I have listed down the sites that I have used and currently using it on my YouTube videos and blogs.
So you will have my honest opinion on each website and leave it to you to choose the one that suits your requirement.
And make sure to check out some of the frequently asked questions around royalty-free image usage and rights.
With that being said, let’s get started.
List of sites to find royalty-free images
Pixabay is the royalty-free image website that I first got started, and I was happy with the options available for me to choose from.
Currently, I am not using it, and I will explain why in a moment.
When it comes to image availability, Pixabay has a lot of collections, and you will almost find an image for your search term.
Many sites have limited images, and most of the time, you will not find what you want.
But when it comes to Pixabay, you will definitely find a list of images for your search term.
That is something I like about Pixabay.
However, I do not prefer to use the images on Pixabay because their pictures are all over the internet.
I remember the days when I was using Instagram to drive traffic to my e-commerce stores, where I just uploaded images from Pixabay.
No wonder that they were receiving meager engagement.
I would suggest you go for Pixabay only when you are using them on your YouTube videos.
Apart from that, I would not encourage you to put them on your YouTube video thumbnails since that will affect your click-through rate.
Now let’s move on to the next copyright-free image site.
Unsplash is a pretty good one when it comes to the quality of the images.
They also have an excellent user interface with a prominent search bar that you can use to narrow down your search results.
The downside is the availability of the images. You will not find a lot of different options to choose from.
Many times, you will end up looking up your picture on another site.
So, I would suggest you look up on Unsplash first since they have a high-quality image than other royalty-free image platforms.
In case you do not find them, you can try looking upon a royalty-free image aggregator site like https://www.pexels.com/
I would not encourage you to directly search on Pexels since you end up choosing something that is not so great.
So first research on a quality website and then move on to Pexels.
Foodiesfeed is a good option if you are into the food niche and making videos on let’s say keto or paleo diet.
They have beautiful food images, and I would recommend you give it a try.
I included this in the list of royalty-free photos since many people love to make recipe videos.
All the images on this website are entirely royalty-free with commercial licenses. So you can use them on your YouTube videos.
Now let’s move on to my last and recommended site.
Freepik is the website that I am currently using and I will continue to use them in the future as well.
First of all, it’s a paid royalty-free image site. However, it is very cheap, and you can use unlimited images available on their website.
They charge around $9 per month for unlimited usage. Even if you unsubscribe the next month, you can still use the downloaded images for your lifetime.
You also have an option to use the free images on the platform with attribution.
However, I recommend you to go with the paid plan and use the premium images. So, not many people are going to use them, and you can stand out from the competition.
All the images used on this website are from Freepik, and as you can see,
I have precisely related to the topic of the blog post.
I feel that they have plenty of options and high-quality images for such a low monthly subscription, which makes it a no brainer investment.
When you compare to a website like Shutterstock, you will have to pay $5 per image and a limited download on the monthly subscription.
Just go and lookup for images on Freepik, compare the pricing and quality with other sites, and decide for yourself.
Do you have to credit royalty-free images?
It depends on the terms and conditions provided by the website or the image owner.
For instance, some websites offer you to pay royalty once and use the image for a lifetime while few other websites ask you to give attribution and use them for free.
However, there are websites like Pixabay, Unsplash, and a few others where you need not pay or provide attribution.
Is royalty-free the same as copyright free?
No royalty-free doesn’t necessarily mean it is copyright free. You can royalty-free items by paying a one time fee or in some case without paying anything but you cannot claim it as your own, reproduce and sell it.
Does royalty-free mean free for commercial use?
No royalty-free doesn’t necessarily mean you can use it for commercial purposes. It varies based on the terms and conditions. There can be a scenario where you cannot use it for commercial purpose but you can still use it on your personal projects.
So, you should always read the terms before using them.