An image bank is an online repository of images or photographs that can be accessed, viewed or downloaded when you need them. In general, an image bank is maintained by an organization, which creates this collection of images either through donations from different contributors or being created by the organization itself.
These images stored in the stock of the library can be used by various publishers, either by paying for the images or downloading them for free. Image banks have existed since the 20s, but since the eighties, with the arrival of the internet, they have expanded due to their transition to the virtual world.
Uses of image banks
The main use for image banks is to offer photographs of different themes so that, after editing them or not, they are added to magazines, newspapers, content websites, company pages or social network profiles.
This can be done in three ways:
- Paying for the image to the image bank.
- For free, just download the image and you’re good to go.
- Mentioning the author of the image, usually through an outgoing link.
Continuing with the above, these images can be used in two main ways. These are:
- Personal use: we will use the images in our social media profiles, show them to our acquaintances, put them as wallpaper, etc.
- Professional use: when you want to use the images to promote your own services or products, you may have to take a good look at the conditions before downloading the image and confirm if it can be used for commercial use.
Best Free Image Banks
- Depositphotos: It has a first-class collection of photos, vector illustrations and stock illustrations without royalties, both for editorial and commercial use (it is necessary to attribute the images).
- Pixabay: this image bank has more than 430,000 free photographs.
- Freepik: freepik images and vectors are free but there are also paid ones.
- Unplash: web of images with a high quality. It has a search engine that yields more results if the search is done in English.
- Google images: Google gives the option to filter according to license of use to all the images that appear in a result, which avoids possible licensing problems.
- Pexels: in Pexels you can find a lot of images of very good quality.
- Flickr: it does not have images with rights so you can use them without attributing to the author.
Best Payment Image Banks
- Depositphotos: It has flexible plans that allow you to download images with rights at reduced prices.
- Shutterstock: This bank of paid images has one of the largest image catalogs.
- Stock photo secrets: with a more competitive price than the previous image bank, stock photo secrets does not have as many photographs or as much quality as shutter.
- Creative market: another large bank of images, vectors and templates that gives you the option to buy each one separately or in batches. This last form of purchase is cheaper in terms of price / unit. To get these lots, when you put the word corresponding to the image you need in the search engine, add “bundle” and the aforementioned lots will appear.