Best stock photo sites for design projects

by Jan 17, 2018Design

Looking for the best stock photography for your next design project?

Finding the right photos and illustrations is integral for effective promotional campaigns. If you want truly unique and custom images, hiring a photographer or illustrator is your best bet. When that’s not economically or logistically feasible, there are many sites that offer high-quality professional images at a decent price. Following are our top 5 sources for quality images.

When purchasing or downloading stock images, make sure you take note of the licensing. Paid stock photography sites typically offer a standard license that covers most promotional activities such as websites, presentations, brochures and marketing materials. Extended licenses are usually required for use on large print runs or on products for resale. Sites that offer free images tend to have tighter restrictions and might only be licensed for use on personal projects or you might need to provide a link back to the creator. When in doubt, contact the website for clarification.


iStock is usually our first stop for images. They offer millions of royalty-free photos, illustrations and videos at an affordable price. Their search function is easy to refine so it’s a breeze to narrow down the right image. You can purchase “credits” or sign up for a subscription.


Shutterstock is very similar to iStock – you may even find the same images on both sites. Photos, vectors, videos and music files are easily searchable and they offer flexible purchasing and subscription plans.

Getty Images

Getty Images offers wide variety of royalty-free and rights-managed images. While images found on Getty are more expensive than other sites, we have found them to be of exceptional quality. It’s worth the price if you are looking for something out of the ordinary that’s not available on other sites.


Unsplash is our first choice for top quality free images. Limited to photography only, these stunning images are free to use for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.

Creative Market

Creative Market is a great resource for not only beautifully-crafted images and illustration, they also offer a wide variety of quality fonts, templates and website themes.

Need help finding the right images for your project?

We can help source the perfect imagery for your creative campaigns. We also offer photo editing and image composition services.