The killjoy of the design process is the moment when you realize you need an image of two people laughing together, or people having a chat, or a dog running on the beach, or just a girl looking at her phone. Depending on the design you’re working on, your needs can vary and there is a high chance that you will need an image of something that you don’t have ready at the moment. So what, you can just google what you need, click on ‘Images’ and use whatever you wish, right? Well, not exactly. Since the copyright issues with a random image found on Google images make the picture unavailable for commercial use, you’ll need to use a stock photo website if you’re not planning on making the photoshoots yourself.
If you have ever tried to find a fitting image for your project using a stock photo website, you probably have figured out that there are countless amount of websites to choose from, all with different photograph and video catalogs, different price plans, and different features. So, how are you going to choose which ones are the best stock photo websites and how can you find the exact photograph you’re looking for for your project? Here are some of the best stock photo sites to help you find the right picture for your needs:
Even if you have never looked up an image from a stock photo website, you may have heard of the website Shutterstock at least once or twice. Probably the most popular stock photo website Shutterstock offers over 250 million unique photographs that you can choose from. If that’s not enough, the 200.000 daily added photos will definitely have what you are looking for. With Shutterstock, you can access licensed and high-quality images by either purchasing the photographs with 5-photo or 25-photo packs for $49 or $229, or you can take advantage of the relatively lower prices of monthly subscription plans. Monthly subscription fees vary between $29 and $249, and these plans give you the ability to use 10 to 750 photographs per month. Also, thanks to the built-in editing tool of the website, you can create social media posts or edit your photographs to your liking on the get-go.
Probably the most prestigious stock photo website, Getty Images gives you access to a collection of high-quality, unique, and exclusive stock photographs. Since the licensing works a bit differently in Getty Images, the price points are considerably higher compared to other stock photo websites. For example, if you are to buy a single photograph, get ready to pay a price between $129 to $499 per piece. Or you can save up to 15% by getting a 5 or 10 photo pack and get access to some of the best stock photos you can find online.
In times when there weren’t thousands of different stock photo sites to choose from, iStock was one of the first websites to sell stock photographs. Now acquired by Getty Images, iStock offers two different collections for users with different purposes. With the Essentials collection, users can buy photos for one in-site credit that equals a price between $8 and $12. Also, with monthly subscription plans, users can get access to 10 to 750 essential collection photos for a monthly fee from $29 to $199.
If you’re looking for more premium photos that are exclusive to iStock, you can choose The Signature collection and purchase single images for three in-site credits. Or, you can give a monthly price ranging from $70 to $399 and have access to 10 to 750 photos from The Signature collection.
As you can see, the price difference between buying a copyrighted image and downloading one from Google Image search is not really that minor. So, why not check out some free options that also will not get you in copyright troubles. After we finally get the most popular stock photo sites with the most extensive libraries out of the way, it’s time for checking out some of the best free stock photo sites;
Forewarning: since these websites offer completely free photos that are open for commercial use, the libraries might not be as extensive as the other options in this article. Like this one, StockSnap lets you pick and download photos for free from its library of thousands of high-quality photographs. You can also use the detailed search feature to find the exact picture you need. You can also check how many likes and downloads a photo has so that you won’t be choosing the same image with everyone if you’re interested in finding some unique stills. The website adds hundreds of new photos every day, so it’s worth checking out every time if you weren’t able to find your exact need last time.
If you’re looking for editorial images to include in your website or articles, Pexels is the best way to go. The site offers hundreds of stock images tailored for different needs and is completely free to download and use. Thanks to the conveniently-used tags in the photos, you can find exactly what you’re looking for with the website’s search engine. Also, you can pick the desired resolution when you’re downloading a photo so that you can use the image’s best format in your works. In addition, you can also type in a custom resolution and download the image with the resolution you asked for.
Among the best free stock photo sites, Unsplash is probably the one that hosts the most unique images. Even though the library might not be as wide as you may expect, you can still find some of the most unique stock photos in Unsplash. Also, ten new photos are released on the website every ten days, so you can always find some new images to check out every time you visit the website.
With the browser-based design software and mockup generator tool Artboard, you can create some of the most creative designs with the stock photos you gathered from these websites. Also, you won’t need to download any additional software to your computer to run Artboard Studio, so you can continue your designs on one tab of your browser while looking for the best stock photos on another tab. You can start using Artboard now for free, and unleash your creativity!