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The Best Photo Stock Websites

10 Best Free and Premium Photo Stock Websites

A single picture is worth a thousand words. Especially in the fast-changing, digital environment. Nowadays it’s hard to imagine a work day in any type of creative industry without visiting free or premium photo stock sites.

Thanks to talented individuals who share their works, photo stock sites offer amazing collections of images. On free photo stock sites, everyone can use photos without attribution for personal, editorial or commercial purposes. However, if you plan to use free photo stock sites, you should bear in mind a couple of restrictions. The main limitations are related to photos of identifiable people, products with trademarks or privately owned properties.

In this text we made a list of the best photo stock sites, both free and premium, that are especially useful in combination with sites that offer free vector illustrations. These are the sources you can easily use in case you need a fast solution for your ongoing project:

1. Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock

Created with Adobe’s users in mind, Adobe Stock is a service included for Adobe’s Creative Cloud. With over 50 million royalty-free photos, videos, templates, illustrations and a wide array of vector graphics, this stock images website is all one designer needs.

Due to its compatibility with Creative Suite, users can purchase images directly in Photoshop, InDesign, Premiere Pro, and Illustrator.

2. Getty Images

Getty Images

Known for its great quality image collections Getty Images is the first stock images website, founded in 1995. Trusted by millions around the world, this vast image resource is present in more than 100 countries worldwide.

Getty is a great place for brands and creators who want appealing images, illustrations, stock photos or videos. Easy to navigate, this photo stock website will help you find the images that you can purchase individually. The products on this site are definitely worth their price.

3. iStock (by Getty Images)


If you are a designer, you have probably already used iStock since it’s one of the best stock photography websites. It offers an endless collection of high-quality, royalty-free stock photos. The best part about this photo stock website is the affordability – great photos at the good price.

Besides its large collection of photos, illustrations, video and audio files, iStock offers user-friendly functionality with search and browse features.

But, maybe the best part is the fact they have free stock files weekly for users who join their stock images website!

4. Flickr


As the largest photo stock website and sharing platform in the world, Flickr is the place to be for everyone who searches for the unlimited photo collections.

With tens of billions of photos and two million groups, Flickr is powered with advanced search options and filters. This means you will be able to find stock images that meet your needs with ease.

Although not all images can be used for commercial purposes, some photographers will give you permission to do so.

5. Unsplash


Unsplash gathers numerous professional photographers and photo enthusiasts. On this platform, you can find a beautiful collection of photos with more artistic character and use it for free.

Use Unsplash’s search tool to quickly find a picture you need or check out Collections – groups of photos sorted by different categories.

But it’s not all. Everyone can create new collections after signing up for an account. They’re ideal for inspiration, or collecting resources for upcoming projects and works.

6. Pixabay


Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright free images and videos. This photo stock website is packed with over million images including illustrations, vector graphics, and videos.

After you find the picture you like, choose an appropriate resolution and complete a Captcha to download the file. The option to change the image resolution in Photoshop is always at your disposal but this site also allows you to choose between several resolution options. You can as well follow the photographers if you want to keep track of their latest photos.

7. Pexels


All the photos on Pexels can be used free for commercial and noncommercial use. Every talented photographer is welcome to upload photos to Pexels and share them with the world. Giving credit to the photographer or Pexels is not required but is always appreciated.

This photo stock website is great for web and app designers since it offers an excellent set of device images ideal for all sort of mockups. A vast majority of the images you can find on this site are creative and original, so it’s a real pleasure navigating through Pexels’ photo content.

8. Shutterstock


Shutterstock is a must-visit resource for royalty-free stock images for both personal and commercial use. No matter what type of project you work on, this website has it all covered.

With more than 235 million stock photos, video clips, music resources, Shutterstock definitely is a place for everyone who works in the creative industries. This stock website offers both prepaid image plans and value-priced annual plans for individual use, plus team and enterprise plans.

9. Dreamstime


Dreamstime started in 2000 as a royalty-free photo site and quickly gathered a large community of photographers and an even larger number of users. It offers a huge collection of high-quality photos covering a wide range of topics. Although not as flashy as some other microstock sites, it has managed to build an excellent reputation for the quality it offers and strong customer service. It offers two types of licenses: the Royalty-Free, and Extended License. If you are a photographer, you’ll love to know that this company is known for offering very fair treatment to their photographers.

10. Stocksy


Stocksy is a niche, royalty-free stock photo agency, known for its collection of artistic and contemporary styled imagery. It works as a cooperative business meaning that every photographer who contributes their images is also a company shareholder. Since they offer handpicked, high-quality artworks from a selected pool of exclusive photographers, their prices are higher than average. So, if you need unique, artsy, out of the ordinary, creative, and exclusive photography or video, you’ll find this site very useful and affordable considering the quality that you get.

11. Pikwizard


If you search for the natural-looking photos of people, Pikwizard is a site for you. Here you can find thousands of free stock photos across a wide range of subjects. Besides impressive photo quality, this website offers premium tools and templates but none cost more than a couple of dollars.

Those who want to get creative without leaving the browser, PikWizard provides links to an online photo editor. Great, isn’t it?

12. Barnimages


Unlike many other free stock photos websites, Barnimages.com is not an aggregator, all the images are made by two photographers from Latvia, who also run the website. Although this site doesn’t have the largest image collection out there, you can definitely find something different from the photos published on Unsplash or Pexels. Founders of this platform are continually working on the website, improving the UX, and adding new features, like free mockups. Plus, they have an excellent weekly newsletter with free photos and useful stuff from around on the web.

13. 123rf


Very affordable prices and great value for money are probably the most attractive thing about 123rf. This company offers a solid library of stock images covering a wide range of niches and excellent customer support. Their website is very user-friendly and includes several advanced tech tools like a free online photo editor and reverse image search. Since they are in business for more than 15 years, their initial offer has expanded over time to include stock footage and stock audio. What also makes them stand out is their mobile app that lets you search their library and create lightboxes.

14. Reshot


Reshot is a great source of high-quality, hand-picked stock photos free to use commercially and editorially. It was initially made for freelancers and startups but its massive library serves well everyone who needs quality images. One of the conveniences that you can enjoy with this company is that they offer quick image packs that include images collected around certain themes like active lifestyle, everyday technology, and similar. These packs save you a lot of time if you need to provide rich content for a certain type of website quickly.

15. Picography


Picography offers beautiful, high resolution, free stock photos covering a wide range of categories such as technology, nature, people, fashion, business, culture, scenery, wildlife, and many more. The best thing about it is that you get to use high-quality images without the need for any type of license. All the photos come with a CCO license which means that you can use, copy, edit, or share the photo for personal or commercial purposes completely free of charge. The site is neatly organized and allows you to search for photos by hashtag and category.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there’s really no excuse for not having awesome imagery on your blog, personal or business website. These free and premium photo stock sites are a true blessing for designers, marketers, bloggers, and creatives of all kinds. There’s something for everyone on this list. No matter what budget you are on, there is a stock photo site that has exactly what you are looking for!

We hope that you found this article to be helpful. If you liked it, please feel free to check out some of these articles as well!


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