Top 25 Royalty Free Stock Photo Sites

by on February 10th, 2011 5 comments

If you are webmaster looking to add great images to your site, a web designer in need of photos, or a video editor in need of artwork, then knowing the top royalty free stock photo sites could come in handy. Royalty free images are either sold commercially or given away free of charge. If the user has to pay it is typically only once and the images can be used multiple times and in different applications and projects. It is important to read the image licenses carefully since they could carry certain restrictions, however,  in most instances once you purchase a royalty free image you can use it on more than one website, include it in your designs, or incorporate it in your promotional and sales videos.

These are the top 25 royalty free stock photo sites:

  1. Dreamstime has a large and searchable collection of stock photos and images, which sell from as little as 20 cents per item. Signing up is free and the images come with either regular or extended license.
  2. Big Photo has a decent collection of low-resolution photos, which are contributed to the site by amateur photographers. The images come with liberal license, which requires linking back to the site or referring to the site if they are to be used on TV.
  3. Photo Rack has, at the time of this writing, close to 30 000 images, which are conveniently divided into a few categories such as “life style,” “travel,” “people,” “cooking,” “animals,” “sports,” “business,” etc. and the image database is searchable as well.
  4. Stock.XCHNG is one of the biggest and best-known stock image websites, with more than 390 000 photos, contributed by more than 30 000 photographers. The image license is quite liberal and the images are free, however, designers that wish to include the photos in their work are encouraged to contact the photographers and ask for permission.
  5. iStockphoto is another site, which has a large database of stock photography, video clips, vector illustrations, audio tracks, and flash media files. All items are purchased with credits, which credits could be bought by choosing one of the subscription plans or only when needed.
  6. Corbis sells images under number of licenses, including royalty free. All items are conveniently split into various categories and theme CDs are available as well.
  7. ImageBase offers free for use images and permits commercial use as well.
  8. Fotolia sells images, vector illustrations, and videos and allows the site’s users to either sign up for one of the subscription plans or purchase credits once off. With more than twelve million items in six different resolutions, the site has one of the most extensive collections on the Net.
  9. FreeBG is the place to visit if you are searching for background images. All of them are free, divided into many categories, and even come with free preview, which should give you an idea on how the background will look on your website.
  10. MorgueFile despite its morbid name offers royalty free images, stored in eleven different categories. The website offers paid premium accounts and VIP services as well.
  11. Gettyimages is another of the large websites, which carries photos, vectors, and illustrations, categorized in collections and galleries.
  12. Free Foto carries more than 130 000 images in 180 sections and more than 3 500 categories. The images are free for commercial and non-commercial use as long as link back and attribution is provided.
  13. FreeStockPhotos has been around for more than ten ears and offers great number of free images (all images are watermarked and the watermark should be retained).
  14. Public Domain Photos contains approximately 5 000 public domain photos, which you could use in your designs, websites, or videos.
  15. Freedigitalphotos carries thousands of images in fifteen different categories. The license requires acknowledgement or paying for the image, and the prices start from as little as three dollars per item.
  16. Photos is one of the largest royalty-free stock photo and illustration websites, with more than 2.6 million items, sold separately or in image packs. Single images are sold from as little as $1.99, while subscription plans allow the same images to be purchased for $0.19.
  17. Image After offers free images and textures, which could be used in personal, non-commercial, and commercial projects.
  18. Jupiter Images has an extensive database of images (royalty free and rights-managed), as well as CD collections.
  19. Photocase is a stock photography website, which sells individual images or packs of credits. The users are presented with number of options such as advanced search, search modifiers, sort function, and “similar photos” option, which could help them find easily the image that they are after.
  20. Matton Images offers high-resolution photos, split into categories, and one, three, six, and twelve-month subscription plans.
  21. Free Pixels has more than 4 000 images, categorized in seven categories and many subcategories. They are free to use in commercial and non-commercial projects under the limitations of the website’s license.
  22. Mooch Travel Photography has an excellent collection of high-resolution travel photos from almost every country in the World. The price of each image is calculated, according to the intended use and can be computed with the help of a drop-down menu.
  23. Freeimages carries approximately 6 000 images in 76 categories, which images are free for use on websites and printed materials, as long as credit is given to the website.
  24. NationsIllustrated is a site with more than 7 500 images, which are free for lawful and non-commercial use.
  25. OpenPhoto offers images in 27 different categories, where the license terms are listed next to each image and most of them allow the users to copy, distribute, and adapt the work.

We hope you find this list of royalty free stock photo sites useful. If you have a favorite please share it in the comments section.