Why stock images?

As websites become increasingly visual and image driven the use of stock images have also seen a rise. Stock images provide a convenient and affordable means to use imagery on a website. Because of this, many website owners and designers have resorted to stock images rather than taking photos themselves and/or hiring a professional. Whether you need 1 or 1000 images, stock images allows you to avoid the hassle and possibly cut down the cost of creating images yourself and/or hiring others to do so.

what are stock images?

Stock images or photographs are a collection of images/photos that are readily-available to download and license for personal or commercial use. The most common licenses are royalty-free and rights-managed. Some stock images are even completely free/public domain or fall under creative commons licensing.


Royalty-free licenses, when purchased allows images to be used multiple times for multiple purposes (limited) without paying a royalty (fee) for each use.
Note: Some licensing terms are more limited than others so it’s advised to check each individual license thoroughly.


Rights-managed licenses, when purchased allows for a one time use of an image for a specific purpose outlined by it's licensing terms.
Note: Some licensing terms are more limited than others so it’s advised to check each individual license thoroughly.

Public domain

Public domain contents are contents whose intellectual property rights (copyrights) have expired - public domain contents are available for public use without any fees or royalties.

Creative commons

Creative commons licenses are free licenses available for public use that provides creative works authors a means to allow others to legally share and build upon their work. Creative commons licenses are customized for specific needs so make sure to check their terms thoroughly. For more information on individual creative commons licenses, please check the official creative commons licensing guide.

Like any customizable area of a website, having a good collection of resources for changes are essential. And that’s why we’ve created a list of our top 10 recommended resources for stock imagery:

Jump to: Free stock images






iStockPhoto, among one of the top stock content providers in the industry, advertise to have over 10 million files and 115,000+ contributors. Unlike what their name might allude to, iStockPhoto not only provides stock photos but also provides illustrations, videos, audios, and editorials. Their collection includes high-quality professional content that includes a large variety of categories. All iStockPhoto images are royalty-free and can cost anywhere from ~$20 - $300+.







Getty Images

As another one of the industry leaders, Getty Images’ collection contains over 24.7 million stock photos. Getty Images not only provides stock images but also video and music. Their stock content includes royalty-free and rights-managed content, content that includes a variety of topics and categories that are well-suited for professional and corporate usage. Pricing for licenses can be anywhere from ~$25 - $600+.








Said to have an impressive collection of over 100 million images, Corbis is among one of the top stock content providers in the industry. Corbis provides stock images, illustrations, and image CDs. Their collection includes royalty-free and rights-managed images. Image pricing range anywhere from ~$25 - $600+.








Another industry leader, Shutterstock, has a collection of over 25 million royalty-free stock photos, illustrations, vectors, and videos. Images cost anywhere from ~$25 - $300+.







With over 21 million royalty-free stock photos, vectors, video, and audio, RF123 is another great resource for royalty-free content of a variety of categories. Image pricing ranges anywhere from ~$1 - $200+.






National Geographic Creative

Beautiful high-quality photos and videos similar to those you see in National Geographic magazines and documentaries are now available to download and use through National Geographic's Creative stock content website. NatGeo's creative collection of photos and videos are largely based around nature and culture - so if you're looking for images suited for corporate settings Creative might not be the best choice. Their collection contains both royalty-free and rights-managed content, content that is provided by a staff of in-house National Geographic photographers/videographers.









If you're not looking to pay for stock images, no worries, there's a number of good stock image providers that provide completely free or creative commons licensed images. Here are some of our favorites:

Note: A lot (not all) of free stock images are provided by average joes or amateur photographers - for high-quality professional images we recommend premium stock image providers like Getty Images, iStockPhoto, or any of the mentioned premium stock content providers above.






Requires account registration: No
Advertised stock content amount: 40,000




Requires account registration: Yes
Advertised stock content amount: 350,000







Requires account registration: No
Advertised stock content amount: N/A








Requires account registration: No
Advertised stock content amount: 10,000


Need help finding the right stock images at the best price? We can help. Give us a call (718-381-9515) or send us an email for more information.

Back to Help Center