How to Find Royalty Free Stock Photos

by Matthew Bamberg, studioD

Royalty-free images run the gamut of just about every subject matter, from polished landscapes to everyday people in a variety of situations. You can purchase these photos from a number of websites for unlimited use. The Getty Photos website states: "When you license, or pay to use for your own purposes, an RF image, you can use it in any application, for as long as you like, in as many different projects as you like." The cost for royalty-free stock photos depends on the sizes of the photos.

Search the website. This site has more than 15 million royalty-free stock photos. You can find images on this site by typing in a keyword associated with an image into the search box. You can also find royalty-free stock images on the site by clicking a subject category that is related to an image you want. Click on one of the pictures in the slideshow on the homepage to access the window in which the categories are listed. Images on this site can be purchased after paying for a subscription plan. Plans start at $49.

Search the "Photos" section of the website if the website doesn't have what you want at the price you are willing to pay. Type in a keyword to find a photo in which you have an interest. Click on the category in the "Photo Picks & Collections" area to find photos by themes. Some themes include: "On the Road," "Techno Kiddies" and "Peace, Calm, Unity." To purchase photos, you must first buy credits in monetary denominations. Prices start at around $9.75 for six credits.

Search the "Royalty Free" section of the Getty Images website. Type in a keyword related to the type of photo you want to find. In the window that comes up, refine your search by clicking on one of the subcategories under several main topics in a sidebar next to the images. For example, if you type in the word "landscape" for a keyword, landscape photos appear with a sidebar of search criteria for refining the search for the keyword "landscape." This criteria includes "People," which contains the subtopic "Number of People," under which links to images appear under such categories as: "No People," "One Person," "Two People" and so son. Getty Images prices its images on a per image basis. Prices start at $10 for some images.


  • There are many more royalty-free stock photos at other websites such as Dreamstime and Fotolia.


  • Shutterstock contains a large amount of illustrations and clip art among its photo inventory.
  • You cannot purchase single images on Shutterstock.


About the Author

Matthew Bamberg is the author of several photography books, as well as an adjunct instructor at the University of Phoenix, National University and UC Riverside. He teaches English composition, sociolinguistics and photography, previously serving as a public school teacher in California for 14 years.

Photo Credits

  • Images