Can I Use Pexels On YouTube?

Creating content for YouTube can be a complicated process, much more so than it used to be.

Can I Use Pexels On YouTube

With all the rules and regulations around YouTube’s terms of use and copyright laws – it can often be confusing to know what is allowed and not allowed. 

Using stock imagery and videos is a popular way to add to your content and Pexels is one of the biggest sources for that – but can you use Pexels on YouTube?

We’ve cleared up the dos and do nots with this handy guide. We’ll tell you if you can use Pexels on YouTube as a content creator, and how best to do so. 

Read on for more! 

What Exactly Is Pexels Anyway?

Pexels is an online database of royalty-free images, vectors, photos and illustrations.

It was founded in 2010 by Roman Czerniawski, who wanted to create a place where anyone could share their work without having to worry about copyright issues or licensing fees.

The site has since grown into a community of over 3 million users from across the globe.

In essence, it is a place where you can find thousands of stock videos and imagery for your content. This helps a wide array of creatives including bloggers, vloggers and designers.

You may have heard of Pixabay before, which is owned by Pexels. Both sites are great resources for finding free stock images and vector graphics, but they’re very different. 

Pixabay is a paid subscription service, while Pexels is completely free. You can find plenty of beautiful images here, but you won’t get any support when you need it.

Pixabay is also focused solely on photography, whereas Pexels offers a wide variety of media types. 

If you want to make money off your own work, then you should consider using Pixabay. But if you just want to showcase your creativity, then Pexels is perfect for you. 

Can You Use Pexels On YouTube?

Yes, there’s nothing wrong with using Pexels on YouTube, providing you follow specific criteria and make modifications.

To put it briefly, you can’t simply re-upload the videos or imagery on your YouTube content and expect that to be okay. 

We’ll look at the ways to use Pexels on YouTube in more detail later.

How Can I Use Pexels For My YouTube Videos?

So, let’s say you want to use Pexels for your YouTube channel. What exactly does that mean? Well, firstly, you need to understand what kind of content you’re creating.

There are two main categories:

  1. Creative Content
  2. Educational Content

Creative Content

This includes things like music videos, comedy sketches, movies, etc. These kinds of videos require original footage or audio recordings.

Educational Content

This type of video requires no original material. Instead, it needs to include a lot of text explaining concepts, ideas or facts. Examples include educational tutorials, product reviews, travel guides, etc.

In both cases, you will need to ensure that the content you upload meets the following guidelines:

  1. Be Creative
  2. Be Original
  3. Have No Copyright Issues

Using Someone Else’s Content

Using Someone Else's Content

It’s important to note that you cannot simply take someone else’s footage and re-upload it as we previously mentioned. However, there are loopholes that allow this. 

This is where modifications come into play. You can use someone else’s content (and this includes content from Pexels) for the purposes of review or for education. 

When it comes to using someone else’s imagery or videos, content creators would be advised to use a disclaimer saying that the imagery or video footage is not their own, or credit the source. 

Some YouTubers find this easier to do in the description or at the end of their videos. 

Using Pexels On YouTube Responsibly 

Pexels has some clear guidelines when it comes to using their stock imagery and videos. For those who wish to use their content on YouTube, there are some areas you must be aware of. 

Portraying Someone In A Negative Light 

Pexels is very clear on this. You’re permitted to use stock video or imagery to enhance or to make a point, but not to create your own story. 

For example, if there is stock footage of a person getting arrested or doing something illegal, you are not allowed to explicitly state that the “actor” is in fact a criminal. 

Using The Stock Imagery Or Videos For Pornographic Context

While this is not entirely clear what Pexels mean here, we can assume they’re telling the content creator not to use “actors” imagery or footage to create or discuss something that might be deemed as pornographic. 

That type of content is not allowed on YouTube anyway, but it’s important to note this. 

Using Pexels Content Without Modification 

As previously stated, you will need to add your own artistic or informative twist onto the stock imagery and video.

While YouTube may not notice if you’ve simply carbon copied Pexels content onto your channel, Pexels could apply for your account to be deactivated or removed. 

This is especially more likely if you’ve applied for monetization on your channel as YouTube becomes much more involved in your content.

Additionally, it’s simple for anybody to apply for a copyright claim to your content which automatically opens a dispute and stops monetization of that video. 

Can I Use Pexels For Content And Monetize My Channel? 

There’s little difference between using Pexels content for monetization or not.

As previously said though, if you are not following the strict guidelines set out by YouTube, Pexels and the law for that matter, you will find your content being removed pretty quickly.

As mentioned, if you monetize your channel, the chances of this happening are much higher. Therefore, it’s vital that you know how to use Pexels content on your videos. 

What Is The Advantage Of Using Pexels?

The main advantage of using Pexels is that they have an incredible amount of high-quality images available for free. 

You don’t even need to sign up to use them. Simply search for whatever image or video you want to use and click on the ‘use’ button.

You’ll then be taken straight to the download page where you can save the file directly into your computer. 

Alternatively, you can also upload the file directly from your computer to Pexels. This is useful if you want to edit the image before uploading it to YouTube. 

Is There Any Disadvantage To Using Pexels? 

Yes! There are two major disadvantages to using Pexels. Firstly, you cannot modify their images at all.

They do provide some basic editing tools such as resizing, cropping and rotating, but these are limited compared to other sites like Canva or Adobe Photoshop. 

This in turn means you have more work to do when it comes to using their content as you’ll need to make changes or modifications away from Pexels.

Secondly, you must keep in mind that Pexels does not allow any kind of watermarking on its images.

You cannot put your logo or brand name anywhere on the image itself.  If you wish to use a watermark, you should look elsewhere. 

The Bottom Line 

Yes you can use Pexels for YouTube, but you must ensure that you are following the guidelines set out by YouTube and Pexels themselves. 

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy our post on ‘Where Do YouTubers Get Their Music?‘.

Katie Dawson