Free and Commercial Stock Photography Sites


Stock photography is often used in print and web design and has been around since the 1920s, when it was utilized by the newspaper industry. It has turned out to be such a common element to use now when designing, and has become more and more available, so that designers start using it on a daily basis. In the beginning there were only a few minor resources when it came to utilizing a variety of photos, but now as the times change and technology advances, so does the amount of resources in stock photography. Here are a handful of sites to check out when considering the use of stock photography on your next project.

Free Stock Photography Sites

Free Range Stock931
Just sign up for a free membership, log in and download high-quality, high-resolution free stock photos and textures. All images are at least 2400 x 1600 pixels and can be used for personal and commercial use.

Free Range Stock2

Stock.XCHNG is one of the leading free stock photo sites on the Internet featuring over 400,000 quality images. Photos are available in five different sizes for print or web. Visitors can see the popularity of an image by viewing how many times the photo has been downloaded.


Every Stock Photo875
Every Stock Photo is a search engine for free photos. These come from many sources and are license-specific. Membership is free and allows users to rate, tag, collect and comment on photos.

Every Stock Photo6

This site contains free high resolution digital stock photographs and reference images for either corporate or public use. The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for illustrators, comic book artist, designers, teachers and all creative pursuits. A classic resource that has become standard for free stock photography over the last years.


Mayang’s Free Textures899
Mayang’s Free Textures is a texture library with over 3,800 free to download, high-resolution textures. Featuring everything from brick walls, leaves, water, paint effects and so much more, these images come in handy for any designer.

Mayang's Free Textures10

Vintage Pixels9011
Vintage Pixels is a large database of historical, high-quality, free-for-use images which allows people to share their archived photos. Visitors can download image for print, or use in graphic design, as well as upload images to add to the ever growing album of vintage images.

Vintage Pixels12

Photogen is a source for quality, high-resolution free stock images. Photos are available for commercial or personal projects. Users must register for a free account to download images.


Free Stock Photos9515
Download free images to use for professional or commercial use. Categories include Athens, Christian, Egypt, Israel, Rome, Scenery, Sky, Weather and many more.

Free Stock Photos16


ImageBase offers free high resolution photos. In addition to beautiful images, the site also offers free PowerPoint Templates.


Kave Wall9919
Kave Wall presents free stock photos, image and textures. CD’s are available for download in various categories.

Kave Wall20

Turbo Photo10421
Visitors can browse and download 2,000 free stock images from 10 categories on TurboPhoto. Also available are high quality, professional stock images.


Free Stock Photography10723
Free Stock Photography offers a plethora of completely free Royalty-free stock photography. Browse over one hundred categories from animals to toy and games.

Free Stock Photography24

Freepixel offers free stock photography for any use. You can easily search for images as well as make full use of the tag cloud. Over 3,000 images are featured and some are usually found on paid registration sites.


Stock Vault11427
Stock Vault features over 13,000 free stock photos from over 3,600 photographers. The site’s helpful tutorials, videos and articles can also be a powerful tool for any designer.

Stock Vault28

FreeFoto showcases a large collection of free photographs. A link back and attribution are required for some images. The site is made up of over 100 thousand images with over three thousand categories.


BigFoto has a large variety of free images from different cities and continents as well as unique sceneries. Choose Royalty-free photos of San Francisco, Egypt, Germany, Israel or Prague.


Geek Philosopher12133
Geek Philosopher offers free stock photography. Visitors are encouraged to use the images for free but are required to post a link back to the Geek Philosopher. Browse several categories, such as food, nature, art, animals and texture.

Matton Images34

Commercial Stock Photography Services

Corbis features unique and helpful options to search images. Users can filter by date photographed, photographer, orientation, number of people in photograph and more. Also featured are premium collections from famous photographers, such as the Andy Warhol Foundation and Ansel Adams. Most images range from $10 to $600.


Photocase is a community of photographers and their high-quality photos. Users can vote on images, leave comments, contact a specific photographer and see related images. Images are purchased with credits and are available for web or print. DownloadCredit Packages are 16 downloadcredits for $25, 40 downloadcredits for $50 or 80 downloadcredits for $90. Subscription plans available include 6 credits daily for $99 per month or 16 credits daily for $199 per month.


Pixmac contains over 6,500,000 digital pictures, features unique and helpful options to search images that are available for $1, $2 and $3 per image. The resource can be useful for low-budget projects. Also various subscription plans are available.


iStockphoto offers photos, vector illustrations, video footage, audio tracks and flash files. Visitors can sign up for their “pay-as-you-go” credit package from $18-$1,900 or save even more by purchasing a subscription for three months, six months or one year. Subscription prices vary depending on desired daily credit limit set but range from $979-$46,150. Corporate subscriptions are also available.


Fotolia features photos, vector images and videos and has over one million members. Users can purchase credits for a single download for $1 per credit. Subscriptions are also available, ranging from one month up to one year from $750-$21,600, depending on length and downloads per day.


Free Digital Photos8545
Thousands of images are available for corporate and personal use. Photos are free but the site requires a link back or there is an option to buy a high resolution version.

Free Digital Photos46

Big Stock Photo8647
At Big Stock Photo visitors can choose from over three million photos in categories such as fashion, summer, business, food, success, sports and more. Image prices range from one credit for a small image to six credits for an extra large image. Prices per credit vary from $1-$2.50 depending on amount purchased. Images are available in four different sizes for use in print and web.

Big Stock Photo48

Shutterstock offers over seven million royalty-free stock photos, illustrations and vector images, and more than one hundred thousand video clips. They offer a “25-a-day” subscription at $249 for 1 month, $709 for 3 months, $1,349 for 6 months or $2,559 for 1 year. You can also choose the “On Demand” subscription, for JPG & Vector files of all sizes, at $49 for 5 downloads or $229 for 25 downloads. If you prefer only the small and medium size options, you can get 1 year at $49 for 12 downloads or $229 for 60 downloads. The “Enhanced” subscription allows you to download images at any time within the year, including TIFF, JPG and Vector, at $199 for 2 downloads, $449 for 5 downloads, or $1,699 for 25 downloads. Footage subscription plans are also available.


Photos.com9151 offers over two million Royalty-free images by subscription. Their collection contains more than 390,000 professional, model-released photos in various categories. The basic subscription allows you to pay once and download up to 750 images per month from $99-$449. They also offer a “ Plus” subscription giving you access to millions of files including images, illustrations, fonts, flash and audio files from $249-$1,699.


Getty Images9653
Getty Images is a leader in providing digital media worldwide, creating and distributing a range of assets – from Royalty-free stock photography and editorial images to footage, music and multimedia. One unique part of Getty Images is it features creative images to up-to-the-minute editorial coverage – including news, sports, and celebrity photos. Prices range from $49 to several thousand dollars

Getty Images54

Can Stock Photo9855
Can Stock Photo is a photography agency that offers professional stock photography. The site has over 1,492,000 images to choose from and three purchasing options. Choose from several subscription durations, weekly, monthly or yearly, and volumes, up to 10 images per day or 25 images per day, from $35-$1,199. Credits are available at 50 cents per credit. Images vary from 2 credits for a small image to 10 credits for a large vector. Photos can also be purchased without credits or subscriptions, but are not offered at a discount.

Can Stock Photo56

123RF sells Royalty-free images and vector images. If you do not find the perfect photo amongst their four million images, they offer 24-hour live support. 123RF offers the flexibility to choose between two modes of purchase; monthly subscriptions or credit purchase. The Basic Subscription Plan allows up to 5 images downloaded per day or the Premium Subscription Plan allows for 26 downloads per day. Both subscriptions are available for 30, 90 or 265 days. Prices range from $89-$1,799. Credits are $1 each and available in various quantities.


Vectorious has a wide variety of stock vectors. The site features over 8,000 vector illustrations and three types of subscriptions: $15 for one month, $40 for 3 months or $70 for six months. The daily limit is twenty images per day.


Stock photography, illustrations, typefaces and unique merchandise are all available on Veer. Images can be found in up to six sizes from $1 to $20, depending on the size of the images. Veer features images in hundreds of categories and also gives users the ability to easily create a lightbox.


Jupiterimages Unlimited10563
At Jupiterimages Unlimited you will find millions of images from eight premium collections and four subscription services, alongside millions of value photos and illustrations. Jupiterimages Unlimited has a flexible subscription plan as well as Rights-Managed and Royalty-free images. Monthly subscriptions start at $599 to $1,499. Annual subscriptions range from $599-$3,399 depending amount of access to photos. Most plans are limited to 750 downloads per month.

Jupiterimages Unlimited64

Spffy is a great way to find free images. The site indexes some of the most prestigious stock photography agencies such as StockPhotoFinder, Corbis, Jupiter Images, Fotolia, NASA and Super Stock. For video and footage, Spffy searches YouTube, AOL Video, Live Video StockMotionFinder and others. Visitors have different ways to search: via a dedicated stock photos image resource search, web photos (flickr especially), or in the public domain. Prices many vary depending on source of image.


PuchStock has over two million Royalty-Free photos and illustrations from JupiterImages, Getty Images, Corbis and over 50 other brands. PunchStock also offers virtual CD’s, which you can download instantly, and traditional CD’s, which can be quickly shipped. As a bonus, the site usually features monthly specials or promotions.


VivoZoom showcases fabulous commercial images you can trust. It is the “only microstock site that guarantees its images are legally safe to use.” Pay-As-You-Go Plan allows members to choose the number of downloads from 5 to 50 downloads for $39 to $149. Subscriptions plans are also offered; monthly-$279, quarterly-$699 or annually-$2,499, limit 15 downloads per day.


FotoSearch is a provider of Royalty-free and Right-managed stock photography, illustrations, maps, videos and audio. Their subscription package allows up to 25 images downloaded per day for $249 a month. CD’s and DVD’s are also available and grouped by category.


Dreamstime features over six million images from over 70 thousand photographers. Users can purchase credit packages; 5 credits-$7, 12 credits-$15, 25 credits-$25, 52 credits-$50, 108 credits-$100. Subscriptions are also available for 1 month, 3, months, 6 months or 12 months. Prices range from $98-$3,739. The site also features free stock photos, illustrations, vector and raw images as well as a blog for people to interact, make friends and share tips and techniques.


PhotoSpin presents two subscription levels to fit your design needs. Both offer high resolution photos, up to 3600 pixels for $299 per year or 5100 pixels for $499 per year. Photos, illustrations, fonts, audio and video are all available for download.


Inmagine is one of the leading supplier and distributor of Royalty-free digital stock photography. With more than 3.5 million Royalty-free stock images, they hold one of the most competitive lists of publishers in the market today. Sales support is available 24 hours a day, Monday though Friday, to help with any questions or a research consultation. Prices range from $29-$870 on average.


Unprofound is a unusual or unorthodox stock photography site. This is because images are categorized by color. Images are completely free to use.


Matton Images12281
Matton Images is a complete Royalty-free resource. Images and illustrations are listed by category and theme. Subscriptions are available for 3 months, 6 months and 12 months from $360-$1,189.

Matton Images82

Comparison Table

Site File Types # of Images Purchasing
iStockphoto8341 JPG, Vector, Video, Audio, Flash 5,197,000 3 plans available: Pay-As-You-Go: Purchase credits as needed from $18-$1,900. Subscription: Available for 3 months, 6 months and 1 year from $979-$46,150. Can set your own daily credit limit. Corporate Account: Can purchase Corporate Pay-As-You-Go account or Corporate Subscription account.
Fotolia8443 JPG, Vector, Video 6,258,000 Single Download: $1=1 credit. Minimum purchase is 10 credits. Subscriptions: Can choose standard subscription to download large JPG images only or premium subscription to download images, vectors and videos.
Free Digital Photos8545 JPG N/A Every image is free with an option to purchase high resolution photos for print or graphic design. Large images for Web are $5, high resolution for print is $10.
Big Stock Photo8647 JPG 3,508,000 Images are purchased with credits. Prices range from 1 credit for small images to 6 credits for an extra large image. Prices per credit vary from $1-$2.50 depending on amount purchased.
Every Stock Photo875 JPG 4,459,000 Images are free.
Shutterstock8849 JPG, Vector, Video 7,593,000 3 subscription plans available. 25-A-Day Subscription: Download up to 25 images/day including JPG & Vector images. 1 month-$249, 3 months-$709, 6 months-$1,349 or 1 year-$2,559. On Demand Subscription: 5 downloads for all JPG & Vector sizes for $49 or 25 downloads for all JPG & Vector sizes for $229. 12 downloads for small and medium size images for up to one year is $49. 60 downloads for small and medium sizes for up to one year is $229. Enhanced Subscription: Download images any time for up to one year, including all TIFF, JPG and Vector sizes. 2 downloads-$199, 5 downloads-$449 or 25 downloads-$1699. Footage subscription plans also available.
Mayang’s Free Textures899 JPG 3,800 Images are free.
Vintage Pixels9011 JPG N/A Images are free.
Photos.com9151 JPG, Vector, Audio, Flash, Typography 2,000,000 Original Subscription: Gives access to over 390,000 photos. 1 month-$99.95, 3 months-$199.95 or 1 year-$449.95. Plus Subscription: Gives access to millions of images, flash files, fonts and audio files. 1 month-$249.95, 3 months-$599.95 or 1 year-$1,199.95. Can also purchase single images without a subscription.
Photogen9213 JPG 1,300 Images are free.
Free Range Stock931 JPG 10,000 Images are free.
Stockxpert94 JPG, Vector, Video 3,500,000 Pay Per Download: Credits are approx. $1 and available in in many quantities. Subscription: Choose between plans for 1 month-$219.95, 3 months-$499.95 and 1 year-1,299.95, and download up to 25 images per day. Extended licenses are also available as well as video subscriptions.
Free Stock Photos9515 JPG N/A Images are free.
Getty Images9653 JPG, Video, Music 21,000,000 Prices range from $49 to several thousand dollars.
ImageBase9717 JPG, PPT Templates 1,800 Images are free.
Can Stock Photo9855 JPG, Video 1,492,000 Choose from several subscription durations, weekly, monthly or yearly, and volumes, up to 10 images per day or 25 images per day, from $35-$1,199. Credits are available at 50 cents per credit. Images vary from 2 credits for a small image to 10 credits for a large vector. Photos can also be purchased without credits or subscriptions, but are not offered at a discount.
Kave Wall9919 JPG 1,700 Images are free. Can also purchase a CD of high resolution images by category for $19.95.
123RF10057 JPG, Vector 4,000,000 Credits: 1 credit is $1 and can buy in various quantities. Subscriptions: The Basic Subscription Plan allows up to 5 images downloaded per day or the Premium Subscription Plan allows for 26 downloads per day. Both subscriptions available for 30, 90 or 265 days. Prices range from $89-$1,799.
Stock.XCHNG1013 JPG 400,000 Images are free.
Vectorious10259 JPG 8,000 Available subscriptions include $15 for one month, $40 for 3 months or $70 for six months. The daily limit is twenty images per day.
Veer10361 JPG, Vector, Typography 1,309,600 Prices are as follows: XS-$1, S-$3, M-$5, L-$10, XL-$15, XXL-$20. Also featured on the site are images from other sites so prices may vary depending on the provider.
Turbo Photo10421 JPG 2,000 Images are free.
Jupiterimages Unlimited10563 JPG, Vector N/A Monthly subscriptions start at $599 to $1,499. Annual subscriptions range from $599-$3,399 depending amount of access to photos. Most plans are limited to 750 downloads per month.
Spffy10665 JPG, Vector, Video 1,000,000,000 Prices vary depending on source of image.
Free Stock Photography10723 JPG N/A Images are free.
PunchStock10867 JPG, Vector 2,000,000 N/A
VivoZoom10969 JPG N/A Pay-As-You-Go Plan: 5 downloads for $39 or 25 downloads for $149 for all resolutions or 12 downloads for $49 and 50 downloads for $149 for web resolutions only. Subscriptions plans are also offered; monthly-$279, quarterly-$699 or annually-$2,499, limit 15 downloads per day.
FotoSearch11071 JPG, Vector, Video 5,300,000 N/A
Corbis11135 JPG, Vector N/A Most images range from $10-$600.
Freepixels11225 JPG 3,700 Images are free.
Dreamstime11373 JPG, Vector 6,162,000 Credit packages are available; 5 credits-$6.99, 12 credits-$14.99, 25 credits-$24.99, 52 credits-$49.99, 108 credits-$99.99. Subscriptions are also available for 1 month, 3, months, 6 months or 12 months. Prices range from $98.89-$3,739.99.
Stock Vault11427 JPG 13,800 Images are free.
PhotoSpin11575 JPG, Vector, Video, Audio, Typography 150,000 The Plus 1-Year subscription allows for unlimited downloads for all 12 inch files for $299 and the Super Plus 1-Year subscription allows for unlimited downloads for all 17 inch files for $499.
Unprofound11679 JPG 1,300 Images are free.
Inmagine11777 JPG 3,500,000 Prices range from $29-$870 on average.
FreeFoto11829 JPG 127,000 Images are free. A link back to the site is required.
BigFoto11931 JPG N/A Images are free.
Photocase12037 JPG N/A Download Credit Packages: 16 downloadcredits-$25, 40 downloadcredits-$50 or 80 downloadcredits-$90. Subscription plans available include 6 credits daily for $99 per month or 16 credits daily for $199 per month.
Geek Philosopher12133 JPG N/A Images are free.
Matton Images12281 JPG, Video, Audio, Music, Maps, Typography, Clipart 1,500,000 Subscriptions are available for 3 months, 6 months and 12 months from $360-$1,189.
Pixmac12339 JPG 6,595,000 Three picture sources (Pixmac, Celebrity, Fotolia) for one payment. 2 plans available: Pay-As-You-Go: Purchase credits from $9.95-$449.95. Pictures from $1. Cheap subscription: Available monthly from $99.95-$299,95. Pictures from $0.10. Searching differently by similar
pictures. Easy, simple and fast interface.

Photo Licensing

Photography is often quickly bought and sold in several different ways with various licensing agreements. It is important to understand the copyright on the image you are using or purchasing as to not violate the law. More often than not, simply finding an image off the internet, whether through a search engine or a website, and using it is in violation of its intended use and can result in a lawsuit and severe penalties. Some of the most common licenses used are Rights Managed or Royalty-free.

The value of a Rights Managed image, or sometimes called “licensed images” or “RM”, is determined by the use of the image. This includes the intended use of the image, duration it will be displayed, country it will be used in, size and exclusivity. Royalty-free stock photography, commonly referred to “RF”, offers a photo buyer the ability to use an image in an unlimited number of ways for a single license fee.


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Jourdan Wilkerson is the Marketing Coordinator at lifeBLUE Media, a top-level Web agency that specializes in custom web design and development as well as search engine marketing.


Note: Our rating-system has caused errors, so it's disabled at the moment. It will be back the moment the problem has been resolved. We're very sorry. Happy Holidays!

  1. 1

    Great Overview. Thanks for putting it together.

  2. 2

    Nice post…great article….

  3. 3

    light light post.
    but handy resources post

  4. 4

    sure missed some of those…great list :)

  5. 5

    How handy is this!!

    I am just about to put the info/prelaunch site up for a stock photo/image site that we are working on launching later this year! (Hopefully we will get a feature in your next list!)

    The comparison at the bottom is brilliant, and I will be referring back to that as we finalise our pricing etc.

    Would it be okay to come back and post a link when the prelaunch site goes live?

  6. 6

    The website actually sells vector images not jpg.

  7. 7

    Thanks for putting together that comparison table, it’s incredibly helpful in choosing the best site. Great article!

  8. 8

    There is another site called photographers direct of which I use. You deal with the photographer and not the agency, so the photographers know where their images are and the buyer receives a more personal approach, though naturally the experience will depend on the parties involved.

    By the way, your website is a very useful source of information and I visit it on a daily basis. Keep up the great work smashing.

  9. 9

    Great list, bookmarked it, site you can use for lot of projects.

  10. 10

    Floris Fiedeldij Dop

    August 16, 2009 5:44 am

    Why is there so much white space below this input box? (off topic)

    As always, great collection of information that I will refer to numerous times. This is like the best bookmark web site ever, it just happens to have excellent explanations and details for what it bookmarks.

    Keep up the good work.

  11. 11

    I’ve found another site with free photos:, I understood the pictures there are the collection of some photographers that had no use for them – and they’re like totally free ;)

    Thanks for the list SM, helpful as usual :)

  12. 12

    This is a fantastic collection.

    What a great resource.

    I have found some great images already.

    Thank you for putting this collection together.

  13. 13

    great list ! fact,seeing some for the first time..

  14. 14

    Wow, can’t believe I was just looking for something like this yesterday. Thanks, Smashing Magazine!

  15. 15

    One of your best posts ever. The comparison table puts it over the top!

  16. 16

    Wow awesome these are great! Thank you!

  17. 17

    Great listing. Thanks!

  18. 18

    Thanks for sharing this great collection with us!

  19. 19

    Fantastic overview – thanks for putting it together! :D

  20. 20

    great research done to even have the comparisons table done up.. thumbs up!

    on a negative note, as a photographer, it saddens me to see more free stock photography sites popping up…

  21. 21

    Very creepy. This was the very thing I came her for to update my web site with. There’s very little images on the site.

  22. 22

    Great resources here. However, don’t forget that government imagery is also always public domain, unless otherwise noted. Typically providing a “credit” line is all you need…if that. One that I’m familiar with is the USGS Multimedia Gallery ( The photography may not always fit your needs, depending on what you’re looking, but it high resolution and they are free.

  23. 23

    Hi nice list.

    Must have taken a while to put together. Thanks!

    Would also be nice to expand the article to view it from a stock photo contributer’s point of view, i.e. how can I add my own photo’s to the site and is there any compensation.

    Small note, I would call your ‘comparison table’ a list. A comarison table should make it easy to compare features between sites. I suggest to put the sites as column headers and the features in each row. Then I would actually be able to compare at a glance…

  24. 24

    more than 6 years old is that is german only but high quality picture. Need to signup for downloading images.

  25. 25

    Thanks for the post, I would recommend checking out this post of mine. HUGE List of Free Stock Photography sites a Enormous list of free stock photography websites ranging in more than a 100+


  26. 26

    Thanks for the list

  27. 27

    It is also worth noting what is the cost of “extended license” – right to use downloaded imagery in commercial products (tshirt, game etc…). It is common practice that images sold for $1-$3 cost extra $100 for extended license. Maybe not a big deal for some, but too much for poor indie developer ;)

  28. 28

    Getty Images is also a leader in contacting photographers from free sites, letting them sign and then remove all there photos from the free site, then charging people who are using these formerly free photos (usually they can’t prove the photo was free when they downloaded it).
    Prices Getty charges range from thousand to several thousand dollars, even if the used photo is of almost no benefit to the user (private sites, very small images, …), and the usual licence is 20-30 times cheaper.

  29. 29

    Yay! Mayang’s back from the dead! That site disappeared about a year ago and I thought that was the end of it.

  30. 30

    Great list! Thanks so much!

  31. 31

    I have to comment on this one after weeks of coveting. This is a fantastic collection.

  32. 32

    nice article. this is useful for designers.

  33. 33

    Dr. Y.U. Thropplenoggin

    August 16, 2009 11:38 pm


    I am most befuddled by the egregious absence of Creative Commons from this list, where a veritable trove of daguerrotypes are available to be utilised and/or fabricated into new forms under divers CC licenses.

    Yours, etc.

    Dr. Thropplenoggin

  34. 34

    Wow! Great list. I will bookmark this post.

    There are other websites that I go for free stock photo too. offers free stock photos for both personal and commercial projects.

    I recommend this one too.

  35. 35

    Ahhhh, the death of commercial photography /o

  36. 36

    thank you very much …….
    finding free images is a big job ………….

  37. 37

    Wow… thats useful, in particular because I have just registered, watch this space for more Free stock images from my own collection. Granted they may not be great, but for free who can argue eh.

    Great timing SM.


  38. 38

    Thank you very very much SM!
    I really need that…

  39. 39

    Indeed, all that glitters is not gold. I mean that even the free stock photography sites have a lot of restrictions when you look at their ‘license page’. It is very difficult to get images you really can use for commercial purposes in this kind of sites. That’s why I prefer public domain pictures: they are free and sure for every use, and forever.

  40. 40

    Really amazing article! Thanks a lot!

    P.S.: Why some photobank is not in “Comparison Table”? Pixmac for example…

  41. 41

    As a fellow user of diverse stock image sites I’m surprised to see that the pay as you go credits are not mentioned by number for Istock. Now it looks like Istock is extremely pricey. But you can buy an image for just one dollar. The price of a full scale image is getting higher by the day (up to 30 dollar), but Istock still delivers the best professional quality for an acceptable price.

  42. 42

    Thanks for compiling this information! This is a great tool!

  43. 43

    Great list! I am a professional designer and there were some on there I didn’t even know about.

  44. 44

    Great article, I’m always looking for photos, so this will make my job that much easier and assist in my searches. Thanks for taking the time to put this together, its fantastic!

  45. 45

    Wow!! This I can continually use. Someone did a bunch of work to pull all this info together.

  46. 46

    This is probably a great list for some, but if I want a photo to be used on a single site, I have no problem finding royalty free images.

    What I would like to see is a list of sites that have very minimal license restrictions. Mainly where photos can be used in website templates. The few that I clicked on in this list do not allow that.

    How about a list that compares the license agreements? That would be waaaay more helpful.

  47. 47

    Great Article

    Thanks a lot


  48. 48

    Great article! Best SM tool yet!

  49. 49

    Fanatastic compilation of resources, will be sure to bookmark for future reference

  50. 50

    Great list, Thank you!

  51. 51

    Good, well written article.

  52. 52

    Comparison table is very helpful, thanks for the list!

  53. 53

    GREAT ARTICLE! I am astonished by the work and effort put into such great compilations. Well done!

  54. 54

    Well if you want to see more detailed comparison table (prices of one image, subscription, price for images for small or big project, etc) with the most popular microstock sites, check this article: Microstock for designers – where to buy photos and illustrations

  55. 55

    another cool one is Moodboard ( I love its intuitive lightbox.

  56. 56

    Very useful list. Thank you!

  57. 57

    Interesting how you can narrow your search by photographer on ShutterStock.

  58. 58

    You are forgetting one of the largest independent stock photography sites, suppling both premium and micro stock photography – Reflex Stock Photos

  59. 59

    Great list! Another gorgeous site is PhotoAlto ( Thanks very much!

  60. 60

    great article…thanks.

  61. 61

    Lutfar Rahman Nirjhar

    August 18, 2009 12:37 pm

    You forgot to mention some other site like ..

    Thanks for the article..

  62. 62

    awesome overview… thanks mate

  63. 63

    Great stuff. Thanks!

  64. 64

    The problem with these kind of posts is that they are overwhelming. I don’t want to find and endless list of every single photo stock site you found out there. The real service this blog could provide would be in choosing the best couple of them I should keep in my bookmarks. Please consider it.

    • 65

      Marianne Winther

      June 24, 2012 1:00 pm

      You’re absolutely right. It is overwhelming because there are literally thousands of stock photo sites around the world. At we rate, review & rank what we consider to be the top agencies based on 25 years experience in the industry, so that should help narrow things down a little for you.

      Oh, and if you want to buy an image rather than use a free one, we do also list all current promo codes, discount and offers for those agencies that aren’t free and that can be really helpful too:

  65. 66

    Great article!

    One note: Stock Exchange has been bought out by Getty images. Bad news. Time to go someplace else.

    I would love to see a really simple, free stock image place that carries only high quality stock, from creative people for creative people. Free for any kind of commercial project, no nonsense with different licenses, except re-distribution. I think there would be enough people out there who would contribute. I sure would.

  66. 67

    This is great! Thank you for all the research and information.

  67. 68

    Another stock photo site – little smaller but contains all unique photos is Photo Wizard


  68. 69

    on posts like this one you guys should have a “open all in tabs” link at the top. It would save your users some time form having to click every single link.

  69. 70
  70. 71

    This is a fantastic list, although there is one notable site missing, in my opinion and that is stock photo search engine

  71. 72

    I would like to add to the list. All images are free and full resolution to download.

  72. 73

    thank you so much !!!
    nice article, this is so useful !!

  73. 74

    Thanks for taking the time to create the comparison table. Great resources.

  74. 75

    I would like to add to your site. Have some great imagery and not very expensive.

  75. 76

    Great list! I’m a stock photographer / designer but I used to be a photo buyer back when I was a graphic designer in the corporate world. istock, bigstock, and dreamstime were sites I usually bought from the most, in addition to occasional subscriptions to agencies like

    If you’re into subscriptions, check out Photospin – it’s really reasonable. You can find thousands of my images for sale there as well, just search “Todd” in the keyword box. I also sell direct, check out my own site at (Over 5000 different graphics, textures, illustrations, photos, and vector images at the moment) All images have 100% zoom crops so you can see the high quality before you buy.

  76. 78

    Nice list! Some of them are well known, some are relatively new to me.

    In general, large sites provide good service, smaller ones are totally random. It is really recommended to find terms of use first for free ones as they are not always “free” or useable.

  77. 79

    I can’t believe you left out Acclaim Images. it’s my favorite stock photography site. Sure I own it but we are in the top 15 for “stock photography” on Google and have managed to pay a lot of money out to photographers over the years.

    Fred Voetsch

  78. 80

    ya good but … this picture site not have full like all images ….

    this site have all images its free

    free rigister …

  79. 81 offers weekly free photos for personnal and commercial use. KosherStock is a royalty-free microstock site (photos, illustrations and cliparts) focusing on the Jewish life, culture and religion.

  80. 82

    a brand new high quality free stock photo site: Check it out!

  81. 83

    There’s also a good one for high-end shots with a good search engine

  82. 84

    There is a very good source of information on the stock image industry on

  83. 85

    How about, it has a Huge collection of vintage images, Ephemera and Risqué images. I have found the website very useful, and a lot of the images can be downloaded for free.

  84. 86

    ahh.. this is useful to my stockphotos collections..thats wow ^_^

  85. 87

    amazing!!! thank’s so much for all of this ^^
    very very useful…

  86. 88

    I’ve used, they are cheep, but the search functionality is really poor and a lot of the pictures are not current. Most of the people photos look like they were taken in the late 80’ties early 90’ties.

  87. 89

    AbsolutVision Stock Photo has also a free collection with a few hundreds free pictures. Some with built-in clipping path…

  88. 90

    Great collection. I would recommend I use photos from this site for free.

  89. 91

    Maybe you would also want to take a look at This image database contains a lot of free photos, vectors and illustrations, commercial images are included as well.

  90. 92

    Try, a new site for free stock pictures taken by myself in different corners of Europe, and fun stuff.

  91. 93

    Brand new site from the makers of SXC and Stockxpert:

  92. 94

    Want 100% Free stock photos, for COMMERCIAL AND PERSONAL USE? Check out! We also have a blog with tutorials, resources and more. And now we even have COLOR SEARCH! You can search for any photo by color, to help match your designs.

  93. 95

    Wow! Thnx for putting this collection all together. A great list. A great choice. I personally love some of these sites, but i use as well. they have free stock photo collection and what is more important you can download only parts of images (if u need for example only lips and not the whole person). It works cool. though there are still some drawbacks on the site.

  94. 96

    Adding my 2c – another list of graphic content resources (as well as video/audio content) – – classified by type and parameters.

    Actually, for me – the best free one is sxc, the best commercial stock photo website – shutterstock..

  95. 97

    Good to see everystockphoto getting a mention near the top. it’s pretty supr but I guess they could be doing with grabbing images and photos from some of the other 30 you mentioned. Great list and certainly going into my bookmarks too :D

  96. 98 turns bilingual!

    Check in every day! Daily at 12am every ap user receives 7 Free-Credits, which expire after 24 hours. Friday is Credit day – you will get 20 Credits for free, which you can use for image downloads under the standard license.

  97. 99

    Very useful information. I agree, is definitely a good source of information.

  98. 100

    can you tell us what you think are the top 5 sites out of this list? it is very comprehensive and would take a long time to go through. Also have you heard about for stock images and clipart? They would be good to add to your list.

  99. 102

    A good source with tons of public domain royalty-free images is:

    All the photos on the site are totally free!

  100. 103

    Thanksss for alll!

  101. 104

    Great list of resources here…thanks.

  102. 105 offers high-resolution professional images of food, wine and luxury lifestyle pictures from Napa Valley wine country and beyond.

  103. 106

    Great list! One more for your list :) I use the images for my graphic design works. They are young but cheep and have flexible purchase plans, so it make easy to buy exactly what you need instead of just what you can afford..

  104. 107

    Good list… the issue with most of the ‘free’ stock is that the quality suffers pretty dramatically… Check out for free and unrestricted stock with and edge.

  105. 108

    John @ Design Panoply

    January 25, 2011 4:45 pm

    Any chance of being added to the list? Design Panoply is growing daily :) – Vectors, textures, patterns, brushes, templates, Photoshop styles, tutorials, and more!

  106. 109

    I’m surprised that StockFuel wasn’t listed at the end of that list, Plenty of free stock files, etc.

  107. 110

    Does anyone know where we can find stock imagery of branded items such as clothing, bags, watches, cars etc for magazine use?

  108. 111

    Great list of resources
    For your list: stock photos and illustrations – Vector Graphics Library. Specializing in photo-realistic vector illustrations of food

  109. 112

    Simon Raybould

    May 11, 2011 4:49 am

    If you’ve not checked out Pixmac for a while… – make sure you do – they now have 11 million + images plus a collection of over 40,000 images and one of the best interfaces out there. Worth investigating.

  110. 113

    People are also welcome to use the free royalty free images and photos on

  111. 114

    Maybe some of these ‘free’ sites have changed, but on some of them when I click on a photo I want I get taken to a subscription page where I’m told I have to pay for them. Not my definition of ‘free’…

  112. 115

    Thanks for posting this list! One of my pet peeves is finding the perfect stock image for the project I’m working on and then finding out that it isn’t royalty free. One of the sites I use to find royalty free stock images is I love their stuff!

  113. 116


    May 9, 2012 2:05 pm

    When this list was put together in 2009 Stockfresh didn’t exist but it might be useful to know: the makers of and Stockxpert started this site in July 2010 and now it has more than 1.4 million images for download. So if you are looking for cheap but high quality stock imagery it is worth to check it out. ;)

  114. 117

    Hi and thank you for the article!
    I can also add, a growing Public Domain picture collection, free of copyright and licensed under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication. All items are free to download for personal and commercial use, without restriction and are available in high definition. New photos are added on a daily basis.

  115. 118

    This site is a new stock photo site. BUT most of their photos are mainly from Bangladesh which is a South Asian country. They collect photos from Bangladeshi photographers and they are slowly and constantly growing.

  116. 119

    Great list! Here is another one, Pinterest style:

  117. 120

    Can you please add to the list? We specialize in landscape photos from parks and cities across the united stats although we also have animals and plants listed by species. All our photos are public domain and taken by ourselves.

  118. 121

    There is another great free photo collection site:
    It was very helpful for me!

  119. 122

    Nice list Smashing, I didn’t know about some of the free ones you mentioned!

    I curate a list of commercial sites for both buyers and sellers that may help those looking for more alternatives. For anyone who’s interested it can be found here:

    I also run my own stock site, which is part of the awesome Symbiostock network of artists selling their work directly to the buyer, without an agency. This is a great way to support artists directly. You can check it out here:

    Thanks again.

  120. 123

    Thanks a lot for the info. I am sure i can get few of the required images from above sites.

    We also use a website called
    If you are a website designer, blogger here you can download high resolution Free stock images for free.

  121. 124

    One of the best sites around is RGBStock –

    Currently there are 88,000 free stock photos and graphics, and it is growing rapidly.

  122. 125

    Hey, thanks for adding . We really appreciate it. :)

  123. 126
  124. 127

    Great work. I also recommend for your listing. The network for Nigeria photographers. Exclusively focus on providing royalty free images from Nigeria.

  125. 128 Check it out…..It’s new, unique and with little yet but stunning photography to use 100% free, would be great if you guys add it to the list

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