Burst by Shopify offers a good range of high-quality photographs. It’s easy to access and download royalty-free images, which are free for commercial use. If you want to contribute to the library as a photographer, your application will be reviewed and as long as you abide by Burst’s guidelines, you should be able to offer your work for free.
Free online service
Large selection of photographs
Easy to access and use
No remuneration for contributors
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And part of this essential toolkit is Burst, a free online service for businesses that need free stock photos for commercial use. But how does the service compare to some of the best free stock photo sites?
- You can try Burst by clicking here
Burst by Shopify: Getting started
- A service to look for, find, download and use any photo you like - and it’s free as well
Burst is a free service - you can browse, download and use any photo or image contained in its library, whether it’s for a Shopify website, or any other commercial project.
The landing page presents you with a large search field. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, the popular categories list beneath it offers a good guide, as does the Collections tab, located in the menu at the top of the page. The latter is broken down into sections, such as Nature, Fitness, or Animals. Click on any of them to see large thumbnails of a selection of what’s available. You’ll also find above them a list of popular keywords to help you narrow down the results. There is a lot to browse through, but the interface is simple enough that you won’t get lost as you explore what’s on offer.
We would’ve preferred an infinite scroll option as it’s easy to miss those links to additional pages at the foot of the page. However, this helps you see just how many photos are available in your chosen category.
- Getting started: 4.5/5
Burst by Shopify: Image selection
- Find an image, select it, and download the resolution you’re after - it’s an incredibly easy process, although the outcome differs some browser to browser
Once you’ve found the photo you’re interested in, click on it to open a larger preview. You’ll also see related images below this, which you can scroll through from left to right. To make use of your selected photo, there are two options located to the left.
The option ‘Create website with photo’ sends you to Shopify, where you can choose a subscription and start building your online presence. Alternatively, you can choose ‘Download free photo’.
Select ‘High resolution’ or ‘Low resolution’ (high-res is the default). Clicking on the download button has different effects, depending on which browser you’re using. For example, Firefox sends photos straight to the Download folder, while Brave asks for your chosen download location. Safari will bring up the image in your browser window, meaning you’ll have to right-click on it in order to save it to your computer.
Although attribution is not necessary, you’ll find code on the preview page to insert an acknowledgement of who took the shot, and where to find the original. Since photographers don’t get paid for their work, it’s a nice thing to do, although it is optional.
- Image selection: 4/5
Burst by Shopify: Portfolio
- If you like a particular photographer’s shots, the portfolio lets you see their work and get contact information - assuming the details are still valid
If you like the shots taken by a particular photographer, you’ll find a link to their page on Burst, lower left of the interface. From there, you’ll be able to see all the other images they uploaded to Burst, where in the world they’re located, and better still, you’ll find a link to their own website, as well as a button to send them an email, should you wish to contact them and - hopefully - hire them to create unique content for you.
That information appears to be the responsibility of the contributors themselves. Occasionally, as we tested the platform, we stumbled across a few pages where the link to their website no longer worked. So, you’ll want to check if the contact information of your chosen photographer remains valid.
Still, Burst has thousands of contributors worldwide who offer their images freely to this library. It stands to reason that most will keep their information up to date, since that’s the only way photographers can earn out of this arrangement.
- Portfolio: 4.5/5
Burst by Shopify: Contribute
- Join the list of contributors to gain exposure and if you’re really lucky, maybe a paid commission will come out of it
If you’re a photographer, is it worth contributing to Burst? The biggest downside is there’s no financial remuneration when people download your photos. If you’re lucky, you’ll get some attribution, but that isn’t a requirement for use.
One possible (perhaps even controversial) upside is exposure. The platform is effectively a photo sharing site that could allow your work to be seen - hopefully with commissions to follow. But does it work? We contacted three random photographers by the contact links they provided on their Burst portfolio page. Only one responded, and although they’ve submitted photos to Burst for years, they never received any queries which lead to a paid commission.
Still, that’s a fraction of the photographers on the site. If you feel this is something worth trying, you can apply to join and submit up to 10 photos to be reviewed. Humans will then look at your proposal and decide whether or not to accept you and your work. You’ll find a list of guidelines which you can download to make sure your offerings are in line with the style Burst is looking for.
- Contribute: 2.5/5
Burst by Shopify: Scorecard
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|Free and easy to find stock photos for commercial use
|Very easy process to access and download your photos
|Simple to see other works from contributors
|An ok way to get exposure, but remuneration is all but non-existent
Should I try?
Try it if...
You’re looking for good quality free stock photos you can use for any purpose, including commercial ventures. Or if you’re a contributor, and you like to offer your work with others for free.
Don't try it if...
You would prefer unique images no other company can use. Or, as a contributor, you’d like to earn a living from your photography.
Burst by Shopify: Alternatives
We’ve previously tested, reviewed, and rated the top free stock photo sites, including the best Adobe Stock alternatives.
Also, see our guide How to try Adobe Stock for free or with Creative Cloud.
Steve has been writing about technology since 2003. Starting with Digital Creative Arts, he's since added his tech expertise at titles such as iCreate, MacFormat, MacWorld, MacLife, and TechRadar. His focus is on the creative arts, like website builders, image manipulation, and filmmaking software, but he hasn’t shied away from more business-oriented software either. He uses many of the apps he writes about in his personal and professional life. Steve loves how computers have enabled everyone to delve into creative possibilities, and is always delighted to share his knowledge, expertise, and experience with readers.