Free stock photo sites are great, but if you want to ensure you always get quality images for your site, there’s no getting around using a paid stock photo site.
The best paid stock photo sites will offer you a database of relevant images at a reasonable price. Here are 15 popular ones to consider for your blog and website needs:
123rf is an affordable stock photo site hosting millions of photos, vectors, video clips, and more. They offer all your standard categories of images like animals, communication, education, family, food, lifestyle, people, travel, etc. One cool feature they have is trending categories, where you can browse collections of photos that are most popular at the moment. As of this writing, trending categories include fall season, school supplies, back to school, American football, and others.
123rf adds more than 90,000 new creative works daily, meaning there’s always new content to explore on the platform. If you aren’t satisfied with your images or other creative assets, they also honor a 100% money back guarantee.
123rf offers download packs, on demand credits, as well as subscription plans. For example, you can get a pack of 5 images for $39, 40 image credits for $39, or 150 images a month for $79/month. They offer many other tiers of pricing, and can provide a customized plan for your team or business as well.
2. Adobe Stock
Adobe Stock photo is a high end stock photo site, offering general contributions as well as select photos from their premium collection. They offer a searchable database of images related to animals, food, people, science, buildings and architecture, transportation, lifestyle, cultures and religion, and more.
Adobe Stock is an obvious choice if you already use Adobe Creative Cloud apps, as you can easily find and use images within them. No matter if you use Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, or another Adobe app, you can easily license, access and manage your Adobe Stock images.
If you’re looking for nothing more than the best, Adobe Stock’s premium collection is made up of hand-picked images from the most inspiring artists on the platform. They offer concept collections and hand-curated editors’ choice images so you don’t have to do the hard work finding the best content out there.
Adobe Stock offers several monthly plans: $29.99/month for 3 standard assets, or pay annually to receive 10 standard assets. You can also access HD and 4K videos starting from $79.99/month.
Alamy calls itself the world’s most diverse stock photo collection, offering 145 million images, vectors, and videos. Their content is sourced from over 60,000 photographers and 600 agencies in 173 countries, ensuring you get access to a variety of diverse images from around the world.
They offer all the standard categories of images, as well as background, book covers, India, cultures, Stockimoto and other unique categories. They also upload 100,000 new stock images each day, ensuring you can always find the variety and quality you need whenever you visit the platform.
Alamy boasts a simple pricing system — no need to register, subscribe, or purchase confusing credits to get content. Instead you can purchase images individually using dollars, starting at $19.99 for personal prints and ranging up to several hundred dollars per image for a royalty-free license.
BigStock is an affordable stock photo site with images and video options for everyone. It hosts more than 68 million stock photos, videos, and vectors in categories such as vacation, business, computers, education, food, health, illustration, nature, sports, and more.
BigStock offers a variety of pricing options, starting at $79/month for 150 images. Their most affordable video package offers 300 videos per month for $99. That’s $0.33 per video!
Crestock offers an affordable array of royalty-free creative images. They offer more than 2.5 million images in a variety of categories. You can use their search bar to discover relevant images based on keyword or category. Then you can filter results by file type, size, orientation, and other important factors. As you browse you can also create your own collections, building customized packs of images you need for your creative projects.
When it comes to affordable, you can’t beat Crestock. They accept payments as low as $1 for extra small pay-as-you-go images. They also offer subscriptions for 1 month, 3 month, 6 month and 12 month intervals. If you prefer you can also use purchase between 10-1000 credits to use whenever you need them.
6. Death to Stock
Death to Stock is a platform that fights back against generic, posed images that you so commonly see on stock photo sites. Instead it solicits authentic shots from artists that you can license and use to create better site content.
Death to stock creates media packs — collections of related photos you can sift through to find the perfect images for your site. They also ensure they add new content every month so there’s always more material to work with. As of this writing, their library includes more than 2500 unique photos to choose from.
Death to Stock has 2 membership options: $12/month for brands (small businesses, startups, etc.) or $28/month for freelancers and agencies who need a lot of stock photos. Both options give you access to the full media library, unlimited downloads, a full media license, and creative feedback on your projects.
Fotosearch is a stock photography and stock footage site offering royalty free images, stock illustrations, video clips and rights managed images. It opened way back in 1998, making it one of the oldest image sites on the web. Businesses such as Walmart, Apple, and Morgan Stanley have relied on the platform for their image needs.
Fotosearch caters to just about every business need. You can buy individual images one-by-one, or prepay for Fotosearch credits to get discounts. Their cheapest package is 13 credits for $19.49. Fotosearch also has subscription options for those who need a lot of images ongoing. You can access over 85% of their image library through subscription starting at $39 for 1 week and maxing out at $769 for one year of access.
8. Getty Images
Getty Images is a high-end stock photo site that hosts some of the best and most unique photos on the web. You can search their database for creative or editorial images as well as video. Getty Images is a great source for news outlets that need current photos related to breaking news, sports, and entertainment events. You can also utilize custom solutions, their mobile apps for iOS and Android, or plugins for other creative and photo editing applications.
Getty Images is top of the line and not cheap. They offer packages based on your photo/video needs, starting at $135 for a 5 pack of small images and web videos, ranging up to $425 for a 10 pack of large images 4K and HD videos.
iStock is one of the most popular paid stock photo sites on the web. It offers great content discovery features, making it easier to stumble across the photos, illustrations, vectors, and videos you need for your business.
iStock also offers affordable collections of premium photos, as well as the ability to design your projects using the free Craft Stock plugin by InVision and iStock. It also makes it easy to edit your images (cropping, resizing, adding text, applying filters, etc.) using iStock Editor.
iStock has content in categories such as jobs and careers, nature and landscape, science and technology, seasonal and holiday, among others. When you join iStock, you also get access to a weekly free photo, illustration, and video clip.
You can purchase iStock files using credits or with an image subscription. You can get 3 credits to start for $33. Access all images for 1 year using a $70/month subscription, or access essential images only at $29/month for one year.
Photofolio is an online stock photography portfolio that’s great if you want to support artists directly. On this platform, up to 65% of the money you spend on images goes to the artist that created it, a much higher rate than most paid photo sites offer.
Photofolio is more of a boutique site, offering images in categories such as nature, people, travel, animals, business, objects, and a few others. But their offerings are very artistic and difficult to find anywhere else.
You can purchase individual images through Photofolio or sign up for an account to get special offers and discounts.
Pixabay is actually a free stock photo site where you can access over 1.5 million royalty free photos and videos. It serves as an online community where users upload and share their creative content and can also download images for their needs.
Pixabay makes it easy to browse photos by keyword, photographer, camera, and other factors. You can also peruse hand-selected images from their editors’ choice selection.
The great thing about Pixabay is that you can access and use as many photos as you want without even creating an account. But if the community-provided photos don’t have the selection you need, then you can refer to sponsored images from Shutterstock that appear on the site.
Purestock is a database of more than 4 million premium royalty free images, including all the standard images categories as well as unique ones like Valentine’s Day, Beauty Images, Isolated Objects, Vacation, and more.
You can get an idea of what Purestock has on offer by creating a free account. Then you can curate and share your own light boxes and follow your favorite artists on the platform.
Once you’re ready to start downloading high-resolution royalty-free images you can sign up for a paid plan. Purestock offers 3 pricing plans ranging from 10-500 downloads per month for $25-$105/month. If you prefer, they also offer image packs and extended license image packs to suit your individual needs.
Shutterstock is one of the largest databases of royalty-free images, stock video clips, and music tracks out there, with more than 219 million choices on offer. They offer photos, vectors, illustrations, icons, footage and more for whatever creative project you’re working on.
Shutterstock makes it easy to browse stock images by category or by target keyword, saving you time on finding the right images. You can also browse their curated collections for inspiration, or sign up to get free content every week (stock photos, vector graphics, etc).
Shutterstock offers apps for iPhone, iPad and Android, making it easy to download images wherever you need them. Offset by Shutterstock is a curated collection of premium images you can browse, or use Shutterstock Custom to get on-brand content created for you. If you need even more features, Shutterstock Premier is a creative platform your business teams can use for creative projects.
Shutterstock offers pricing plans for individuals or teams. Their most popular individual plan is 350 images/month for $169/month. You can choose from a variety of team plans, such as $479/month for 3 users. If neither of these options are appealing, you can also use their prepaid image packs or request a quote for custom enterprise use.
StoryBlocks is an affordable stock photo site that also ensures artists are paid well for their creative content. Artists get 100% of the sales price on every member purchase in the StoryBlocks marketplace.
The platform offers millions of photos, vectors and illustrations you can use for your creative projects. If you need video content as well, StoryBlocks has top-of-the-line formats, including VR and 360° video, HD and 4K stock video, after effects templates, and motion backgrounds. They also offer a variety of audio content to help improve your videos.
StoryBlocks offers three subscription options: a monthly subscription for $49, an annual plan for $149/year, or a premium subscription for $198. The premium option includes 5 additional submembers for free and other features to streamline your use of StoryBlocks.
Unsplash is another community-run stock photo site where you can source free photos. Photographers can upload their creative work to the platform and download other photos for free. While you can search the platform for the kind of photos you need, Unsplash makes it easy to browse and explore collections of photos based on different themes.
Unsplash is a bit like a social community as well. You post images under your profile name, then others can heart and add them to their own collections as they go. Users can put their collections up publically for others to browse and explore.
Unsplash is completely free to join and use. Sign up and get access to over 550,000 high-resolution royalty-free photos from artists around the world.
There are a lot of great free stock photo sites out there, but they can’t all be trusted. Some have been known to falsely host images that aren’t actually royalty free. You don’t want to be liable by unknowingly using copyrighted images on your site.
And even if you use a trusted free platform, there’s simply no comparing the royalty free images to the professional stock images available on the sites mentioned above. Just about every paid stock photo site has a pricing option you can afford, to spend a little money to get access to higher quality creative content for your website.