Photos, Video, Music, and More

Chris Peter   •   Dec. 2020

Free Royalty Free Stock Resources for Creatives

As a content creator here are my favorite free resources that I come back to time and time again. Whether you looking for photos, graphics, music, sound effects, or templates these can be your quick go to sites to browse and find what you’re looking for quickly. Most importantly the majority of content on the websites and their assets are completely free. What a wonderful time to be alive!

1 (Design Tool, Templates, Graphics, Photos – Mostly Free, Photos and Graphics Paid)

Canva is an online “drag and drop” editor that has a huge library of pre-made templates and designs that you can use absolutely free. The user interface is  easy to use for all experience levels and can save any creator time with the templates that it offers for social media, print, and digital assets. The bulk of Canva is free but of course there are upgrades you can purchase that will give you more features and photos. Canva Pro is $9.95 per month when paid annually or $12.95 paid monthly and most of the photos start at $1. If you are a content creator, designer, or developer of any kind, all I can say is “you have to check out Canva!” Stuff like this is going to continue changing the game for creators everywhere!

Similarly check out Adobe SparkBetter if your focusing more on video and websites

2 (Photos & Video – Free, No Attribution Required)

The best thing about Pexels is that all of its photos are Free and require no attribution, so they’re actually FREE royalty free pictures for commercial and noncommercial use. A lot of websites will have free content for non-profit usage or require attribution or require purchasing if using for commercial usage. Purchased by Canva In 2019 they really started to add more to the website, photo library, and even video. Its interface and assorted collections makes it easy to browse photos and videos. Pexels also has monthly challenges and competitions, so not only could you win prizes for adding content, this helps add new photos consistently.

3 (Photos, Graphics, and Videos – Free, No Attribution Required)

Another great royalty free stock resource where all content on Pixabay can be used for free for commercial and noncommercial use across print and digital. Similar to Pexels and also purchased by Canva in 2019, it incorporates a wide variety of graphics, illustrations, and vectors. The diverse amount of vectors, that include icons, thumbnails, backgrounds, and frames, make it handy for graphic designers. Once you dive into browsing Pixabay has handy search and browse settings to help find what you are looking for. They also have a decent blog geared towards photography, WordPress, Web Design, Web Development, and other handy tools and plugins, though they haven’t posted any new articles since early 2019.

4 (Photos – Free, No Attribution Required)

Unsplash one of the largest photo specific offering over 1.3 million royalty free photos for both commercial and non-commercial usage for free. The website has a great user interface making easy to browse through categories and collections. A unique feature that Unsplash offers are integration and developer API tools that allow linking of photos and collections to apps, plugins, websites, and much more! You can link photos from the site using WordPress plugins without even having to register as a developer.

5 (Sound Effects – Free, Creative Common Licenses)

Freesound is a huge collaborative database of recorded and created sound effects. There are audio snippets, samples, recordings, background, music, and much more. The site is definitely geared more towards various sound effects so if your looking for stock music you may not find it here. However if you’re looking for a specific noise or strange sound you will probably find it here! It is actually pretty funny to browse through the strange sounds that people record and upload. Every sound is free with a few stipulations on use and attribution that the uploader of the sound decides. Basically it is broken down into 3 types; “zero” free with no attribution, “attribution” free with attribution, “attribution noncommercial” free with attribution but cannot use in any piece that makes money.

6 (Music – Free w/ Attribution and Paid)

The brainchild of Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech is a huge library of his music that he has shared with the world under creative commons license. The amount  and variety of music(over 1000 songs) make this the go to place for anyone looking for free music to use on their creative projects. If you’ve watched any number of YouTube videos chances are you’ve heard some of his songs. All the songs are free with attribution or can be purchased for commercial use for €20 EUR or $22.21 USD per song. He continues to add new tracks and update the website. Keep up the good work Kevin and thanks for sharing your work!

7 (Music – Free w/ Attribution and Paid)

Bensound is a popular and decent royalty free music option. There are about 100 free songs with attribution and over 100 more that you can purchase. The website offers a subscription for all tracks for €139 EUR or $153.95 USD per year. Similarly to Incompetech, if you’ve probably heard these tracks used on YouTube videos. Bensound has a fun user interface and easy to browse.

8 (Graphics – Free, Creative Common Licenses)

OpenGameArt is a huge database with user created and shared 2D Art, 3D Art, Textures, Music, Sound Effects, Documents, Sprites, and much more. If you are any kind of game developer or enthusiast it is a great resource. Even if you are not a game creator it is a great place to look for various graphics and sounds. “Its purpose is to allow developers to easily replace programmer art with high-quality, appropriately licensed artwork. Wikipedia” Having been around for over 10 years now the site has an enormous library to browse with new content uploaded by users daily.

9 (Vectors, Photos, PSD, Icons – Free and Paid)

Freepik is one of those other “must check out” as it has an enormous library of assets to use for projects, a lot of them free. Photos, backgrounds, mock-ups, templates, business cards, and more. With the variety of photos and graphics that it offers even the premium subscription is worth it and affordable at only $99/year. Not only that Freepik is continuously growing its business and database. The Freepik company also comprises of Flaticon, free vector icons, and Slidesgo, free Google slides and PowerPoint templates.

10 (Video, After Effects, and Apple Motion – Paid)

Ok so it’s not free BUT VideoBlocks has probably the biggest bang for your buck if you’re in need of frequent Titles, Lower Thirds, and Broll. They’ve continued to add a considerable amount of footage and templates to use. The After Effects templates alone make it worth-it. Even if you just used a few of the templates it will pay for itself.  You don’t even have to know how to use After Effects as most of the templates come with instructions. You can either pay $99/year for 5 downloads a month or $200/year for unlimited. This is a great asset for any YouTube or video creator. Videoblocks can also be combined with Audioblocks and Storyblocks which have royalty free music, images, and vectors with unlimited downloads for $349/year.

Honorable Mentions: (Video, Music, and Sound Effects – Free and Paid)

Videvo has a decent free library. It’s pretty random but you may find a good texture, lower third, or stock clip that may bring you some value. They also offer a good variety of free music and sound effects. Though the browsing interface needs a little work it can’t hurt to check out some of their free content. Their pro membership is $24.99/month or $300/year. The music inclusion may make this worth it, but in my opinion the Storyblocks, Audioblocks, Videoblocks bundle has a lot more content plus after effects templates for only $350/year. (Icons – Free and Paid)

Despite having “font” in their name their website is mainly focused on icons. It is one of the largest icon websites out there and has some pretty awesome linking and embedding features for websites and apps. For basic usage the majority of the icons are free but the affordable Pro subscription, $99/year, allows you to install entire kits on your desktop or website and includes many other features. If you need icons this is the website to check out. (Fonts – Free w/ Various Creative Commons Licenses)

DaFont is an archive of freely downloadable font. It has various creative commons licenses but most of them you can use for free on your own personal and creative projects. Fun to check out all the crazy fonts regardless! (Fonts – Free)

Google to the rescue for fonts! All of the almost 1000 fonts are free and require no attribution. It is also easy to browse through the available fonts and preview text. Google Fonts also offers great linking features to download or embed on your website or phone.