Here are my top places to find Royalty Free images. Just keep in mind that “Royalty Free” doesn’t always mean that the image itself is free. But most places on this list are FREE and Royalty Free.
You may need to pay for the image but then you can used it as many times as you want without having to pay royalties to the owner every time you use it. Although most of the images you find can be free but I want you to be conscious of that as you’re searching for an image(s) to use on your website, video(s) or social media.
I have to put Shutterstock on this list somewhere. Shutterstock has probably been around the longest on this list and they boast over 350 million images in their library. Not to mention their library of videos and music as well.
Shutterstock is NOT free but you do get 10 royalty free images that’s yours to keep during the Free Trail if you interested in trying it out. But if you need a diverse portfolio of images and videos then paying for Shutterstock is the way to go. They have Images, Vectors, Illustrations, Editorials, Video and Music that you can choose from and it’s quite robust.
Pixabay has over 1.8 million of royalty free images, videos, vector graphics, illustrations and music that has been shared by the community. There are no shortage of High Quality content you can find to use for your own endeavors. Pixabay is Free with some images being Premium which you can pay for if you want to use them.
Freepik is another great place to find royalty free images to use and it’s Free. Freepik is probably my favorite when it comes to getting Vector images, PSDs and Icons to use for my website but they also have tons of photos as well.
One caveat is that even though some of the images are free to use for personal or commercial use, you still need to give credit to the author unless you sign up for the Premium (PAID) service. With the Premium subscription you don’t have to give attribution to the author and you gain access to premium images as well for a fairly cheap price.
One of my favorite things about Freepik is that every download comes with a License file that you can continue to use even after your subscription ends.
Pexels makes it easy for you to find royalty free images and videos to use for your content.
One of the best things about Pexels is categories and ease of use. Browsing through their library to find a image that you need is a very pleasant experience.
Unsplash has a massive variety of royalty free images, backgrounds and wallpapers that you can choose from and I do like the way Unsplash categorizes their images which makes it easy for you to shuffle through their library. One this that Unspash is lacking in comparison to the others on this list is they do not offer stock videos to use but they make it up by offering a variety of High Quality image for you to choose from.
Adobe Stock is another great resource for royalty free images and has a massive Library of assets for you to use. If you are an avid user of Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator or even the Creative Cloud suite then you might want to consider using Adobe Stock for a seamless integration.
Using Adobe Stock with other Adobe products could really help save time and increase work flow. It’s not cheap but you get 10 royalty free images to use when you sign up.
If you own a store on Shopify then it might make sense for you to use Burst which helps you integrate royalty free images seamlessly to your store. But like the others on this list you are not limited to use these images on Shopify, you can use them where ever you want!
Burst is Free to use but be careful as some images have different types of licenses.
All of these services have a basic License of Use. There are some exceptions but these are the general guidelines.
- Royalty free right to use
- Download, copy, modify or adapt
- Commercial or non-commercial use
- Attribution to author NOT required but always appreciated
- does NOT allow:
- Sale or distribution of Content
- Depiction of identifiable persons in an offensive, pornographic, obscene, immoral, defamatory or libelous way
- suggestion that there is an endorsement of products and services by depicted persons, brands, vocalists and organizations, unless permission was granted
Just be aware that even though the images are royalty free and are free to use for Commercial and Non-commercial purposes the items in the Content, such as identifiable people, logos, brands, audio samples etc. may be subject to additional copyrights, property rights, privacy rights, trademarks etc. and may require the consent of a third party or the license of these rights – particularly for commercial applications. These services are not liable in this regard.
Policies and License may change over time so I encourage you to verify their license before you use a image. Each License for each place is also different so I highly recommend you look through them before you decide to use one of their images.
For your convenience, I’ve put the link to licenses for each platform.
I don’t want you to be scared off by using these services but if you do your due diligences, verifying the origination of the image and verifying the terms of usage then you should be alright.
If you’re interested on how to optimize your images for your website then head on over to my article on How to increase SEO by optimizing images.