The Top 15 Sites For Copyright And Royalty Free Images

Getting images for a website or for your online presence is hard. It isn’t just the idea of finding images that dictate what your website, business, or project is about, it is also about finding images that won’t cause problems for you.

The Top 15 sites For Copyright And Royalty Free Images

These issues can be many things, from inflaming existing tensions that you may have been unaware of to infringing on someone’s copyright, but there is always going to be something that you have to consider. 

Infringing on copyrights is an unfortunate fact of life on the internet. With such a vast information center with billions of people using it, there are bound to be some issues with either accidentally copying someone’s work or intentionally doing it. 

Luckily, there are places to go to get free images that are not copyrighted and without royalties.

Knowing these websites can be a godsend for the average website startup or blog poster and help them build their site without risking angering people. 

So, without further ado, here are the top 15 websites for copyright and royalty free images. 

Shutterstock

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for pictures of dogs, cats, flowers, vegetables, whatever, this website has you covered.

What sets it apart is that they offer a wide variety of different subjects, so even if you aren’t looking for one specific subject, there will probably still be something for you.

The more you look, the better off you’ll be because of all the different categories. From travel shots to food photos, to landscapes, animals, and much more, you really can’t go wrong when searching for images on this website.

They also offer stock footage as well, which is great for videos. 

Pixabay

This place is very similar to Shutterstock in its approach to offering images. However, instead of having a huge number of categories like Shutterstock does, Pixabay only offers four: Nature & Wildlife, People, Architecture, and Landscapes.

There are a lot of good images available on this website, but I would say that it lacks the quantity that you might find on other websites.

Also, because of the small selection of categories, you’re less likely to run into images that don’t fit what you need at all.

That being said, they do have a large amount of photographs and video clips, so if you’re looking for more than just pictures, then this could be the place for you. 

Alamy Stock Photo

If you want to take full advantage of Alamy’s offerings, you should sign up with them first. Once you’ve signed up, you can search through their database of over 2 million high quality images.

You can choose from various different file types, including JPGs, PNGs, GIFs, and TIFs. To add to the convenience of their platform, you can download the images directly onto your computer.

This means that you can use the files however you see fit, whether it’s for your personal projects or commercial ones. 

Unsplash

One of my favorite sites, Unsplash, is a photography-centric website where you can find a ton of high quality images.

Because of how easy it is to upload your own photos, there is always a new batch of fresh content coming out every day.

While many people will try to make money by selling photos online, Unsplash allows anyone to freely share their work.

As long as you follow their terms of service, you won’t have any trouble finding excellent material. If you’re interested in uploading your own photos, they also have a section called “Upload Your Own” where you can submit them for consideration. 

Fotolia

Fotolia is another image resource that offers a lot of different options. In addition to their general category listing, you can browse through their collection of stock photo catalogs.

These include things like Food, Travel, Animals, etc. Another way to browse their library is to sort by size. It’s not exactly the same thing as browsing for free stuff, but it’s a nice option nonetheless. 

Creative Commons Images

You may know that Creative Commons licenses allow you to make modifications to an original piece of art and then distribute those changes to others under certain conditions.

This is why you might see some images here that are actually licensed under CC0. Although CC0 is often used to refer specifically to the public domain, it also includes noncommercial uses.

Some smart cookie realized that having a site of all these images that are free would get a lot of traffic, thus Creative Commons Images was born.

The images on this site are completely free to use without the permission of the photographer. So if you’re looking for free images, this site is definitely worth checking out. 

PicJumbo

Another great source for free images is Picjumbo. Their focus is on making sure that the images they provide are of the highest quality possible.

The Top 15 sites For Copyright And Royalty Free Images (1)

And since they offer both photo and illustration styles, you’ll never lack for variety when using their resources.

They have a variety of different categories to browse through, like Fashion, Pets, and Sports. And while most of these images are free to use, you’ll still need to register before you can access everything. 

iStockPhoto

Another well known source for free images is iStockPhoto. With over 20 years of experience serving photographers around the world, they know exactly what their customers want.

The best part about this website is that it’s extremely easy to navigate. You can simply click on one of the categories listed on the left side of the screen and start scrolling down until you find something interesting.

For example, if you were looking for food images, you would just head straight to the Food category. There are several subcategories within each main category, which helps keep things organized.

However, if you do get stuck, you can always contact customer support to ask questions. 

Pexels

This is another popular site for free images, especially for designers who are looking for clean illustrations.

Pexels has over 1 million images in its library, so chances are good that you’ll be able to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Just like other websites on our list, the best part about Pexels is that all the images are free to use. Just don’t forget to give credit whenever you use one of their illustrations. 

Burst

If you’re looking for high-resolution photos, Burst should probably be your first stop. Since they only offer high resolution files, you won’t have any trouble finding images that will look amazing at any given size.

When searching for free images, it’s important to note that there are two types: HD and SD. HD stands for High Definition and SD stands for Standard Definition.

If you’re going for more detailed photos, you’ll want to search for HD ones. Otherwise, you’ll probably end up with blurry shots. 

Dreamstime

Dreamstime is another reputable company that provides high-resolution photographs. Like Shutterstock, they also offer paid memberships for people who want even more options than the standard free offerings.

In fact, Dreamstime offers three tiers of membership depending on how much you’d like to spend. The cheapest option allows you to download 10 images per month, but if you go for the second tier, you’ll receive unlimited downloads every day.

Finally, if you purchase a third tier membership, you’ll be able to download 100 images per month. It seems like a lot, but since these images are usually very high quality, you shouldn’t run into any issues when working with them. 

Getty Images

Not only does Getty offer some of the most beautiful images on the web, they also make it super simple to access them.

This website is full of different sections, including the Creative Commons section, where you can find tons of creative commons licensed photos.

They also have a section called Stock Photos, which contains thousands of royalty free images. These images can be used in both personal projects and professional work.

All you need to do is create an account and then browse through the various categories until you find the perfect image. 

Stocksy

One of the biggest benefits of using stock photography is being able to save time by not having to create unique content for every project.

Instead, you can simply buy pre-made images from companies such as Stocksy. While many of their images are royalty free, some require attribution. However, the good news is that most of the images on this website come with the Creative Commons license.

This means that you can use them without worrying about getting sued because someone owns the copyrights to those images. 

Image Source

As the name suggests, this website was created to help photographers provide royalty free images. Unlike other sites on our list, you don’t have to create an account or pay anything to get started.

Simply type in keywords related to your industry and start browsing through the results. You can quickly narrow down your search by selecting specific file sizes, resolutions, and colors.

Once you find a photo that strikes your fancy, click on the “Get It” button, and you’ll be directed to a page that lists all the details about the image. From here, you can either download the image yourself or contact the photographer directly. 

Stock Unlimited

This website has been around for quite a while now and has grown to become one of the largest collections of royalty free images online.

Their collection includes everything from vintage photos to modern art. In addition to offering the highest resolution images available for free, they also allow users to choose the exact color palette for each image.

For example, if you wanted to add black and white to an existing photograph, you could easily do so. Another cool feature is that you can actually request images directly from the artists themselves!

By creating a profile, you can upload your own photographs and let others see what kind of original artwork you produce. 

Conclusion

There are plenty of websites with free stock images that can be used at a whim by anybody, thanks to the Creative Commons License.

Many of these websites offer paid membership for better photos, but for those starting out they are also great for free photos.

Katie Dawson
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