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Should You Use Free Or Paid Stock Images?

Should you get your images, videos, etc. from a free stock image website or from a paid one?

We all care about money, and most of us would like to spend less, or nothing at all – if possible – to obtain ‘things’.

It would be very nice if we could get great quality images for free. And in some cases you can.

To check out the top 10 free stock image websites, pleaes go here.

There are just a few ‘catches’, or things to consider:

1) A lot of people are already using these free images. Therefore, chances are that they appear on several other websites, blogs, etc. In other words, if you also use them, your images (or graphics, videos, etc.) will most likely be far from unique.

2) The number of available free images is quite limited. As a result, you have fewer images to choose from, and you may not find what you really want. And combine this with #1, and the result is that this limited free material is being used over and over again.

free stock image
paid stock images

3) The quality is often OK on the free stock image sites, however, it is rarely great.

4) Some free image sites do not let you use the images for commercial purposes, and other free sites require that you add text below (or next to) the image to credit the copyright owner.

What are the reasons one should use paid stock images?

Media products from a paid stock image website will in most cases be used by far fewer people, as each license will normally be sold to a few (or only one) user.

If you buy royalty-free or rights-managed licenses from a paid stock image websites, although you will not get an exclusive use of that image, the use of this image is likely to be much more restricted, compared to a free image.

You can also buy an exclusive license that will ensure that only you have legal right to use the product.

Or you can get an extended license that will ensure that the use of this product is very limited.

These licenses are quite expensive however, and mostly purchased by corporations or persons for whom cost is not a big issue.

Many of the paid agencies also have more than 100 million images, which should make it a lot easier to find what you want. You will in most cases find a huge variety and selection of images (and other media products).

The quality on most paid stock image websites is also normally significantly better than what you find on most free sites.

Think about it:

Why would a website give away lots of great images if they could make profits on them? It happens, but it’s rare.

variety and selection of images