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12 Websites for Royalty Free Stock Photos for Business Advertising

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12 Websites for Royalty Free Stock Photos for Business Advertising

  
  
  
  

michael hartzell photosOne of the most common questions I get is:  "Where can I get free photos or royalty free stock photos for business advertising, marketing, etc?"  The answer is not so obvious since each business has its own unique need.  What is the quality and/uniquesness of the photograph needed?  Is free your best option or would you pay $30 for an amazing one-of-a-kind photograph? 

Business success depends on a balance of creativity, originality and BUDGET.  Recently artists have stretched their generousity and use of the Internet to share their work.  You will find AMAZING photographs free to use with no restrictions. (Though some require attribution)

With this balance in mind and to help entrepreneurs save time, here is my list of royalty free stock photos for business advertising websites.  It includes free, low cost and even premium options.  

Here is the list:
(Watch for "Free Photos" next to the options)

Everystockphoto.com - Free Photos

Everystockphoto.com says they are a search engine for free photos. These come from many sources and are license-specific. You can view a photo's license by clicking on the license icon, below and left of photos. Membership is free, without advertising, and allows you to rate, tag, collect and comment on photos.

Free images for business or commercial use are available if you know where to look.  Everystockphoto.com search engine can save time.

Stock.xchng

Stock.XCHNG is under new management! Getty Images is proud to now wholly-own the world's best free stock site. SXC has a long history and a great community. What does it mean to SXC users?

  • Committed to making all the files in the SXC collection safe and reliable, ensuring that any time you use a file from here, it's with confidence.
  • The technology team behind iStockphoto, the world's number one microstock site, will keep SXC fast, stable and secure. In fact, we've upgraded much of the hardware recently, and done a full security audit.
  • SXC will be part of a strong family of companies, meaning lots of opportunities for members at our brother and sister sites.

This may be a first choice if you are asking for free images for business.
 

Pixel Perfect Digital - Free Photos

Download Free Stock Photos, Backgrounds, Textures and other Design Elements. Creative Commons Attribution License.

Pixel Perfect Digital offers Free Stock Photos, Backgrounds, Textures and other Design Elements. All our images are provided under a Creative Commons Attribution License. This license lets you remix, tweak, and build upon our work, even commercially, as long as you credit pixelperfectdigital.com for the original creation. 

IconFinder

Iconfinder provides high quality icons for webdesigners and developers in an easy and efficient way. The site launched in 2007 as the first search engine focused on icons.

The target audience is webdesigners and developers, but the icons are also used to style desktop or in presentations and reports. With millions on icons downloaded every month it is among the most popular icon sites.

There are options for non-commercial and commercial use.
 

Freeimages - Free Photos

Categories of huge gallery containing over 350.000 quality stock photos by more than 30.000 photographers! Need a wallpaper for your desktop or illustration for your blog? Need a pic for your commercial website design? Looking for inspiration?

Share your photos with fellow designers! freeimages is a friendly community of photography addicts who generously offer their works to those who need them free of charge. If you have some nice photos that you'd like to share with others, try it! Not only it feels great to share, you will also get a huge exposure for your work!
 

IM Free - Free Photos

free photos imfree

IM Free is a curated collection of free images for commercial use. Photograph collections include Business, People, Technology, Food & Drinks, Objects & Items, Ambient, and Occupations. In addition to high-quality photographs, there are free landing page templates and icons. IM Free is from IM-Creator, a solution for creating and publishing websites.
 

PhotoXpress.com

Photoxpress.com claims to have More Images, Better Prices.  PhotoXpress.com gives you more images for your hard earned bucks! Choose from our flexible upgrade plans starting as low as $9.99! You'll get 25x more photos for 20x less than the price of other big image sites! You won't find prices better than that anywhere. Period.

Free photos for business or personal use is appealling.  Just as appealling is the option to have a subscription for $9.99 per month.  Many an entrepreneur is trying to make an impact while on a budget.  The risk is low.  Check them out.
 

The Pattern Library - Free Photos

THE AMAZING
 

A PROJECT BY TIM HOLMAN & CLAUDIO GUGLIERI

THIS ON GOING PROJECT COMPILES PATTERNS SHARED BY THE MOST TALENTED DESIGNERS OUT THERE FOR YOU TO USE FREELY IN YOUR DESIGNS.
 

Unprofound.com

This collection of photos is for anyone to use in just about any way they'd like. You may NOT, however, redistribute these photos individually or en masse, as photos, to any other websites or offline buyers. The photos themselves are still the intellectual property of their respective owners and you are merely receiving permission to use them in your designs, your art, your personal and professional projects, as your desktop backgrounds.

I like how Jim thinks.  He is an entrepreneur with a purpose.  Do not consider adding photos to your project without considering unprofound.com.  Free images provided for commercial or personal use.
 

New Old Stock - Free Photos

New Old Stock features FREE vintage photos from the public archive, free of known copyright restrictions. It is an eclectic and interesting collection of historical images. New Old Stock is from visual and web designer Cole Townsend.

Gratisography - Free Photos

FREE HIGH-RESOLUTION PICTURES YOU CAN USE ON YOUR PERSONAL AND COMMERCIAL PROJECTS. NEW AWESOME PICTURES ADDED WEEKLY! ALL PICTURES WERE CAPTURED BY RYAN MCGUIRE OF BELLS DESIGN AND FREE OF COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS.
 

Photos.com

$99.95 for 1 month

Photos.com subscription Get access to more than 400,000 model-released stock photos and illustrations with a one month subscription package. Download royalty-free photos as you need them – up to 25 per day. All from just $99.95 a month. 

(At 25 downloads per day comes to 13 cents per photo.)
 

Thinkstock.com

What does a plan include?

Your Jupiterimages Unlimited Premium & Stockxpert or Essential & Stockxpert plan is now a Thinkstock plan, offering you:

  • Professionally shot images from 18 top collections, including iStockphoto. See list
  • Access to all available file types and sizes
  • The same license terms as your Jupiterimages Unlimited subscription
  • Broader legal protection against copyright claims on all iStockphoto and Hemera content

Thinkstock is offers high dpi, high resolution images for less.  (thought there are less expensive options.)
 

Fotosearch.com 

What is Fotosearch? Publitek, Inc., dba Fotosearch is a provider of royalty free and rights managed stock photography, illustrations, maps, video, and audio. We bring together many different stock agencies to provide "The World's stock photography at one website."™ The products on Fotosearch can be licensed and easily downloaded for use in your advertisements, promotional materials, websites, etc. 

Not my first choice due to pricing but if you are looking for unique content, fotosearch.com is a strong consideration.
 

Freefoto.com - Free Photos

FreeFoto.com is made up of 129908 images with 172 sections organized into 3555 categories.

FreeFoto.com is the largest collection of free photographs on the Internet (link back and attribution required). 

The comprehensive, yet easy to navigate site, offers images that are free for on-line use, with higher quality versions available for sale.

Did I mention that this is a resource for FREE images?  Be sure to read their rules before you get too far into the process.
 

Fotolia.com

Fotolia is the first worldwide social marketplace for royalty free stock images, allowing individuals and professionals to legally buy and share stock images and illustrations.

Fotolia offers the largest image bank of free and affordable royalty free photos and illustrations perfect for any medium, web or print.

Fotolia.com is a big player with providing stock photos.  The standard subscription for 30 days is $199.  Twenty-five downloads a day does get the price point per image down to .26 cents each.
 

Pixabay - Free Photos

Finding free images of high quality is a tedious task - due to copyright issues, attribution requirements, or simply the lack of quality. This inspired us to create Pixabay - a repository for stunning public domain pictures. Your source for free vectors, free drawings and free photos.

You can freely use any Pixabay image without attribution in digital and printed form, even for commercial applications.
 

Pixmac.com

10,185,250 stock photos & images 

867,886 celebrity photos

Buy stock photos and images from thousands of photographers all over the world. You can find almost anything at Pixmac, from Valentine's Day and spring photos to the Easter stock photos. We also have classic royalty free pictures of business, people, animals or nature which can suit any of your advertising or professional presentation needs.

Because the next photo might be the one that will make your business improve.  Pixmac.com offers celebrity photos and as with the other stock photo companies, you can buy credits or sign up for subscription to get the price down to 10 cents a credit.
 

morgueFile - Free Photos

free photos morgue file

Looking for high resolution stock photos for your illustration, comp or design needs? Search morgueFile for free reference images. Yes, they're all completely free. whether you're an illustrator, art director, instructor or looking to add a defining visual to a presentation. 

Deviantart.com

  • Browse over 80 million pieces of art in 2,000 categories
  • Upload unlimited artwork and receive feedback
  • Actively participate in the largest art community in the world (over 8 million members)

Deviantart.com is more than art since it consists of over 8 million artists as members in its community.  Don't be shy, take a look around.  Seth Godin talks about having a purple cow for your business and it seems to me this website community of artists might have one for you.
 

123RF.com

6,191,366 Royalty Free Stock Photos

Find that perfect photo with our vast content of 6,191,366 images here. Our friendly group of professional account managers worldwide are always ready to serve you anytime, round-the-clock. 

Another option for you with either pay as you go or subscription.  Remember the value is in how well the photo(s) is able to send your message.  
 

Unsplash - Free Photos

Unsplash provides 10 new and free high-resolution photos every 10 days. There are approximately 350 photos in the archive. All photos are dedicated to the public domain, available for commercial purposes without asking permission. Unsplash is by the creative design firm Crew.
 

Fotohauz.com

FotoHouz.com says:  You pay only few dollars for download bandwidth. Its because servers cost are too high for us, but dollar to dollar from hundreds of user keeping FotoHouz alive! Thanks for every subscription! We never stops making new photos, vectors and graphic templates.

Not as robust or sophistacted as some of the bigger companies but it is bragging the lower price point.
 

Photovaco.com - Free Photos

PhotoVaco.com provides free stock photos with high resolution for both personal and commercial projects. You can use our free photos in websites, video, TV production, forum, blogs, school projects and print medias including newspapers, magazine, books, CD covers. OK, let's say, you can download, edit and use all photos anywhere and anyhow you like except for abuse.

You did notice that it says:  Free Stock Photos.  Right?  While there are not millions of choices, if you are on a budget, Photovaco.com needs to be on your list.
 

Flickr via Getty Images

The Flickr collection reflects the passion of a community of photographers worldwide, featuring uniquely personal images with an authenticity rare in stock photography.

And because Flickr photos cover a range of subject matter – and are available in rights-managed and royalty-free licenses – you'll find options to meet the creative and budgetary needs of all your projects.

Going for a unique message?  While the price points might be higher that could mean your image will be more unique.  When you combine the community of Flickr and the powerhouse of Getty Images, it may be the right combination to provide you with a high quality, amazing photo.
 

NASA ArtSpace - Free Photos

 Buzz Aldrin on the Moon

NASA ArtSpace offers source material across a variety of new media formats (still images, sounds, video, multimedia) - to invite and encourage aspiring artists to view and make use of these resources in creating their own space exploration artwork.  You will find links to royalty-free content that is available for use in your own artistic creations. 
 

Dreamstime.com - Free Photos

At the time of this article, the first 25 images are free when you sign up.  Dreamstime also offers free photos every day. 

dreamstime

 

  • 8,152,025 images
  • 2,170,448 users
  • 88,915 photographers
  • 377,266 monthly images
  • As low as $0.20/image or free!

At Dreamstime.com, you can find a large variety of Royalty-Free stock images. Thanks to the continual evolution and diversification of digital technologies, we are able to provide images of a very high quality at a completely convenient price. All the images are carefully scrutinized and selected, in order to make sure that only the best are included and that the range of subjects is extensive.

What Royalty-Free means is that you pay for the image only once and then you can use it as many times as you like, with just a few restrictions. In other words, there are no license fees except the initial fee and no other royalties to be paid except those included in the initial cost.

With Dreamstime.com you buy credits and download photos for as low as $1.25 or sign up for subscription and go much lower.   They accept credit card or PayPal.
 

RGBStock - Free Photos

Absolutely free stock images - All images on RGBStock are free for personal and commercial use. You may use them in digital format on websites, blogs, multimedia presentations, broadcast film and video or in printed material such as magazines, books, brochures, flyers and text books. If you wish to use an image to print on items offered on sites like Cafe Press and Zazzle, to print them on any form of canvas or template for sale or re-distribution or for any purpose that is not specified in their Image License or Terms of Use you only need to contact the artist for written permission. Try it now! Sign up right away and start downloading! 
 

Google Creative Commons Image Search Tool:

While searching for FREE images for your business you can use Google.  To get this feature when you are searching go to the Advanced Image Search page then  under the usage rights section you will see a drop down with different types of license that you can search for.  

Google Creative Commons Image Search

Google Creative Commons Image Search

 

Flickr Creative Commons - Free Photos

Many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license, and you can browse or search through content under each type of license.

Flickr shares about Creative Commons Briefly...

Attribution icon Attribution means:
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work - and derivative works based upon it - but only if they give you credit.

Noncommercial icon Noncommercial means:
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work - and derivative works based upon it - but for noncommercial purposes only.

No Derivative Works icon No Derivative Works means:
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.

Share Alike iconShare Alike means:
You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.

If you give credit for the work, you can use the photo FREE.  Seems to be a top of list choice.  The photos vary wildly in both quality and subject matter.  
 

Creative Commons Search - Free Photos

CC Search

Find content you can share, use and remix. This is a direct approach to finding Creative Commons images.
 

iStockphoto.com

How iStockphoto works:  iStockphoto is the internet's original member-generated image and design community. Get easy, affordable inspiration with millions of safe, royalty-free photographs, vector illustrations, video footage, audio tracks and Flash files. Buy stock or sell stock — or both.

You can't consider adding photos or videos (even audio) to your shelf until you check out istockphoto.com.  The prices are reasonable and the inventory is deep.  They make the process simple.  Not the cheapest on the block but you are looking for the photo that gets you over the top vs. just filling in space, right?
 

ImageAfter.com - Free Photos

Image*After is a large online Free photo collection. You can download and use any image or texture from our site and use it in your own work, either personal or commercial.

Free images are again the topic.  If you are just getting started or doing tests, then free photos from ImageAfter will be to your liking. 
 

FreeDigitalPhotos.net - Free Photos

Free Photos

Download royalty free photos and illustrations for websites, newspapers, magazines, video and TV productions, iPhone applications, PowerPoint presentations, forums, blogs and school work.

Royalty free photos

Download free photos and illustrations for corporate and personal use. Every image is free, with an option to buy high resolution versions for use in print or graphic design.
 

Kozzi.com

kozziKozzi.com has been around for 10 years but you may not have heard of this great site.  Kozzi Images is the worlds first advertiser supported professional stock agency. You will not find Kozzi Photos, Vector, or Video in ANY other site.

Everything at Kozzi is produced by professionally trained staff exclusively for Kozzi members.

Download up to 30 images per month for free or upgrade to a full monthly membership for $4.95USD per month where you can download up to 750 images a month for the cost of a cup of coffee.  

As of June 2013, Kozzi no longer has free images available. They have created a new website at www.qualitystockphotos.com to access free images.  There is a limit of 5 free images per day.
 

WPClipart

is a collection of free photos, images and artwork that is free of copyright concerns as well as safe from inappropriate images. There are free photos and free clips here that work great for commercial uses, book illustrations, office presentations, and some just for fun...
 

BudgetStockPhoto.com

A very complete and definitive list of resources providing free stock photos with a table of comparisons.  This is one of the best photo resources I have seen to date.  This website surely has the monster list for photos with a breakdown about what is what.

If this list does not get you what you are looking for, let me know and I will get you more.  My shelf is full of tools and resources for an entrepreneur but too many choices can make it harder to decide.
 

Wikimedia.org

Trithemis aurora male 2 by kadavoor.jpg

Free photos for the taking.  Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository making available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips) to everyone, in their own language. It acts as a common repository for the various projects of the Wikimedia Foundation, but you do not need to belong to one of those projects to use media hosted here. The repository is created and maintained not by paid archivists, but by volunteers. The scope of Commons is set out on the project scope pages. 

I have used Getty Images, and BigStockPhoto.com which are not listed and I have also used Flickr and iStockphoto.com with success as well.  Of course, I use Google Images Creative Commons search and keep notes for each image should the Google engine make an error.

The others I dabble, poke, and window shop a bit.  Who can say where the next Picasso comes from? 

If you have one that has given outstanding results, please share!




Comments

As usual, you have more choices than any normal person could ever hope to evaluate. 
 
I've noticed that some people are very choosy when it comes to using online art. It has a certain look about it, such that you can easily ascertain the source. 
 
iStockPhoto shows the number of times a picture has been downloaded, and I suspect that other sites do the same. I tend to go for things that haven't been used by very many people. This minimizes the chances that anyone will have seen it before. 
 
It's something to think about. 
 
Posted @ Monday, March 29, 2010 4:11 AM by Bruce Hoag, PhD, CPsychol
Bruce, 
 
Thank you for taking time to give a thought. Good point about noting the number of times the photo has been downloaded. The goal of standing out is more difficult when using what everyone else is. Excellent.  
 
 
 
Yep, I try to overachieve with the number of choices. Remember though that without knowing the budget, style, principles or vision, it is tough to offer a specific solution. This buffet provides a choice and just as the buffet at a restaurant does. Don't have to taste them all. Try something that looks like it appeals and stick with it if you like it.  
 
 
 
Thanks for your contribution!
Posted @ Monday, March 29, 2010 11:57 AM by Michael Hartzell
Great Blog. You could add: Free Digital Photo http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
Posted @ Friday, July 01, 2011 5:51 PM by alois
Sure thing. Added it to the list. Thank you.
Posted @ Friday, July 01, 2011 10:41 PM by Michael Hartzell
I need photos of wreaked cars.
Posted @ Sunday, July 24, 2011 11:25 AM by Pam Zerkle
Good post and thanks for the useful tips. Anyway, you forgot to add on your list this awesome source for free stock photo. http://www.kozzi.com/ :D
Posted @ Monday, May 07, 2012 5:09 AM by Tasha
Thanks for adding kozzi here. Consider yourself bookmarked. :) love it.
Posted @ Tuesday, May 08, 2012 4:45 AM by Tasha
Thank you back for the tip Tasha and thank you for the bookmark.  
 
Mike
Posted @ Tuesday, May 08, 2012 3:21 PM by Michael Hartzell
No problem Mike. I'm happy that I can be of help not only to you but to everyone. :) Anyway, right now, Kozzi is completely free for personal usage. :D . Thanks. I'll surely visit your site again. :D
Posted @ Tuesday, June 12, 2012 11:38 PM by Tasha
Comments have been closed for this article.

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