Top 5 sites for royalty free and quality stock images for your videos

Posted by Louise Greaves on November 23, 2021
Louise Greaves

You’re merrily creating a fantastic video when you realize you need a specific image. You think, “I’ll just do a quick Google search, that’ll be fine won’t it?”. Well the short answer is no, no it won’t be fine unless you want to risk being sued. Almost every image created in the last 30 years could be under copyright. It’s just not worth the risk.

Luckily there are lots of fantastic resources that provide royalty free and even completely free images. Before we dive into our favorites, let's just clarify some important terms we’ll be using.

Confident you’ve got the legals covered? Skip ahead to our list of top royalty free and stock image sites.

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Royalty Free Images

Sadly, royalty free does not mean free. It simply means there are no “royalties” to be paid every time you use an image. Instead, you pay a one-time fee for the rights to use that image, often as many times as you like, but be sure to check the terms carefully. 

Images in the Public Domain

Now these images are free, hurray! But finding something on the internet does not mean it is in the public domain. It only applies to images whose copyright has expired, been forfeited or has been expressly submitted to the public domain by the creator. 

Creative Commons Licenses

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that provides tools to allow creators to share their work for free while retaining the copyright. Images with this type of license can usually be used for free as long as it is attributed to the creator in a specific way.

Where to find quality stock images?

If you use VideoScribe you already have access to over 7,000 free stock images, all of which automatically animate in VideoScribe. And if there’s something specific missing you desperately need, you can purchase a custom image pack tailored to your requirements. Speak to our sales team here for details.

Our top 5 favorite sources of royalty free images

1. Unsplash

Unsplash website royalty free stock images

What we think: Unsplash’s library is jam-packed with beautiful, high-resolution photography. The collection tends to focus on stunning scenery and artistic portraits rather than your traditional stock photography. 

Price range: Completely free, can’t say fairer than that!

2. Pexels

Pexels website royalty free stock images

What we think: Pexels is easy to navigate and has beautiful images, stock video footage and animated backgrounds. You can search by color, theme, popularity and more. The database is easy to search and intuitively organized. 

Price range: Completely free for everyone

3. Pixabay

Pixabay website royalty free stock images

What we think: Pixabay offers stock images but also vectors and illustrations, which are really helpful when creating videos. Don’t forget uploading an SVG into VideoScribe means it will automatically animate beautifully. Pixabay is one of the largest databases but the quality can be more hit and miss. 

Price range: Free - all assets are Creative Commons

4. Gratisography

Gratisography website royalty free stock images

What we think: If you’re looking for something a little more quirky and whimsical Gratisography is a great place to look. The collection is a bit more limited but you’ll definitely find something unique. 

Price range: Free

5. The Noun Project

The Noun Project website stock images

What we think: Great selection of icons and photos. The icons work really well in VideoScribe as you can download as svgs -- meaning they'll draw beautifully in your videos. 

Price range: Some are free via Creative Commons, others start at $2.99 an icon or an unlimited subscription starts from $39.99 a year. 

Did we miss your favorite? Add it in the comments below. 

Don’t forget to check out our post on where to find royalty free stock music for your videos.

Get started creating the perfect animated video today with a VideoScribe free trial, no credit card needed.

Topics: Business


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