3 free photo search tools that make finding images easy

03. FindA.Photo

You can search FindA.Photo by saturation and aspect ratio

You can search FindA.Photo by saturation and aspect ratio

Of these three tools, FindA.Photo, created by David Barker, has the most unique features. It has an index of over 3,700 images at the time of writing, but it's not its extensive index that makes it so powerful. It's the ability to search by color (by entering any hex code), saturation, size, and aspect ratio.

Of course, users of FindA.Photo can still search in traditional ways by typing tags or keywords, but this tool really comes into its own when you start looking for specific images with their filters. Here's how they work:

  • Color. Each image on FindA.Photo contains a list of its predominant colors and these are searchable as hex codes. Alternatively, you can simply type in color names like blue, green or pink to get results.
  • Saturation. The tool finds an average saturation for every photo between 0 and 100. Images that are purely black and white have a saturation of 0 percent and can therefore be found with a search of "--saturation 0".
  • Size. Very often, a project will call for an image with a minimum height and/or width of a certain size. To find images whose height and width exceed 3000 pixels, you would search "--height > 3000 --width > 3000".
  • Aspect Ratio. No more having to deal with images that crop awkwardly. Use aspect ratio search to find landscape ("--aspectratio > 1"), portrait ("--aspectratio < 1"), or square photos ("--aspectratio 1").

Once you understand the language of their search, you can combine attributes to find exactly what you need.

If you would like to add your own images or edit the data of existing photos within the site, the image repository is hosted on GitHub, so anyone can contribute.

So which is best?

As you can see, there's a growing number of CC0 resources available on the web, and these tools make them much easier to find. Now, instead of scrolling aimlessly through Unsplash, you can find exactly what you are looking for.

You might be tempted to look at Stock Up’s large index or FindA.Photo's search capabilities and declare it "best." The thing about these tools is that they all have separate indexes, so you will not always find the same photos between all the sites. Plus, they are always getting better by adding new images; Stock Up and FindA.Photo both add about 100 new photos per week, and Pexels adds 5 fresh photos per day.

I have all three bookmarked and tend to go through them all if I am looking for something specific. I don't mind – three quick searches still beats that endless scroll through Unsplash.

Words: Adrienne Erin

Adrienne Erin is a writer and designer based in Pennsylvania. You can see more of her work on her blog Design Roast.

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