4 Best Sources to Get Royalty-Free Stock Images

A photo collage

If you're a savvy internet user with a focus on various social media channels, sooner or later, you'll feel the need to source images for your posts. You can either create these images on your own or, you can rely on external sources. But, copyright is a huge issue when using content from external sources. Fortunately, there are several good sources from where you can easily pick royalty-free stock images for your content. We've handpicked some of these resources to help you easily source custom images without worrying about copyright issues. All of these popular image databases are free to use.

A photo collage

A couple of resources mentioned below are used to acquire images for posts published on this blog. Although the images available are royalty-free, attribution is encouraged though it is not mandatory.

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So, let's get started and check out some of the best websites you can use to source tons of royalty-free stock images for your content. Feel free to try each one of them to select the one meeting your needs.

1. Pexels

Pexels homepage

Pexels - It's one of the largest resources to get royalty-free stock images. It's not just the photos, but it also offers royalty-free videos. They have a very generous license policy for its users. All the stock images are free and attribution is not required. But, attribution is always encouraged.

Images acquired from this resource can be edited without any restriction. They don't impose any restrictions if you're uploading the images to photo-sharing apps for your personal use. For power users, they offer a flexible and powerful API to pull images and videos—programmatically.

2. Pixabay

Pixabay homepage

Pixabay - With millions of royalty-free stock images, it's one of the best sources to grab an image of your choice. Apart from images, it also offers videos and music clips. It's one of the few resources that allow commercial use of royalty-free images which makes it a preferred choice for me.

They offer flexible filtering options to fine-tune your search for images. This helps in searching for the right image from their huge database. You're not allowed to sell images acquired from this resource on similar kinds of platforms. You can also find curated collections to speed up your image search.

3. Unsplash

Unsplash homepage

Unsplash - This is my primary source for acquiring royalty-free stock images. It offers large-size high-resolution photos for free. Quite similar to its competition, this one too has a splendid licensing policy that allows you to grab these free images both for personal and commercial use.

I like its infinite scroll grid-like photo-listing system. It enables me to continuously scan the images without any need to refresh the page. Its fantastic visual search feature lets you upload your photos to search for similar images from their database. Do try this useful feature—once.

4. StockSnap

StockSnap homepage

StockSnap - It's one of the few resources that offer extremely high-resolution large images for free. Which makes it ideal for projects targeting large screens. Trending section and category collections enable you to quickly scan some of the heavily-used images downloaded by a large number of users.

You can sort the images based on different criteria. The most common sorting options used by everyone are dates, views, and downloads. Tags associated with every photo helps in quickly finding similar kind of images. With an account, you get some extra features for better photo management.

Do's and Don'ts While Using Royalty-Free Stock Images

Following are some of the important pointers to safely use these royalty-free stock images for your content.

  • Do not scrape these stock photos to create a similar kind of service.
  • Do not sell these photos on a similar kind of service or platform.
  • Do not claim it to be your original work.
  • Be generous and try to give attribution whenever there is a scope to do so.

In a nutshell, royalty-free stock images are one of the best options to acquire and use images for your content. Follow the licensing policy of these resources while using the stock images.