Are Stock Photos Free?

Are stock photos free? Learn more about commercial use and attribution below.

If you want to improve the quality of your work, you might want to add images. A stock photo site might be a good place to start, but make sure you understand if you can use the images you spot there.

Are stock photos free? Some stock photography is free, but other high-quality images might have copyright restrictions. Always check and see if you can use the images before you copy and paste them to your writing or social media; however, if you look, you can find some royalty-free images from websites such as Pexels, Unsplash, and Pixabay. Learn more about commercial purposes and non-commercial use below.

The Consequences of Stealing Stock Photos

Are Stock photos free?

If you don’t check and see if the stock photos are free, you could end up stealing them by mistake. Ignorance is not a valid defense for stealing stock photos from a commercial site. You might feel like it is not a big deal, but there are billions of users on the internet. This can translate to a lot of lost money for websites such as Getty Images, one of the largest producers of stock photos in the world.

If you steal stock photos, you could get hit with a lawsuit, or have to pay a significant financial penalty to avoid one. You might also be facing an astronomical sign that could sink your website. If that isn’t enough, your website could be shut down. This can make it more difficult for you to build a strong online presence. 

Commercial Versus Non-Commercial Use

Before you use a stock image, take a look at the label. If the image has been labeled for commercial use, this means you can use the picture directly or indirectly for the promotion of services and products that could result in monetary gain. If you use the photo to convince someone to buy something on your website, this is commercial use.

If the images are labeled for non-commercial use, this means the image can be used for personal projects, scholarly pursuits, and artistic purposes. On the other hand, you cannot use the picture to promote, market, or sell something for monetary gain. An image labeled for non-commercial use can be used for screensavers, presentations, research papers, and even centerpieces during the holidays. 

The Cost of Stock Photos

Are stock photos free?
In general, the larger the subscription is, the less you will pay per image

If you need to pay for stock photos, how much do they cost? There are a lot of factors that dictate how expensive the photo might be. In general, the larger the subscription is, the less you will pay per image. For example, Shutterstock gives you multiple options. The lowest monthly subscription plan is $29, while the price for on-demand images can range from about $9 per image to close to $15 per image.

Always read the agreement to understand the timeframe of your downloads. Are you limited by the number of images per day, per month, or per year? Finally, think about the quality of the image collections, possible payment methods, and the sizes available. 

Consider Taking Your Own Pictures

If you are frustrated by the new images you see on a free stock photo site, you might want to take high-resolution photos on your own. There are a lot of bloggers and start-up companies that produce their own images instead of using public domain images found on stock photo websites.

If you take your own images, you might have an easier time standing out from the crowd. Furthermore, you can customize the image to meet your needs. Even the best free stock photos will not compare to the quality of the image you take on your own. You can even edit your images using Adobe Stock or Canva. That way, you don’t have to worry about the creative commons license for your commercial projects. 

Final Word on Are Stock Photos Free

There are some websites where you might be able to find free high-resolution images, but some websites charge for their stock photos. Whether you are looking at, Life of Pix, Kaboompics, Flickr, or Gratisography, read the instructions carefully. You don’t want to steal images by mistake, or you could get yourself into some legal hot water.

Whether you use high-quality stock photos from the public archives or make your own images, you can use pictures to keep people interested in the content you share online. Incorporate stock photos into your graphic design strategy to grow your online presence and build a strong brand.

FAQs About Are Stock Photos Free

Where can I get stock photos for free?

There are several popular locations you should check if you need free images. You may want to check on Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay. Make sure you understand the Creative Commons CC0 license agreement before you use the images.

Do stock images cost money?

Some stock images from websites such as Shutterstock or Getty Images might cost money. You do not want to steal stock images for free. Otherwise, you could face a lawsuit. This might make it difficult for you to attract traffic in the future, particularly if your website gets shut down. Consider using templates to help you create vintage photos and wallpapers that can help you produce trending content.