Stock photos are always the main reason of creative and amazing looking websites. A good image can do a lot for a project so picking the right picture is a very important thing.
What is a Royalty-free Stock Image?
When it comes to find royalty-free stock photos & images, the term “royalty-free” is actually misleading because royalty-free images are NOT free at all. You have to pay a one-time license fee to get the license. It comes with 2 types of licenses i.e. Standard & Extended.
Check license agreement of iStockPhoto to know more about standard & extended license and usage restrictions for royalty-free stock images.
There are a lot of stock photo websites present in the market offering free and paid stock photos and you cannot just randomly pick images from any of them. If you are tight on budget then you can go for free public domain images or creative commons but if you have enough budget to buy an image for your project then you must refer to the stock photography websites for royalty-free photos.
Check the below list of 21 popular and industry leading royalty-free stock image websites you should consider for getting the best images for your project.
21 Best Stock Photo Sites to Find Royalty Free Images for Commercial & Personal Use
ThinkStock, a partner site of GettyImages & iStock, offers various image packages as per your requirements. They have four different image packs for those who only need a few images.
Otherwise, they have 3 different monthly packages with different image download limits and prices for people who need images very often.
You can use these royalty-free images for commercial use, such as websites, ads, marketing materials, product packaging, newspapers, books, magazines, posters, email ads, and other digital media or promotional projects, among many more.
Please check the licence terms before buying any image.
Because of its versatility, this one is my personal favorite of the bunch. This means that you can do whatever you want with the images you download from this source because there are no attribution requirements in place for them. Additionally, it is extremely easy to use – there is even a simple search option available right on the homepage before you even log in. You’ll have access to photos, vector images, and illustrations, and you’ll be able to refine your search as needed. The actual images can be downloaded in a jiffy and come with a variety of image sizes (in pixels and megabytes) to ensure that the image you have in hand is clear and of high quality for whatever purpose you may have in mind (in my case, most likely for use on your blog, so a large file size is not required).
Unsplash is another of my faves because it simplifies the process of obtaining free photos. With a free subscription, your downloads are limited – you are only allowed to download 10 photographs every 10 days (or one per day on average)… But unless you post too often, that should be sufficient. It is important to note that the files have high resolution, which means that they are sharp and clear, and can be resized with relative ease.
You can do with the files exactly what you want, just like with Pixabay. There are no restrictions. You will be required to subscribe, which is as simple as entering your email address in the appropriate field. Artistic contributions are constantly being added to the database, which allows it to grow and provide new information.
By way of comparison to the two prior sources, this image source is characterized by the fact that its pictures often take a more independent approach than the photographs in the two preceding sources. Begin by doing a thorough search, after which you may narrow down your results based on the kind of licence, whether or not they contain the originals, and any other licencing criteria that may be relevant.
Creative Commons is a must-have if you want to be certain that your images are legally compliant and that you are appropriately recognized for your work. Employers in the creative sector are often confronted with this kind of need. A few images need payment in order to use in their entirety, despite the fact that the vast majority of them are available for free use. Continue to exercise caution during the downloading process, and make assured that you are fully aware of any potential costs before proceeding with the downloading method further.
ShutterStock, one of the leading stock photo websites, claims that they have over 80+ million royalty-free stock photos. They offer stock photos, illustrations, vectors and videos too.
Their image pack starts at $49/5 images and their subscription is $199/350 images per month with no daily download limit.
This website is a good choice for those who are interested in more than just images.They offer 4 types of plans, i.e. basic, professional, team & enhanced plans, and 2 types of licence options for royalty-free images, i.e. standard & enhancedlicense.
You can use these royalty-free stock photos for commercial use, such as in digital reproduction, online advertising, social media, mobile apps, e-publications, print media, advertisements, and much more.
Always check the standard and enhanced licence agreements to learn more about the usage restrictions.
Getty Images is the leader in the stock photography market. They deal not only with royalty-free images but other creative, video, and music stuff as well.
They offer the world’s most powerful stock photo imagery with flexible options and custom solutions for every need. Their pricing structure is custom and tends to be dependent on how you want to use the photo.
They offer 4 types of licences for images and you can use these stock images for commercial and personal use while following some restricted usage guidelines as per the license agreement.
123RF claims to have more than 54+ million royalty-free stock images, with more than 60,000+ new creative works added weekly. They offer stock photos, vectors, footage & audio work. Their idea is to provide affordable stock photos to their customers.
You can choose to buy image credits, or go with the daily/monthly subscription plans. They also offer customised plans for the customers as per their requirements.
They give you a 100% money-back guarantee, $25000 in legal protection, and unlimited commercial print runs for the royalty-free images you buy from them.
Corbis offers very exclusive images taken by leading photographers of the industry. They offer editorial as well as creative artwork with different subscription plans. You must contact them to know more about the pricing plans.
Corbis is merging their stock image library with GettyImages and website will not be available after April-2016.
iStockPhoto is a very familiar and popular name in the stock photography world. They offer high-quality stock images, illustrations, videos, and audio.
All the images on the website are well organised and tagged in relevant categories. You can browse through the categories or use their search option to find a relevant stock image for you.
You can buy their never expiring credits if you need images once in a while. Otherwise, you can go for their monthly subscription plans based on time duration and your monthly image requirements.
You can use the royalty-free stock pictures for commercial and personal use, such as websites, advertisements, digital promotions, print media, and many other ways.
Fotolia offers 54+ million royalty-free photos, vectors, and videos. Their collection of stock photos is creative and interesting. Images are categorised under different categories such as people, drink, animals, food, business and much more.
They offer 3 plans, i.e., on-demand, monthly pack, and daily subscription. As compared to others, they are a bit more expensive, with credit starting at $1.4. You can even sell your image to Fotolia.
This site offers high-resolution royalty-free stock photos with the best prices on the planet (as they claim). They have plans for a single image as well as a monthly subscription.
Their annual plans are available for $429, $599, and $729 with a monthly image download limit of 500/per month to 1000/per month, one of the cheaper plans I have seen for stock photography. You can get an image for as low as $0.06 for your commercial or personal use.
Dreamstime offers more than 42+ million royalty free stock photos on their website. They offer stock photos and free photos as well. You can buy their credits or go with the various subscription plans.
You can buy their credits or go with the various subscription plans. They offer cheap stock images as compared to other stock photography websites in the industry, categorised under various categories and can be searched via search box.
There is a promotion running right now that allows you to download five or ten images for free up front; to take advantage of this, visit the subscription plans section under price & plans.
Please keep in mind that you will need to create an account and fill out your personal information before you can make a free download – this will take somewhat longer time than the other options listed above. Read their licence agreement to know more about the commercial and non-commercial usage and restrictions.
Over 33 million royalty-free stock photos, videos, and vectors. You can go with the free trial and download a few images for free. Choose from the 3 monthly plans with a daily image download limit. You can get images for as low as $0.33 per image.
You can browse through the image categories, top trending keywords, or use the stock image search option to find the perfect image for you.
One for stock photography websites with a really advanced search system to browse their collection of images. You can buy image credits starting at $16.99 for 12 credits, or you can pay a price per image.
A collection of more than 2 million high-quality royalty-free creative stock images. Crestock is a pretty standard stock photo site. However, they have a dedicated section of celebrity pictures.
You can search relevant stock images for you through the search box. You can choose any of the 3 available options to choose an image for you.
Pay & Go (pay a fixed price for each image), Subscriptions (monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, and annual subscriptions), or Image credits are all options.
Over 11 million royalty-free stock images & pictures, all categorised under relevant categories. You can browse through the different categories or use the search option to find your stock photo.
They offer affordable stock photo plans starting from $69/month for 10 images/month. The better one is $289/month for 250 image downloads/month. You can also choose a customised plan as per your needs.
If you are a designer, then this is the site you are looking for. Stocksy offers extremely creative and unique photographs which designers are always looking for.
This is the site for people who are looking for very creative and meaningful images on a budget price. You can choose from the various licence options available or you can go with the exclusive rights too.
PhotoCase is popular for selling unique, high-quality, royalty-free stock images. They have images tagged under different relevant categories.
They offer credits in 3 different packs with extended licence options based on your requirements.
One of the fastest growing sites for royalty-free stock pictures was created in 2008 and has over 14 million pictures. Pixmac is now acquired by Pond5.
With over 25,000 high-quality images added each day, canstockphoto offers high-quality royalty free stock photos from the world’s best artists and photographers.
Images are categorized in multiple categories. You can buy image credits or go with the monthly subscriptions
Missions of high-quality, royalty-free stock photos, vector images, and high-definition footage at the most competitive prices to meet all of your creative needs
Plans here are very low-cost. Choose from a demang subscription, a daily subscription, or a monthly subscription plan.
Discover millions of royalty-free images, photos & vectors on this not very popular stock photography site. They have been involved with many other stock photo sites to promote their website and reputation building.
This is a very pretty standard stock image website with some very interesting and great images. You can find images by browsing new images, popular images, categories, and the photographers & designers section.
You can choose from image credits, monthly packs & daily subscriptions.
Over 72+ million high-quality stock photos, vectors, and videos make Alamy, the world’s largest stock photo collection. All types of images from various categories such as news & entertainment, vectors, illustrations, history, video showreel etc. are available.
Images are tagged in various relevant categories. You can buy or sell your images at Alamy. Check their licence terms before using any stock picture for commercial or personal use.
We all love the creative and real images clicked by National Geographic. They do not set images and talent like a standard stock photo website, but they do sell images, videos, and talent.
They offer rights managed & royalty free images. You need to contact the NGC team with your requirements for price quotes, permission and image rights to use their stock images for commercial and personal use.
Almost all the stock photography websites offer royalty-free images for commercial and non-commercial use under standard or extended licence agreements. This means you can use these images in your digital media, print media projects, social media accounts, websites, blogs, applications, products, books, magazines, and many more places.
There are a few restrictions on the usage of images for which you need to check the licence agreement of the stock photography website. Always check the terms in the license before using the image.
Please comment below with your thoughts on the above list of websites to find royalty-free stock images and mention if any good ones were missed out. We would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions and queries if any in the comment section below.