Everything you need to know to find royalty-free media assets for your needs.
As the crypto market picks up again, let alone the growth of blockchain technology and its gradual integration into various aspects of society, there will be an increasing demand for related stock images, illustrations and video.
Whether you produce regular BTC/crypto content, want to pitch an idea to business colleagues or prospective clients, or are enthusiastic about this technology, you’re looking for content to boost your latest and upcoming projects.
Today, I will cover some of the best websites with stock photos and footage to suit your needs.
Before beginning, I realise everyone has different requirements and priorities. I have categorised users into three broad groups. These are:
– Semi-professional (aspiring to utilise these images for professional use)
What criteria will I use to determine the “best” images for one’s needs?
I will stick to the main considerations most people have in mind. These include:
– Quality: How impactful are these images, vectors and videos? Will they help achieve the desired results, especially for business growth?
– Cost: This is highly variable, and some content isn’t financially feasible for most people unless it’s for commercial usage in a mid-to-large company. For others, quality is the priority.
– Terms of usage: Depending on circumstances, personal/non-commercial, commercial, or editorial-only use.
– Legal protections: For peace of mind, some paid services allow you to purchase an enhanced licence that grants you further protections in case of a legal dispute.
– Subscription service vs pay-as-you-go: Monthly/annual subscription for unlimited downloads versus image packages with capped downloads.
Rest assured, there will be something for everyone on this list.
FYI, all the companies throughout this article offer subscription and image packages to avoid repetition.
– Bang for your buck: This is highly subjective, but an important consideration nonetheless.
I will factor in these points when determining which services are most suitable for you.
I have been using this company since 2019 for high-quality stock images. Thus, I have featured it first as I speak from user experience.
A paid service stands out from many alternatives featured throughout this, as Shutterstock offers a broad range of highly creative, eye-catching images and videos for personal and commercial use.
Like other paid services here, this makes finding top-notch content for lesser-known altcoins and tokens much easier. The free services mostly feature Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, XRP/Ripple, Cardano and, if you’re lucky, an altcoin or two. That’s about it.
Shutterstock offers image packages at reasonable prices. I appreciate its subscription options: Monthly, annual or packs (# of downloads); download images, video or music, standard vs enhanced licences, etc.).
Here are a couple of my favourite images from the platform that I’ve recently used:
I usually opt for a 10-credit monthly subscription for 29 AUD (roughly US$20), paid annually. One credit = one image, except for enhanced licencing premium content. Any unused credits are forfeited.
You can usually snap up a good deal at certain times of the year (now’s a good time with Black Friday around the corner) to save 20 or 25% off everything whenever the promotion’s running.
I haven’t used this, but from some basic searches, they have some of the most appealing stock media. For crypto content, Adobe Stock’s quality and variety are similar to Shutterstock, but I’d still prefer the latter.
This is purely subjective, so you be the judge.
It is the most expensive option listed here, but it could still be justified if the quality is your priority. I will note that each subscription has the benefit of mix-and-match assets if you need a selection of images, HD videos, and music, all under the same plan.
I am going off searches I’ve made for lesser-known altcoins and tokens, where it’s typically harder to find suitable images – both in terms of quality and quantity – than Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Cardano, etc.
This appears to be tailored more towards high-end business usage just from looking at their monthly plans: 10, 25, 40 and 750 images. Note the massive jump from 40 to 750, unlike their competitors, which have something in between.
What would make Adobe Stock is if there were a bundle offer for anyone subscribed to its Creative Cloud suite. I see that its stock-image service is listed as an add-on, but I don’t see any relevant promos here.
A quick sidenote about AI-generated content: Adobe announced its Generative AI feature being incorporated into Adobe Stock in October. They also offer Generative Fill and Generative Expand via Photoshop.
I had briefly used this before I subscribed to Shutterstock. Since then (2019), I haven’t used this service.
From my experience, what frustrated me about Dreamstime’s old pricing model was you would have to pay for x number of credits. Different images would cost variable credits, so I only managed to purchase far fewer than I initially thought.
However, (fortunately) that system has been scrapped in recent years and now follows a standardised format of one credit = one image. Simple. It also offers extended licences. Its range of crypto and blockchain-tech images rivals the other services I mentioned earlier.
It is still good value for money, and I am impressed with its range. It is a suitable alternative to Shutterstock, and you will most likely find what you are looking for; I’ll give credit where it’s due.
iStock (Getty Images)
Based on my searches for altcoins and tokens, there are limited options compared to Shutterstock and Adobe Stock. However, what it has is still good quality, and iStock is competitively priced.
From my observations, mainstream media and other professional news outlets use much content from Getty Images or their affiliated companies. As a result, I imagine that its content would have very strong legal protections, ideal for commercial enterprises. More information on licencing is available here.
Images from these services can also be used for commercial purposes, subject to the company’s usage rules.
The following platforms work on a two-tier pricing system. Casual users can opt for royalty-free images for free download, and others seeking more variety and features can subscribe to their premium content.
I’ve mentioned it first on the list as I believe it is the best all-round for semi-professionals (or even professionals) looking for great crypto content – also eligible for commercial use – whilst on a tight budget.
Its catalogue will help provide you with plenty of options for your projects at a very affordable price. Not only are these cheaper than the professional options listed above, but the biggest selling point is that you can get up to 100 downloads per day for Premium users or up to 10 images for free per day.
An important caveat for anyone on the free plan is that any photos used need to have an attribution when being used.
At the time of writing, Freepik has a massive 50% off Black Friday sale for its annual (Premium) plan, available until November 26. This works out for me at just under 7 AUD (4.60 USD) per month, which is a bargain.
Unsplash (owned by Getty Images)
This website boasts over 3 million royalty-free images and has been operating since 2013.
Unsplash is offering 62% off its yearly plan for Unsplash+, currently at 60 USD, so check it out.
The three major selling points for using Unsplash+ over the free alternative are:
– New members-only content every month
– Unlimited royalty-free downloads
– Enhanced legal protections
Before continuing, this is neither paid advertising nor includes an affiliate link. I am promoting this based on its merits and my positive experience using Freepik and Unsplash.
As always, you be the judge and consider reading reviews to gauge whether these platforms’ content fulfils your expectations and needs.
I haven’t used this one before, as I just heard about it, hence the quick shout-out. Despite this, it rates very well from user reviews across different websites, and I am featuring it as another practical option.
For brevity, I am going to lump all of these together.
Pixabay and Pexels have a good range of royalty-free images and stock content for your upcoming jobs. They have excellent, 100% free photos, illustrations, vectors and videos. Having their easy-to-understand user licences is a bonus.
A good range of royalty-free stock pics for both individual and commercial usage. For the latter, always double-check whether it falls under a Creative Commons Public Domain (CC0) licence before displaying any works obtained from the platforms mentioned above.
Brand/media assets – Relevant to all levels
Some crypto companies and organisations provide official brand/media assets for free. These can often be used for personal and commercial usage.
However, for the latter, there are usually rules and general guidelines to follow. There will be commercial restrictions in some cases, so if you’re in doubt, please consult any related guides that clearly explain this information. These guides often indicate image margins, use of official colours and practices relating to logos on light vs dark backgrounds, whether or not you can modify logos (generally not), etc.
Occasionally, the high-end paid options offer some royalty-free content for free, but this tends to be the exception, not the norm.
Moreover, it is possible that by the time you’re reading this, some of the professional services could have also adopted a two-tier pricing system or incorporated ads for users who’d rather pay less to use their photos and videos.
In the meantime, many of these companies offer free or highly subsidised trials, so I recommend giving them a go if you’re genuinely interested in paying for stock images.
As I fall into the semi-pro category, I use multiple sources for added variety and to stretch my budget. I opt for this combination, in order of preference:
– Freepik (the Premium version)
– Brand assets
Between these five options, I can get 99% of the images I require for these blog posts. I would also opt for Adobe Stock and iStock if I were willing to spend more on this.
There will undoubtedly be many related organisations I didn’t feature that should have been mentioned.
What services do you use for your projects? Have their services improved, declined or remained steady since you started using them? I look forward to your feedback.
- The opinions expressed within this piece are my own and might not reflect those behind any news outlet, person, organisation, or otherwise listed here.
- Please do your research before subscribing to any of these services or using any of their content. Ultimately, you are responsible for utilising their photos, vectors, videos and other media under the company’s terms and conditions.
- I do not work for any of these companies and have no commercial affiliation.P.S. Yes, I know I’ve used British English spelling throughout this. This is how I was taught (i.e., born and raised in Australia), and this is how I will write my articles/blogs. Thank you.