Using Stock Photography

You’re looking for the right images for your website or brochure, you’ve searched far and wide for stunning stock images to use, but keep running into cheesy photos of people shaking hands. Most small businesses don’t have a budget to hire a professional photographer on most projects. Even big organizations use stock images, the key is finding the right stuff – and then using it in the right way. Usually, you need the right tools (Photoshop and/or Illustrator) to make the images work for the project.

The good news is there’s a huge variety of excellent free and paid stock images for commercial use available. You just have to know where to look. I’ve compiled a short list of stock photo resources you can use to find free images for your projects. Whether you need hero images for your blog, placeholder images for your website, or first-rate stock photography for commercial use, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.

My top three:


BigStock photo has 10 million affordable images and vectors. Great place to start.

Pay As You Go: $2.99 for small – $4.99 medium – $8.99 large – $12.99 vector

My subscription is up to 5 per day.

2. Adobe Stock

Incredible royalty-free stock photos and more – whether you need a stock photo, stunning graphic, HD video, or photoshop template, Adobe Stock has the perfect asset to help you tell your story. A step up in quality from most stock photo libraries.

Plans start at 3 images a month. My subscription is 10 per month.


iStockphoto is the web’s original source for user-generated, royalty-free stock photos, illustrations, video, audio, and Flash. Whether you’re a designer, advertiser, entrepreneur, or blogger, they have millions of affordable images, vectors, and clips to help you tell your story.

How iStock photo Works:

1. Search for stock photography, vector illustrations, video footage, audio clips and tracks, and Flash media.
2. Sign up for a free account.
3. Download your files immediately using iStock Credits, which can be purchased in flexible pay-as-you-go and subscription plans. I buy credits as needed.


Other good sources:


Over 16 Million Royalty-Free Images, Vectors, and Videos from $ 0.75

Add impact to your design projects with royalty-free images from Fotolia.
All licenses include unlimited print runs and never expire! is a royalty-free photo library offering stunning, practical stock photos at the most affordable price!

They’ve got refreshing, intriguing images for your creative projects. For a single subscription fee, you can get access to a wealth of high-resolution images. Alternatively, you may purchase credits and download images, all for a very low rate.

Over 300,000 high quality photos, illustrations, and vector graphics on All images are free – even for commercial use! No attributions required.

  • All photos and videos on Pexels are free to use.
  • Attribution is not required. Giving credit to the photographer or Pexels is not necessary but always appreciated.
  • You can modify the photos and videos from Pexels. Be creative and edit them as you like.

Freerange Stock

Freerange Stock was formed with the goal to provide quality stock photos for commercial and non-commercial use. For free.

Flickr is almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world. Show off your favorite photos and videos to the world, securely and privately show content to your friends and family, or blog the photos and videos you take with a cameraphone.


The internet’s source of freely usable images. Powered by creators everywhere.

The world’s quirkiest collection of free high-resolution pictures, comprised of the world’s best, most creative images – photos you just won’t find anywhere else. All completely free to download without copyright restrictions.