Having great images is an essential component of any design project, site design, or blog post.
Let’s face it, having nice images will always make your design projects more memorable. If you run a blog, nice images will make your blog posts more interactive and interesting. And ultimately, having nice images will turn visitors into customers, users, and readers.
In this article, we’ve put together a list of some of the best websites to find royalty-free images for your website that you can download and use for free.
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If you’d like to jump to the section you’re looking for, a hyperlinked table of contents is available.
What are Royalty-Free Images?
Royalty-free simply means you do not have to pay a royalty or fee when you use the image. This means that rights to the image are sold at a flat-rate, a one-time fee, or waived.
Not all royalty-free images have the same usage rights. Some will be available for private use only, while others are available for commercial use.
Here is a quick rundown of some common media licenses:
- Rights Managed (RM) – the image is licensed for exclusive use by one client for a specific period of time
- Rights Ready (RR) – like ‘rights managed’ but the license can be extended further
- Creative Commons (CC) – the image can be distributed freely
- Royalty-Free (RF) – as mentioned above, royalty-free images can be used freely, but usage conditions vary
- Extended License – usually offers more uses than royalty-free for a higher cost
We recommend not using Google or Bing to find images because they are not reliable sources and could end up getting you into trouble. Instead, start making a list of known websites where you can get media without any possible legal ramifications.
Now that you know what royalty-free images are, we can get started with our list of 22 websites to find royalty-free images for your website that you can use for free.
Pixabay is one of the most popular sources of royalty-free images. This site offers more than 2.7 million high-quality stock photos organized into categories and tags that anyone can download and use for free. They also offer vector graphics, illustrations, videos, music, and sound effects.
If you are having trouble finding what you are looking for, you can try using their advanced search feature. You can do this by clicking the category filter within the search box and choosing Search options.
Pexels is another great option to find free high-quality stock photos and videos that are hand-picked and licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CCO) license agreement. This license allows you to use their photos and videos for personal and commercial use without attribution.
To get started here you need to click or type something into the search box. Then you will start seeing categories show up. You will also see a handy Filters option located to the right after doing a search.
Unsplash is another great go-to source for free stock photos and royalty-free images. They offer thousands of high-quality images from a wide variety of categories. Although most images here are free they do offer a premium Unsplash+ plan for more exclusive images.
Vecteezy offers an extensive library of free stock images, vector art, and videos for personal and commercial use that is manually reviewed for quality. There is a large variety of different categories to choose from and an excellent search option to narrow down results. You can filter searches by color, style, orientation, number of people, age of people, and more.
This website provides signed models and property releases for all free photos where needed. This feature protects users (and their designs) from any legal liabilities; a point that is often overlooked by other free photo sites.
SplitShire, created by Daniel Nanescu, started as a side project in 2014 as a way to do something with all the photography he had sitting around collecting dust. So he decided to give them away for free. Thousands of amazing high-quality photos can be downloaded and used under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.
You can browse images by category or by using the search option. New photos are added to the site regularly.
6. Public Domain Pictures
Public Domain Pictures is a great place to find royalty-free images and photographs. You can find images using the search feature or by browsing through categories.
What’s especially unique about this website is the number of vintage photographs and retro pop art you can find. All images here are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license unless otherwise stated on the image.
7. New Old Stock
New Old Stock is an amazing website that offers a curated collection of vintage photographs that are now in public domain. The photos you’ll find here are free of known copyright restrictions.
8. Pickup Image
Pickup Image offers thousands of free high-quality images, photos, and clipart that you can download and use royalty-free. The images you find here have landed in public domain, so they are licensed under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) which allows you to copy, modify, and distribute them for personal and commercial purposes.
You can use the search feature to find what you’re looking for or browse by category and tag. You can also edit images on-site with their handy photo editor. Once you have finished editing the image, simply download it to your computer.
9. Public Domain Archive
Public Domain Archive offers lots of free high-resolution photos that have landed in public domain, hence the name. All images you find here are free for the taking and licensed under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) which allows you to use them personally and commercially.
This site offers a beautiful mix of modern and vintage photographs with new images added weekly.
LibreShot offers lots of high-resolution royalty-free photos that you can download and use for personal or commercial use for free without attribution. You can find photos by using the search feature or by browsing by tag.
NegativeSpace has thousands of amazing royalty-free photos, covering a wide variety of categories and interests that you can download and use for free. You can search by category, tag, color, or using the search feature.
Skitterphoto was created by photographers who didn’t want to see their photos go to waste and good photos were hard to find. Now you can find lots of original and unique photos from their own photographers spread across many different categories and tags. The photos you’ll find here are offered for free under the public domain CC0 license.
StockSnap offers a ton of royalty-free photos across numerous categories and tags with new ones added every week. You can find what you are looking for by using the search feature, selecting a category, or by clicking a tag. You can also sort photos by date, views, downloads, and favorites, and even see what’s trending.
PicJumbo offers plenty of free royalty-free photos and design resources in many categories that you can download and use for free for personal and commercial projects.
You can find photos using the search feature, browsing through categories, and clicking on tags. What’s really cool about PicJumbo is that you can download entire collections for blog posts, websites, templates, apps, and more. This website is a definite go-to place for designers, marketers, and bloggers.
15. WikiMedia Commons
WikiMedia Commons is a common media file repository for the various projects of the WikiMedia Foundation to make public media and freely licensed educational media available to everyone.
You can browse the library by media types such as images, photographs, drawings, and illustrations or by file types like audio, video, and images. It is also possible to browse by topic and subject.
Most of the media you will find here will be in public domain which allows you to use them without providing attribution. However, some media may have a creative commons license requiring attribution so make sure you check the license before you use it.
PDPics offers a large collection of royalty-free images across various categories that can be used in any personal or commercial project. Images at this site are licensed under Creative Commons Zero (CC0).
17. Life of Pix
Life of Pix allows you to download free high-resolution royalty-free photographs with no copyright restrictions. Every week new photographs are added by photographers and are donated to the public domain.
What really cool about this website is that every week a new photographer is selected as Photographer of the week by the Life of Pix team with ten photographs highlighted.
18. WordPress Photos
WordPress Photos was created to help WordPress users find more images for their websites. It offers thousands of royalty-free photos that you can download and use for free.
All images you find here are CC0 licensed. So you are free to use these images for any purpose, without the need to provide attribution.
Burst is a free stock image website powered by Shopify where creators and website owners can find high-resolution royalty-free photos. At Burst you will find fresh images uploaded frequently across many categories to suit almost any project.
Reshot offers free icons and illustrations from a variety of categories that are all royalty-free. You can use these images personally or commercially with no attribution required.
This website was made by designers for designers. You can download icons and illustrations in several different formats, such as vector, png, svg, and more.
Flaticon offers over 8 million free icons, stickers, and logos from numerous categories that will fit into any project. Although Flaticon does allow you to download and use their images you will need to provide attribution.
unDraw offers quality free-to-use illustrations that are royalty-free with no attribution required. These images are available in customizable colors that can be combined and modified to create new more exciting images.
You can find images by searching or by category and can download images in svg or png format.
Alright, you should now have a pretty good idea of where to find some free images that you can use in your next design project, website, or blog post that are royalty-free. Have fun and create!
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