For most people, the amount of time that they have spent searching for the perfect stock photo often exceeds the amount of time that they spend on the project itself. Flipping through page after page of digital content, through dozens of stock photo websites, through hundreds of thousands of images and video clips, just to find the perfect piece of content.
As a creative professional, this is just who you are. But what if you could arrive at the best stock image for your blog or business without having to visit a dozen or more stock photo sites in the process?
Librestock is an online stock photo index site, meaning that it collects photos from a number of other free stock photo sites. Their unique interface, expansive selection, and centralized access have made them a hot-ticket destination for designers and developers … making some of us wonder why other multisite stock photo engines have not been quite as effective.
What follows is our point-by-point review of Librestock, including some tips on how to download free stock photos using their expansive stock search engine.
Librestock: A Unique, Multi-Site Stock Photo Search Engine
The most unique thing about Librestock is their structure as a stock photo search engine, utilizing pre-existing stock photo sites to create a stunningly large index of free stock content.
- A multi-site stock photo search engine
- Provides access to a number of popular free stock photo sites
- Highly functional tag-based search system
- Wide access to Creative Commons Zero images
- Librestock provides access to the top stock footage sites
- Easy to use stock photo search function
- Simplistic web layout makes for pleasant browsing
- No need to sing up for anything
Why LibrestockIs Gaining Popularity with Designers
Anyone who has experienced the rigors of a tightlyscheduled Instagram campaign can probably tell you about the staggering amount of time that can be wasted look for stock images. Even if a search reveals thousands of results, choosing among them is something we tend to overcomplicate. This is doubly so when you’re up against a deadline and have been staring at a computer screen all night.
The real value of Librestock is its multi-site search functionality, which allows designers, marketers, and artists to see search results from multiple sources at once. In essence, it is a time saver, and one that is welcome in this day and age when our collective weekly screentime continues to skyrocket.
The Pros & Cons of the Librestock Search Engine
While reducing the amount of time we spend in front of the computer screen is an admirable goal, it is certainly not the only decision that factors into our choice of stock content provider. In fact, as a stock photo search engine, Librestock lacks many of the features that have become popular with other free stock photo sites, putting it in a category of its own.
- What We Like– The ability to search a bunch of different stock content sites at the same time is certainly handy, doesn’t matter who you are. While their list of contributing sites is somewhat limited, it manages to contain a collection of sites that have a similar aesthetic individuality. In other words, they tend to be highly unique and highly expressive. This is in contrast to traditional stock photos which over time have become bland, boring, and even a blaring sign of digital illiteracy.
- What LibrestockIs Missing– With no user account system, download tracking, or messaging interface, Librestock is hardly as full-featured as some of the other stock photo sites out there. Then again, the ability to send and receive messages isn’t really the actual purpose of a stock image site, is it?
The Types of Images That Are Searchable with Librestock
At almost a dozen different sites, Librestock is one of the most quickly-growing small stock search engines, and for good reason. By curating their contributing sites just like sites curate their photo contributors, Librestock has managed to build an index of images that share the same quality and appeal.
These are images that inspire and excite … stock photos that don’t loo like stock photos at all, but rather exciting new interpretations of the full range of life, business, and art on Planet Earth.
The bulk of Librestock’s stock image index is built from free stock photo libraries, containing images that are licensed primarily with Creative Commons Zero. However, some premium search results will also be returned, offering links to royalty free HD stock photos from Shutterstock.
The Types of People Who Need a Stock Photo Search Engine
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you are in: time is a valuable asset that needs to be invested with care. Spending hours flipping through free stock photos, website after website, is an unsustainable practice for designers and marketers.
While access to free stock photos might be saving them valuable money, it is likely not paying for the sunk time of searching for the perfect stock photo … time that will likely never be recovered.
Stock photo search engines like Librestock bring the entire expansive world of creative stock content to our very fingertips. Simply enter a search term, click the button, and watch as nearly a dozen stock photo sites offer up what they think you might be looking for.
For these reasons, Librestock is more of a helpful creative tool than anything else, but as such, it deserves a spot on any creative type’s bookmarks bar.
Librestock’s Creative Commons Zero (CC0) Stock Photo Licensing
Because Librestock is a stock photo search engine, the specific licensing terms might vary depending on their actual source. For instance, ShotStash and Gratisography have a couple of more specific exemptions that don’t conform to the rest of the licenses.
But by and large, the images that you find with Librestock’s search engine are available for download and use under what is called a Creative Commons Zero license. These licenses make it possible for creators to remove use restrictions on their work, so that it might be used, displayed, or altered in just about any way, even without creator attribution.
There are a couple of restrictions, however, that are even present within the bounds of a CC0 license. The first is that you cannot attempt to pass off the image or video as your own work, and you also cannot make any implications that the creator or anyone in the image is endorsing something that they are not.
Creative Commons is a valuable entity for designers and marketing teams, because it greatly simplifies the way that creators can give their work to the world.
Q: Do I Need to Sign Up for a Librestock Account?
Librestock is all about simplicity. It is no surprise then that they have decided to forgo the traditional user account that most of the original free stock photo websites used. That’s because Librestock isn’t interested in getting you e-mail address. Nor are they trying in vain to become a bustling social network, like some of their competitors.
Instead, Librestock operates off of the singular goal of providing broad, free access to the best stock photos, images, and videos anywhere online. By combining the power of multiple stock photo sites with the data-driven capabilities of an innovative search engine, Librestock has truly become what it set out to be: a one-stop shop for free stock photos.
Long story short: No. There is no need to sign up for a user account with Librestock.
The whole point of Librestock is to make the stock photo search process as simple and hassle free as possible, running your search query through an impressive number of free stock photo sites all at once. Using Librestock is as simple as typing your desire into the front-and-center search box. After that, you can scroll to your heart’s desire, looking through hundreds of thousands of images (& videos) from some of the most respected stock photo libraries on the internet.
The Free Stock Photo Sites That Are Searchable with Librestock
Librestock’s search engine has access to some of the most popular stock content providers on the web, many of which you are likely familiar with:
- ISO Republic
- Foodie Factor
- Negative Space
Notice anything in common? The stock photo sites listed above are similar in their dedication to provide fresh, effective stock photos that are capable of truly elevating your project or campaign … as opposed to the bland, stereotypical stock images of yesteryear.
Another thing that these sites have in common is their shared dedication to Creative Commons Zero (CC0) and the copyright-free licensing that they provide for users. With CC0, the images downloaded are available to me displayed and modified in anyway for either personal or commercial purposes, and as such are valuable tools for any designer looking to save money.
How to Download Images from Librestock’s Search Engine
Because Librestock is a stock photo search engine that searches a bunch of different sites, the images are not downloaded from Librestock. Instead, the search results are displayed on Librestock, and the individual images will link back to their source, like Gratisography or Pexels.
From there, the actual downloading instructions will vary slightly. For the most part, downloading free stock images is as easy as a few clicks. Some sites, but not many these days, might require a membership login in order to access the downloads. Fortunately, this is a requirement that most stock content sites are dropping in favor of easy access.
Some of the search results displayed on Librestock’s main page might be from a premium stock photo provider, like Shutterstock. These sponsored results are highly relevant to the search term, and can provide a fast avenue to premium HD content in a pinch. Downloading premium images usually requires either an account or a subscription.
Contributing Stock Images to Librestock
Not all stock photo sites accept photo submissions, but the ones that do can be a valuable tool for up and coming photographers and artists to get their work out into the world. To see if an individual stock photo site accepts submissions, check the bottom or top of the page for a “Submit”, “Join Us”, or “Contribute” button.
Of the many sites that Librestock has access to, both Negative Space and Stock Snap have emerged as popular places for photographers to share their work, build an artist profile, and even connect with the people who are using their images.
If you are interested in becoming a contributor at a stock photo website, then you should read up on Creative Commons and how these licenses can help create an agreement that is as beneficial for the photographer as it is for the person downloading the image.
Aspiring contributors should also have their digital collections ready to share, as many of these sites are curated by creative teams in which multiple people will be reviewing the content.
Take a moment to check how many stock photo content sites you already have in your bookmarks folder. Clicking through every singe one of them when you are on the hunt for an effective image is hardly sustainable, especially in this day and age when the content simply must keep coming.
Stock photos are an affordable way to elevate art projects, gifts, blogs, and even businesses, as their CC0 licenses even make them available for commercial use. This means that the impressive search capabilities of Librestock can be used to take your business marketing to the next level, all without spending a dime on photo content.
For the creative professional, premium, paid stock photo libraries can offer far more options that are unlikely to ever be exhausted.