Royalty-free image resources

Eye-catching high-quality pictures are constantly in demand for different purposes especially for a creative and unique work. However, a copywriter does not always have the opportunity to take a photo himself, order an image from a designer or buy a stock image. This post about royalty-free image sites is provided for such cases.

Public Domain image resources refer to a material that is available publicly for the use of anyone without having intellectual property and copy rights. The Internet holds the world and it hosts many websites that have royalty-free image resources. Some of those websites require registration while many others are free and accessible for the common use. This is a digital world where one can find visual art in abundance and of great quality. Due to the Internet diversity, continuously increasing use and production of websites, images are required in large amount. So, there is a myriad of websites which allow artists to sell their images and moreover, many of them give access to a great deal of images free of charge. The quality of images may vary from case to case, however following list of websites provide free images for commercial usage.

Warning: be careful if an image or a photo contains a logo and/or a product which are registered trademarks. Also, avoid people and models that can be recognized.

Pixabay.com

Perhaps it is the biggest resource of free high-quality images and has more than half a million of free photos, vector graphics and art illustrations. Also, the site has public domain videos.

There are available several sections: editor’s choice, photographers and cameras. The latter is notable for rating the quality of photos for a particular camera.

Each photo contains license details, tags, image type, resolution, creation and uploading date, views, likes, favorites, downloads and EXIF information. After registration there are some advanced features: following author, like, add to favorites, read and leave comments, and download the original.

Images: 720K+
License: CC0 (free for commercial use, no attribution required)
Requires registration: only to download original files
Searchable: YES (has advanced search settings)
Filters: orientation, size, color, transparent, black and white
Categories: Animals, Architecture/Buildings, Backgrounds/Textures, Beauty/Fashion, Business/Finance, Computer/Communication, Education, Emotions, Food/Drink, Health/Medical, Industry/Craft, Music, Nature/Landscapes, People, Places/Monuments, Religion, Science/Technology, Sports, Transportation/Traffic, Travel/Vacation
Has API: YES
Hot links: NO

Unsplash.com

This is one more popular and user-friendly website which contains a big amount of 100%-free stock photos. On the main page this resource provides featured images (selected by the remarkable creatives). Also there is a possibility to explore photos by the popularity and date, including collections.

Each photo has an author, full screen preview, stats (downloads, views and likes) and info like publishing date, dimensions and EXIF (if available).

In additional to full official API (which is available after registration), there is simple API which returns random photo without registration by category, user, user’s likes, collection, keywords, etc. Also, simple API is able to return fixed daily/weekly or even specific photo.

Site contains an interesting section called “made with” which has links to the works and products that use API and/or photos provided by the resource. In fact, there are a lot of apps (paid, free, open-source) that uses this source, and this is not surprising because provided images are excellent for creative designs and wallpapers.

Images: 100K+
License: CC0 (unsplash.com/license)
Updating: 10 new photos every 10 days
Requires registration: NO
Searchable: YES
Filters: by photos, collections, users
Categories: Nature, Buildings, People, Objects, Food & Drink, Technology
Has API: YES (full/simple)
Hot linking: YES

Pexels.com

This resource provides high resolution free stock photos. Each photo has a title, tags, details such as size, shooting date (if available), and camera’s model. Also, photographers have leaderboard which are calculated by downloads. In additional to thousands of free images the site provides CC0 videos.

Images: 10K+
License: CC0 (pexels.com/photo-license/)
Updating: 50 new photos every day
Requires registration: NO
Searchable: YES (has search tips)
Filters: color
Has API: YES