Royalty-free image: a good plan to use as part of a web marketing strategy… Today, the photo is an essential element in the communication of a commercial company: to illustrate a product sheet, to facilitate the reading of a blog article or the understanding of a tutorial, to catch the eye on social networks … “A picture is worth a thousand words” and it seems that the web gives all its meaning to this expression which is more than 2,500 years old. But often this quest takes time and money. Good news: there are free, high-quality image banks online!
How do you know if an image is copyright free?
Before embarking on the search for free images, it is important to know what this concept covers. Can a beautiful free image be used for any purpose? Is it necessarily free of rights? And first of all, how do you know if an image is copyright-free?
Royalty-free photos are not necessarily free …
… And free images are not necessarily copyright-free. The notion of royalty-free images is different from that of free images. Royalty-free images and photos may be used without a time limit, but within a framework defined by the user license acquired beforehand: the user is authorized to use the illustration under the conditions mentioned in the license. It may be a license authorizing the reproduction of the image only for non-commercial purposes, or an extended license allowing, in particular, the printing of the photo on derivative products, for example. In any case, the terms and conditions are necessarily specified.
These free Creative Commons licenses allow different uses, including:
- CC0 (Creative Commons Zero): Free images can be used without restriction.
- CC BY: copyright-free photos must mention the identity of their author.
- CC BY NC (non-commercial): any commercial use requires the consent of the author.
- CC BY-ND (no derivated work): at the time of its public exploitation, the user cannot retouch, transform or use the royalty-free image as part of a montage.
When downloading a royalty-free image, it is important to check the type of Creative Commons license attached.
Google image: copyright-free or not?
Does uploading a freely accessible photo to Google image allow it to be used freely? Many illustrations are visible on the web, and their use raises questions. In practice, any visual medium – photo, image, drawing – is protected by copyright. To use a free Google image result, it is, therefore, necessary to request authorization from its author to know:
- If the author grants a free or paid right of use.
- What type of license does the author grant.
However, thanks to the “Tools” tab, Google image allows the results to be filtered by type of license – the “Usage rights” tab – to select only the photos that can be reused for the purposes corresponding to the Internet user’s objectives.
How do you know if an image is royalty-free, free, or paid, and what type of license applies to it? So many issues that hinder a quick and easy use of illustrations in the context of content editing for an effective inbound marketing strategy at a lower cost. Fortunately, the free royalty-free image bank helps the best marketing managers.
Free royalty-free image bank: an essential tool for editing a blog
To find free royalty-free photos, go to the web. Dedicated sites provide access to all kinds of visual media: royalty-free clipart, royalty-free drawing, free vector image, royalty-free logo, or royalty-free illustration. You have every chance of finding the right visual medium for your web content, provided you choose the right royalty-free image library. Here is the list of the best image banks where you can find free royalty-free photos.
1. Adobe Stock
Formerly Fotolia, this reference royalty-free image bank, operates based on a credit system: the user buys credits, then uses them to obtain a license for the royalty-free photos of their choice. . Benefits of Adobe Stock Image Bank: Unlimited choice and exceptional quality. The disadvantage of the site: Adobe Stock offers a majority of paid photos. Tip: Get an Adobe Stock subscription.
By taking advantage of this offer, the user can test the image bank for free for one month, during which he can choose 10 free files.
The ultimate free image bank Pixabay only offers free royalty-free photos – nearly 400,000 – enough to find the illustration that best suits your editorial needs. Better yet, all free images to download are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero license: the user is authorized to make free use of them. Benefits: The site where you can quickly and easily find a royalty-free image for free commercial use. The advanced search engine at the top of the page is intuitive and efficient: it allows you to select files by type, orientation (portrait or landscape), category, size, and dominant colors.
This royalty-free image bank also only offers free images, under the CC0 license. Pros: All photos posted on Unsplash can be used for free, for commercial or non-commercial purposes. Possibility to search for photos by colors or by format. Cons: Unsplash only offers photos, no vector files.
Royalty-free and free image, CC0 license authorizing commercial use and modification of files, multi-criteria search engine, a wide choice of images of all types and all categories … Pexels brings together all the advantages of a good free stock photo bank!
5. Google images
The largest free royalty-free image bank … provided you verify the type of Creative Commons license applicable. A free Google image is arguably the most obvious choice when looking for visuals. But be careful to select the right of use “authorized reuse and modification” so as not to risk infringing copyright.
Pickit, Iso Republic, or even Flickr, so many other free image banks are to be explored to find the royalty-free photo that will best illustrate the tutorial, the blog article, or the product page of your site.
A tool even makes it possible to scan all the photos accessible on the web in an instant: Everypixel. You can thus restrict the search to a selection of free images exclusively.
On the results page, the user gets a multitude of files from which he selects the royalty-free image of his choice. By clicking on it, it is redirected to the various sites which offer it for free, it remains to download these free images with complete freedom!
Find your free photos: the example of Freepik
As part of your marketing content creation, using free royalty-free images is always a must. But how do you do your research on the free image bank of your choice? Zoom in on the search for free images to download, with the example of the free image bank Freepik.
Freepik, for all your free royalty-free images
In search of a free photo of rights, you can go to the site of Freepik. This image bank is one of the best and most famous. This library includes not only photos but also royalty-free illustrations and most importantly, vector files. These documents in .ai or .eps, well known to graphic designers and creatives, allow you to build your logo, for a 100% personalized, unique visual and protected by copyright. By downloading one or more free vector images from Freepik, the seasoned user has the possibility of creating a multitude of free royalty-free images… which belong exclusively to them. Around 1.5 million royalty-free vectors, PSDs, and image files: plenty of choice for illustrating infographics, visual identities, presentations, or press kits.
Find a free royalty-free image, instructions for use
Freepik and its search engine look like most of the best royalty-free free image sites. To find the photo best suited to the editorial content to illustrate, the procedure is simple:
1. Type in the subject of the desired image. For example: for a royalty-free new year image, type “new” in the search bar. The engine usually offers very useful suggestions to refine your search.
2. Filter the search results. Royalty-free photo, vector, PSD, or icon, just check the box that matches your search.
Note: some sites also allow you to find a free royalty-free video file.
3. Select the image of your choice. Once the file has been selected, and before downloading it, it is important to check the type of license attached. As a reminder, only the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license allows you to obtain a free image of free commercial rights, to illustrate the editorial content of your company.
Note regarding the quality of the file: most sites offer several download sizes, depending on the user’s business needs. A logo is inserted in reduced size at the bottom of the page because it does not need as high a quality as the photo on the home page of the site. In any case, each royalty-free HD image must be of sufficient quality – and therefore of size – to appear clearly. The choice of HD quality is made when selecting the image.
4. Download the file. The user then has a free image of copyright, to be used within the framework of his license: the CC0 license authorizes all uses, for personal or commercial purposes, with the possibility of modifying the file or insert as part of a montage and without time limit.
Note: just like the images uploaded to dedicated sites, editorial content – blog articles, product sheets, presentations, tutorials, etc. – remain the exclusive property of their author. By creating content that includes images, the publisher is protected against any use of said content by a third party.