10 Best Sources For Royalty Free Images

Images are a very important aspect of digital media. They can draw attention to a post on social media or help to engage people visiting your website. When it’s not possible to make or take your own images, it’s still important that you find quality royalty free images to use in your content.

So, where is the best place to find this quality content? Check out the 10 best sources for royalty free images below.

Here’s what we’ll discuss:

What Are Royalty Free Images Exactly?

Although it may sound like it, not all royalty free images are free. Rather, royalty free refers to the type of license an image has – royalty free images can be used many times without the need to pay any royalties

The best sources for free royalty free images include: 

1. Pixabay

Pixabay offers more than a million options for free, high-quality videos and images. Images can be used for commercial use and no attribution is required. For full resolution images the site requires you to create an account and login. But for most purposes, a high enough resolution image can be downloaded easily in just a couple of clicks.

2. Pexels

Pexels is another great source for free imagery. Images (in any resolution) can be downloaded for free in just one click. Although it is not required, Pexels does request that users attribute the creator with a link from the photo. The use of Pexels photos is unrestricted, meaning that they can be used for both commercial and personal use, as well as modified by the user.

3. Unsplash

Unsplash also offers free royalty free images with Creative Commons Zero (CC0) licenses – an unrestricted license. Images can be used for commercial use and can be altered. Images can be downloaded in one click and Unsplash does not require attribution but does offer a link, as attribution is appreciated.

4. Flickr
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Flickr offers billions of free images, however, be sure to read which license the image you’d like to use falls under. There are 8 license types, meaning some images have different usage rules than others. In the top left-hand corner of your search results, Flickr offers the ability to search by license type – which is very helpful if you know you will be using the image for commercial use, if you’d like to modify the image, etc.

5. Canva
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Along with its graphic design capabilities, Canva also offers free stock photos, with the ability to customize. Canva can be used for free by simply creating an account. For additional options, paid accounts are also offered. Beyond downloading photos, Canva also offers hundreds of template options for everything from social media posts to signage and posters.

The Best Sources For Paid Royalty Free Images

1. Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock is an awesome resource for paid royalty free images, videos and even 3D images! The site offers various plans based on your needs that can provide anywhere from 10 to 750 image downloads per month. Adobe Stock also offers a free one-month trial if you’d like to dip your toes in first before commiting.

2. Dreamstime
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Dreamstime offers royalty free photos, illustrations, video, audio and more! With 123 million photos available on the site, there is something for everyone. The site requires you to sign up with an account but offers a free one-week trial. Just be sure that you are clear on how you will be using the asset you download, as you may require an extended licence. Before downloading your image, review the license properties by clicking the question mark beside the Extended Licenses tab.

3. Getty Images

Getty Images offers high-quality photos and images. Images on the site can be a bit pricy but the quality speaks for itself. Getty Images allows you to buy a package based on the size of the images you’ll be downloading – offering 5 or 10 pack options.

Note: Getty Images does allow non-commercial users to embed images at no cost.

4. Death To Stock
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Death to Stock compiles beautiful photos and videos created by artists. The site offers a 14-day free trial and is subscription based. Subscriptions provide unlimited asset downloads and range from $12 per month to $399 per year.

5. Shutterstock

Shutterstock offers a huge collection of images, video, music and more. This resource also offers a free one-month trial with subsequent plans ranging from $29 to $229 per month. With its annual plans, Shutterstock also offers access to its Shutterstock Editor Pro.

Key Takeaways For The Best Royalty Free Images

If you’re in need of some amazing photography, images, video, audio and more, these resources can help! Just be sure that you review the usage restrictions that each asset has before using it.

Here’s a recap of the 10 best sources for royalty free images – free and paid.

Free sources

  • Pixabay
  • Pexels
  • Unsplash
  • Flickr
  • Canva

Paid sources

  • Adobe Stock
  • Dreamstime
  • Getty Images
  • Death to Stock Photos
  • Shutterstock

You’ll never be stuck searching for an image again with these 10 best sources for royalty free images. Enjoy! 

Vincent Lee

Written By Vincent Lee

The Managing Editor at Advesa, Vincent is a mechanical keyboard enthusiast, a lover of cats, and a purveyor of fine roasted matcha teas. When not writing, he enjoys exercising and biking around his beautiful hometown of Vancouver. He is also a strong supporter of the oxford comma.