Best Royalty Free Stock Photos Review

When I’m blogging or writing my next article for my website, I frequently have difficulty in finding the right photos, as I am on a tight budget, I invariably search for the “Best Royalty Free Stock Photos“.

So the hunt begins. Search, go to the website. Search for a photo, find a picture, go to download only to find the photo isn’t free after all or the licensing is restricted, or I have to get permission! Boring! I go through this scenario several times. But, not anymore. I have found three websites where I can see the photo that fits with what I’m writing, it’s free, and they don’t restrict me from putting in on a commercial site. Excellent!

Where to get Royalty Free Stock Photos

It wasn’t easy. Each search turned up a new website, but either you had to sign up for a membership, or the free photos were limited, or the free stock photos were only for private use.

After many fruitless searches, and using many photos for my websites, I found three sites that did offer Royalty Free Stock Photos.

Listed below are my requirements for Best Free Stock Photos.

  • Free for Personal Use
  • Free for Commercial Use
  • Membership Not required
  • Subscription Not Required
  • No Attributing work * [note my amendment below]
  • Usage Permission is Not Required
  • Amending and Cropping is Allowed

The Best Royalty Free Stock Photo Sites


Best Royalty Free Stock Photos - Unsplash

The category toolbar makes for easy browsing of stock photos, enhancing the standard search box. Do you want to browse pictures related to business and work, or perhaps travel, or fashion. One click and instantly you are browsing the images that matter.

Unsplash licensing covers all of my requirements. Though it isn’t necessary, they do ask that you give credit to the photographer, linking back to the photographer’s Unsplash profile. Though I haven’t done this in the past, I will do so in the future, and I recommend that you do the same for this one reason: The Domain Authority of Unsplash is 84/100!

If you are a new website, this is a site that search engines will pick up on and help your SEO. In short, external links to a website with a high Domain Authority is beneficial to a new website!


I like Unsplash licensing. It basically, gives you free rein to do just about everything, unfettered. You cannot use for “compiling photos to replicate” the Unsplash website. Well, that’s fair enough!

Thank you Unsplash, top marks!

You can read more of Unsplash’s licensing via this link.

Does Free Mean Free?

With Unsplash, yes it does. I will certainly be using this site more often. I have no room to complain! They are doing everything right.

Marks Out of Ten

I give Unsplash a fantastic 8/10!


Best Royalty Free Stock Photos - Pexels

Pexels is another site I will be linking back to and attributing all the photos I use, to the photographer. Their Domain Authority is a whopping 92/100! Which is impressive when you consider Google has a maximum DA of 100.

The images are categorised, which does speed up searches. The quality of some of these pictures is striking.


Pexels licensing is very similar to Unsplash, but they like to keep it simple. In those terms, Pexels’ photos are free to use both commercially and non-commercially, excellent! Attributing the pictures to the photographer is not necessary. But again, I will start to do this in the future. I can’t ignore that excellent Domain Authority rating! Pexels allows you to modify their images. You can edit as you like.

What you cannot do is use the photos that may be offensive where identifiable people may be made to appear bad! You cannot re-sell Pexels’ stock photos. All fairly standard stuff.

You can read more of Pexels’ licensing via this link.

Does Free Mean Free?

I like the simple licensing rules. They are very clear.

Marks Out of Ten

I give Pexels an excellent 8/10!


Best Royalty Free Stock Photos - Pixabay

I like Pixabay. I usually find the image that I want quite easily. Maybe it’s a simple thing, but I find the site name more memorable than the other two – something else to consider when choosing a domain name for your next website project.

Pixabay offers free Illustrations, free vector art, free videos, as well as the expected free photos!

Pixabay’s Domain Authority is a stunning 93/100! Now I’m paying attention! Pixabay has a lot going for them.


Pixabay’s license is in plain English, is very similar to that of Pexel. It is interesting to note that Pixabay does highlight the possibility of the inclusion of identifiable people and logos. And, that these may have further copyright and trademarks related to a third party, which could require further consent or licensing from those third parties. Something to be aware of, and as far as I am concerned, worth keeping your distance from images of this type. It isn’t worth the effort.

There’s more on Pixabay’s licensing via this link.

Does Free Mean Free?

Absolutely! Pixabay’s rules pretty much mirror the previous two companies. I have used Pixabay photos a lot.

Marks Out of Ten

I give Pixabay an outstanding 9/10!

A small extra for you: a short free video from Pixabay!


Though I have used Pixabay more than the other two, I will perhaps be using Unsplash more often, so long as I can find the images that I want. It was fun researching for the best royalty free stock photos, and I think I found three of the best available.

In the future, I will be attributing all the images I use on my websites from these three Free Stock Photo Sites, especially those that I have used from Pixabay! You can’t argue with a Domain Authority of 93!

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