7 Royalty Free Image Sites You Might Not Know About

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When pictures can say a thousand words, they become an important part of every piece of content you create.

Images are an important part of your marketing strategy.

From being able to reinforce your message, to invoking a certain emotion or simply to add interest to an article, pictures play a pivotal role in attracting visitors and converting them into paying customers.

One of the biggest complaints that I hear over and over again is that all the stock images look the same.

Rabbit holding a sign from pexels

Worse. They can be found everywhere!

Of course, when you’re using free stock images there’s always going to be a limited supply. Photographers have bills to pay after all, but there are a few alternative websites that aren’t so widely known and can provide something a bit different to the rest.

Here’s my rundown of the websites I use regularly to source free images that can be used without the risk of copyright issues (but do make sure you read the license for each image you do use)

Want a pdf of this article to keep to hand when you need it? No problem, click here to download a print friendly copy right now (no strings attached).

  1. Pixabay

This is usually my first port of call for free stock images because they have such a vast library of completely free images. That does mean you’re likely to see the same images elsewhere (and that you probably did know about this stock image resource already!

For that reason I tend to use these images as backgrounds for pins and other social media graphics rather than the focal point of any content but it is a reliable website that I highly recommend.

  1. Nappy

In a nutshell, “beautiful, high-res photos of black and brown people. For free”.

It’s not the biggest image library out there but the photos are free and great for a range of business and content types.

Some very unique and interesting images that are well worth taking a look at for any content.

  1. Pexels

Another large image library that’s popular with many business owners and freelancers, Pexels has “the best free stock photos & videos shared by talented creators” (apparently). Again, it’s a widely used website that you’re bound to have heard of before but it has such a good reputation that I couldn’t leave it off my list of reliable image libraries.

It’s one of my favourite image sites and has a wide range of photographs available (and who can resist cute bunny pics?)

  1. UK Black Tech

Combining images of women of colour and with a tech background, this is a great image library designed for celebrating diversity and generally finding stock images that aren’t widely used already.

With a lack of women of colour photos and women in tech photos on stock image sites, UK Black Tech simply had to make my shortlist.

  1. Unsplash

Unsplash has “photos for everyone” which is hard to dispute when there are over 33,000 free images available. Unsplash is good for vertical images that work well on Pinterest which is wide I’ve included it here, but you’ll find a broad range of photo types for most industries in this image library.

Unsplash is great for collating similar photos into collections which is great when you’re working on a blog series or email marketing sequence and want to keep the theme consistent.

  1. Freepik

Freepik offers free “graphic design resources for everyone” and it’s not just photographs that you’ll find here, but vectors, icons and photoshop files too.

It’s a great website if you are using Canva or Photoshop regularly to create and manipulate images for content marketing.

They do ask that you credit them for images used unless you want to pay for premium.

  1. FreeRange

Freerange is the new kid on the block of stock image websites but it’s off to a great start with “photos and illustrations licensed for commerical use. No attribution required!”

Photos are added daily so you’re bound to find something new for your blog, website or social media and I love the range of illustrations that can be hard to find elsewhere.

Know your image license!

Although these are royalty-free images that you can use for your small business marketing, you should always double check the licence before doing so. Not every image on these sites will be available for commerical use, and some may ask for attribution wherever you use it.

I find it a good idea to record all images used in a spreadsheet with the url, date used and licence details that you can refer back to in case someone makes a copyright claim against you.

I hope you’ve found this list useful. Remember that you can download the pdf version of this article so you can have a handy reference point whenever you need it!

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Zoe Hughes

Zoe is an experienced content writer with a genuine passion for crafting creative content for websites to help businesses of all shapes and sizes gain a strong web presence and rapport with their target audience.
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