Not always the budget is available to buy photos from photo agencies. Today the internet offers many sites where you can legally download free images.
Often the professionalism of free photos cannot be compared to professional photo agencies. Also the choice is quite limited on most sites. But if you are willing to invest time, you will surely find the right picture material on the following sites:
Pixabay has a portfolio of over 1.8 million royalty-free images. Besides photos and vector graphics, the platform also offers video material. The quality of the images is generally on a very good level. Very practical is the search for photos with specific colour. All pictures can be used freely without any picture credits.
Stocknap.io has thousands of free images. The images make a very high quality impression and cover the whole range of topics from business photos to lifestyle related images. The platform has a good search function and is very intuitive. The images offered for download are available under the CC0 licence. This means that no source reference is required and the licence-free images can also be used for commercial purposes.
Wikimedia Commons offers an image database of more than 31 million royalty-free images that can be used for free. It is only important that the author of the photo is named in the picture credits. Since the photos are primarily used in Wikipedia, the variety of the image material is correspondingly large.
freeimages.com provides nearly 400,000 free, royalty-free images. The quality of the images is on a medium level. In the section “Editor Picks” you will find a selection of the best images of the platform. No picture credits are required when using the images.
The talented photographer and online entrepreneur Viktor Hanacek provides a collection of more than 1,500 very high quality photos for free download on Picjumbo. The royalty-free images can also be used for commercial purposes.
Freepik.com offers a large free portfolio of high quality photos, vector files and icons to look at. All files can be used freely for private and commercial purposes. Only an appropriate mention of Freepik as image source is necessary. If you do not want to mention the image source, you can be exempted from this obligation with 9.99 USD per month.
Flickr.com is one of the largest photo communities on the net. When publishing the photos, users can indicate under which licence they want to make the photos available. The majority of the photos may not be used for private or commercial purposes. With the licence filter in the image search, however, it is easy to find those images that can be used freely. Some of these royalty-free images are of a really outstanding quality that could compete with the large stock agencies. Other pictures, however, are more likely to be categorised as snapshots.
Visualhunt is a search engine that specialises in finding freely usable images on the web. Very practical is the filter by licence or colour. The results make a very high-quality impression. On the detail page all important details of the photos can be called up and the downloads can be done directly without registration.
Something important first. Simply throwing a term into Google’s image search engine and then copying the next best image and using it for your own purposes will in most cases be a clear violation of copyright.
However, with the Google image search it is possible to filter the search results according to the rights of use under “search options”. If you only want to see pictures that you want to use for commercial purposes free of charge, select “For reuse & modification” or “For re-modification” as options.
Once you have found a suitable picture, you should definitely check the original page to see whether or which picture credits you have to use exactly.
Royalty free photos: What you should consider
If you find what you are looking for on one of the free online portals, you should always ask yourself the following questions to ensure that you do not subsequently run into legal difficulties
- Does the licence allow the desired use?
- Is it necessary to mention a picture credits when using a photo?
- Is it guaranteed that the photo really comes from the author or does the photo give the impression that it has been stolen somewhere?
Found nothing in the free image resources?
If you have not yet found what you are looking for in the free image resources on the net, you should take a look at this overview of picture agencies. These picture agencies often offer professional picture material for little money and also support professional photographers.
Concluding words on the subject of free royalty-free photos
Those who use free image content from the described pages for their projects should also enrich the net with their own image material. Because only by giving and taking the system will it continue to work and remain fair for everyone.