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Images are one of the essential components for online marketing. No matter you are blogging or doing product creation, you will need proper and attractive images to blend in to your post or in the product if not doing the e-cover yourself. In this post, I am going to share a few resources and techniques to find royal free images so that we can use them without infringing the copyright.

What Does Royalty Free Mean?

It simply means it is royal free so every time you use it you don’t need to pay royalty to the person who holds the copyright of the image. It does not necessarily mean it is free image though some of the resources I introduce below will be free. Just do note that you might still need to credit the sources or the author in some other ways (i.e. link back or mention to the source) when you use the royalty images.

Google Image Search

One of the most popular resources I use frequently is Google Image. Just like the normal Google Search, you type in the keyword you would like to find for the images and it will return the results. Instead of showing the typical websites, it will show relevant photos as results. So it is very easy to find what you want.

Before you delve in to scrap all the images and download to your computer, you must check the right of the usage to avoid the infringement of the copyright. If you intend to use the images in your blog or e-cover of your product, you should look for the images that are allowed to be used commercially (unless you will never monetize the blog).

How To Filter The Usage Rights For The Images?

After Google Image returns a tons of images based on your search keywords, you should click on the Option icon > Advanced Search located on the top right hand corner, as shown below:

Google Image Setting


Subsequently, choose the usage rights from the drop down menu. If you are using the images personally without involving any commercial related matter such as to put in your diary or print out to paste it on the wall of your bedroom, you can choose “Free to use or share”. If you intend to use the images in your business (your blog is considered as a business if you monetize or get any other benefits via any form through your blog), you should choose “free to use or share, even commercially“.

Image Usage Right

Most of the time, you should see the number of images return from the Google Images substantially reduce when you choose the commercial usage right. To take a step further, check the terms and conditions before you download the images to be on the safe side. Some of the sites will require a link back to credit the original source, some might restrict the images to be used for certain ways, etc…

I have also included a video below to demonstrate the exact process to use Google Image to get royalty free images:

Get Royalty Free Images With Google Images


Another popular image source is Flickr. After you type in the keyword you want to search in Flickr, you will need to filter the usage right by clicking on “” and ” “.

Flickr Creative Common Setting

Just like we did in Google Image, it is safer to check the license of the image we are going to use and attribute the creator of the image by linking back.

Flickr Image License

As we can see from the license above, you can use the image for commercial work under the following conditions:

  • Attribute the author for the image
  • No alteration or amendment of the image.

So, make sure you check the license of every single image before you use them on your website.

There are a number of the royalty free images sites that you can use below. However, you might need to pay for some of the photos and the cost varies for each sites.

If you would like a walk through of the process to get royalty free images on Flickr, watch the video below:

Get Royalty Free Images With Flickr


Stock.Xchng is another site that I love since it is free however the selection and quality is limited.


MorgueFile is another site that allow you to use the images for Free.


DreamsTime contains lots of photos that you can pay as low as 20 cents to around $16 for high resolution image.


IstockPhoto allows users to purchase credits for the images and the cost of the images vary.


BigStockPhoto provides royalty free images that ranges from $2.99 to $12.99.

Free Digital Photo

The cost of images from Free Digital Photos ranges from free to $10 depending on the resolution of the images.

How To Use Them?

Usually, I outsource the graphic design. So, I mainly use the free images for blog post. If I need an awesome e-cover to be done, I will sometimes pay for the premium images and hand them to my graphic designer and let them use the graphic I desire.

Do you come across any other sites that provide royalty free images? Feel free to share it by leaving a comment below.

To Your Success,
Ming Jong Tey

24 Responses to “Where To Get Royalty Free Images – Things You Must Know Before You Use Them”
Read them below or add one

  1. Eric says:

    This is great information. I didn’t realize you could use Google to find free images.

  2. Another very informative post from you, Ming. This is very new to me. Same with Abhishek, I also use on searching Creative Commons photo.

  3. Andrew Price says:

    Excellent suggestion – I hadn’t realized that Google Images had an advanced search feature to filter for images. Thus far I have avoided using images on my site (even though it isn’t commercialized) and was looking into creating my own graphics. Talk about a time saver!
    Andrew Price recently posted..Are companies inflating their Twitter followers?

  4. Abhishek says:

    I use flickr for images and it has one of the best collection of free images. I have installed and it has made the attribution process really easy.

  5. david says:

    I think it is also a good idea to alter the images in some way. I’ve ‘heard’ that some legal cases about copyright infringement were thrown out or questioned because the original image had been altered or changed in some way. This in effect, creates a new image that is not copyrighted – except by you.
    david recently posted..Why Running An Ecommerce Website Is Better Than Blogging

  6. Becca says:

    Hi Ming! Using images is great and can attract readers. There is a saying “Picture capture
    a thousand words”. Always give credit to those that create images. Thanks for the share.
    Becca recently posted..End Of Lease Cleaning Wollstonecraft

  7. Jake Dewman says:

    I didn’t know you could search the rights even commercially! that is so crazy! this post has helped me a lot! so thank you for that! and i always search images on Google! its the best place to go!
    Jake Dewman recently posted..Boise Churches, Considering All Aspects of Your Boise Home Purchase

  8. bbrian017 says:

    Hey Ming what a great idea for the post. I mean adding the element to actually explain what the difference is and what you can and can’t use is perfect. It’s a very tricky thing to miss when you first start.
    bbrian017 recently posted..#BlogEngage Twitter Chat ReCap For June 28 2012

  9. Ming,

    Thanks for this great and helpful post. I had been using another route to get at the Google images I could legally use. I never even noticed the advanced search option. This is going to save me SO much time. Flickr is fine if you have a half hour or so to waste finding a legal image. I don’t.

    I recently came up with another way to use beautiful images without worrying about copyright. I became an affiliate at They sell 100,000s of images, photos, drawings, etc. Now, when I need a nice image for a post I simply insert an affiliate link that contains a beautiful, nice-sized image. My travel website is becoming an art gallery! I might sell some art from time to time, but that’s not the point. Visit my site if you’d like to see this in action. Click on “Concert Tours” or “Urban Adventures” as examples.

    All the best,

    • Ming Jong says:

      @Scott Shannon: Hi Scott, great to see you here again :) Google Image indeed makes our life easier to find the images but the images allowed for commercial usage is quite limited…

      Interesting idea for I didn’t know they allow you to use the image as long as you promote for them. What a win-win :)

      Saw the images under urban adventures, good quality image! Thanks for sharing this. I will explore this further and likely to take up the affiliate route to use their image.
      Ming Jong recently posted..Adsense Account Banned! What To Do?

  10. John says:

    Great list thanks! But wouldn’t Google penalize for having duplicated image?
    John recently posted..Get cool elegant background patterns

    • Ming Jong says:

      @John: Good question. Initially, Google does not have the ability to search image (relying on the alt tag). Now, even Google can let you upload and search the image (open Google Image and drag one of your image to the search box), it is at its incipient phase and not reliable.

      Unless you are purely using images in your post, I am sure majority of your content will be in text format, that will be assessed by Google…So, don’t worry about being penalized for having duplicate image.
      Ming Jong recently posted..Duplicate Content vs Content Syndication

  11. Ifham khan says:

    I usually go for flickr to get creative common images, well thanks for sharing the idea :)
    Ifham khan recently posted..4 Places for A Newbie Designer to Make Money Online

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