The definition of urban has come to take on many connotations over the years. From its basic definition: of, relating to, or designating a city or town; living in a city, or characteristic of or accustomed to cities (aka citified), to its more secondary meaning: dominated by a racial minority, usually African American, there is a lot of confusion out there as to what exactly it means to be urban.
That said, there seems to be a more general consensus when it comes to what urban photography looks like and represents, though it is still difficult to pin down one concrete definition.
In fact, it can be summed up that urban photography, in its most basic form, “seeks to encapsulate not just people [in a city backdrop], but also objects, cityscapes, [and] the surreal”. To add to that, urban photography:
- Critically examines objects, subjects, and landscapes as a connect or disconnect from the city
- Visually represents an idea as it exists in a citified atmosphere
- Comments on contemporary everyday life in an ecological space
Still confused? Don’t worry, you are not the only one.
Urban imagery comes in many different forms, has many different meanings, and often has an industrious, gritty, and abstract feel to it. It goes beyond the perfect postcard image of a city’s famous skyline, it takes in what happens in and around a beautifully constructed building, and it tends to focus less on people and more on the activity of the city itself.
If this sounds like something you want to integrate into your website, whether it be a travel site, lifestyle blog, or business site with an office located in the heart of the city, keep reading.
Today I am going to share with you some of the best free urban website backgrounds that can be found on the internet today. After all, urban images are perfect for those seeking to make a bold statement on their website, comment on the beauty that is life in the city, and express a creative vibe to those that visit.
1. Metro Subway by Raumrot
Raumrot offers users nothing but high resolution, urban photography that you can edit, modify, mash, and filter for your personal or professional creative projects.
Find image sets and single downloads, all claiming to be handpicked, non-stock, and truly unique. Aiming to allow sharing of images across the world, all the photographers at Raumrot ask is for image attribution.
2. Inner City Street Newcastle by FFCU
FCCU brings website owners authentic, high resolution images that are perfect for use as background images.
Encouraging the sharing of images across multiple mediums, including websites, the creatives at FCCU include multiple categories including the popular urban one. Altogether, all 1,020 images are copyright free under a Creative Commons Zero license and are free for personal or commercial use.
3. Bird’s Eye View of Intersection by Pexels
Pexels is a popular image gallery that offers all images, even those under the urban category, under a CCO license meaning they are free for personal and professional use.
Modify, copy, and distribute any image found here and never worry about having to attribute anything. In addtition, you can upload your own urban photos if you want to add to the collection. Designed to help bloggers, designers, and lovers of photography find great images for free, Pexels also has free videos for those seeking added extra appeal.
4. Faded Glory by 500px
Faded Glory is a huge photography community boasting over 80 million free to use and premium images in a variety of searchable categories.
Download inspiring urban images to edit and share as your website’s background. Additionally, connect with other enthusiasts, upload your own photography to sell, and expose your creative works across a large platform. Plus, meet friends, colleagues, and mentors while you master your craft, learn new techniques, and take advantage of free images to be used in any way you can think of.
5. Glass Wall by DesignerPics.com
DesignerPics.com is a great resource for finding images to be used on websites, in presentations, on packaging, brochures, templates, and more.
Though not to be used for individual sale, each image found here does not require attribution. And, new images are added all the time by photographer Jeshu John. Altogether, with several helpful categories to help you narrow down the perfect urban image, this gallery has what you need to get a great background image.
6. Street in Paris by Epicantus
Epicantus has photography by Daria that comes in under Creative Commons Zero licenses so everyone can use the images as they please.
Wanting to help fellow visual and UX designers find high quality images with a specific message, Daria lets you use all images in the gallery for personal or commercial use. In addition, you can make image requests. In the end, there is no need for attribution and there are plenty of images to scan through.
7. delfi de la Rua by FindA.Photo
FindA.Photo has thousands of free to use, copyright free images that can easily be used as a background image for your website.
Search by category to find the ideal urban image, or browse by collections. For instance, collections include long-exposure, aerial, or technology to name a few. In addition, you can browse by color scheme so that you can match your website’s branding and personality seamlessly.
8. Urban Bike Bicycle by Foter
Foter brings over 335 million stock photos so finding the one to match your urban desire is not a problem at all.
Search via category or keyword and make sure you check for attribution requirements. Then, enjoy the sheer number of available images and add a background image that will slay all of your competition’s.
9. Urban by GetRefe
GetRefe is a small gallery of images with free, public domain images of both nature and urban landscapes.
Since there is no search or category function, you must skim through all available images, unless you find the link to their download site by clicking on a thumbnail image’s link. There, you will find a search bar, several categories, and a free image section.
10. Looking up at the towers in Atlanta, Georgia by GoodFreePhotos.com
GoodFreePhotos.com gives website owners access to free, public domain photos, clipart, and vectors, while requiring zero attribution for images used.
There are lots of categories and locations to choose from, and a way to search the gallery as well. In all, images come from a traveling photographer/webmaster that takes scenic photos and shares them with you.
11. Umbrella and Stairs by Gratisography
Gratisography is a gallery resource we have used in the past, and we continue to mention it because it is so great.
Photographer Ryan McGuire shares his personal photography with all users and ensures all images are free of any copyright requirements. They are high resolution and good for personal or commercial use. In addition, new photos are added weekly. Lastly, search categories or use the convenient search function and find the urban image you are seeking.
12. Barber Shop by ImageFinder.com
ImageFinder.com comes packed with over 35,000 images to choose from, making your pick of the urban ones a tough choice because there are so many cool ones.
Search for image via keyword, tags, featured images, or newest. Altogether, what started out as a search engine to find Creative Commons Flickr images, is now a resource collecting images from all over the web.
13. City Phone by ISO Republic
ISO Republic has free stock images that professionals looking for high quality images can use as background images on their websites.
Started in 2014 by designer and photographer Tom Eversley, there are now over 1,500 available images. Suitable for personal or commercial use, you can also add your own photos to the site if you want.
In the end, regardless of your definition of what urban is or means, there is a stunning image to match that you can use as an impressive background image on your website. And, since there are so many free images out there, finding your dream urban image only takes some time.
Objects, people, the city life, and more are what make urban images so powerful. They speak to a person’s daily life and all the emotions people feel on a regular basis. Using an image like this on your website is sure to make a bold and relatable statement amongst site visitors.
Have you used any of the above-mentioned image galleries to find the perfect urban image for your website? Have I left off a resource you think should have made the list? I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!