How can I get free photos from iStock?

iStock is one of the largest stock photo agencies in the world. One of the greatest things about being a member of iStock is that they offer free stock photos every week. So how do get free stock images?

Exciting news! Our new iStock Free Trial that gives you 10 images for free got even better: In addition to the Essentials collection, their Everyday collection, we're thrilled to offer access to their exclusive Signature collection, featuring premium content you won't find anywhere else. Browse the Signature and Essentials collections today!
This free trial is the number one method to download iStock photos without a watermark for free!

Unlock your iStock Free Trial with 10 image downloads from Essentials and/or (NEW) Signature collection for 30 days! Access to collections varies ...
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The iStock Free Trial is available in all countries except for Austria, China, Congo, Cuba, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Libya, Liechtenstein, Norway, Philippines, Russian Federation, South Korea, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, & United States of America. For more details, see our complete iStock Free Trial guide, including a step-by-step on how to activate your free trial!

The iStock free trial is by far the best option to get incredible stock pictures for your design without paying. Because it's actually the first month free for the regular iStock subscription –it might be an Essential only plan, or a Signature plan, depending on where in the world you reside–, and thus you get to browse millions of high-resolution images in their library, use the search bar to find exactly what you're looking for, and get free photos of your choice.

iStock also provides visual insights that matter, through its curated collections, popular categories, technology for trending searches, and advanced filters. The website has a great interactive way to find visual content that is perfect for your needs, including photos illustrations and videos, and it has very flexible pricing.

Just in: 10 FREE iStock Credits! – We are happy to bring you this exclusive offer for 10 free iStock credits with your new iStock monthly subscription! This is how it works: you buy a new iStock monthly plan of your choice and using our coupon code at checkout, you will unlock a bonus pack of 10 credits, completely free of charge! With iStock credits, you can get images and video clips, plus the credits never expire so you have a long time to use them. This offer is valid for customers all over the world, so don't miss it!
Get an iStock monthly subscription and enjoy an extra 10 credits for FREE! free trial

There is also the classic, previous way to get iStock images for free: You must sign up for iStock (which is free), and you will have weekly access to one free photo, one free illustration, one free video, and one free audio clip every seven days! Click here to sign up for iStockphoto now.

iStock is an online leader in stock photography, famous for its curated content, and is one of the best places to get premium royalty-free stock photographs for free. It is hard to argue with free stock photography, and the stock images you get come in different sizes, licensing, and exclusivity (meaning you can’t get them anywhere else). To learn more about iStock and its millions of high quality pictures, read our iStockphoto Review here. free trial

How To Download iStockphoto Free Stock Images

Downloading the free-of-charge stock images, whether they're free photos, illustrations, video, or audio clips, is quite simple. As you just read above, you must sign up for a free account first, but don’t worry you don’t have to put in any credit card or payment information to access the free stock images.


If you do not have an iStockphoto membership, join for free before you attempt these downloads.  Membership is required to benefit from these offers.

4 Easy Steps for Downloading Free Stock Images


1. Once you’ve signed up for iStockphoto, it will bring you to their homepage screen. Scroll to the bottom, and you will see a Join iStock for free stock files every week headline, and below there are 4 images that say Free photo, Free illustration, Free video clip, and Free audio clip. Click directly on any of the images to reach their respective downloading pages.

read the license agreement of istock

2. Once there, make sure you read the license contract on how you can use it. All of the free illustrations, audio, video, and stock photographs come with a standard license, but you can purchase an extended one if needed.


3. After you’ve read and understood the standard license agreement, simply click on the image size you want for your photo, which ranges from Small 11.8 × 7.8-in. at 72dpi to 3XL 18.7 × 12.5-in. at 300dpi.

4. Click on the ‘free’ red-colored download button, wait for a second, and then press Confirm Download. Your picture will automatically get downloaded to your folder on a Mac, or to your desktop on a PC.

iStockphoto offers free visual content for all of your design, video, and audio needs on a weekly basis, and is just one of the amazing benefits for those who use iStock as their stock imagery agency.

Explore What You Get With The iStockphoto Free Stock Images

The four weekly files you get every seven days are not just some ‘ok’ stuff, instead, they are very high resolution and exclusive stock picture files that can be used pretty freely according to iStock’s standard photo license.

Here we are into depth and details about each of the four different iStock free imagery files you get access to every week as an iStock member.

Free Photo

Happy Grandparents sitting with their granddaughter on a pier, pointing out at the boats - copyspace
Happy Grandparents sitting with their granddaughter on a pier, pointing out at the boats – copyspace

Like any RF stock photo, the weekly Free Photograh from iStockphoto has a watermark over the file until you download it. This is the same case at any stock photo agency you decide to buy stock from. The free images come with a standard image license, as do all iStock images unless you purchase an extended license (which is usually used for unlimited reproduction/print runs, products for resale, and multi-seat licenses). Down below, I will give you more information on what you can and cannot do with a standard licensing agreement, but rest assured that it is a pretty good catch-all for using it for lots of your different creative projects.

The free photograph comes in various sizes you can download, of which all are free sizes to download. They range from Small to 3XL and is great to have the right size for your design without having to resize it later.

Free Illustration

free illustration from iStock

The free illustrative graphic from iStock is a vector EPS file that can be seen instantly on a Mac, but you need something like Adobe Illustrator or free software to view or edit the file. To learn more about an EPS file – what is it and which programs can open it, click here.

You can use an EPS file to make large graphic images, all the way up to billboard-sized, and this free graphic allows you to use it freely with a standard licensing contract. The illustrations are either exclusive to iStock, which is signified in the lower-left corner that reads “Only from iStock”, or can be found in other places.

What’s nice is that sometimes the weekly graphic is that it's exclusive and free. To download it you simply click on the “Free Download” button, get it down to your computer, and then open it in a program that reads EPS files or just open it on your Mac computer if you have one.

Free Video Clip


As the role of video clips is expanding on the internet, iStockphoto also offers a free weekly HD video for its members. The video is often exclusive to iStock and is great for video projects where you need some b-roll footage to enhance the look of your video projects. The video clip comes with a standard licensing agreement and can either be downloaded in HD at 1920 x 1080 or web-ready at 640 x 360.

One unique option is that at the bottom of the video page is a collection of similar videos you can purchase if you like the content enough and want to expand your video with more footage.

Free Audio Clip


So you have the video, the illustration, the RF stock photo, and to top it all off there is a free audio clip that can be used in a lot of different ways. The audio stream is great for video accompaniment, a multimedia project where music is needed, or just for a blog or website of yours.

When you go to the free audio clip downloading page you can sample the audio track, but you’ll hear a voice say “iStock Audio” over and over again which acts as a sound watermark that prevents people from recording the audio. The audio clip is downloaded in a WAV file that can be played back without the audio watermark on iTunes or Windows software.

iStock Standard License

No two stock photo agencies have the same stock media licensing, and iStockphoto’s licensing has its own licensing terms, like the rest. All the iStock free stock images come with a standard user license and have specific rules about how you can use them.

I have put together the essential information you’ll need to understand how you can use your iStock free pictures:

  • Can use in advertising, marketing, apps, websites, social media, TV, Film, presentations, newspapers, magazines, books, product packaging and more.
  • Every file licensed comes with a $10,000 legal guarantee
  • Cannot use in any logo or trademark, pornographic, obscene, or libelous works
  • Use is perpetual, meaning there is no expiration or end date on your rights to use the content
  • Use is unlimited, meaning you can use the content in an unlimited number of projects and in any media.
  • You cannot use these stock image files in products for resale unless you purchase an extended license.
  • The rights granted to you are non-transferable and non-sublicensable, meaning that you cannot transfer or sublicense them to anyone else.
  • You do not need to include a photo credit for commercial use, but if you are using content for editorial purposes, you must include credit

Keep in mind, that if you are ok using free pictures with Creative Commons or similar licenses, you can have a look at our cool list of 25 of the best free stock photo sites ever!

Join iStock Now for free stock images weekly

There are not many places where you can get high-quality stock imagery for free every week, but iStockphoto’s four free files are an amazing benefit for its members. With the growing amount of free image files available today, there are only a few sites that give you the same value and exclusivity as iStock’s weekly free images.

By joining today, you will have access to free iStock images without being pressured into buying image credit packs or subscriptions, but if you need more stock image content, you always have the option to search and find exactly what you’re looking for for on their top-notch image collection.

When you join iStockphoto now, you will receive four totally free images for as long as you’re a member. That sounds like a great deal, right? Yes, iStockphoto free images are an amazing deal!

Click here to join iStock to get four free stock images every week!

Free Photos iStock FAQ

Can I get iStock images for free?

Yes. You have three ways of getting iStock stock imagery for free.
1. With the iStock free trial (if it's available in your region)
2. With our exclusive iStock free credits promo (when you buy an iStock subscription)
3. With the weekly free files on iStock's website

Are all iStock images royalty-free?

Yes. iStock issues all royalty free photos, be them through their credit packs or subscriptions, or through the available free downloads.

Is iStock free for commercial use?

The free pictures you get from iStock are royalty free and cleared for commercial use.
But iStock photos aren't usually free. Outside of these freebies, you must pay for a license to use the photos commercially.

Where can I get stock pictures for free?

iStock is a good place to find free pictures. Because it's a reputable company, that specializes in high quality stock photos illustrations and vectors and offers royalty free photos that are safe for commercial use. Getting them for free is just as good a deal as you'll ever get!

iStock Promo Code and Free Trial Offer

Heads up! For a limited time only, iStock is giving you a great 15% off in credit packs and subscriptions! Buy as many as you can and use them up whenever you want, as iStock credits never expire! Offer valid for not very long, so grab it today!

Unlock your iStock Free Trial with 10 image downloads from Essentials and/or (NEW) Signature collection for 30 days! Access to collections varies ...
Get Free Trial!
8 days left
Don't waste time, and buy your choice of stock videos and stock images at iStock: 15% discount on everything: subscriptions and image packs.
Amos Struck
Amos Struck

I am a publisher and entrepreneur in the stock imagery field. I focus on providing knowledge and solutions for buyers, contributors and agencies, aiming at contributing to the growth and development of the industry. I am the founder and editor of Stock Photo Press, one of the largest networks of online magazines in the industry. I am the founder of Microstock Expo, the only conference dedicated to the microstock segment. I created several software solutions in stock photography like WordPress plugins. Plus I am a recurrent speaker at Photokina Official Stage, and an industry consultant at StockPhotoInsight. I am passionate about technology, marketing and visual imagery.

  1. Amos, I want to buy a few photos on Istock to use on my new website. I am a real property consultant and the photos are of mountains, fields…etc. Would I be able to use the photos in this capacity. It seems like I should.

    • Hi Matthew, thanks for your question. Sure I don’t see an issue why not. Nevertheless I recommend to always double check their terms and conditions and license.

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