The stock images that you use in your marketing videos determine its success.
That’s a big claim, right? But it’s essentially the truth. If you resort to using cliché and stock-image-looking pictures, your viewers are going to recognize them from a mile away.
The same is true for royalty-free images that are circulating widely on the internet. Because everyone has already seen these images, they are immediately recognizeable, indicating your video doesn’t offer anything unique.
The solution? Use royalty-free images that are unique and not used as widely as many free photos out there.
The only catch is that finding such photos that are free for commercial use is a challenge.
So to make this easy for you, we’ve put together this list of stock photo sites that offer totally free, high-resolution images for your video communication.
Since each site offers different royalty-free photos, it’s best you bookmark this piece so you can visit a different site each time you’re looking for a specific image type.
What are royalty-free images?
Before we begin, it’s important you have a clear understanding of what royalty-free images are.
Royalty-free images are stock photos that you can use without a license. Stock photography sites often use the license to sell stock images to you.
There’s a related term here too called a Creative Commons License. What’s that, you ask? A Creative Commons License is a type of public copyright license that allows stock images sites to distribute stock visuals for completely free.
These sites can only get a CC license if the photographer/creator gives people who download their work the right to use, share, and modify their work.
The takeaway? Most of the sites that we share below give you the right to use the visuals you download for personal and commercial use. You can also edit the pictures, but you can’t sell them.
In certain cases, you might be asked to give credit to the site or photographer, but most photo websites let creatives use the free images with no attribution needed.
💡 PlayPlay Pro Tip
Did you know that you don't need to be an expert and have a ton of video equipment to create your own footage?
Golden rule? Pay attention to the lighting, especially if a person is involved. Having a calm and professional video interview background can quickly make the difference if your video is being watched or dropped.
Learn more on setting up your interview lighting and what your video lighting kit should include in the linked blog posts.
The best places to find royalty-free stock images
And now, for the list of sites where you can get photos for free:
Unsplash is home to high-quality stock photos with a modern edge.
Photographers around the world contribute their images to the site. This means there are a variety of different stock photos you can grab from this site.
Since it’s powered by creators, new photos are continually added to it so you can never run out of options.
You can also explore the trending image categories. Find them under the search tab. Or, you can simply type in a keyword or two describing the image(s) you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for a stylish, modern free stock photo, Freepik is another source to try.
And here’s the good news: not only can you select royalty free images from this site, but you can also get your hands on free vectors.
You can find both freemium and premium content over here though. So each time you’re looking for a free image or vector to use, be sure to read its description on the right.
All free images come with a note that they’re free for personal and commercial use provided you attribute the site.
When it comes to finding the perfect image on Freepik, simply use the search bar or explore content under the popular and recent tabs just below it.
You can also set filters to your search under the All resources tab that’s on the left of the search bar.
Pixabay is another noteworthy photo website that’s worth your time.
Again, like the sources above, it offers modern images. But its vast library isn’t limited to images only. Instead, it offers free stock videos, vectors, and illustrations as well.
The best part? The photo site clearly states that the images are free for use and you don’t need to attribute them to use them for free.
So type in your keywords in the search bar and start searching for the best visuals for your videos.
Each visual that you open also has some tags on its top. You can explore those for related content.
Burst is another free stock photography site offering contemporary images.
Photos come with a license that declares the content is free for commercial and non-commercial use. You also don’t need to attribute the photographer, Shopify (parent company), or Burst. However, you don’t have the right to sell the images.
That said, browsing the perfect image is as easy as typing a related keyword in the search bar.
Other options to explore photos: check out popular categories under the search bar, select from the top free weekly images, or explore the different collections such as coffee, red background, sun, owl, and more toward the end of the page.
5. Free Images
Free Images is also home to modern pictures, but the quality isn’t extraordinary as they aren’t as bright.
Like all other sites shared so far though, Free Images offers free photos that you have the right to use.
Take to the search bar to find the image you’re looking for. Once you open an image, you’ll find similar, free photos, which makes it easy to find the right image.
Pexels is another stock imagery source for classy photos and videos that are free to use as well as edit and don’t require attribution.
What’s unique on this site, however, is the ease of finding free pictures for your project. The standard, of course, is the search bar and the suggested keywords under it.
But there’s more: you can browse whatever you want by the following categories featured on the site: Discover, Videos, Leaderboard, and Challenges.
Under Discover, you’ll find pics organized by photography topics, popular collections, background and cover photos, and color.
You’ll find short video clips in different sizes under Videos with the Leaderboard category allowing you to hand pick free photos from different photographers.
Finally, in the last category, you’ll find content that Pexels contributors shared under different challenges.
Canva offers both free and premium, high-quality, personality-imbued images.
This means if you’re looking for a free stock image, you need to select ‘free’ from under the search bar.
Canva shares images under the Trending photos category too. You’ll see a drop-down menu here. Be sure to select ‘free’ here as well.
Other than this, the site organizes photos by keywords like computer, black, office, and more.
Gratisography is your go-to site for funny and quirky copyright-free images and vectors.
All pictures are free of cost. You can edit, modify, and use them on your merchandise. But, of course, you can’t sell them as merchandise.
That said, this site also makes it easy for you to find free images that go well with your project.
First, there’s the search bar. Next, there’s the More category in the header section – clicking it will give you access to visual content arranged by categories and collections. Last, as you scroll down, you’ll see trending and/or recent images that feature seven explore-worthy categories.
Last on this list is Reshot, the royalty free stock photography home for illustrations, stock images, and vectors.
Although there’s a search bar available, the site makes image search easy by dividing all the content into three broad categories: SVC Icons, vector illustrations, and stock photos.
The best part? You can add an orientation filter to your search. So if you are looking for only portrait images for your blog videos, you can apply the filter without having to manually comb through the results.
So our list of stock sites comes to an end: each of these royalty-free image search engines offers unique photos.
But here’s the deal: if you’re short on time and don’t want to search through various stock imagery sites, use PlayPlay to create your videos.
PlayPlay's online video creation platform has Getty Images directly integrated into the platform. With the highest quality library of royalty-free stock images, videos and animations at your fingertips, you can create awesome videos in no time.