The best stock photo sites (free and paid)

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Images are essential to attract and keep your visitors both on your website and on social media channels, and it is vital to be able to use high-quality images. If you have a blog, you are probably going to need a good supply of quality images to use as featured images for your posts and for social media promotion, so you need to be able to source those images cost-effectively. Using stock photo sites allows you to use high-quality images at low cost, or even for free.

In this blog post, I’m going to explain why images are so important for your online presence and which are the best stock photo sites that I use to get my images.

Why are images important?

There are many reasons why choosing the right images is essential for your site, some of them are:

1 – Images help you establish your brand image.

The images you use on your site should be in line with your brand image and help you attract the right visitors.

2 – Images are an essential part of a visitor’s first impression.

Google research has shown that users create a first impression within 50ms or less. First impressions are essential to make users stay or leave a site and have a high impact on user satisfaction.

3 – Images get you noticed on social media.

Images are essential for social media, especially for visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. A good picture on Pinterest can make a massive impact on the number of clicks.

4- Images impact your SEO ranking.

Google has an image search. Using relevant images for your posts with the right metadata can help you rank in Google images and bring you additional traffic. Search engine crawlers go through image titles, alt text and descriptions and use that data to calculate rankings.

So you need to make sure that you use high-quality images on your site that provide a great “first impression” to your visitors and set the brand image that you want for your brand.

Which are my favourite stock photo sites

There are hundreds of both free and paid stock photo sites. If you google stock photography you can spend hours looking through sites to try to find the right image. This is why I think it’s important to choose a couple of stock photo sites that provide you with the right type of images for your niche and brand and stick to those.

While it may be tempting to stick to free sites to find all your stock photo images, I find it too time-consuming and sometimes challenging to find the right picture. This is why I usually run a search on Unsplash and Pexels first (my two favourite free stock photo sites), and if I can’t find the right photo, I go straight to Depositphotos.

To give you a bit more detail about my choice of best stock photo sites:

1 – Unsplash(free)

Unsplash has a great selection of high-quality images. All their photos can be used for free both for personal and commercial use and do not require attribution. See the Unsplash license for more details.

They also have the images structured into categories and collections t0 help you find the right image.


2 – Pexels(free)

Pexels is another excellent free stock photo site with high-quality images, which can again be used free of charge for both personal and commercial use and with no attribution. See Pexels license for details.

3 – Depositphotos(free and paid)

Depositphotos has both free and paid images, and it’s my paid stock photo site of choice. They have a wide variety of high-quality images and have several plans to choose from.

If you don’t think you are going to use enough images a month for the monthly plans, they also run many offers throughout the year that allow you to purchase, for example, 100 pictures for $100, which is a great offer. Sign up for their newsletter to get the offers.

Depositphotos has images with different licenses so please check the license before you use an image.

4 – Gratisography(free)

While Gratisography may not be my first option when looking for stock photos, it is the place to go to if you are looking for unusual or quirky images.

Gratisography’s license allows personal and commercial use with no need for attribution.

Don’t forget to check the image license!

Wherever you get your images, remember to check the image license. Some sites like Pexels and Unsplash have a general site license, but other sites like Depositphotos have a wide variety of images with different license terms.

Once you have chosen the best image for your blog, the next step is to optimise it. Take a look at my blog post “2 Simple steps to optimise your website images.

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