What Are The Top 5 Websites To Get Royalty Free Images for Commercial Use In 2021

What Are The Top 5 Websites To Get Royalty Free Images for Commercial Use
ShopSmarts.AI – What Are The Top 5 Websites For Royalty Free Images For Commercial Use

If you are looking for top 5 websites to get royalty free images for commercial use, you will find them in this article. However, you must understand some prerequisites before using royalty free images for commercial use. Now, Images are necessary to make your online content look attractive. It is very difficult to see any written content online without a featured image. The reason why images are important is because they let readers relate to the content they are reading. It is one thing to read something but another thing entirely to understand what is being read. Images help you understand better as you read online content. So, it is not an option but a necessity. 

It also doesn’t matter what typ of content you are creating whether blog posts, web pages, e-books, and so on, you still need a visual representation that will better explain your concept or idea. In a few words, readers have a more engaging experience with your content if you embellish it with appropriate images. 

As important as images are, they are some people’s creativity. You wouldn’t just access images randomly online just because plenty of them are online. No image is self-existing. It must have been created or designed by someone. 

If you create an image, you have a hundred percent right over it. But if you didn’t create the image, there are protocols to observe before using it. One thing is important to consider before you use an image you didn’t create which is the copyright. You should ask yourself, how can you use the image and yet, you comply completely with the copyright. 

What is Image Copyright?

The copyright is one of the United States federal laws which protects authorship. Works of authorship include music, artistic works, and so on. As soon as a piece of work is created by someone, copyright comes into existence which is not limited to published works only. Copyright law still protects an unpublished work. 

According to the United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8, clause 8 defines the intent of the copyright law which states that the copyright law is “to promote Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

The copyright law thus balances the owner’s rights and the general public that make use of the author’s writings, discoveries, inventions, or creativities. 

The copyright law is what allows an image created by someone to be encouraged and appreciated by others. Now, the author does not need to file a paper for copyright because copyright is automatic. Automatically copyrights have some exceptions notwithstanding. 

As an author who created the original work, you can do four things as allowed by the copyright law which are:

  • Republish a work that is already copyrighted. That means the author could have several revisions of the already published work. 
  • Show the work to the world. The author has the right to publicly display the work as much as s/he can. 
  • Circulate and distribute copies of the copyrighted work. 
  • Can modify the copyrighted work to get a derivative of it. 

There is no image online, whether you found it on Google, a blog, or any stock images site that does not have copyright. Copyright is initiated as soon as the image is created. You must check whether such images can be used or not. 

There is no excuse for violating a picture’s copyright. Ignorance as well is not an excuse. If you are caught and charged with copyright infringement, you will have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to free yourself from the trouble. Before you use a picture you come across online, you must take cognizant of these points that are being discussed in this article. 

Don’t be surprised that whoever is found guilty of copyright infringement could be sentenced to jail. 

Understanding Royalty-Free Images

Some images come with a special license for use. Such images are called royalty-free images. That means you can use an image as long as you want once you license the image once. Having licensed it once, you wouldn’t have to do it again to use it for as much as you want. 

There are other licenses as well. However, they are like a rental option whereby you pay to use the images for some time and once that period expires, you need to renew the license again. 

Once a royalty-free image is downloaded, you will pay to use it for the first time but will never have to pay for the subsequent use for as long as you want to use such an image. It is like making a once and for all purchase of something. However, you must maintain the conditions provided by the license in terms of how to use the image. 

Royalty-Free Images for your Project

Using the right images could make your presentation stand out and you can of course look out for royalty-free images, either vector or photograph images, and use them as aid for your creative works. Using the right images for your blog post could make it unique and stand out. 

The good news is that royalty-free images are not expensive. They are the best alternatives for your work if you’re thinking of having a giant business impact. For example, the importance of good quality images I’m Facebook and other social media channels cannot be overemphasized. If you want your social media ads, sales brochures, presentations,posts, and so on to stand out, quality images are a must. Royalty-free images are those images you could use with low-cost. 

Let’s look more closely into the points mentioned earlier one after the other. 

Sales Brochures

Do you think high quality images matter for your product? Yes, high quality images matter a lot for your product. You can leverage any royalty-free images for your product designs that will show the general public the services you offer. Don’t forget, the essence of images is to reinforce and enhance your message to your audience. 

Official Presentations

You should always come up with a creative presentation rather than the boring presentation routines of title, bullets, and so on. Using royalty-free images could make your presentation stand out and unique. In this way, you will get the attention of your audience and communicate your idea to them effectively because there are images on the screen that further explain every point you make. 

Blog Posts

Readability is enhanced when images simplify your ideas. You can make your blog posts eye-catching if you use images strategically. If the blog posts are eye-catching enough, there are more chances of increasing your website traffic. Royalty-free images are those affordable images you could think of using for that purpose. Images also help you rank higher on search engine result page (SERP). 

Store Display

If you are a store owner, you need high quality images for your in-store display design. The images must agree with your type of business. You will find thousands of royalty-free in-store display images that you can use for that purpose. 

Using Royalty-Free Images

The royalty-free images might not depict hundred percent of the idea you want it to represent. In using the royalty-free images, you should take a step on editing them. The size of the image might not fit into what you want to use it hence. You might not be comfortable with the background. Royalty-free images allow you to add some touches to the images according to what you want. 

Some of the touches include cropping, recoloring, retouching, and so on. You could as well add texts on royalty-free images to perfectly communicate the idea. You should only ensure that you keep to the terms of use of the image as you edit the image. Changing of color or flipping could violate the usage rights. 

There are different types of images. We shall consider one after the other. 

  1. Public Domain Images

The public domain images do not need to be cited when they are used. These images are categorized as U.S work which were all published before the 1st January, 1924. Also, the copyright authors of the images have released the images into the general use domain. This type of images could have an expired copyright or never had copyright in the first instance. 

You can get public domain images at Commons, Wikimedia, and Flickr Commons. 

  • Creative Common Images

Some photographers created images and released the images for the general public use while still retaining some control over the use of the images. The pictures fall into two two parts which are: 

  • The ones that allow commercial use
  • The ones that do not allow commercial use. 

The ones under the commercial use category are mainly for monetary compensation. The means of compensation is dependent on the condition set by the author whether direct or indirect. It is advisable to use Common Creative images that are free for commercial use. 

  • Stock Photos

Stock photos are not free photos but are released for use only if the license could be paid for. To use any stock photo, you must have paid for the license fee. However, the use of such photos are still subject to agreeing with the terms of use. 

Stock websites have numerous pictures for almost all niches which are taken by professional stock photographers. They are images of high quality. However, before using any stock photo, you must read the licensing terms very well. 

  • Your own Images

There is no right to violate if you use your own images. You might want to hire a professional to take some pictures for you and edit accordingly to meet your needs. 

  • Social Media Images

You should not use images because they are trending on social media. To use social media images must be by permission. Using social media images without permission could attract some measures of legal action  taken against you. 

  • GIFS

GIFS are common but they still carry fair use rights. Fair use implies that works that are copyrighted can be used in certain situations. Search engines mostly display images that fall under the category of fair use. 

Top 5 Websites to get Royalty-Free Images for Commercial Use

Now that you know what royalty-free images mean and how you can use them we will now be looking at the top 5 websites to get royalty-free images for commercial use. 


Shutterstock has millions of royalty-free Images. They offer only stock royalty-free images and so, no need to be afraid of extra charges while getting the images. 

Shutterstock has several categories of image for you to browse and get whatever you are looking for. On the homepage is a search bar. With the search bar, you can get whatever image you are looking for by searching for the relevant keyword. 

Also, you can reduce the images to what you specifically want by making use of the filter option. You could filter by size, orientation, and so on. You can also get vector images on Shutterstock and the minimum number of images you can order per time is five. 


Unsplash has more than 550,000 images with free high-resolution. The images are both for commercial and non-commercial uses readily available for download. You are free to do with the images you get from Unsplash. 

Downloading images on Unsplash is super easy. Look for the image you like and click on the download button and just like that, your image will be downloaded. If you want, you might credit the author but that is not a requirement.


At Image Source, you will see royalty-free images and images managed by right. While searching for any image from Image Source from the homepage search bar, always call to mind to uncheck the box “RM” just below the search box. 

Image Source has over 1.5 million images. 


At iStock, you will see several images, videos, vector images , and so on. You cannot download any image on iStock until you set up your account with them. 


Pexel pictures are also available for commercial use. The pictures have a royalty-free licence. The Images on pexels are free to use as well.

With these five options, you can now decide where to

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