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The 7 best stock image providers for your website and social media profiles

11th July 2016

PhotographyGetting images for your website can always be difficult, especially if you don't have the means to take your own bespoke photos.

Thankfully, there are many great stock photography websites you can use. In fact, Cosmic uses lots of stock imagery for our blog posts (just like this one) and you can too.

But which stock photography websites and resources should you be using? We've curated our 7 favourite sources of stock images to help you on your way.

iStockPhoto |

iStock is arguably one of the largest and most well-known stock providers on the internet. An exact (or even close) number of available files is not known; iStock simply claim to have "millions" of premium images taken by professional photographers available.

As you will find with others on this list, iStock (who happen to be owned by image giants Getty) also offer stock video, audio and illustrations if any of those are relevant or required by your business, organisation or blog.

iStockPhoto works on a credit basis. 3 images would cost about 3 credits, setting you back around £20, however you can purchase ongoing subscriptions if you require images on a regular basis.

Pixabay |

Like iStockPhoto, Pixabay not only offers images, but also illustrations, video footage and vector graphics to its users.

It claims to have over 670,000 stock entities at the time of publishing, however the main difference with Pixabay is that all of the content is free to use. This will be an important factor for lots of businesses and individuals as the budget is not always available for high quality images.

Flickr |

Flickr is essentially a social network for budding photographers who can upload and share their snaps with the world.  Though what some users may not know is that you can purchase some of these images, as well as downloading some for free!

Photographers can choose to sell versions of their images, as well as marking them as "creative commons" (free to use).

Pexels |

Similarly to Pixabay, Pexels offers all completely free stock images. This site is considerably smaller with around 10,000 royalty free images, however the quality of these images are fantastic and there will surely be something available that can work for you or your business.

The website features lots of professional, lifestyle-type images which are great for websites, marketing materials and social media platforms.

Shutterstock |

Shutterstock is a premium stock image service which can be purchased on a monthly or yearly subscription basis. There are small plans for individuals and/or small businesses, as well as large plans for publications and companies who required hundreds of photos of a month.

Alternatively, you could purchase images on a one-off basis at the cost of £32 for 5 images (or £139 for 25 images).

The images are extremely high quality and could be used for digital or print.

Bigstock |

Owned by Shutterstock, Bigstock is a premium stock image website that also offers video, illustration and vector images.

The website features lots of high quality images that can be used on your website and social media, and the options for video footage is also a great bonus.

Adobe Stock |

Adobe Stock is a subscription based service for high quality stock imagery. Much of Adobe's products are now subscription based (like Creative Cloud) and this is no exception. Depending on the quantity of images needed, you can look at paying between $29.99/month and $199.99/month, with more bespoke plans for teams and/or large organisations with high demand.

Adobe Stock also offers HD and 4K stock video footage which can be fantastic for marketing on video platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, not to mention the recent uptake of video on other social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Users can get a free trial and receive 10 images at no cost on sign up.

We hope you found these resources useful - where do you source images from when populating your website and marketing? We'd love to know, so send us a tweet to @Cosmic_UK!