Top 6 Sites to Purchase Stock Images

There is a plethora of stock image websites to purchase images from these days. Some host only Royalty Free images and some host both Rights Managed and Royalty Free. Most stock image websites feature photographs, illustrations, video, audio and flash. Below is list that works well for professional client work, with a larger budget, as well as more informal projects with a lower budget.

Getty Images

Getty Images

Getty Images can be on the pricier end of stock image websites, but they have some really high quality photographs. They host Rights Managed, Rights Managed Editorial and Royalty Free photos. They also have great customer support.  For instance, our Getty Rep will supply us with higher-quality non-watermarked images to make our client comps really shine.




iStock is owned by Getty Images, but their prices are more affordable. It has some great search filters such as searching for images by color, orientation, and price range. Since iStock is such a popular stock image site, designers need to be cautious of overused photos. They use a credit system for purchasing images.



Shutterstock has a similar, look, and feel to iStock, and uses a credit system for purchasing images. Shutterstock is easy to navigate, and has high quality professional photos.





With a broad selection of Royalty photos Fotolia, and three free downloads a month, Fotolia has some great finds. They offer a pay-as-you-go or a monthly subscription to purchase images.



Veer Images


Veer has close to a million stock images to browse from, and offers a monthly subscription, which may be more cost effect for some users. They also carry some free images. Veer is great for browsing when on a smaller budget.




While the quality of the images may not be on par with Getty Images, they have great inexpensive pricing. Images, depending on size and other restrictions, can be as low $1.50 for purchase.




Free stock imagery sites:

On a really tight budget? Here are two great stock image sites with free stock imagery. Just keep in mind that with free stock image sites, their photos are more likely to crop up around the internet.

RGB Stock

RGB Stock has almost 100,000 free stock photos, some only at web quality and some at print quality. All photos are owned and copyrighted by RGB Stock, but you can even request special permission to use the photos for resale use on T-shirts.


Stock.xchng has a massive vault of photos, all free. They were purchased by Getty Images and use a standard Image License Agreement.

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