All of us as digital marketers understand that a picture speaks a thousand words. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the brain than text. Do you struggle to find affordable and unique stock photography? We do too! So we compiled a (fairly) comprehensive list of stock photography resources for your bookmarking pleasure. 😉
The quality of photos is unmatched. Stunning artistic photos that are taken by photographers around the globe make Unsplash my favorite resource. Search has been dramatically updated and now has type-ahead search functionality. You can also search for multiple words by using the + symbol. For example, “employment+law” will return more targeted results. You can curate galleries for different projects as well as follow your favorite photographers.
Although the library is constantly being updated there is still a limited selection of photos compared to some of the bigger names in stock photography for specific queries. Search still isn’t as robust as other sites.
Pexels is a great free resource. Search works well and you can easily use multiple keywords. It has a great library of diverse photos that are artistic and on topic. They have a nice trending feature which allows you to see whats popular by category. They also offer royalty-free video!
It has some crossover with other free platforms so not all the photos are unique to the site. The library can be somewhat limiting as well.
1.7 million+ library of royalty-free and free stock photography makes Pixabay a fantastic resource. They also have illustrations, video, vectors graphics, and other materials that are all completely free. They have a more advanced search which makes it easier to find what you’re looking for.
The quality of the imagery isn’t quite as curated as some of the other resources. You’re more likely to find typical cheesy stock imagery on the platform.
This is one of my favorite sites simply because of the quality of the photography. They carefully curate all the images on the site so you’ll never see a weird person holding up a giant pencil to illustrate a point. Very easy to navigate and use the site. Subtle watermarks on comps don’t distract from layouts.
Not as large of a selection as some of its competitor it’s definitely more limited than larger stock photography websites.
If you’re already an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber this is a no-brainer. Adobe Stock fully integrates with the CC ecosystem, so adding photos is a breeze. Preview watermarked images inside your designs first. Then license, access and manage them directly within Photoshop CC, InDesign CC, Illustrator CC, and other Adobe desktop apps. Any edits made on a watermarked photo will sync automatically when you purchase the photo. So long duplicate work.
Need to have Adobe Creative Suite to unlock full capabilities. A subscription plan is required; the plans are somewhat limiting. Rollover a limited amount of photo credits.
10 free images to start then plans begin at $29.99 – $199.99 per month
Largest selection of imagery of the sites mentioned here. Because of this, there is much more diversity in image quality. You can find beautiful shots, but it might take some digging. There’s a large assortment of illustrations and icon resources. Recently subscriptions began to allow rollover credits, so if one month you don’t use all your allotted credits you can use them the following month and so on with no penalty.
It can be kind of difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for. There’s a lot of typical cheesy stock photos here. Steer clear of anything too cliched. Photos also have very obvious watermarks on comps.
High-quality searchable photography library. Allows you to create a custom photo request where proven photographers shoot unique subjects for your specific needs. Allows you to get the exact type of shot that you’re looking for by crowdsourcing your photography needs. Perfect when all your photo searching fails and you really need a custom photo shoot for much less money than a typical photo shoot.
There’s no guarantee if you’ll get exactly what you’re looking for. Need to wait a few days for requests to be processed and submissions to be entered. The larger your budget the more requests you’re likely to get.
Bonnie is our graphic and web design expert. She brings many years of hands-on UI/UX experience and loves a creative challenge. She is passionate about helping clients differentiate themselves from their competition and has been at Clockwork since 2012. When she's not at Clockwork, Bonnie enjoys photography, traveling, snowboarding, and volunteering.
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