Royalty Free Images for Your Art

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Finding high resolution and good quality royalty free stock images to use freely in your art, marketing materials, blogs, and website can be difficult and confusing if you do not understand the different types of Creative Commons licenses that exist. There are 6 different types of creative commons licenses, each with their own rules and guidelines. In addition to the 6 different creative commons licenses, there is one that is considered a “public domain” creative common license titled as “CC0” or “CCZero”. If you are looking for images where they can be used freely, no attribution required, and for commercial use, this is the designation you want to look for.

Any image that is created by someone is automatically subjected to copyright law protection, even if the image has not been officially copyrighted with the U.S. Copyright Office. The owner of the image must designate the image with the CCO license for the image to be used freely, without any restrictions, and no attribution required because the image now falls under public domain. This license is for anyone who needs high quality and royalty free images for their business or projects, there are free websites that help make these images available for all to use. 

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Pixabay.com

Pixabay is my favorite website to find interesting, high res, and royalty free images for many of the projects I create for my clients and myself.  Nine times out of 10, I can find an image that fits what I need. The best aspect about pixaby.com is ALL of their images are CC0 licensed. This takes out a lot of the guesswork on your part on what is safe to use and what is not. Any image that does not have the Shutterstock watermark on it is 100% free to use for non-commercial and commercial use. Pixabay allows offers the ability to download the image in 4 different sizes so you can have a royalty free image that works perfectly for your needs.

Any image you find and download from Pixabay can be copy, modified, and distributed without asking permission or giving credits to the artist. There are some restrictions on the images but these restrictions were created to respect the artist.

Directly from the Pixabay website exceptions are:

  • Identifiable people may not appear in a bad light or in a way that they may find offensive, unless they give their consent.
  • Do not suggest endorsement of products, services, etc. by depicted people or organizations. For example: do not use an image of NASA and place it adjacent to your own product in a way that suggests NASA would recommend the product.

These are exceptions any person should respect, especially since all of these images are available for free! Pixabay is able to provide amazing royalty free images for anyone to use because the website is sponsored by Shutterstock.com.

Without contributors, Pixabay would not be able to exist. If you are an artist who would like to contribute to Pixabay, you can create a free account and upload your images. An added bonus to contributing images to the website are people are able to donate directly to the contributor any dollar amount he or she chooses. As an artist, there is a possibility of making money using this platform as well as getting your art out there to masses.

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PEXELS.COM

Pexels is another platform that provides CCO licensed royalty free images for anyone to use as they please. All the images can be modified, used for commercial and non-commercial purposes, without attribution to the photographer. As with Pixabay, there are exceptions to the Pexels platform.

Directly from the Pexels.com

DO NOT:

 ✕ Identifiable people may not appear in a bad light or in a way that is offensive.

✕ Don't sell unaltered copies of a photo, e.g. don't sell it as a stock photo, poster, print or on a physical product without adding any value.

✕ Don't imply endorsement of your product by people or brands on the image.

✕ Don't redistribute or sell the photos on other stock photo or wallpaper platforms.

Pexels.com exist to offer you excellent quality, royalty free images to use in your blogs, website, or products so please do respect the rules and guidelines of Pexels.

Another useful aspect of Pexels, is they offer free videos with the CC0 license to use for your projects. They have videos of all kinds that can add interesting images to your projects. This is a unique feature to Pexels and one worth checking out. Pexels videos can be found here.

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Unsplash.com

Unsplash.com was created by a group of creators who needed great and usable royalty free imagery. As with pixabay.com and pexels.com, all the images on unsplash.com can be used for commercial and non-commercial needs, with no attribution required. The royalty free images on unsplash.com are all labeled CCO license but they do fall under the Unsplash license, which does have one important restriction. Under the Unsplash license you may not:

The Unsplash License is in the same spirit as the CC-0 License — the difference being that the Unsplash License does not include the right to compile photos from Unsplash to replicate a similar or competing service.

Unsplash has quality images that can be used for all of your projects and if you have a specific question about their license, you can read more here.