Businesses need stock photos way more than you think they do. Each time a new blog post is published it needs a featured image, as well as a few images throughout the post. Every new website needs header images, vectors, and stock photos throughout the pages. Flyers, email newsletters, landing pages, videos, and social media posts all use stock photos.
As a double-edged sword, we have a lot of stock photo websites to chose from that have hundreds of thousands of stock photos in their library’s. As great as it is to have choices, it can be overwhelming when you just need a quick stock photo to place into an email newsletter that’s already past deadline to send.
That’s why I’ve compiled this list of some of the many stock photo resources available to help you find your favorite. These include both the free and paid resources because sometimes we need to pay for the right stock photo, and other times we can get away with using an awesome copyright-free image.
Check out the options below and comment with your favorite stock photo resources that I missed.
With over 830,000 free files, Pixabay is a popular source for businesses and freelancers to go for stock photos, vectors, and art illustrations. Each file is free of copyrights under the Creative Commons CCO, which means you can download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free.
Pixabay’s photos don’t require attribution which makes them extra great for adding new images to websites. You can create a Pixabay account for free by signing up here with your email address.
Shutterstock isn’t a free stock photo option, but they do grant you a free account to browse their photos with before signing up for a plan. The three pricing plans have per image options, monthly, and team-based packages to chose from.
If you sit on the other side of the spectrum and like to take the photos, you can earn money by becoming a Shutterstock contributor. They accept footage, images, and vector files from contributors.
A trendy stock photo site, Death to Stock photo aims to provide nothing but cool images for brands, bloggers, and creatives. To access their photos you just sign up with an email address and they email image packs directly to you each month.
There’s also an option for premium membership that grants access to all 400+ of their hip images. What’s even cooler about this stock photo company is that a percentage of their profits from premium memberships go back into the community and help fund future photography trips to add new images with.
This stock photo website has a limited amount of photos available, but they are free and they’re designed to be useful to businesses, entrepreneurs, writers, and developers. The photos have a modern flair and feature office, freelance, and creative type subjects. Companies like Mashable, INC, Forbes, and NY Times have used Startup Stock Photos.
A social media marketing agency based in Iowa called Scupt created the photo website to crush the norm of stock photos and publish free photos they were already taking. You can follow the creators of this free stock photo source at @estrattonbailey and @wearesculpt or support them via PayPal here.
Get photos, illustrations, videos, and audio clips at iStock by Getty Images. iStock has been around for over 16 years and has millions of images to chose from. They are certianly not a free photo resource, though. When you go to iStock, you can expect to pay the rights to use high quality images.
There’s two options as far as payment goes at iStock. The first is a credit system. This is ideal for downloading video files. Credits are as high as $11 per credit, with most videos being around 18+ credits.
The second payment option is a monthly or yearly subscription. You can chose how many images you would like a month based on your needs: 10, 25, 50, 100, or 250. If you’re pushing out a lot of blog posts on a monthly basis I would suggest going the monthly payment route.
Free photo resources are great, but sometimes you need a very specific photo. For those times, Adobe Stock Photos is the resource of choice. Your first month is free with Adobe Stock which grants you 10 standard assets, which can be images, videos, templates, and 3D.
Post-first free month, you’re looking at $29.99 a monthly up to $199 a month depending upon how many images you want.
Adobe also offers a premium collection which highlights specific curators images and creations. There will be different collections based on different themes like concept collections, featured contributors, and editor’s choice.
Fotolia is Adobe’s royalty-free photo library. With 48,205,972 available, you’re likely to find what you’re looking for in terms of stock photos. Each of their images have lifetime licenses so you can use images for as long as you’d like without having to worry about copyright issues. You can also use their photos globably, without having to pay additional fees.
Their monthly pricing options are below. You’ll notice a 20% off offer that doesn’t expire until 2021! #savings
Pexels provides high quality and completely free stock photos licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. All of their photos are tagged, searchable and also easy to discover through their discover pages based on categories.
They currently have over 25,000 free stock photos to chose from and add around 3,000 new high resolution images each month. The photos are gathered together from a community of photographers, as well as Unsplash, Gratisography, Little Visuals, and other photo databases. This makes it easy to avoid scanning through multiple “free stock photo” websites. You can visit Pexels and get a taste of what’s available.
Similiar to Pexels, the photos on StockSnap are free to use and are released under Creative Commons – CC0. This means they do not require attribution. Hooray for avoiding the hassle of trying to figure out whether you can use photos for commercial use or if you need to provide attribution.
StockSnap’s popular search section is a lot of fun to look through and touches on many of the keywords you’re probably looking for. You’ll notice some of the same photos on StockSnap as you do on Pexels and Death to Stock Photo. But, that’s a good thing. They’re trying to collaborate all of the free CC0 photos under one digital roof for you.
These photos are cool. Really cool.
Every second on Unsplash 3 photos are downloaded. Their library is huge and holds hundreds of thousands of popular photos. The free photo source began as a simple Tumblr account and spiraled into something amazing that people like Deepak Chopra and companies like Apple use.
Unsplash is even on Apple TV, bringing thousands of beautiful photos to a living room near you!
The Unsplash license is simple and to the point:
“All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.”
What began as a royalty-free stock photography website in 2000, Dreamstime has evolved into becoming one of the leaders of stock photography. As of December 2016, Dreamstime has 16,000,000 registered members, more than 300,000 contributing photographers and over 52,000,000 photos, illustrations, cliparts and vectors.
You can pay per download which grants you a year’s use of the file or purchase a subscription of a time-based plan. The subscription plans give a certain number of downloads (JPG all sizes, TIFF, RAW & vectors) monthly, without daily limit. The plan is renewed automatically each month and rolls over unused downloads.
Do you have a stock photo source you prefer? Comment below with your favorite source for photos!