How to find royalty free images for Social Media posts
We know that images are amazing for stopping people from scrolling past social media posts.

How to find royalty free images for Social Media posts

In this blog, I’m going to share with you some great websites that will allow you to discover some wonderful images which you can use without any fear of breaching copyright.

You might not have heard of anyone being sued for using a picture they found on the internet, but believe me, it happens more than you think!

What copyright means – what you can’t and mustn’t do

We know that images are amazing for stopping people from scrolling past social media posts. When someone sees an image that interests them, sparks curiosity, or feels a connection to, they are likely to read the post that has been written to accompany the image.

But what you must never ever do is find an image from a website, someone else’s social media, or from a Google search, etc. and use it with checking its permissions first. Passing an image or a picture off as your own breaches all copyright rules and can land you in hot water.

Copyright is exactly what it says on the tin – it’s a right to copy. And if you don’t own the copyright, then you have no right to copy it.

The creator of the image holds the copy right. This is not something the creator has to apply for, it happens automatically as soon as the work is created.

What royalty free means?

Some images are stated as being royalty-free images. These are not free to use, you usually have to pay for the image. You are acquiring the right to use the image, but you don’t own it. The creator owns the copyright.  This is a special range of images that come with a unique licence. Businesses can pay to have a licence to use an image without fear of breaking any laws.

 

Depending on the royalty free image, the cost will vary.  

How to find royalty free images

But what I’m excited to share with you is the fact that you can find royalty free images that you don’t have to pay for and use them to market your product or service.

There are many websites with thousands of free stock photos for you to explore, download, and use in your social media posts, your website, or your printed documents.

Where to get royalty free images for commercial use?

Here are four of the best royalty free image sites for commercial use that I know you’ll love:

Pixabay

Unsplash

Pexels

PXHere

They all follow a very similar layout so once you’re familiar with one, you’ll have no problem navigating your way around the others. But you will notice that each website with copyright free images has different photographs. I recommend that you spend a bit of time deciding which site offers the type of images that you’re after, and do check the rules for usage as some request you tag in the creator.

Be careful though and check the permissions

While most of the images on these sites won’t cost you anything, there are a few that you will need to buy a license to use. To show you what to look out for, I’m using Pixabay as an example.

I’ve quickly typed ‘dog’ into the search bar as an example, but obviously, you can type in whatever it is you are looking for.

  • At the top of the page, there is a selection of images that require me to purchase a license to use.
  • Underneath the top row, I can see the ones I don’t have to pay for. Above the second row, I have spotted these words, “Pick the cutest dog images and download for free for your phone, desktop or website.” Perfect!

The second tab along, provides even more choice. Fantastic if you’re not after a photo, but an illustration. The screenshot below, demonstrates the other choices and just how easy it is to find exactly what you’re after.

pixabay

You’ll know if you need to pay for a licence

Let’s say I really like the look of the very first image from the top left of the screen. I’ve clicked on the image and can see instantly that there is a watermark across it and a prompt to pay for it.

If I want to use it, I can make a payment of £20 as requested and download the image, which will appear without the watermark. All sites have an option for subscriptions too, so if you believe this is a cheaper option for you as you require quite a few images, then I suggest you look into this.

pixabay

Let’s say I really like the look of the very first image from the top left of the screen. I’ve clicked on the image and can see instantly that there is a watermark across it and a prompt to pay for it.

If I want to use it, I can make a payment of £20 as requested and download the image, which will appear without the watermark. All sites have an option for subscriptions too, so if you believe this is a cheaper option for you as you require quite a few images, then I suggest you look into this.

You’ll know when you don’t have to pay

Who can resist this photo! It’s so incredibly cute and bound to stop people scrolling. Here, I have clicked on the photo, and see a prompt saying, ‘Free Download’. Underneath the green button I can also see these words, “Free for commercial use. No attribution required.”

Optional actions

I recommend that you always check the small print. Some images ask that you send a donation to the artist or ask that you mention the artist when you use it – a simple, “Photo by [insert artist name] via [name of website you downloaded it from] will suffice.

These are only optional suggestions but a nice thing to do.

How to find royalty free images on Google

Sticking with the same example, I’ve typed ‘dog’ into Google’s search bar and then clicked on the ‘Images’ tab.

Click on the Tools button to the right and then select “Usage Rights”. From this drop down list select “Commercial & other licences”. This will bring up images which may possibly be royalty free, but you still need to check!

Click on the one you like, and you’ll see a larger picture of it appear on the right side of your screen. Here you’ll see the small print together with the source of the image. Do some research and find out if you can use the image for free, pay for a licence, or need to give credit to the artist.

I looked further into this particular image and can see that the puppy’s picture featured in Good Housekeeping, I clicked the blue ‘visit’ button which took me to the article and from there I can see that the picture was sourced from Getty Images and I will need to pay to use it.

But there will be some you can use for free; you just need to check.

Get creative with Canva

  • If you’ve not used Canva before, you’re going to love it. With this site you can create professional looking designs to elevate your social media posts. But that’s not all, there are templates to help you with posters, presentations and so much more.

Within this site, there is the option to choose a template and incorporate your own image (including those that you have downloaded from a site) or you can choose from a wide range of images and graphics. Just like the other sites mentioned, you have to pay for some and not for others.

Use your own photos

However, nothing quite beats using your own photographs – especially those with you in them. So, for all those moments that are photo-worthy, get your phone out and snap away. They don’t have to be perfect; they just have to capture something worth sharing with your followers. If you take the photo you own the copyright!

Professional photography

There are times when only a professional photograph will do. I’ve used Tony Longmore and Andrew Collier many times and always delighted with the results.

Stuck for content ideas?

Before you even think about an image, you have to plan your content. Easier said than done, I know! I’ve created a Special Days Of The Year Social Media Wall Planner to help you with your planning. Go on, give your social media an injection of fun and inspiration. Head over to my online shop and get yours before they run out.

pecial Days of the Year wall planner

Bye for now,

Becs

Becs Bate
Social Media Consultant, Social Media Executive

#GetSocial

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