Royalty-free images, or Royalty-Free Images Stock, come with a set of very specific rules about how you can use the image you purchase. These photos are usually part of an online collection that you have access to and can download without restriction as long as you adhere to the terms of the agreement that was signed when you made your purchase.
This freedom is what makes these photos so sought-after by marketing and design professionals alike, but it’s crucial to be aware of some of the finer aspects prior to making an initial purchase.
How Does Free Stock Image Platform Work?
There are several business models in use today that allow a website to provide free images. One way a website can generate revenue from images is through advertising.
An ad-supported website might include ads directly on its main pages, or it might place advertisements between each image when users visit an image gallery.
While both of these methods earn revenue for a company, neither method generates revenue for individuals who post their images on stock photo platforms.
However, there’s another business model: paying photographers to use their photos and redistributing them to customers at no cost to those customers.
In many cases, photographers sell their rights upfront by granting one-time usage or limited commercial usage rights; other times they receive compensation in kind — like stock itself — instead of cold hard cash.
The Best Places to Find Free Stock Images
The internet is full of creative resources, but it can be hard to know where to look. There are hundreds of websites that offer free stock images and many more that sell them.
A few sites are general while others specialize in a particular kind of image. Regardless of what you’re looking for, there’s no shortage of options.
If you’re just starting out with creative projects and especially if you don’t have a big budget, it’s smart to try several different types of sites before settling on one or two favorites.
The best place to find royalty-free images: Thinkstock is owned by Getty Images, which means its photos come from exactly the same place as your favorite photos from Flickr or Google Image Search: artists and photographers around the world.
How Free Stock Image Sites Differ
If you’re not yet familiar with royalty-free images, here’s a quick primer: Royalty-free images are a special category of stock photos that come with a unique license.
Business and private individuals can obtain an image royalty-free once and then utilize that image for a lifetime without needing renewal fees.
All other stock photo sites operate on different licensing models. usually, either right managed or exclusive. To use an exclusive image from another site, you’ll have to enter into an additional contract and pay for it on top of whatever you paid for your original license.
Some content providers do offer unlimited usage rights for their rights-managed collections; but only if you sign up for a very expensive plan.
How to Get Free Stock Photos from Pexels
They feature a selection of high-quality, royalty-free images that are perfect for starting a website or creating beautiful art. Pexels offers over 80 million free stock photos.
They have an everything you need licensing policy which means you can use their stock photos in just about any way imaginable (including for commercial purposes).
All photos on Pexels are licensed under Creative Commons Zero, which means you can copy, modify and distribute them freely / even commercially.
In most cases, your attribution will be appreciated but not required. Just give credit where credit is due.
How Much Does Pexels Cost?
Pexels offers affordable royalty-free images with a $9.99 monthly subscription or $49 per year. Alternatively, you can purchase credits on an as-needed basis.
Prices range from .79 cents for 2 credits to 4.79 cents for 40 credits. Many of their credit packs are available in bundles at discounted prices so it’s possible to pick up larger credit packages that allow for more images at even lower prices per image than those shown above.
Overall, Pexels pricing is on par with iStockPhoto but slightly more expensive than Shutterstock, which offers similar image packs in many of its plans and additional promotional deals every month.
Why Pexels Is A Better Choice
We believe that Pexels has better pricing than Getty and more relevant images. With Getty, you’re mainly paying for celebrity stock photos and branded content.
While we are also working on adding those types of high-quality photos, we don’t think that most businesses need to spend a lot of money on them in order to help their brand grow.
At Pexels, our mission is to provide free stock photos for everyone. We have millions of users and billions of downloads per month (as well as a rapidly growing community), but we’re still very small in comparison to other stock photo sites like Shutterstock or iStockPhoto/Getty images.
What Can I Do With My Free Photos?
You may not have much cash to spend on your startup. And, you might feel as though it’s pointless to hire a professional photographer when you don’t have much of a budget.
But, if you’re willing to put in a little time and effort, there are countless options for what to do with free stock photos. In fact, several startups have made millions of dollars because they used free images or even created their own.
Here are just a few ideas: Post on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter: Free images can add a personal touch and differentiate your business from its competitors on social media sites.
Posting on these sites can be done almost entirely for free as long as you create an account and upload (or create) new material regularly.
There are three main categories of royalty-free images. These include stock photos, vector graphics, and video footage. The category you should choose will depend on your project; some types will be better suited for certain applications than others.
This is why you need to thoroughly examine each option and make sure that you’re only purchasing image files that come with a flexible license so that you can use them in all sorts of different ways without having to pay additional fees or royalties.
If you have an eye for design and creative flair, stock photography might be an excellent option for you because it enables artists to display their work in a professional manner, without having to worry about paying exorbitant amounts of money just to use one picture or video.