Featured image for the best sites for copyright-free images showing a number of stock images in a masonry grid.

Top 5 Sites for Copyright and Royalty-Free Images

Thomas Hamson

Need images for your website but don’t want to pay for a photo shoot? You’ve come to the right place. Here are our top 5 sites for copyright and royalty-free images.

Respecting copyright

Thinking that all images online are free is a big mistake and can lead to big fines! Copyright protects original images preventing you from reproducing or sharing them without permission from the author.

So if you’re looking for images to use on your brand materials, for instance, business cards, posters and websites, you can either buy them or use copyright or royalty-free images that are open for anybody to use.

Top 5 sites for free images

There are plenty of sites offering free, high-quality copyright or royalty-free images. Let’s take a look at a few of our favourites.


Unsplash – The internet’s source of freely usable images.

The go-to site for a large gallery of freely downloadable images, with Unsplash you’ll come across some really beautiful images that are of very high quality. Just remember to double-check that the image you use is free to use under the site license as there are some images where you might need to credit the author (e.g image by author name).


Pixabay – Over 2.6 million high-quality stock images, videos and music.

Boasting over 2.6 million high-quality stock images, videos and music at the time of writing this article. Pixabay has a community of creative people sharing copyright and royalty-free images that you can use for commercial purposes, making it easy to find what you’re looking for without too much hassle.


Pexels – Filter images based on hex codes.

One of my favourite features of Pexels is that you can filter images based on hex codes. For example, if you can search for “nature” but only want images that have a teal colour associated with them, you can choose the hex code #009688.


Burst – Download both low and high-resolution images.

With such a sleek interface, Burst has similarities with Unsplash and provides a very wide selection of images to explore. Burst also provides the functionality to download both low and high-resolution images without copyright.

Stock Snap

Stock Snap – New CC0 images are added daily and free from copyright restrictions.

Offering beautiful free stock images, Stock Snap add new images daily which are free from copyright restrictions. Their categories are excellent, offering a quick and easy way to find the perfect image for the task required.

Bonus site – Foodiesfeed

As you will have probably guessed from the name, Foodiesfeed provides 2000+ free food images for commercial use.

Understandably, if you’re not after food images then this probably won’t be the stock image site for you. But if you’re a foodie, then read on! Images can also be tagged such as “top view” or “close up” which can be a handy way to narrow down the search for the perfect image.

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