Affordable Sources for Legal Images

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As a website owner, blogger, or digital marketer, sourcing legal images can be a constant challenge. It’s essential to find photos that are not only high-quality but also won’t get you into legal trouble. This article aims to alleviate those concerns by providing a curated list of platforms where you can find affordable or even free legal images for various purposes.

What Does “Royalty-Free” Mean?

Before we delve into the list, it’s essential to understand the term “royalty-free.” This label doesn’t necessarily mean the image is free to use without any cost. Instead, it means you pay for the image once and can use it multiple times without paying additional royalties to the creator.

Using copyrighted images without permission can result in hefty fines and legal action. With platforms like PicDefense, you can assess the copyright risk of each image on your website. Still, prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, sourcing images from legal platforms is critical.


Type: Free-to-use
Ideal for: Bloggers, Social Media Marketers, Start-ups

Pexels offers a vast collection of high-quality images that are free to use even for commercial purposes. Although you don’t have to pay, it’s always good to credit the creator when possible.


Type: Free-to-use & Royalty-free (Paid)
Ideal for: Creative Projects, Personal Blogs

Unsplash provides high-resolution images free of charge. Like Pexels, it’s a community-driven platform, and crediting photographers is encouraged but not mandatory.


Type: Royalty-free (Paid)
Ideal for: Various Projects, Small to Large Businesses

DepositPhotos offers a wide-ranging collection of over 190 million high-quality images, vectors, and videos. With flexible licensing options and affordable plans, it’s suitable for diverse needs, from individual projects to enterprise solutions.


Type: Royalty-free (Paid)
Ideal for: Professional Websites, Marketing Campaigns

Shutterstock offers a massive collection of high-quality, royalty-free images. Although you have to pay, the benefit is access to a wide range of professional photos.

Adobe Stock

Type: Royalty-free (Paid)
Ideal for: Graphic Designers, Agencies

Adobe Stock offers a selection of premium images and is highly integrated with Adobe’s suite of creative software.

Getty Images

Type: Rights-managed & Royalty-free (Paid)
Ideal for: Journalism, High-end Publications

Getty Images offers some of the most iconic images worldwide and is best suited for very professional use. The platform provides both rights-managed and royalty-free images.

Specialized Image Sources

Apart from these mainstream platforms, there are specialized sources for niche images like medical photography, historical archives, and more. Always remember to check the license type and any restrictions before use.


Whether you’re a blogger or a large enterprise, there are numerous platforms to find legal images that fit your budget and need. Remember, using copyrighted images without proper licensing can lead to legal issues, so always opt for trusted sources.


Can I use an image I found on Google?

Unless you can verify its copyright status and obtain a license if needed, it’s not recommended to use images directly from Google Search.

What does “rights-managed” mean?

Rights-managed images are licensed for a specific use. You’ll have to pay for each different usage of the image.

With platforms like Pexels and PicDefense at your service, navigating the world of legal images has never been easier.

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