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29 Stock Photo Websites to Spice Up Your Content

Don’t know where to get stock photos for your content? We’ve curated a list of paid and free stock photo websites—so you don’t have to.

Is a picture worth a thousand words? Science confirms that our brains are more engaged by images than they are by text, so the old adage rings true. In fact, studies show that the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it processes text.

You may not mind paying for high-quality stock images if you have a large budget. However, even bootstraps and start-ups can benefit from including high-resolution images with their content and email campaigns.

Where to get stock photos (free & paid)

We've scoured the web and found the best sources for both paid and free stock photos.

1. Getty Images

While Getty Images famously provides images of celebrities and editorial photography, the site also has some stock images, video footage, music files, and more. Getty Images isn't a free service, but they do have a handy embed feature that allows you to publish an image without cost for non-commercial use.

2. Shutterstock

With over one billion images in its huge database, Shutterstock is arguably the most popular paid stock photo site. While Shutterstock isn't cheap, they do offer a free trial. In addition to high-resolution images, Shutterstock is also an excellent source for music and videos.

3. iStock

Because it's been around since 1999, iStock by Getty Images was the first website to offer stock photos. In addition to stock photos, iStock also has an expansive library of illustrations, vector files, and videos.

4. Dreamstime

With a library of more than 191 million stock photos, Dreamstime is also one of the most affordable paid stock photo sites. You can buy monthly credits or sign up for a yearly plan to save even more.

5. Adobe Stock Photos

If you're a user of Adobe's software products, you may find it useful to be able to use stock photos directly within the apps. Adobe Stock offers a 30-day free trial, and the subscriptions are more affordable than many of the other paid options.

6. Deposit Photos

At DepositPhotos, you have many options, with everything from simple images to stylized shots. Fans of Deposit Photos enjoy refined search abilities and image editing tools. While this is a paid site, you can either pay a monthly subscription or pay on demand.

7. 123RF

Being able to download social media ad sizes automatically can be a big plus and a time saver. If this is a need you have, you will enjoy 123RF. For every free image, you can choose from various download sizes, including email headers, Facebook covers, brochure covers, and Pinterest posts.

8. Freepik

While Freepik isn't fully free, the site does offer loads of high-quality images that are free. With the affordable paid plan, you can access even more stock photos, vectors, and graphics.

9. Canva

While it's most known for its high-tech and easily accessible web-based design tool, Canva can also be one of your go-to sources of free images. The Canva stock photo library has more than 1.6 million free images you can choose from. One problem is that you can't easily download an image. You have to use it in designs that you create at Canva.

10. Skitterphoto

Run by three Dutch photographers, Skitterphoto accepts photos from budding photographers. Why is this good news for publishers and businesses? It means that you're more likely to find something unique. All images at Skitterphoto are public domain.

11. Freerange

One site to check out if you need backgrounds, textures, and patterns is Freerange. In addition to backgrounds, the site also offers a large library of stock photos in collections that include technology, insects, and vintage photos.

12. Morguefile

With Morguefile, you find all types of images, including some that aren't as polished as those you find at free sites such as Unsplash. However, you may enjoy some of the simpler photos that look less like stock photos.

13. Burst (by Shopify)

Shopify may have created Burst to serve its community of online merchants, but the royalty-free photo site has become a force of its own. On this site, you can also conduct a search based on your business idea.

14. Life of Pix

Every week, Life of Pix adds 10 new photos from photographers who are handpicked by the editorial team. At this site, you can access thousands of photos in several different categories. You can use the images for free, but you can distribute them without restrictions.

15. Pexels

In terms of free stock photo websites, you can't go wrong with Pexels. In addition to high-quality images, Pexels also has graphics and video footage. Every image displays the licensing terms.

16. PicJumbo

PicJumbo offers a wide variety of photos in categories that include fashion, technology, nature, and more. The photos are completely free, but they do offer a premium service that allows you to gain access to even more photos.

17. Reshot

There is a lot to love about Reshot, and their expansive library is just the beginning. At Reshot, you can choose between JPG, PNG, SVG, and vector formats. This is a huge time-saver because there's no need to have to use software to convert a file.

18. ISO Republic

An independent site that offers a curation of high-resolution creative photos, ISO Republic's images are free for commercial and personal use. You don't have to attribute the images you use to the site or the photographer.

19. Vecteezy

At Vecteezy, you can filter your search results by orientation, color, number of people, model ages, and more. Because the content team manually reviews all photos for quality, you won't find any junk on the site.

20. Rawpixel

At Rawpixel, you can get free stock photos, but you can also find public domain content and PSD mockups. Even better, if you're a pid subscriber, some of your fees go to the charity Hope for Children.

21. New Old Stock

For vintage photos (or vintage-look photos), check out New Old Stock. This site curates and publishes old photos that are found in public archives.

22. Foodiesfeed

Food bloggers and restaurants can find stock images that are perfect for anything in the food industry at FoodiesFeed. The selection isn't huge, but the site serves a well-defined niche beautifully.

23. Kaboom Pics

Kaboom Pics is owned by an entrepreneur and photographer. At this site, you will find more than 20,000 unique photos in 1,500 collections. Moreover, you're covered with use for both commercial and personal licenses.

24. Gratisography

If you like quirky stock photos, head over to Gratisography. The interface is easy to use, and the site offers hassle-free downloads.

25. Styled Stock Society

This website is geared towards entrepreneurs who are women. At Styled Stock Society, you can download 25 stock photos for free, but the site also offers a premium subscription. It's not cheap, but the photos are perfect for some niches.

26. Unsplash

One of the most popular stock photos free sites is Unsplash. Unsplash is famous for its free high-quality stylistic images. Interestingly, Unsplash started as a Tumblr blog and is now one of the world's leading options for free images.

27. FreeImages

With a library of nearly 400,000 royalty-free stock photos, FreeImages has something for every need. You can take advantage of various licenses based on your needs, including licenses for printed materials, social media, advertisement, and more.

28. Pixabay

Pixabay offers a wealth of free products, including stock photos, vectors, illustrations, sound effects, music, and videos. The site has one of the largest databases of all of the free photo websites.

29. Pikwizard

Sometimes you need a stock photo that doesn't scream "stock photo." Pikwizard is the place to go to find those more natural-looking images. With thousands of photos to choose from in several categories, you will find what you need at Pikwizard.

How to use stock photos legally

Every creator owns the rights to the content they create, and this includes photographers. If you publish a photo without permission from the creator, you can find yourself saddled with hefty fines. In more severe cases, penalties can include jail time.

Usually, you'll likely receive a cease-and-desist letter demanding that you remove the images from your website.

To legally use stock photos, be sure to follow the licensing on the individual stock photo websites. For Creative Commons licensing, photographers can choose between a few different license types. Ensure that you're following the terms of the specific license. Also, just to be on the safe side, always use attribution to the creator in the caption, along with the license type.

Can stock photos be used commercially?

Many images on free stock image websites come with a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. What this means is that you can adapt, copy, and distribute the images for free without requiring consent from the creator or author. In most cases, this includes commercial uses.

However, read the licensing info from any site you use to source images. Some websites require attribution, either to the website or the content creator.

Include stock photos for more engaging email campaigns

Do you want to create emotional impacts with your newsletter subscribers? Using stock photos can help with that.

When you use compelling images in your email campaigns, they can help to grab your readers' attention. Another benefit of using images in your campaigns is that they can encourage people to take action.

With Mailchimp's Adobe Photoshop integration, and Canva integration, using images with your email campaigns has never been easier. Now that you've found some great websites offering free images, why not start an email campaign using our email design guide today?

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