What is the best stock photo site?

By Tim Priebe on April 24, 2019

By Tim Priebe on April 24, 2019

Every website needs photos! Well, almost every website. Craigslist may be the exception that proves the rule. But in general, to keep your website from looking humdrum, you need some high-quality engaging photos!

The photos are often what people will notice first when visiting your website. They help set the mood, let your visitors know what to expect, and simply add some visual interest to complement your content. But not everyone has the resources, whether that’s time, money, or equipment, to create their own photos. That’s where stock photos can come in handy.

Not all stock photos are created equal. There is a wide variety in quality and selection, and some stock photo websites may not be a good fit for everyone.

So what is the best stock photo site? It’s different for everyone!

Let’s look at a few paid options, then a whole bunch of free options.

I want to pay for my images!

It can definitely be easier to find specific images you’re looking for if you use a paid option. These three websites have been around for a while, and are still pretty popular.

Getty Images

Getty Images has a great selection, but you can expect to invest around $500 per picture. Is it worth it? You be the judge. They were started back in 1997 and have acquired a number of other stock photography businesses over the years, often merging their collections with their own.


iStock is actually a subsidiary of Getty Images with much lower prices. They sell based on a credit system, so the investment varies based on how many credits you purchase at a time. You can expect a photo to end up being somewhere between $10 down to under $1. They started in 2000 and were purchased by Getty Images in 2006.


Hooray, it’s our favorite! We currently use Depositphotos with many of our clients. They also run off a credit system. You can expect to pay under $5 per photo in general. They started back in 2009 and we’ve used them for several years now.

Where can I find free images to use?

Maybe you prefer to invest your money elsewhere, and don’t mind spending some time hunting to find just the right image. Great! Here’s a list of twelve places you can get free stock images to use.

Pexels is my favorite free stock photos website. But you know what they say about free, right? I do find it takes a much longer time to find an appropriate photo on the free websites. But if you are creative enough with your keyword searches, you may find a diamond in the rough.

And remember, although there are tons of awesome stock resources out there, there is no real substitute for having a professional photographer take unique photos for your business or nonprofit.

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