If you are one of the many talented designers, bloggers, or content creators that is having a hard time keeping up with the booming demand for digital content, then perhaps its time to expand your content horizons and add a new free stock photo resource to your arsenal.
Rawpixel is a medium to large sized stock photo store, with thousands of free stock photos and images in addition to a massive collection of premium subscription-based content. Every piece of media offered by Rawpixel is carefully curated by a team of thoughtful designers and photographers who know how hard it can be to find effective, engaging content for your project.
With numerous avenues for obtaining free stock images these days, it is important to take a few minutes to filter out the chaff, leaving behind only the best free stock photo sites for commercial and personal use.
Here’s our review of Rawpixel, along with some basic information on their subscription plans, licensing options, and how to download free stock content from the library.
The Rawpixel Rundown
- Free HD stock photos curated by a team of designers
- A mix of free and premium (subscription-based) stock images
- Full-service design resource (templates, vectors, etc.)
- Creative Boards feature offers access to user-curated stock image collections
- A great collection of paintings, drawings & sketches
- Filter search results by license type, file type, size, dimensions, & more
- Contributors are thoroughly vetted for quality
- 10% of all premium-level subscription fees are donated to Hope for Children
- Casual-Level Membership available for only $3 / month
- Business-Level Membership available for $19 / month
- Multiple licensing options available
Rawpixel: Free & Premium Stock Photos
If there is a definitive strength to Rawpixel as a source of both free and premium stock photos, it is their team of contributor / curators. From what we can tell, this is a group of about 30 highly creative and dedicated individuals who are keeping a tight watch on what kind of content is good enough to be included in the Rawpixel collection. The result is a family of free stock photos that share a quality of excitement, engagement, and creativity.
We appreciate the fact that the free content on Rawpixel is just as good as the premium content; this isn’t always the case with stock stores who are just trying to dump their unpopular images while trying to hawk a few subscriptions. The free stock photos might not be nearly as numerous, but they are a good representation of the kind of content that you can expect if you decide to pursue a membership.
Contributors are always excepted at Rawpixel, but it is more of a process than it is with some of the bigger crowd-sourced content farms. You start by sending your portfolio to the creative team, and they’ll get together and decide if your content would be a good fit. There is certainly a benefit of exposure with becoming a contributor at Rawpixel … the artist’s name and bio can be accesses easily from the picture browser.
While the site navigation might leave a little something to be desired, the overall Rawpixel experience is a good one. They’ve got a good selection of unique content, including more paintings, sketches, and drawings that other providers. The “Casual” subscription is a very affordable way to access their premium content … a good idea for budget-conscious bloggers & artists.
The Difference Between Rawpixel, Unsplash, Pixabay, & Others
One of the first things that we noticed about Rawpixel was that they are the only stock photo store (free or premium) that has put their philanthropic efforts front and center as a demonstration of who they are as a group. Rawpixel donates 10% of all premium membership fees to the international non-profit Hope for Children.
The premium membership fees aren’t all that bad to begin with, but the fact that a portion of them are being dedicated to a cause like that is encouraging and likely one of the reasons that Rawpixel is continuing to expand its userbase.
Rawpixel’s membership plans are split into two categories: a $3/month personal plan and a $18/month business plan. This is a great thing for users who don’t actually need a commercial license, like bloggers and social media wizards. Having both a lower and higher membership rate is a god way to retain a diverse collection of users. The business plan offers unlimited downloads from their premium library, making it more valuable the more you use it.
While some premium stock photo sites make images, videos, or templates available for individual download, Rawpixel only allows access to the premium content via a monthly subscription, at which point you can download as much as you want. This inability to purchase single-image licenses is not unique to Rawpixel but some users simply prefer to avoid monthly subscriptions.
The Hi-Def, High-Quality Stock Photos & Templates at Rawpixel
Above, we spend a few paragraphs talking about how much appreciation we have for the artistic quality of the Rawpixel collection, so we won’t do that again here. But it is worth mentioning that digital photographs are not the only kind of content available at Rawpixel.
Both the free and premium stock content libraries contain things like vector graphics, paintings, sketches, templates, and more. The free vectors and templates are just as good as the paid ones, there just aren’t as many to choose from. Designers and small business marketers will find just about everything they need for their next campaign with a Business Membership.
The Bloggers, Designers, and Marketing Teams Using Rawpixel
Because of the different membership levels available at Rawpixel, it is a good destination for all sorts of different users, from the artistically inclined personal blogger to the small business marketing director and just about everything in between.
The free stock images offered without a subscription are available for both personal and commercial use, which makes them an idea way to get acquainted with both the quality and the quantity of the Rawpixel collection. To be sure, paying even a few bucks a month for the Casual Membership (described below) significantly increases the image and content pool, but there is more than enough free content to get started on your next project.
The various templates, vectors, and other digital content is what makes Rawpixel an effective mid-level monthly stock content provider. Companies or brands with ongoing blogs, e-mail campaigns, flyers, and social media posts will benefit greatly from the unlimited premium access of a monthly membership.
The Different Image Licenses at Rawpixel
While Rawpixel has a more involved image licensing structure that other free stock photo sites, it is fairly easy to understand if you spend a few moments determining you needs. It is also possible to search the image library by license type, allowing you to zero in on the type of content that you need.
Creative Commons Zero (CC0)
The free stock images, photographs, templates, and more at Rawpixel are offered under a Creative Commons Zero license, meaning that they can be used either personally or commercially with no attribution required (though most content sites like Rawpixel appreciate a shout-out here and there).
Personal License (Premium Content)
Anyone who gets a Casual-level membership at Rawpixel will be downloading images under a Personal License, which is designed to meet the needs of artists and creators who are looking to spiff up their blog or social media account, or use them for another personal art project.
What you cannot do with a Personal License is use the images for any business purposes, which pretty much means anything that you will be making money off of. Using these images to sell product, for instance, or selling the images on merchandise.
Commercial License (Premium Content)
Rawpixel members at the Business level will be downloading content under a Commercial Use license, which opens up opportunities for advertising, marketing, and corporate print materials.
Under a Commercial license, images cannot be used for prints or merchandising without adding “considerable artistic value.”
Editorial Use Only
Some of the images in the Rawpixel collection are marked “Editorial Use Only”, which usually means that there are people, business, or buildings inside the image that have not provided consent for commercial use. This means that the only legal way to use the image is for editorial purposes.
Rawpixel’s Membership Structure & Levels
While Rawpixel offers thousands of free stock images that do no require a membership, their premium content can be accessed with a low monthly subscription that opens up access to their entire library of stock content. Not only does you access to great content increase, but 10% of all their membership fees are donated to Hope for Children.
From what we can tell, there aren’t any other content stores doing this kind of thing, and it certainly makes it easier to shell out a few bucks a month for premium content.
Here are the different levels of membership at Rawpixel:
- Free –There are thousands of high-quality images, vectors, templates, and more available at Rawpixel with no subscription fees … and they are of the same electric & engaging quality as the rest of their content.A free membership still requires registration, and provides users with up to 10 image downloads per day.
- Casual –At only three bucks a month, Rawpixel’s casual subscription is one of the most affordable and expansive stock photo subscriptions that you can get. While these images are not licensed for commercial use, they are a great way to make your blog or social media account pop and sizzle on a regular basis. In addition to a much larger stock image collection, the Casual membership also provides access to more templates, mockups, vectors, and more. A 10% of the subscription fee is donated to Hope for Children.
- Business –The Business Membership is $19 / Month and provides full access to the premium library. The big difference here is that the unlimited content downloads are now under a Commercial license, which means that they can be used to make you or your company money through advertising, marketing, and company documents. There are only a few restrictions on what you can’t do with these images (see the license section above) making this particular membership plan a great value for emerging companies with growing media and content needs.
Using Rawpixel to Download Free Stock Images
The best technical feature about Rawpixel is the advanced search filter. Once you enter a search term into the front page, the filter options will appear on the right side of the screen. These allow users to sort the image results by license type, image size, dimensions, file type, and even by specific social media formats.
If you have a free membership with Rawpixel, then you can download up to 10 images per day. The premium memberships offer unlimited downloading.
The downloading process itself is easy once you are registered and signed in; simply click the image, then click the download button.
Uploading/ Selling Photos & Media to Rawpixel
Rawpixel is a curated image collection, so there is no contributor network that you can just automatically join and start submitting things. If you are interested in becoming a contributor, they ask that you send them an email along with some information about yourself and a link to your online portfolio.
The image and content collection at Rawpixel is proudly curated by a group of passionate people, so not everyone makes the cut when it comes to submitting images and photographs. However, this process is what makes sure that only the best content is being added to the Rawpixel selection.
As far as free stock photo sites go, Rawpixel is a solid addition to the lineup with modern, effective imagery and a good selection of additional media resources. The premium membership plans are a good option for anyone with ongoing stock content needs, but there are plenty of free stock photos to keep most people busy.
Bonus points are awarded for Rawpixel’s ongoing donations to Hope for Children as well as the highly functional search filter.