Free stock photos metasearch


Sourcing Stock Imagery

We all need stock imagery from time to time and I think this is one of the areas of design that has steadily improved with the passing years.

Firstly, if you have very specific imagery needs and/or a lack of time, commercial stock houses like iStockPhoto, Corbis and (our sometime Design View sponsor) have the range, and have become cheaper, more flexible (license-wise) and dramatically more usable over the past 3-4 years. Hooray for competition!

But perhaps the least expected development has been the continued rise of free image resource sites. It seems the breathtaking success of Flickr has helped to entrench the idea of sharing your imagery with the world, and free stock sites like, MorgueFile and Image:After have reaped the benefits in the form of an increasing influx of quality imagery from their communities.

Now, with the release of, locating free stock imagery just got a little easier.

I’d describe Picfindr as a free stock site metasearch application, allowing you to query a handful of sites simultaneously, then review the results in a single window.

Rick Englert, developer of the service, describes it as “minimalist at the moment” — somewhere between alpha and beta — but already it provides some great features, including intelligent searching and allowing users to exclude images on the basis of their licensing requirements (i.e. author crediting, altering the image, or permission prerequisites).

Plans are also afoot for more advanced search options, including ‘AND/OR’ options and the ability to search by color, size or orientation.

All up, Picfindr is still a little raw, but already it’s a handy, free service that only seems likely to get better. Check it out.