Top 5 Stock Photo Websites to Buy High-Quality Photos
Using stock images for commercial purposes is a simple and effective solution for start-ups and small businesses who want to save money. Buying pictures online is much cheaper and quicker than hiring a professional to create visuals for you. The best stock websites offer authentic content that looks modern and appealing. Read further to learn about the top sites to buy stock photos, their special features, and licensing terms.
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What to consider when you want to buy stock photos
Before browsing and buying online content, learn what aspects of popular photo stocks you must consider when choosing the most suitable source for your needs.
Stock websites can be free, paid, or combine both options. While free images help you save costs, paid files are usually more unique and are downloaded less often. Therefore, there are fewer chances that your competitors will be using the exact same visuals.
After deciding to purchase stock photos, check the pricing options and payment methods a website provides. Usually, you can choose to buy credits or a subscription, available on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. Additionally, some platforms offer negotiable enterprise and custom plans.
An efficient stock website is usually easy to navigate and understand. It offers carefully selected images that meet quality requirements, which can differ from site to site.
Navigation and search options might not matter if you’re looking for only one picture to download. However, if you’ll be buying numerous stock photos online, ensure that a website will be convenient to use. Extended search options, image collections, and thematic categories will also come in handy, making your choice simpler and quicker.
Pay attention to licensing to avoid legal issues when using stock photos. The three most common types of licenses to remember are Creative Commons (CC), Royalty-Free (RF), and Rights-Managed (RM). The Creative Commons License is free of charge but requires source or author attribution. Also, you must carefully read its terms as, sometimes, you cannot use CC visuals for commercial purposes.
The Royalty-Free License is usually the most popular one on image stocks. It allows you to purchase a picture once and use it for different purposes, including commercial projects. Still, it might have some limitations on image distribution, depending on the license type you choose—Standard or Extended. The limitations may include a set number of copies and the creation of items for resale or distribution.
The Rights-Managed License helps avoid legal problems, granting the buyer exclusive rights for an image in their industry. When buying RM stock photos for commercial projects, you must define all technical and usage details. This includes the size of an image, the number of copies you’re planning to create, and the specific project you will use it in. All these factors also form the price of a license. Note that if you decide to use the same visual in a different project, you must purchase it again.
Some stock content marketplaces only feature images, while others provide all kinds of visual and audio files. Some offer exclusive HD images, while others boast more diverse content, including typical stock photos. As long as the provided content meets your personal needs and requirements, the platform can be considered efficient.
Look for stock websites that offer visuals in the style you like and that align with the rest of your content. Also, opt for photo banks that allow downloading images in different sizes. There’s no need to download the largest file, for instance, when you need a smaller picture for a social media banner.
What are the best online places to buy stock photos?
Depositphotos is an international stock content marketplace that offers royalty-free content, including photos, vector art, illustrations, videos, music tracks, and audio effects. On depositphotos.com/stock-photography.html, you can see the variety of image collections and thematic categories boasting trendy HD visuals. Using advanced search filters, you can easily find a suitable file for any occasion. Moreover, the Search by Image tool helps you look for licensed pictures similar to your existing reference photo.
On the platform, you can also find free files; just click on the Free tab in the search box. Note that these images require you to attribute the platform when using them in your projects. To avoid attribution, opt for paid content. To preview how premium visuals will look in your design project, you can download them with a watermark. Unwatermarked visuals are available after purchasing an affordable monthly or yearly subscription or on-demand plan. Depositphotos also provides business plans for companies and customized offers for specific needs.
Stockphoto is a popular stock platform featuring 130+ million royalty-free photos, illustrations, and videos. The library provides diverse image collections and allows you to filter your search results by choosing the picture’s category, orientation, number of people, gender, ethnicity, and other parameters.
All visuals on Stockphoto are sold for a one-time fee, with the price depending on image size and type of Royalty-Free License. You can also purchase a subscription or a credit pack so you don’t have to pay for each image individually. There are two types of Royalty-Free License available: Standard and Extended. The Standard license doesn’t allow using the files to create items for sale or free distribution. If you wish to use downloaded content for such purposes, choose the Extended license.
Alamy is a big stock website offering photos, vector art, illustrations, and videos. You can search pictures by type or run a Search by Image tool. Also, there’s a possibility to filter visuals by categories, location, style, number of people, and many other parameters that make your searching process more manageable.
The marketplace offers paid content under Royalty-Free and Rights-Managed Licenses. Choose the license type in the filtering section to see which files you like more and find images that suit your project requirements. Alamy doesn’t offer monthly subscriptions or pricing plans—instead, it sells individual files. Their price depends on the type of visual, license, and usage purpose.
EyeEm is a photo-only stock website specializing in editorial-style images that make a statement. This platform might be an excellent option if you’re looking for original, vivid visuals. The website allows you to search images by topics (like travel or future), genres (like portrait or landscape), and suggest other convenient search options (for instance, no people). It also offers a variety of image collections to choose from.
To download visuals, you can buy an annual subscription with monthly or yearly payment options, and a certain number of pictures available per month. You can also purchase a pack of 5 or 10 images. The subscription and pack prices differ depending on the type of license.
Photocase is another stock website focused on photos only. It offers different image collections for a more diverse and simple search, and a Trends section to find the most relevant visuals. You can also check the “Best in” collections to see which photos were the most popular during a particular month.
To download Photocase pictures, you can purchase them directly, with the price depending on the visual’s size or buy credits. The direct purchase can be more expensive, while getting credits to spend on needed files is cheaper and simpler. Furthermore, the purchased credits don’t have an expiration date, so you can use them anytime.
To sum up
You don’t have to hire a photographer or a designer to get high-quality pictures for your blog or commercial project. Instead, you can look for needed images on stock websites. They provide a variety of visuals on different topics and style requirements. To choose the best image stock, carefully study its licensing terms and pricing options.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.