If you are a business owner, then you are likely to also have a website and connected social media channels. If so, you will need images to stay on top of your game. Stock images can get expensive quite quickly but, if you know where to look, you can download royalty free images – for free
So, what are royalty free and non-royalty free images?
A non-royalty free image is placed online for purchase and every time that image is used, royalties are paid to the owner of that image through a third party supplier. Non-royalty free images are not always necessarily free of cost and are available for a one-time fee. Once bought, you are free to use that image as many times as you like.
So, let’s get to the free part – Confused yet? There are several websites (3 of which we will come to in a second) which let you download an image for commercial use, free of charge.
There are two things to keep in mind here: At the time of download, you can choose to donate a sum of your choosing to the person who created the image, as a tip to say thanks.
The second thing is, if you are displaying the image on a website, for example – you can choose to credit the image source by mentioning the creator’s credentials in the description.
It’s worth remembering, the above two steps are a courtesy but not mandatory.
I want free images! I hear you shout, but where can you find them?
The following websites are under the creative commons, meaning they can be freely used without risk of legal action being taken against you.
According to their website, Pixabay offers over 1.8million copyright free images, graphics and videos. Pixabay state that all their images come under their license which means they can be freely used, even commercially. This leaves you with almost 2 million images at your disposal to modify and edit to suit.
On Unsplash, all images have been created by artists who have given their permission for anyone to use them. A quick search brings up a host of images on every subject imaginable, so it’s highly likely you will find the right picture for your needs.
Pexels is a little different. You can take your pick from thousands of images but they also source the best photographs from many other free-to-use image sites and add them to their own inventory, giving you plenty of choice when it comes to picking images for your social media.
I hope this helped but before I let you go and get lost in a rabbit hole of images just remember that although these websites are free to use and download, you should generally steer clear of using images that are displayed as free but have a likeness to a well-known brand image or landmark (think Coca Cola or The Eifel Tower!)
Adding your logo to these photographs just isn’t worth the headache – or the fine.
Which one do I use? I hear you ask… I like to use all of them and often when I am looking for an image to use, I will take the time to browse through all three sites and source the perfect image.
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