royalty free photo, free photo, free imagewritten by Bonnie Chomica  

Are you stealing photos for your marketing? You have to be careful not to infringe on copyright when using someone else’s photo, image, or clipart. Don’t just grab something from Google Images, or you could get yourself into a heap of legal trouble.

I’ve compiled the following list of sites where you can find images to use free of charge.  

License Agreements

 The sites below have varying degrees of ‘rules’. Some have none, so you can use whatever photo you want, when and where you want. Some you have to register in order to download images. And, some you have to give credit to the site, or originator, when you use the photo.  

Depending on the site, or what you are using the photo for, it is a great business gesture to thank the photographer/contributor, or advise them what you are using their image for.  

Royalty-Free Photo Sites  

Pixabay has thousands of images that can be used without author attribution (i.e. no need to mention the source). Essentially ‘Free’ photos.   After a search, note that the first row of images are from Shutterstock, which charge for photos. It’s a subtle form of advertising. The rows underneath are your freebies.  

This site has lots of cool photos, but in order to use them for free, you have to attribute the website.

See how I did that at the bottom of the Social Media page on my website..   If you don’t attribute the image you download, you have to pay.  

There are good free images on this site, but you must register in order to download photos. As with other sites, the first row of search results show Shutterstock paid images. Just look below. (used to be offers the largest selection of free images. The only restriction I can see is if you plan to resell an image. For example –  like on a poster, amouse pad, or tshirt.   You must register to be able to download images.             

Many sites offer free photos for the purpose of promoting photographers. takes that up a notch enabling social sharing, ‘like’ voting for a photographer, etc. It’s a great way to thank the photographer for the use of their free photo.   Note, top and bottom two rows of search results show Shutterstock paid images.  


This is a huge collection, but when searching, check to see if they are free under the Creative Commons License. Under ‘Advanced Search’, scroll to the bottom, and check the box(es) beside Creative Commons. 

Photo contributors have offered the images for reuse, with various conditions (i.e. a mention, no commercial use, okay to modify). Notice I said ‘photo contributors’, and not photographers. People use this as their personal photo sharing site, so although there are loads of images, you may have to search a bit to find your gem.      

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Sometimes clip art is the way to go to get your marketing message across. provides an extensive clipart collection that is royalty free. You can download an image, or even get html code to embed into your website.      



Final Note 

Good images are essential for your marketing, but unless you want to pay for your images from the likes of iStock or Shutterstock, check these sites to get free royalty free images.   I’d love to know what royalty-free image sites you use. Please leave a comment and share your favourites.


Bonnie Chomica

Marketing Mentor

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