Pictures are vital for grabbing the customer’s attention. They give a better understanding of the message and help build connections. They are also more memorable as the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text.
However, many times marketers struggle to find enough visual material. In this case, a stock photography website comes to the rescue and provides them with ‘ready to use’ assets in every niche imaginable.
To help you out, here is a list of the best stock photo sites. Some of them are free to use, while others offer inexpensive monthly packages. They are also royalty-free, so you have the freedom to use them anywhere without crediting the original author.
- 1. Shutterstock (Starts from $29.99/month, 30-day free trial)
- 2. Adobe Stock ($29.99/month, 30-day free trial)
- 3. DepositPhotos (Starts from $13/month)
- 4. Pixabay (Free)
- 5. StockPhotos (Per image basis, discounts available)
- 6. Unsplash (Free)
- 7. Dreamstime (Free, $23/month)
- 8. iStock (Starts from $29/month)
- 9. Pexels (Free)
1. Shutterstock (Starts from $29.99/month, 30-day free trial)
- Flexible pricing options
- Huge database of quality media files
- Easy to navigate site with enhanced search filters
Shutterstock is one of the leading names in the stock photo industry. And for more reasons than one! For starters, it has a massive library of 190 million files. Its search features are also impressive and make it very easy to find the right picture, video, and audio clip for your digital and print marketing.
When it comes to pricing, Shutterstock offers different plans to suit an individual’s budget. This means that the final payout will depend mainly on the number of files you plan to use per month. A limited-time coupon code is also available to get you the lowest possible price on stock assets.
2. Adobe Stock ($29.99/month, 30-day free trial)
- Massive library of photos, videos, audios, vector, and 3D arts
- User-friendly interface
- Tons of editing options for professionals
Adobe Stock is one of the leading premium stock photo and video agencies, preferred by creative professionals worldwide. It boasts some of the most exclusive resources that should be considered if you are aiming for uniqueness. You can also manage the pictures directly within the range of Adobe Creative Cloud platforms, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
The only drawback of Adobe Stock is the price tag, which may be too steep for casual hobbyists. However, you can take advantage of the 30-day free trial offered by the website and get a feel of the database.
3. DepositPhotos (Starts from $13/month)
- Extensive library
- Flexible payment plans
- Approved by some of the biggest brands
DepositPhotos is a relatively new name in the stock photo industry. Yet, it is trusted by many big brands, including Warner Brothers, Forbes, and Bosch. The site boasts a huge collection of pictures, vectors, videos, and music. The database is updated regularly as well, so you will have no shortage of choices.
The subscription plan offered by DepositPhotos is pretty much manageable and starts from $13/month or $1.30/image to $199/month. They also have an extended license option that allows you to utilize the stock pictures in ‘resale’ products like t-shirts and mugs.
4. Pixabay (Free)
- Free images, videos, and music clips for commercial and personal projects
- Community driven website
- Huge library
Pixabay is a favorite amongst casual users for free stock photos, videos, and audio clips. Their stock library contains more than 2.4 million assets, with more added regularly to keep up with the ever-growing demand.
With sites like Pixabay, you have peace of mind. Not only do you get visuals at no charge, but they are also yours to use for as long as you like. And in most cases, the site offers just the resource you are looking for!
5. StockPhotos (Per image basis, discounts available)
- Extensive library of hand-picked royalty-free images
- Filled with insiders tips
- Exclusive deals
Due to the overwhelming number of stock photo sites, most people are confused about where to start. Well, stockphotos.com comes to the rescue and offers a one-stop hub for all your stock photo needs.
The website is created and managed by a team of visual experts and offers over 6 million images. Pictures are also added daily, so you are more likely to find a unique vision for your web design and get an edge over your competitors.
The site covers additional information about how to make stock photography work as well. Whether you are a novice designer or a professional creative agency, stockphotos.com shares relevant insights and tutorials to utilize the assets tastefully. Moreover, the website hosts coupon and promo codes from many well-known stock photo sites to keep you on budget.
6. Unsplash (Free)
- Premium quality pictures
- Vast library
- Completely free to use
Unsplash is a popular name in the stock photo industry. The reason for this is that the site is jam-packed with millions of royalty-free pictures. And they are all free to use – for as long as you like.
In most cases, the site has a good reputation for hosting only high-quality pictures. But it is a good idea to search comprehensively as some poor-quality photographs have been overlooked by the moderators and made it to the site. The diversity here is also incredible, and you will find plenty of options to fulfill your desired niche.
7. Dreamstime (Free, $23/month)
- Free and paid plans available
- Largest collection of stock assets
- Trusted by leading brands including Times, Britannica, and Google
Dreamstime is another option for stock photographs, videos, music, and editorial pictures. It claims to have one of the largest stock communities with over 17 million assets and 37 million members. They also have a mobile app for iOS and Android, allowing you to find the perfect illustration on the go.
Dreamstime offers both – free and premium packages. While the free Dreamstime catalog is limited, it still does a pretty decent job filling up one’s visual craving with quality assets. The paid packages are more diverse and available in numerous niches.
8. iStock (Starts from $29/month)
- A huge library in numerous categories
- Pioneers of the stock photo industry
- Offers affordable plans for images and videos
With more than 18 years of experience, iStock photo is a legendary microstock site. They offer pictures and videos in two main collections: Essential and Signature.
The essential collection comprises budget-friendly pictures that can be used in any marketing campaign. On the other hand, the signature collection is more exclusive and geared towards an enhanced commercial sector.
One of the most notable features of the iStock library is the reverse image search. With the help of this search filter, you can check whether the picture you are interested in is already used by other businesses.
9. Pexels (Free)
- Completely free
- Vast library of pictures
- User-friendly interface
Pexels is a great option if you are running on a tight budget. Similar to Pixabay and Unsplash, the site offers a huge collection of free pictures and videos. They can be used in both – commercial and personal projects without any copyright restriction.
However, it is a good idea to carefully read the terms and conditions of the usage license to ensure you are legally utilizing the images.
One of the best categories offered by Pexels is its landscape pictures. They have a fantastic range of breathtaking scenery pictures that are just perfect for eCommerce backgrounds, personal blogs, and lifestyle niches. They also have a great collection of video footage that covers a wide range of topics.
Given the competition, we all strive to upload only the best material in our campaigns. And using attractive and appealing images on your website is the best place to start!
These were just some of my favorite stock photo sites you can use for high-quality visuals. Consider your budget and requirements, then choose the right one from the above list. Good luck!