Stock photos are always the main reason of creative and amazing looking websites. A good image can do a lot for a project so picking the right picture is a very important thing.
If you are tight on budget then you can go for free public domain images or creative commons but if you have enough budget to buy an image for your project then you must refer to the stock photography websites for royalty-free photos.
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What is a Royalty-free Stock Image?
When it comes to find royalty-free stock photos & images, the term “royalty-free” is actually misleading because royalty-free images are NOT free at all. You have to pay a one-time license fee to get the license. It comes with 2 types of licenses i.e. Standard & Extended.
Check license agreement of iStockPhoto to know more about standard & extended license and usage restrictions for royalty-free stock images.
There are a lot of stock photo websites present in the market offering free and paid stock photos and you cannot just randomly pick images from any of them.
Check the below list of 20 popular and industry leading royalty-free stock image websites you should consider for getting the best images for your project.
20 Best Stock Photo Sites to Find Royalty Free Images for Commercial & Personal Use
1. ThinkStock Photos
ThinkStock, a partner site of GettyImages & iStock offers various image packages as per your requirement. They have 4 different image pack for those who only need a few images.
Otherwise, they have 3 different monthly packages with different image download limits and prices for people who need images very often.
You can use these royalty free images for commercial use such as websites, ads, marketing materials, products packaging, newspapers, books, magazines, posters, email ads and other digital media or promotional projects and much more.
Please check the license terms before buying any image.
ShutterStock being one of the leading stock photo websites claims that they have over 80+ million royalty free stock photos. They offer stock photos, illustrations, vectors and videos too.
Their image pack starts from $49/5 images & subscription $199/350 images per month with no daily download limit.
This site is a good choice for those who is interested in not only images but other media works too. They offer 4 types of plans i.e. basic, professional, team & enhanced plans and 2 types of license options for royalty free images i.e. standard & enhanced license.
You can use these royalty free stock photos for commercial use such as in digital reproduction, online advertising, social media, mobile apps, e-publications, print media, advertisements etc. and much more.
Always check the standard and enhanced license agreement to know more about the usage restrictions.
Getty Images is the leader in the stock photography market. They deal not only with royalty free images but other creative, video and music stuff as well.
They offer world’s most powerful stock photo imagery with flexible options and custom solutions for every need. Their pricing structure is custom and tends to be dependent on how you want to use the photo.
They offer 4 types of licenses for images and you can use these stock images for commercial and personal use while following some restricted usage guidelines as per the license agreement.
123RF claim to have more than 54+ million royalty free stock images with more than 60,000+ new creative works added weekly. They offer stock photos, vectors, footage & audio work. Their idea is to provide affordable stock photos to their customers.
You can choose to buy image credits, or go with the daily/monthly subscription plans. They also offer customized plans for the customers as per their requirement.
They give 100% money back guarantee, $25000 legal protection and unlimited commercial print runs for the royalty free images you buy from them.
5. Corbis Images
Corbis offers very exclusive images taken by leading photographers of the industry. They offer editorial as well as creative artwork with different subscription plans. You must contact them to know more about the pricing plans.
Corbis is merging their stock image library with GettyImages and website will not be available after April-2016.
iStockPhoto is a very familiar and popular name in the stock photography world. They offer high-quality stock images, illustrations, videos, and audios.
All the images on the website are well organized and tagged in relevant categories. You can browse through the categories or use their search option to find a relevant stock image for you.
You can buy their never expiring credits if you need images once in a while. Otherwise, you can go for their monthly subscription plans based on time duration and your monthly image requirement.
You can use the royalty free stock pictures for commercial and personal use such as websites, advertisements, digital promotions, print media and many other ways.
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Fotolia offers 54+ million royalty-free photos, vectors, and videos. Their collection of stock photos is creative and interesting. Images are categorized under different categories such as people, drink, animals, food, business and much more.
They offer 3 plans i.e. on-demand, monthly pack & daily subscription. As compared to others, they are bit more expensive with credit starting at $1.4. You can even sell your image to Fotolia.
This site offers high-resolution royalty-free stock photos with the best prices on the planet (as they claim). They have plans for a single image as well as monthly subscription.
Their annual plans are available for $429, $599 & $729 with monthly image download limit from 500/per month to 1000/per month, one of the cheaper plans I have seen for stock photographies. You can get an image for as low as $0.06 for your commercial or personal use.
Dreamstime offers more than 42+ million royalty free stock photos on their website. They offer stock photos and free photos as well. You can buy their credits or go with the various subscription plans.
You can buy their credits or go with the various subscription plans. They offer cheap stock images as compared to other stock photography websites in the industry categorized under various categories and can be searched via search box.
Read their license agreement to know more about the commercial and non-commercial usage and restrictions.
Over 33 million royalty free stock photos, videos, and vectors. You can go with the free trial and can download a few images for free. Choose from the 3 monthly plans with daily image download limit. You can get images for as low as $0.33 per image.
You can browse through the image categories, top trending keywords or can use the stock image search option to find the perfect image for you.
One for stock photography website with a really advanced search system to browse their collection of images. You can buy image credits starting from $16.99 for 12 Credits or can go by paying a price per image.
A collection of more than 2 million high-quality royalty-free creative stock images. Crestock is a pretty standard stock photo site, however, they have a dedicated section of celebrity pictures.
You can search relevant stock images for you through the search box. You can choose any of the 3 available options to choose an image for you.
Either go with Pay & Go (pay fix price for each of the image), Subscriptions (Monthly, quarterly, half-yearly & annual subscriptions) and Image credits.
13. Most Photos
Over 11 million royalty-free stock images & pictures, all categorized under relevant categories. You can browse through the different categories or use the search option to find your stock photo.
They offer affordable stock photo plans starting from $69/month for 10 images/month. The better one is $289/month for 250 image download/month. You can also choose the customized plan as per your needs.
If you are a designer, then this is the site you are looking for. Stocksy offers extremely creative and unique photographs which designers are always looking for.
This is the site for people who are looking for very creative and meaningful images on a budget price. You can choose from the various license options available or can go with the exclusive rights too.
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PhotoCase is popular for selling unique, high-quality royalty free stock images. They have images tagged under different relevant categories.
They offer credits in 3 different packs with extended license options based on your requirement.
16. Pix Mac
One of the fastest growing site for royalty-free stock pictures was created in 2008 and how has over 14 million pictures. Pixmac is now acquired by Pond5.
With over 25,000 high-quality images added each day, canstockphoto offers high-quality royalty free stock photos from the world’s best artists and photographers.
Images are categorized in multiple categories. You can buy image credits or go with the monthly subscriptions
Discover millions of royalty-free images, photos & vectors on this not very popular stock photography site. They have been involved with many other stock photo sites to promote their website and reputation building.
This is a very pretty standard stock image website with some very interesting and great images. You can find images through browsing new images, popular images, categories, and photographers & designers section.
You can choose from image credits, monthly packs & daily subscriptions.
Over 72+ million high-quality stock photos, vectors, and videos make Alamy, the world’s largest stock photo collection. All types of images from various categories such as news & entertainment, vectors, illustrations, history, video showreel etc. are available.
Images are tagged in various relevant categories. You can buy or sell your images at Alamy. Check their license terms before using any stock picture for commercial or personal use.
20. National Geographic Creative
We all love the creative and real images clicked by National Geographic. They do not set images and talent like a standard stock photo website, but they do sell images, videos, and talent.
They offer rights managed & royalty free images. You need to contact the NGC team with your requirements for price quotes, permission and image rights to use their stock images for commercial and personal use.
Almost all the stock photography websites offer royalty free images for commercial and non-commercial use under standard or extended license agreement, means you can use these images in your digital media, print media projects, social media accounts, websites, blogs, applications, products, books, magazines etc. and many more places.
There are few restrictions on the usage of image for which you need to check the license agreement of the stock photography website. Always check the terms in the license before using the image.
Please comment below your thoughts on the above list of websites to find royalty free stock images and mention if any good one is missed out. We would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions and queries if any in the comment section below.