The top 10 ways to find royalty free stock photos for your website or social media presence
If you have a professional presence on-line or in social media, using images can improve the quality of your communication. Images also improve your search ranking score so there is no reason not to use them.
‘A picture tells a thousand words’
However, you might not have the right photo stock to communicate effectively, unless of course you are a keen photographer. Fortunately for those of us that struggle putting together quality photos, there are a few businesses on the internet that have our back.
Here are my top 10 ways to find authentic royalty free stock photos for your website:-
Paid Stock Photos
gettyimages – If you are in the news business then gettyimages is probably your best option for real-time stock photography. It’s the trusted name in the news industry and it’s the place professional photographers sell those incredible once in a life time images. gettyimages also provides high end assignments for specialist requirements when you need the quality of a professional photographer and price is no object. Basically gettyimages is the king of stock photography, but don’t despair there are more consumer friendly sites out there.
Price: Price is on application (If you have to ask then you can’t afford it)
Formats: Photos, Video, Music
iStock – If you can’t afford the top end royalty free images then iStock is the next best thing. Getty images now owns iStock and perhaps is the dumping ground for those images that that are not of A+++ quality. Of course A+ is enough for us common folk and there is plenty of variety to choose from. The pricing structure for single images is a little high, but if you are looking for images everyday over a year, then the yearly subscription, offering 750 images per month, is great value.
Quantity: 1 million +
Price: $159/mth yearly subscription
Formats: Photos, Illustrations, Video, Audio
Shutterstock – Shutterstock has a similar look and feel to iStock. Besides the range of photo stock available Shutterstock also contains a large variety of vector graphics. If you are just looking for images for a special one-off project then Shutterstock’s monthly subscription offers you better value allowing you to download 25 high quality stock images a day.
Quantity: 1 million +
Price: $249/month for 25 images a day
Formats: Photos, Vectors, Video
Canva – Canva has become one of my favourite sites for stock photos. They claim to have a million images and all for $1 per use. Unlike the other photo stock sites where you have unlimited use when you pay for the image, Canva has a single use license. The image its yours to use freely under the licensing agreement but only in the form that you created the Canva image. Its great for those one off applications (tweets, banners, flyers, etc) or for creating image rich meme’s.
Quantity: 1 million +
Price: $1 per image ( single use only)
Formats: Photos, Vectors
Free Stock Photos
When you are just starting a blog or designing a website you are probably taking it slow and don’t want to sink too much money on an idea that you are unsure about. Fortunately not everyone is trying to make a living from the internet and people still respect the basic need to share their work with others. Here are a few free stock photo sites that come without conditions:-
Freepik – Their focus is on vectors, however there are plenty of stock photos and plenty of images from other sites. The licensing is usually, free commercial use with attribution although there are a few links to images on other sites that cost money. Pay close attention to the copyright terms and conditions per image. I find this site is really busy and its hard to know what’s actually free. Although, it’s a great spot for grabbing some cool icons.
Quantity: Large Range
Price: Free with attribution (mostly)
Formats: Vectors, Photos, Icons, Free PSD files
picjumbo – There are a large variety of images offered on this site. Unlike Freepik these are all free to use commercially (see terms & conditions). There are a lot of well thought out scenes to ensure your messages can be convied through the images. Again its a really busy site with a plethora of ads but you can pay for a premium service subscription for $6/month to stop all that clutter. Alternatively, try an ad blocker.
Unsplash – Offers 10 new high resolution photos every 10 days. These beautiful photos are great for inspirational sites to invigorate your mind, body, soul. Visually rich photos make for an ideal splash page or background image. You can even contribute your own photos to the site and pay it forward to the next person.
Freeimages.com formally was Stock.Xchnge and seems to be affiliated with iStockphotos as they offer their ‘premium’ examples right next to the free images you have searched for. However, if you spend the time you can find some great free images here and most have unlimited use license. As with a lot of free images sites some may require you to reference the photographer or even ask for permission when using images for commercial applications.
Quality: Good – Average
Custom Stock Photos
Sometimes, you don’t have the time to look through thousands of images to find just the right one, when you have that image clearly in your mind. If you are one of these people then you should consider hiring a freelance photographer to get you that image. The following are a couple of places you can look for customised photos:-
SnapWire – Snapwire offers authentic royalty free photos created specifically for you. It’s like having thousands of photographers working for you and best of all you only pay for the images you select. This is a growing community and also a smart way to make a little extra cash if you are a photographer or simply love photography.
Prices range between $10-$100 for existing photos and you set the price for your custom requests and there is no obligation to buy when a photographer meets your brief.
Freelancer – If you can’t afford the prices for a gettyimages freelance photographer, then you can post your brief on traditional freelance sites like freelancer.com They have a specific area for freelance photography. Price is negotiable but ensure you get qualified examples of their work to avoid dealing with a middleman who is simply outsourcing the work.
As you can see there are plenty of Stock Photo opportunities for all budgets and as mentioned images bring your site to life whilst having a positive benefit for your search engine ranking. If you find this post useful please tell your friends and share with the links below.
NB: All pricing was verified at the time of publishing and may be subject to change