In today’s digital world whether you are a digital creator, photo editor, designer, blogger, teacher, student, or digital signage designer, you always need images and photographs to communicate effectively with others and grasp their attention. Any content without images gets boring and loses the attention of audience or reader or viewer. Getting images for your personal use can be troublesome especially if you have to capture all the images on your own. We can always use Internet to get stock images and use them, but we must be careful about copyright claims.
There are 4 basic categories in which stock images fall.
- Public Domain Images
- Rights-Managed Images
- Creative Commons Images
- Royalty-Free Images
In this article, we are going to guide you about these categories and tell you where to get images in these categories.
Public Domain Images
Images which are in public domain are free from copyright claims and protection because either their copyright protection has expired, or the author has intentionally given up his/her copyrights. You can use these images in any way you want, there is no attribution required and the images in the public domain are free to use.
Listed below are some websites where you can find public domain images for free.
Gratisography is a website project by designer Ryan McGuire. This site offers quirky, creative and free public domain photos. The designer regularly puts out high-resolution photos under the CC0 public domain license. Images are organized category wise and the interface is very simple and easy to use.
2. Little Visuals
Little Visuals provide images that are free to use for commercial purposes and you can use them anywhere you want. Little Visuals have approximately 3.4 million users and 130 thousand subscribers. They do not have images organized in categories. Instead images are just randomly placed on their home screen. They do not provide search features for their users. But the good thing is that images are of high resolution and they release 7 new public domain images every week which provides a great variety of content for users.
Picdrome is a growing digital collection of photos in the public domain. All the images are licensed under CC0 1.0 public dedication license. Picdrome has a clean and simple user interface and photographs are organized according to categories like nature, architecture, food, industrial and machinery, travel, textures, and backgrounds.
Pixabay has a great user-friendly interface and is very easy to use. It offers stunning free photos in the public domain. It provides a search bar feature that offers you to apply filters and search through photos, vectors, illustrations and videos accordingly. Images on Pixabay carry the CC0 1.0 public dedication license which means that author has relinquished all copyright and similar rights and dedicated those rights to the public domain. They offer high-quality images in almost all the categories from technology, traveling, food, landscapes, art, abstract and the list goes on.
5. My Public Domain Pictures
This blog-style website offers wide range of public domain images covering landscapes, nature, animals, food, sports, flowers, music and lots of random photos. Although the interface of this website is not great, they offer free images covering a wide range of categories. It is a community-driven platform and all the photos are uploaded by the users of this site.
Rights-managed images are for exclusive use. When you buy a rights-managed image you own it for that period of time you specified while purchasing it. Rights-managed images price varies according to the time limit you are buying it for, but these images are usually expensive than royalty-free images. Once you buy a rights-managed image, you can be sure that you will be the only one using. You can use rights-managed mages for magazine covers, documentaries, book covers, large advertising campaigns, travel guides, large hotel chains advertising and so on.
Listed below are some websites where you can find Rights-managed images.
1. Getty Images
Getty Images website is a great and most popular choice for getting rights-managed images. This website is serving in the stock photo industry for more than 20 years now and has a lot of variety to offer to its users. They provide stock photos covering almost all the topics and styles anyone can think of. They offer high-quality images, but their pricing is not always affordable. They offer ultra-packs for their users so that they can avail discounts and offers while buying images. More info on pricing packages on their website.
2. Gallery Stock
Gallery Stock images website has well-curated image galleries and offers its users to buy rights-managed images at reasonable pricing. They offer images for specific one-time use, and their pricing is based on size you have selected, duration of use you have specified, exclusivity and geographic distribution. To buy rights-managed images you have to contact your licensing agent and then their sales agent will provide you with a quote.
3. AP Images
AP Images offers a variety of unique rights-managed images and photos commonly used by advertisers and publishers. Their images reflect trends and themes around the world and are great for commercial purposes as they provide thousands of high-quality photos for you to choose your ideal image. While purchasing a rights-managed image, price is based on specifications of license and project. Once the license is expired you will need to renew it for additional use.
Pickit works with PowerPoint designers so that they can create spectacular layouts in just a few clicks. They can insert images and choose from the suggested design ideas. Pickit provides rights-managed images for exclusive use by business owners and companies. Pickit does not provide images for personal use and deal only with B2B users. They have different pricing packages for businesses and enterprises.
Photononstop was created in 2000. It is France’s leading independent photographic agency representing the “French Touch” of European photography. Photononstop has been joined by other leading French agencies. Right now, just a single mouse click separates its customers in France and worldwide from the best of European photography. They provide royalty-free and rights-managed mages. You can contact their sales representative and they will guide you about their pricing packages.
Creative Commons Images
Creative Commons images allow the authors or creators to license their work for distribution and further use, it was created as an alternative for the copyright law. This allows another user to work on author’s creation under certain restrictions.
Listed below are some websites where you can find Creative Common images.
Canva has many font and graphics that are totally free for everyone. You have to make an account to use the images and it has no subscription charges. It is the platform where you can explore preset templates and preset sizes for social media posts, postcards, posters, cards, flyers, etc. Canva also offers different icons that are affordable (as they cost just one or two dollars).
Pexels is a platform that can be used by the digital signage designer, blogger, and everyone who is looking for a visual to find outstanding photos that they can use for free. It has a large collection of creative commons images which are submitted by different photographers. The best thing about Pexels is they host a competition and most popular photographers are ranked on a leaderboard. All photos are tagged and easy to search.
3. Bucketlistly Photos
Bucketlistly photos is a creative common collection of over 10,000+ travel photos. The images are taken from over 60 countries which can be used by anyone. The photographs are captured by photographer Pete Rojwongsuriya. Do you want a picture of a specific country? Browse to the built-in map and use it.
Stocksnap is the collection of user-submitted common images. You can easily browse through different categories for making brochures, websites, crafting digital or magazine ad or any other creative project. Stocksnap is free for everyone to use. No subscription to access the photos. You can check their trending list to see what photos are being downloaded by most.
Picography is a collection of free and stunning images. It is one of the top source websites that provide free and high-resolution photos. Photographers can share their personal photos with this platform, free of cost.
Royalty-free does not mean that there is no cost for the license. It refers to being able to use without paying royalties or license fees for each use, per each copy or volume sold. It means you have to pay one-time fee in order to use the photograph on agreed-upon terms.
Listed below are some websites where you can find Royalty-Free images.
1. Adobe Stock
Adobe Stock is a platform that provides millions of high resolution and royalty-free photos, videos, illustration, vector graphics and many more. You can purchase Adobe Stock as a multi-asset subscription or as a pack. It gives an option for the designer to choose a plan on a monthly basis or annually. Basic credit pack starts from $49.99 for 5 credits, to a credit pack of 150 credits for $1200. The basic Annual plan starts from $29.99 per month with 10 images downloads, and top plan starting from $199.99 per month with 750 image downloads. Both the basic annual plan and basic monthly plan gives 1-month trial period.
Shutterstock has variety of stock photos, illustrations and vector arts. Shutterstock inspires and encourages professionals to make innovative graphics. Shutterstock offers royalty-free images too.
ShutterStock has different pricing plans:
- Plan for individuals: It starts from $29 per month with 10 images, and goes up to $199 per month with 750 images.
- Prepaid image pack: This pack has 2 variations. One of $49 for 5 images and the other $229 for 25 images.
- Plans for multiple users: The basic package accommodates 2 users for $ 379 per month and 3-10 users for $479 per month.
Burst is a platform to get a free stock photo for your project. It is powered by Shopify. It has a collection of high-resolution images. Their main goal is to build free image library for the entrepreneur. Their images are free to download, edit and modify it according to your needs. All of their images are royalty-free so there is no need for attribution.
Freepik is one of the top stock photo sites having 4.5 million graphic resources. With such a wide range of graphics, the designer is attracted to Freepik. You can download the free resources but have to buy a plan for premium resources. It has 2 plans. The annual plan of 7.50 EUR per month and monthly plan of 9.99 EUR.
All content on Pixabay is free and they are released under Pixabay license making it safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the author. It can be used for even commercial purposes. It is always appreciated to give credit, but it is not necessary. The images on Pixabay are copyright free. It has a collection of high-resolution images.
Picspree provides a large collection of high-quality stock images which are completely royalty free. They offer easy searching and effortless downloading. Picspree is an excellent resource for small businesses and web professionals looking for high quality and royalty free photos. This website is totally free for personal and professional use.
Are you using a good website that is not listed here, that you want to share? Let us know!