Stock photography can help creatives generate passive income, while practicing their skills and realizing their visions. At the same time, content creators and businesses can find stock images a cost-effective alternative to organizing pricey photo shoots and hiring professional photographers.
As a great option for people who want to buy and sell images, more and more stock photo sites appear with affordable, high-quality, and authentic pictures. In this article, we will review various stock content platforms with the best conditions for selling and buying images, as well as with free and budget-friendly files. Keep reading to find out more!
12 Best Stock Photo Sites for 2022
- Adobe Stock
- Getty Images
What is Stock Photography?
Stock photography is licensed imagery intended for commercial, personal, or editorial use. It can be used in publishing, packaging, advertising, social media, and more. Graphic designers, illustrators, and typographers are most likely to purchase and utilize it.
Stock photography websites also handle licensing, marketing, distribution, pricing, and client management. At the same time, photographers have the opportunity to focus on their work in exchange for a part of their revenue, which they give to photo stock agencies.
Depositphotos is one of the fastest-growing stock photo sites to buy images from, offering over 230 million high-quality visuals and audio tracks. 170,000 new files are added daily to the library. On the platform, you can browse for needed content in 26 languages using advanced search filters that allow you to search by image, color, portraiture type, point of view, origin, location, season, and many more. In addition to stock photographs, Depositphotos provides access to artistic illustrations, scalable vectors, high-resolution videos, and original music tracks.
On Depositphotos, subscription plans start from $10/month for 10 images and vary depending on the number of downloads and file types needed. You can also run a 7-day trial on Depositphotos that allows you to download 10 images for free and use them whenever you like. Additionally, you can download watermarked images to test them in your design before making a purchase.
Shutterstock is a well-known stock photography website that offers millions of royalty-free files available for download. You can search files by word, category, or image on the site. The platform also provides its users with templates, 3D models, videos, and music tracks.
If you sign up for an annual subscription plan and pay in advance, 10 downloads each month will cost you $25. If you pay monthly, the same number of files will cost you $29/month. You can also get 10 free images from the stock photography site during a 30-day trial. However, you need to end it early, otherwise you will be charged a monthly fee four days before the trial expires.
Adobe Stock is a stock photography website with millions of curated and royalty-free photos integrated into Adobe products; all to assist designers and content creators who already use their services. The Adobe site includes videos, illustrations, vector graphics, 3D assets, templates, and audio tracks, apart from regular stock photos.
The stock photography platform has several subscription plans for solopreneurs, teams, and enterprises. The pricing starts at $29.99/month for 10 files for a yearly commitment. Additionally, Adobe offers a month-long free trial where you can download 10 standard stock assets.
Dreamstime has the world’s largest photographer community and a vast collection of royalty-free stock photos, which contains over 183 million files. The price for photos bought under a subscription plan starts from $0.22. If you want to purchase an image on demand, the minimal cost you should pay is $0.77.
iStock has an extensive image stock library divided into two collections – Essentials and Signature. The first one offers basic content for everyday usage, and the Signature collection consists of premium hand-picked files. The price per image starts from $0.22 for an Essential file and $0.44 for a Signature file.
Since 2005, the stock photo agency has contributed 173 million photos and vectors, with 120,000 new files added daily. If you plan long-term picture usage and commit for a whole year, a stock image on 123RF can cost as little as $0.36. Photos on demand with image packs are sold for $2.99 each.
Pixabay offers over 2 million free visuals for download. The platform distributes copyright-free images under the Pixabay License, which allows them to be used without credit for commercial and noncommercial purposes in print and digital.
Pexels share a library of hand-picked free stock photos ready to be used for print, banners, presentations, blogs, or social media. You are free to edit downloaded images and upload them to online sources without attribution.
Unsplash has a community of over 200,000 photographers that provide the platform with unique imagery that anyone can obtain for free. They can also copy, modify, and distribute visuals as they see fit. Unsplash photographers appreciate attribution, but it is optional.
Depositphotos has a free file collection of 70,000 high-resolution stock photos, illustrations, vectors, videos, and editorial images. New assets are added to free files collections weekly. When utilizing pictures, image attribution is required.
Stocksy is an art-forward stock photo agency that specializes in distinctive and inspirational imagery. They feature a curated gallery loaded with royalty-free artistic works from top-tier photographers. The platform offers its authors 50%-75% commission on all licenses. At first glance, it appears to be a great offer, but the reality is that the platform has strict curation criteria, making it difficult to become a contributor to Stocksy.
Alamy stock photos are more expensive compared to visuals presented on other stock photo websites. Therefore, this allows the site to pay its image contributors from 20% up to 50% commission, depending on the Alamy commission models. If you are new to the platform, you will earn 20% of the sale price of each photograph. In addition, Alamy does not bind its authors to long-term contracts, and their basic contributor contract includes a 45-day notice period.
Getty Images is a premier stock image site that sells top-notch stock and editorial photographs for hundreds of dollars. Purchased files are later used by global media, brands, and advertising agencies. Due to high requirements and competition, becoming a Getty Images photo contributor can be difficult. However, you can earn up to 20% commission on each image sold if you are accepted.
Depositphotos has a large creative community of 100,000 contributors, who provide 29 million customers around the world with high-quality and authentic royalty-free images. Depositphotos contributor payments range from 30% to 38% from each image sold on the platform. Final earnings are based on the number of downloads from the author’s portfolio. Read a more detailed Depositphotos contributor review.
— Learn how to sell stock photos and start making money on any of these platforms.
We hope that this list of 12 stock photo websites will assist every creative in embodying their ideas, delivering captivating designs, and complementing individual and commercial projects.
If you’re not sure which one to try first, try all of them. Start from the top and work your way down the list. Maybe you’ll find the perfect one faster than the list ends.
Stock Photographers FAQs
How are stock images taken?
To start taking stock photos, you need to have photography gear that can produce high-resolution images, do research on which photographs sell best or which shots are missing on stocks, and find a theme that you’ll capture.
How do you successfully sell stock photos?
Photographers can sell photos online either on their own websites or on stock photography sites. To be in demand, choose a niche, follow trends, consider seasonal demand and follow other 5 practical tips for stock photographers. When uploading images on stocks, tag them with relevant keywords and write detailed descriptions so customers can find your work among millions of other visuals.
Where is the best place to sell stock photos?
The best way to sell photos is on stock photo websites. They manage all operational activities for you. In addition, stock platforms have significant traffic and a large customer base, allowing you to sell photos faster and easier.
How much can you make selling stock photos?
Earnings per photo vary among stock photo agencies. It can range from $0.10 to hundreds of dollars for each image sold under a royalty-free license. Usually, your income depends on the amount and frequency of photos that you upload.
Who buys stock photos?
Stock photos come in handy for various brands, media, publishing houses, content creators, and organizations. Therefore, graphic designers, marketers, journalists, visual artists, and typographers are among those who frequently purchase stock photos.
Stock Photography Users FAQs
Where is the best place to buy stock photos?
It is best to purchase stock photographs from stock photo agencies. They have thousands of contributors who provide millions of images suitable for various purposes. Additionally, stock photography sites offer flexible subscription options and customizable plans that fit any budget.
How much do stock photos cost?
The cost of stock photos varies on different content platforms, and usually depends on the size, license, or author. The price per photo starts from $0.22 and can reach several hundred dollars.
How do you use stock photos for anything?
Stock photos can be used in any multimedia project, whether it’s offline or online, for personal, commercial, or editorial purposes. Therefore, you can use such photographs in educational materials, blogs, banners, packaging, advertising, websites, etc. The main requirement is to stay within the license limitations under which you acquired the image.
How safe are free stock photo sites?
When you download photographs from free stock photo sites, there is a possibility that image owners don’t have model releases, nor do they give permission to actually use their photos. As a result, you can be sued by the owner of the image or the model in the picture. To avoid the risk of copyright infringement, utilize paid stock photo agencies. They usually have a thorough verification procedure and are competent in media licensing. Therefore, individuals and businesses can safely use royalty-free images from stocks without the fear of legal consequences, as long as they adhere to the licensing terms.