Yandex Images is from the Russian search engine Yandex. Collections on the front page help you quickly find related images. Of course, you can also search directly. While a license filter would be great (you’ll need to verify licenses yourself), there are other filters available based on size, type, color, etc. It’s similar to Google, Yahoo, and Bing, though you’ll find very different results.

21. Bigstock

The Best Search Engines For Images Bigstock

Bigstock is one of the best sites to find images at an affordable price. While this is a premium royalty-free site, pricing is much cheaper than many other comparable sites. In fact, you can get images for as low as $0.33 each with the 10 images/day plan. Photos and videos are available. There’s also a free one-week trial to get images for free.

22. Wikimedia Commons

The Best Image Search Engines Wiki

With over 87 million free-use images available, Wikimedia Commons is a great resource for finding images. With monthly photo challenges, there is always fresh content being uploaded. Photos and illustrations from nearly any subject are freely available. Typically, you do need to provide attribution to use these images. Filters make it easy to search by type, license, location, and more.

23. The New York Library Digital Collections

The Best Image Search Engines Nyc

This isn’t like most of the other sites on this list. However, if you need historic images, it’s well worth searching The New York Library Digital Collections. Most of the material is public domain, so you can use it as you wish. You can also purchase some items. The search function is straightforward with a few basic filters to find what you need. While you’re not going to get high-quality modern photos and images, if you’re putting together a history or geography project, it’s a great site to try. At the time of writing, there were over 900,000 items available.

24. Life of Pix

The Best Image Search Engines Life

Life of Pix is a free image-finding site that’s partnered with Adobe Stock, so you’ll find plenty of free images alongside recommendations from Adobe Stock for premium options. The high-quality images look as professional as the premium recommendations. The filters are nice to search by color, type, orientation, and more. There are also options that you can’t find on other free sites. The site has free videos, too.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will I know if I can use an image I've found?

Technically, you can use any image you find using the image search engines above. However, licensing and usage terms are available with the image itself. For general search sites, such as Yahoo and Bing, you’ll need to select the image and view the source site to see if it’s a free use or premium image.

For other sites, the licensing terms should be displayed on the site itself. Do not just copy premium images for use on your own sites, products, or services, or you could face hefty fines if it’s discovered.

What if I need images with transparent backgrounds?

The search engines above don’t really focus on transparent backgrounds, though a few do offer them. Your best option is to search sites that cater to these types of images. Try these seven options to find images that are perfect for adding on top of your own custom backgrounds.

Image credit: Marten Newhall via Unsplash

Crystal Crowder
Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

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