If you have a website, then you need to have images. Now, of course, if you run a business then it is likely that you will have access to images of your products and the like, which is great. However, if you do not, then you need to get images from somewhere.
Now, it is worth pointing out at this point that you can’t just head to a website and steal an image. It can be tempting, but if your site ever gets large, people will find out that you stole their images and you will be enjoying a rather costly court case, which is probably not going to be amazing for your business.
You could always hire a photographer to take some photographs for you, but this is going to be costly. Your best option is to head to a website which sells stock images for you to buy. Specifically, microstock image websites. Cheap images that you will have the rights to use on your website. The images tend to be very good too. Let us introduce you to four of our favorite places.
Big Stock Photo is a massive website. In fact, there are over 56 million media files available. Most of these are going to be photographs and vectors, although there are some videos thrown in for good measure too.
This is the site that you will want to head to if you have a massive need for stock imagery. This is because on BigStockPhoto.com you do not purchase the videos and images ‘ad hoc’. Instead, you purchase a monthly plan which will give you access to a certain number of images or videos per day. It is incredibly affordable, actually. There will be a daily limit on the amount you can download, but that is fine.
There are images and vectors to cover every single niche here, so you should have zero issues finding something that you want on the website!
Shutter Stock is one of the original microstock sites. It’s still one of the largest with over 161 million media files to sink your teeth into (video clips, photographs, music tracks, etc).
Unlike Big Stock Photo, you can purchase images individually here, although there are also a few plans available if you want some cheaper stock imagery, so do look into those too.
This site covers a plethora of different niches. If you can think of a particular image you want, then you can bet your bottom dollar that Shutter Stock will have it. They will give you a plethora of search options too, which means that you will always be able to find exactly what you want, you will never have to accept ‘second best.’
One of the great things about this website is that they also offer ‘editorial’ images if you are looking for something a bit more recent, e.g., actual images from recent sports events, or even some images of celebrities and the like. They are not going to be the cheapest images in the world, but it is a nice addition, and there are very few sites out there which offer this.
One of the biggest image database on the internet. Although there are so many photographs to be found on the iStock.com website, a lot of the focus in recent years for this site has been on the vectors and illustrations that the site offers. In fact, from what we can tell, iStock attracts some of the best artists in the world. Once again, this is a site that you will be able to enjoy something from every niche, and that includes the actual illustrations and the like too, which is rare.
There are some very strict standards in place to get your images and the like listed up on the website, so you can be positive that these are some of the best images you can enjoy. Yes, this is a large website which gets a ton of traffic so you will likely find a few websites which are using some of the images on this site but, honestly, if you search hard enough you’ll be able to find quality images which have barely any sales.
GraphicStock.com – now Storyblocks.com
As you can probably guess from the name it has not so long ago; Storyblocks puts a lot of focus on vectors and illustrations, although they do throw a few million photographs into the mix too.
All of the images that you find on the Storyblocks.com website are wonderfully designed and, once again, you should always be able to find something which matches your needs. In fact, you will be in awe at just how specific some of the images that you find on this website actually are. If you want an illustration or any other type of vector, then you are going to be hard-pressed to find a better site than this, so it is going to be worth checking out.
All of the images that you find on the Storyblocks website can be purchased individually, but since we have no doubt that you are going to be using this website a lot, we suggest that you purchase a plan to save yourself a bit of cash.
In addition to these websites, there are several ‘free’ stock sites out there. One of the most common is pixabay.com. However, you must remember that the selection of images is going to be a little bit smaller. This means less of a choice. You can also use Google Images if you wish but, of course, bear in mind that not every image that you find through Google Images is going to be usable. You need to set ‘Labeled for reuse’ in search options (tools tab). Others are the right holders, after all. We suggest that you take a look at some of the websites above and get a feel for the type of images that they offer. This will give you a rough idea as to which site to sign up to. Although, of course, you can sign up to as many of them as you want.