Are Free Stock Photo Websites Risky to Use?

There are several free stock photo websites available online (both royalty free and free of cost). They range from Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels to a plethora of others. However, there are plenty of articles explaining why you shouldn’t utilize each and every website that provides free stock images. These pieces are sourced from a range of places, including publishing blogs, websites that support church leaders, and even websites that support photographers in protecting their work.

All of this begs the question: If free stock picture websites are unsafe, what hazards specifically are they risky from? We need to look more closely at the potential legal ramifications of free stock photography websites in order to see why some artists urge consumers to exercise caution while using them.

Reasons of Issue:

There are two factors that are most frequently mentioned as problems with free stock picture websites:

Copyright: Free stock photos websites often let just about anybody post pictures. There aren’t any genuine checks to verify sure the uploader is authorized to submit that content and make it freely usable. There are also worries that many stock picture websites only provide customers limited rights, and many users unintentionally go over those limits.

Model Releases: When utilizing someone’s likeness in an image, free stock photography websites do not check to verify if the photographer has obtained the necessary model releases. As a result, if the individuals in the picture can be identified, they could have a case against the persons who utilize it.

These problems are made worse by free stock photography’s absence of indemnification (legal protection). Because the websites and the photographs on them are free, you have no legal protection if the images turn out to be problematic.

Utilizing free stock images would be more expensive than just using a membership service, even if a legal battle is quite rare. Online picture piracy is a problem, hence there are continuing initiatives to locate and stop it. Many services search for plagiarized photographs, and as part of their tactics, many of them use speculative billing and legal action.

Reasons to Remain Calm (Some)

Even while all of this is terrifying, it’s crucial to keep in mind that, to the best of my knowledge, litigation and legal challenges resulting from individuals accessing websites with free stock photos are still quite uncommon. The rationale behind this is because any artist who is zealously defending their work would probably find it on a website with free stock photos and swiftly take it down. There is a policy for eliminating such illegal photographs on all the main free stock photography websites.

Even yet, it’s still possible that you may locate and utilize such a picture before it is taken down. It does greatly reduce its likelihood.

Model release concerns are the riskier ones, especially if you’re using the pictures for commercial purposes. However, such danger may be avoided by not utilizing pictures of recognizable persons. Don’t include individuals in your photographs if you don’t need to. Risks do exist, but they are frequently more conceptual than actual. Utilizing a free stock photography website is undoubtedly riskier than using a premium service that offers indemnification, but it’s still safer than stealing photographs from the results of a Google search or taking anything you can find online.


Using free stock photo websites can be safe, but it is important to be cautious and to make sure that you are using images that are truly free to use. Some free stock photo websites may require you to give credit to the photographer or may have other usage restrictions, so it is important to read and understand the terms of use for any website you use. In some cases, you may be required to pay a fee to use an image, even if it is available on a free stock photo website. Additionally, it is important to be aware of copyright laws and to make sure that you are not infringing on someone’s copyright by using an image without proper permission. If you are unsure about whether it is safe to use a particular image, it is always best to err on the side of caution and find a different image to use.

John Harper

#1 File Information bestselling author John Harper loves to dispel the myth that smart men & women don’t read (or write) romance, and if you watch reruns of the game show The Weakest Link you might just catch him winning the $77,000 jackpot. In 2021, Netflix will premiere Bridgerton, based on his popular series of novels about the Why Files.

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

You are missing the best opportunities.