Visual Hunt: 354 Million Free Stock Photos

Categories Reviews

The quest to find the perfect photos for your next blog post is often a tedious one.

Think about it.

You’re basically barred from using images you find on Google, and it’s not always a surefire deal when you locate a supposedly Creative Commons photo on Flickr. So, what are you supposed to do as a business that’s not trying to get into any trouble with stealing imagery?

Well, often the best solution is to go with a service that sells packages of stock photos, seeing as how when you pay for these images you’ll gain access to the licenses, meaning there’s no chance you’ll get into any trouble with the law.

In addition, these stock photo sites offer search and filtering tools for finding the exact items you need, whether it be for your blog posts, marketing newsletters, website headers or that PowerPoint presentation you’re finally getting to.

We stumbled upon this site called Visual Hunt, and we’re really starting to like it, considering you can choose from over 354 million stock photos.


I can’t imagine coming close to running out of photos with that number of options.

Here’s the kicker: Each of the photos are completely free. 

That’s right. Although the Visual Hunt website looks similar to that of Shutterstock or iStock, each of the photos have Creative Commons licenses that have been vetted and listed on the site. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about completely understanding the Creative Commons rules.

Simply search around for images that fit what you need, and view the rules in plain English.

Keep reading to learn more about how we feel about the entire Visual Hunt platform.

Searching for Photos

To start off, we like to check to see what types of search tools are available on photo sites like this. After all, you’re not going to want to spend too much time looking for images when you have a deadline for a blog post in a few hours. The first noticeable feature is the large search bar. Here you can type in any keyword you want to reveal a considerable amount of results.

You can also browse several popular photos that are displayed on the homepage. This cuts down on the guessing game, and may reveal something that you never knew you needed.

browse popular

We also enjoy that the homepage features some common categories to choose from, making it super easy to quickly land on the site and locate the images that are most appropriate for your project.

lightbox download

The last part of the search process that impresses me is the lightbox tool. Basically, it lets you select a photo and add it to your own personal lightbox. These images are shown towards the bottom of the page, where you can then download all of them in one swoop. It’s an awesome feature that you can find on other stock image sites, but this one is much cleaner and it always keeps the images in sight for you to remember that you have a few images saved.

Understanding What You Can Do With Each of the Images

Whenever I go to Flickr to find some Creative Commons images, I’m always confused as to how I can use the images. Each of them are labeled with ambiguous details, and the Creative Commons website doesn’t help much either. However, when you land on a Visual Hunt image page, the information is displayed nicely for even the most inexperienced beginner.

image page

It tells you whether or not the image is okay for commercial use, along with other details like whether or not you can make modifications to the photo. It’s with these simple notes that I find myself immediately understanding whether or not I can use the image for a certain project.

In addition, the photo pages tell you whether attribution is required. Not to mention, a little bit of code is often shared for you to grab and place the image on your WordPress site. The pages are super minimal, which is often not the case with stock photo sites. You’re usually bombarded with ads or complicated details about the imagery.

Managing Your Own Profile and Uploading Images

Making a profile only takes one step, and it’s free. You can adjust your account settings to reveal an image and personal information. This is similar to what you would find on Flickr, so managing a library to share with other people is pretty easy for photographers and designers.

upload photos

As for uploading your own photos, a button is located in the navigational menu to reveal a simple page for browsing your own files and submitting an image to the platform. It’s really quite simple, and you can specify what details are included with the Creative Commons license later.

Are the Search Results and Photo Qualities Actually Any Good?

Here’s the big question. Are the images any good? Do the results reflect the marketed number of images they talk about?

Yes, and yes. I have a hardware store client, so I’m constantly seeking out images that would fit into that industry. Therefore, I typed in the keyword “hammer” and clicked the Search button. Not only do they give you filters for locating licensing types, relevance and colors, but I received an incredible number of images that related to my search.


Yes, many stock images look corny, but these are rather impressive. In fact, most of the hammer image results looked professional and usable for marketing materials or blog posts.

Who Should be Using Visual Hunt?

If your business is in need of stock photos, but you don’t want to pay the crazy prices, Visual Hunt is the place for you. We like it best for people who get confused with Creative Commons licensing, since the details are nicely laid out and explained for you. In addition, you can filter and search with ease, and the imagery comes from all different photographers and designers.

If you have any questions about the Visual Hunt website, or if you’d like to express your opinions about your experiences with Visual Hunt, feel free to drop a line in the comments section below.

Catalin is the founder of Mostash - a social marketing boutique - and he's always happy to share his passion for graphic design & social media.