Understanding: Types of Image License Explained

Know various license terms to consider on using stock images. Varieties of photo licenses including for both free and commercial use.. Continue reading...

Adsterra Advertising Network Solutions for Publishers

Ezoic Review Automatic Ad Earnings Growth Adsense Certified Tool
Ezoic Review
Join Adsense Certified Ad Partner
"Ezoic is a must have automatic testing tool for serious publishers."
300% Rise in
AdSense Earnings

Get results from Day 1
Read The Case Study

As professional publishers, we always used to use lots of images in our blog posts. Not only for blogging but there are also lots of industries looking to use official pictures to use and upload on their social media sites from stock images. Specially in the case of the legal part, it becomes difficult to find the right and most appropriate image for your project.
Image licences
Legally you are NOT free to use any image downloaded from the internet for your personal or professional use. Here the page will help you all the industries to know about the various license terms to consider while using the stock images, photographs, graphics for their commercial use.

To use any photo for any purpose including free/professional/commercial, and the most important thing is that, for not getting into legal traps, you first need to know the meaning of license and in what circumstances you are allowed to use stock images for your project.

To respect the creator of work, you need to understand the meaning of stock image licenses correctly and legally.

Let's check out the varieties of photo licenses including for both free and commercial use in the industry.
Types of Image License
Types of Image License

Different Types Of Image Licences

Luckily, there are many websites that offer free as well as paid royalty free images. However, some of these Images comes with certain usage restriction based upon its license. So let me first brief you about various types of image licenses.
  1. Public Domain Images
    Public domain images are free from any copyright because of lack of any known author or because the author himself forfeited all his rights. You can use and modify public domain images as you wish even for commercial use.

    However, public domain images are usually of low quality and good images are really hard to find.

  2. Creative Commons License
    Creative commons is a nonprofit organization that provides licenses to all types of creative works including photographs.

    There are various types of creative commons license which are classified depending on its usage rights that the author grants you. Let us briefly go through each one of them.

    Types Of Creative Commons License:
    • CC0: CC0 is not exactly a creative Common license. It is same as public domain. However certain authors label their image as CC0 to retain authorship. You are free to use, modify and redistribute CC0 Image as you want, for commercial as well as non-commercial use. No attribution is required for these Images.
    • CC BY: Like CC0, you are free to use, modify, distribute CC-BY images commercially. But you must attribute the author wherever you use the image. However, if you modify the image, you may change its license to whatever you want.
    • CC BY-SA: This license is very similar to CC-BY except that even after modification, the modified image has to carry original license.
    • CC BY-ND: You can use these images commercially, however, you cannot modify the image and have to use the image in it’s original form. Attribution to the author is also necessary.
    • Non-Commercial License: Rest of the creative commons license which includes CC BY-NC, CC BY-NC-SA, and CC BY-NC-ND are all non-commercial license. Some author may allow paid commercial use. However, you must avoid all such images.
  3. Royalty Free Images
    These are paid stock Images clicked by professionals which are free from royalty. This means, once you purchase the image, you may use it as you want.

  4. Rights Managed Images
    These are paid stock images with limited usage rights. You may use the image only for a certain period of time and for a particular project you the image for. You must totally avoid these images as a blogger. This is because you cannot take down the image from your post once the license expires nor does it makes sense to keep buying the license for the same image every time.
Based on the above information, if you are looking for totally free images, you must use images licenced as CC0, CC BY, and CC BY-SA. You may also consider using CC BY-ND images in certain cases. And if you are keen on using high-quality stock images, you must go for royalty free images which I feel, you may not need after reading this article.

So let us find out various sources and websites that provide free images for commercial use.

Vinayak SP

Vinayak is a web geek, digital columnist, and solo entrepreneur working on ProBlogBooster. You can follow PBB on social media or subscribe to our email newsletter and never miss an update. twitter instagram amazon linkedin external-link


We are one of the type of a professional review site that operate like any other website on the internet. We respect & trust our readers. And we are confident & would like to mention that the above post contains some affiliate/referral links. And if you make a purchase; we receive commission from the links/apps/products we refer. We are totally unbiased and do not accept paid reviews or fake reviews claiming to be something they are not. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.


All of the ProBlogBooster ideas are free for any type of personal or commercial use. All I ask is to keep the footer links intact which provides due credit to its authors. From time to time, we may use visitors/readers, information for distinct & upcoming, unanticipated uses not earlier disclosed in our privacy notice. If collected data or information practices changed or improved at some time in the future, we would post all the policy changes to our website to notify you of these changes, and we will use for these new purposes only data collected from the time of the policy change forward. If you are concerned about how your information is used, you should check back our website policy pages periodically. For more about this just read out; Privacy Policy