What's the Difference between Free and Royalty-Free Stock Photos? Your Quick Guide to Stock Photos

Your Quick Guide to Stock Images
Of course, you want this pug in a rug on your website. You’d be crazy not to, right? (who says I don’t know my audience).

Okay, I hear you. It’s not quite what you had in mind for your plumbing business. Not a problem. I’ll find you a photo of a dog wearing a shower cap in the bath.

And that’s the beauty of stock images. There’s a photo for all occasions.

There was a time when the internet was awash with generic stock photos. Remember the laughing businessmen pointing at a computer screen or the attractive women smiling seductively wearing a headset and who can forget the office workers jumping for joy.

Odd times indeed.

Photos For Free

The 2021 stock photo trend is leaning towards less staged and more authentic images.

Good news! This type of photo can be found by the bucket load on the numerous free stock image websites popping up all over the internet.

The photos on these websites are generally free to use for commercial /non-commercial purposes and you do not need to ask permission or provide credit to the photographer (although it is appreciated).

Here are six of the best:

When is a free photo not a free photo?

When it’s a "royalty-free" photo. The somewhat confusing “free” bit just means that you don’t pay royalties to the photographer/owner of the picture every time you want to use it. Instead, there’s a one-off fee.

Here's a few royalty-free stock image websites to check out:

This stock photo agency has been around since 2000 and offers not only photos, but also videos and illustrations.

This site has over 295 million images, videos, and music tracks to choose from.

Another site with millions of stock photos, vectors, video clips and music files but at a fraction of the cost of many of the agencies.

Want More?

Looking for the best stock image websites in 2021? Check out this useful article Best Stock Photo Sites: Ultimate Guide with 20 Stock Photo Websites! (2021 Update)

Oh, and I didn’t forget.

Dog in a bath