Though nothing beats a professional photographer who can produce bespoke images tailored directly to your needs, sometimes stock photography is a worthy compromise. Whether it’s due to budgetary issues or the simple convenience of having instant access to thousands of readymade images, most of us will find ourselves, from time-to-time, turning to stock.

With that said, it’s good to know what resources are out there. So here are 8 websites (both paid and free) for you to explore when you’re next on the hunt for stock photography.

iStock (paid)

iStock works on a credit/subscription model. So you can buy a certain number of credits for a set price. Or sign up to monthly or yearly subscriptions which entitle you to a predetermined number of images per month. One of the standout features of iStock is that it offers illustrations, video, and audio as well as images.    

Unsplash (free)

Unsplash offers an infinite-scroll homepage, search bar, and a ‘collections’ page. So you can choose from randomly browsing the library, honing in on something ultra-specific, or narrowing your options down to a broad collection within specific parameters. An example of some of the collections: Urban Landscapes, Minimalism Life, Lonely Planet, Creatures.

Picography (free)

A simple and user-friendly layout, Picography lets you scroll through a large catalogue of free images at your leisure. 

Shutterstock (paid)

Photos, vectors, editorial images, footage, and music. Shutterstock offers a wide range of options for use in a variety of projects. Another paid-for service, Shutterstock offers users a no-strings ‘on demand’ option. Or there are numerous monthly subscriptions to choose from. Shutterstock even offer their own editing software.

Bigstock (paid)

Of all the paid-for services mentioned in this post, Bigstock gives some of the best value for money. Offering subscribers the same number of image downloads per day that others offer in a month. It’s a simple website to navigate, with a search bar that allows you to switch between image and video searches via a drop-down menu.     

Splitshire (free)

Search feature, dedicated ‘top best’ and ‘new’ photos sections, and a generous number of categories to narrow your results. Splitshire is a comprehensive website made even more impressive by the fact that it’s free.

FreeImages (free)

Nice and simple. Does exactly what it says on the tin. Thousands of pictures from a broad range of categories. Plus the all-important, time-saving search feature. FreeImages is a foolproof free resource.

Note: this post is an opinion piece. Red Square Design has no affiliation with any of the websites listed above.