The 5 best websites for (free) royalty-free stock photos

You won’t make any reader happy with a piece of text without appropriate images to go with it. But taking your own photos for every article you write might also be a bit too much. The solution? Countless stock photo sites, paid and free. In this blog I will show you the 5 best royalty free stock photo websites of 2020. And if you’re looking for paid stock photo sites, scroll on down too because I’ll mention one.

Why do we want royalty free stock photos?

Duty free stock photos are free and that is the main reason I like to use them. But in addition to that, with royalty free stock photos you know for sure that you don’t risk getting a claim and you can still keep your own style in the large supply of photos. In the range of paid photos you may have more choice, but the quality of stock photos does not usually detract from that of paid photos. Nowadays there are many good stock photo sites that offer both paid and non-paid photos so there are photos available for every project and budget. Which 5 royalty free stock photo sites I prefer to use I will explain to you in detail below.

The 5 best stock photo sites

1. Pexels

Number one, my favorite: www.pexels.com. I love clear websites with a great search function. At Pexels you can search by keywords, but you can also view collections if you don’t know exactly what you want to search for. The photos are displayed in a Pinterest-like manner so you can quickly and easily scroll through the search results. What I also find a handy feature is the “similar photos” section under each photo you open. If you like a picture, you can go to this part of the site to find similar images. Saves you sometimes having to search for nice photos yourself!
✔ Particularly high quality pictures
✔ Many different kinds of images
✔ Many different photographers

2. Unsplash

Another great site: www.unsplash.com where, like Pexels, they have an easy keyword search and pre-made collections. Again, the display of the photos is clear and you easily get inspired by the layout of the images. Unsplash has the bonus of offering a lot of choice in artistic photos. Should you be looking for beautiful photos of cities, buildings and landscapes you have come to the right place.
✔ Particularly high quality photos
✔ Many different kinds of images
✔ Specialty: artistic images

3. Burst

The place for royalty free stock photos for your business is www.burst.shopify.com. This stock photo site is powered by Shopify and has besides regular stock photos also a specific section for businesses: “Business Ideas”. Under this heading you will find collections specifically designed for different types of businesses with photos to match. From art supplies to camping stores, you name it, Burst has photos for it. Super convenient if you’re just starting with your online store and you don’t have a budget for your own made photos! You only have to leave your e-mail address if you want to download the photos. Besides the downloadable photos Burst also offers you some commercial tips, of course from Shopify.
✔ Special collection of Business Ideas
✔ Additional commercial tips
✔ Many different styles

4. Pixabay

A site where you can easily search for stock photos of a certain size or color is www.pixabay.com. Pixabay probably offers the largest library of photos, so the chances of finding the image you are looking for is high. Through Pixabay you can also search for stock videos, something that is less often offered for free! And if you make beautiful photos yourself and want to share them through a stock photo site, you can submit your work to Pixabay!
✔ Large selection
✔ Stock videos
✘ Due to large selection not always good quality

5. StockSnap

And last but not least, www.stocksnap.io where you can also search for trending photos by date. StockSnap also offers many different types of stock photos, offered through collections and through a search filter. The results you get in StockSnap include free downloadable images, but also photos you have to pay for. The watermark of Shutterstock is shown in the photos you have to pay for so you can immediately see if it is a free image or not.
✔ Extensive search filter
✔ Overview free vs paid
✘ Due to large selection not always good quality

Extra: The site with constant quality

Our absolute recommendation when it comes to images and what we ourselves frequently use is Canva, where you will not only find lots of images but you can also incredibly simple infographics, logos and other designs.

iStockphoto

As you can read above, there are plenty of sites with free photos, but if you want a constant good quality you will have to spend money. My favorite paid stock photo site is www.istockphoto.com. The nice thing about this site is the way the fees are structured. You can download a single image for about 9 euros, but you can also download multiple images at once for a reduced rate. If you buy several credits at once, you can get as much as €6 per image. iStock is therefore also great to use if you are a starting entrepreneur or a designer who only needs a few images. What is also very convenient is that iStock has an app so you can search for the perfect stock photos even faster from your cell phone!
✔ Most professional supply of photos
✔ Buy one photo once or multiple credits for extra discount
✔ Useful app
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