Pixabay Stock Photography

June 14, 2021

One of the world’s leading photography websites, Pixabay is a free stock photography and royalty-free stock media website. Founded in 2010 by Hans Braxmeier and Simon Steinberger, Pixabay is one of the most popular websites for sharing photos, illustrations, vector graphics, film footage and music. The overall quality of the photos on the service may not achieve the same level of quality as Unsplash, but it does cover a wide range of subjects and if you’re willing to spend more time searching you will find some great images. While it doesn’t offer all rights to its content, it generally allows the free use of the material with only some restrictions. Before using the images, check out the Pixabay License.


Unlike Unsplash, there is very little difference in search results when typing in singular versus plural search terms on Pixabay. On the other hand, Pixabay’s images are very well tagged for color searches. My favorites are “purple” and “pink” – though “orange” is great too.

By the Sea

Image by Sasha Matic 

While I generally prefer the quality of Unsplash images over Pixabay’s I must admit that when it comes to certain categories, Pixabay is definitely the winner. A few of these categories are “mystic” “mystical” “spiritual” and “fantasy”.

Pixabay Stock Photos

Photo by Olenka Sergienko

Be aware that Pixabay’s search feature does not autosuggest variations of the keyword you’re typing in. If you’re looking for help with how to search for specific images, I recommend using Google. Simply open up a new tab in your browser and let Google handle the heavy lifting.

Fashion Model

Image by Irina Gromovataya 

Model photography is well represented on Pixabay. Search for “model” “fashion” “fashion model” “model face” or “woman face”. Using other descriptive words for a woman or man does turn up other options, so give it a shot. Try using “woman smiling” “male model” – or even “handsome”. Be specific with your search and you will find some great options.


Image by Olga Ozik

Not surprisingly, the Pixabay collection includes extensive options for “ocean” and “beaches” – as well as “shoreline”. Specific keywords like “waves” “sunbathing” “surfing” and “seashore” return similar results, but include some great outliers. Don’t forget to search for specific locations. Be careful, though! Not all results will actually be the location you search for, but you’ll find some images that won’t appear in a more general search.


Image by Chavdar Lungov

As an avid nature lover, I’m thrilled that Pixabay includes so many nature images in their collection. “Nature” is probably too large and general a keyword to give you the results you want, but start there and then work your way down to more specific options. Try “mountain” “summit” “valley” or “xxx”. If those searches don’t give you the results you’re looking for, try using activities instead. “Hiking” “hikes” “camping” “backpacking” “swimming” “climbing” and other similar keywords return very nice results for nature.


Image by Alexey Pavlov

As mentioned above, Pixabay includes non-mainstream categories. In fact, they have quite a large collection of  compelling and unusual images. Try searching for “mystical” “fantasy” “magic” “pagan” “scifi” “astrology” and any other keyword you can think of. It might surprise you, but “religion” also returns some very interesting options! Lol


Pixabay has some absolutely wonderful dog photos! Portraits, as well as action photos of all sorts. Every imaginable breed and situation is very well represented, including humorous situations. Searching for a specific breed returns great results, though the quantity is not extensive.


Desserts and sweets are another category with great results on Pixabay. Definitely use “sweets” “desserts” and “candy”. More specific searches like “muffins” “pies” and “cookies” are another matter, though. A search for “pies” returns some very odd results, but “cookies” does well, as does “chocolate”. “Cake” returns some great options, as does “cupcakes”. Pixabay also includes illustrations, along with photos.


Image by Pexels

Are you surprised to hear that “children” are a large category on Pixabay? Try searching for “family” “boys” “girls” “youth” “babies” and “newborns”. Some really wonderful results! Don’t miss out on “sisters” “brothers” and “siblings” too as these keywords return awesome photos.

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