2018-02-13 00:00:00AdvertisingEnglishChoosing a royalty-free image over a paid photo for marketing purposes may seem like an easy choice, but be aware of the advantages and...https://quickbooks.intuit.com/ca/resources/ca_qrc/uploads/2018/03/Woman-Scouring-Royalty-Free-Images.jpghttps://quickbooks.intuit.com/ca/resources/advertising/use-royalty-free-images/Royalty-free Images: No-cost Options for Advertising Your Business

Royalty-free Images: No-cost Options for Advertising Your Business

2 min read

Few things can make your marketing materials, advertising or website stand out more than a well-chosen picture or image. The right image can be a real attention grabber and pull the focus of potential customers to what you have to offer. However, it’s not quite as simple as grabbing a good picture off of the internet, since many photographs are under copyright and using them without permission is illegal. A website offering free stock images may be a solution.

Three Types of Free-Use Images

Before proceeding to one of the dozens of websites offering free images, it’s important to know that stock photos come with different levels of cost and use.

Free stock photos come in three different varieties.

  • Public domain works are those in which the copyrights have expired, have been surrendered by the original artists, existed before copyright law existed or are not covered by copyright.

  • Royalty-free images are those where the buyer purchases the rights to use the photo but pays no further royalties after that. The royalty-free model is most often used in photography and is used by many of the free stock photo websites.

  • Creative Commons works have varying degrees of licensing rights that are chosen by the works’ creators. Some creative commons works are free to use, while others require attribution or some other permission when you use them. Educators and scientists often use creative commons in the hopes that others will build upon and improve their work.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Royalty-Free Images

Finding and using royalty-free images seems like an obvious choice. Websites such as Shutterstock and iStockPhoto are popular landing spots for individuals and businesses looking for images, but dozens of alternatives to these two sites exist that offer thousands of free stock images to use. There are benefits and drawbacks to using free images instead of paying to use copyrighted ones.

One of the primary benefits of using royalty-free images is the volume of choices. Even if you have a limited budget, you can often select from a variety of great images. If you’re just looking for a simple image to attach to a blog post, place in a marketing flyer or use to design a simple logo, a royalty-free stock image website may be an ideal choice.

However, while free stock image sites offer a significant number of options, they still don’t compare to the likes of Shutterstock. Pixabay, one of the larger royalty-free image websites, offers several hundred thousand free pictures. Shutterstock boasts over 100 million available images with 800,000 more uploaded on a weekly basis. Additionally, paid images are often of higher quality and taken by professionals.

Examples of Royalty-free Image Websites

The largest free stock image sites offer tens of thousands of images to choose from. Some of the largest include:

  • Pixabay
  • Unsplash
  • Pickup Image
  • Pexels
Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

Related Articles

Royalty-free Images and Where to Find Them

As a new small business owners, the chances are high that you…

Read more

Avoiding Common Image Sourcing Pitfalls: Finding Legal Photos and Graphics

For a number of reasons, your small business may need to use…

Read more

Internal Reporting: How to Perform Cost Assignment

As a small business owner, you should know the true cost of…

Read more