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 Stock831
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

Every Stock Photo793
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 Photo4

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 Textures807
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 Textures8

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 Photos8511
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 Photos12


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


Kave Wall8915
Kave Wall presents free stock photos, image and textures. CD’s are available for download in various categories.

Kave Wall16

Turbo Photo9317
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 Photography9519
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 Photography20

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 Vault10123
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 Vault24

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 Philosopher10829
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 Images30

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 Photos7741
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 Photos42

Big Stock Photo7843
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 Photo44

Photos.com8145 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 Images8647
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 Images48

Can Stock Photo8849
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 Photo50

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 Unlimited9457
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 Unlimited58

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 Images10973
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 Images74

Comparison Table

Site File Types # of Images Purchasing
iStockphoto7537 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.
Fotolia7639 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 Photos7741 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 Photo7843 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 Photo793 JPG 4,459,000 Images are free.
Mayang’s Free Textures807 JPG 3,800 Images are free.
Photos.com8145 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.
Photogen829 JPG 1,300 Images are free.
Free Range Stock831 JPG 10,000 Images are free.
Stockxpert84 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 Photos8511 JPG N/A Images are free.
Getty Images8647 JPG, Video, Music 21,000,000 Prices range from $49 to several thousand dollars.
ImageBase8713 JPG, PPT Templates 1,800 Images are free.
Can Stock Photo8849 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 Wall8915 JPG 1,700 Images are free. Can also purchase a CD of high resolution images by category for $19.95.
123RF9051 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.
Vectorious9153 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.
Veer9255 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 Photo9317 JPG 2,000 Images are free.
Jupiterimages Unlimited9457 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.
Free Stock Photography9519 JPG N/A Images are free.
VivoZoom9661 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.
FotoSearch9763 JPG, Vector, Video 5,300,000 N/A
Corbis9831 JPG, Vector N/A Most images range from $10-$600.
Freepixels9921 JPG 3,700 Images are free.
Dreamstime10065 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 Vault10123 JPG 13,800 Images are free.
PhotoSpin10267 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.
Unprofound10371 JPG 1,300 Images are free.
Inmagine10469 JPG 3,500,000 Prices range from $29-$870 on average.
FreeFoto10525 JPG 127,000 Images are free. A link back to the site is required.
BigFoto10627 JPG N/A Images are free.
Photocase10733 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 Philosopher10829 JPG N/A Images are free.
Matton Images10973 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.
Pixmac11035 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.

  1. 1

    Good, well written article.

  2. 52

    Comparison table is very helpful, thanks for the list!

  3. 103

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

  4. 154

    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

  5. 205

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

  6. 256

    Very useful list. Thank you!

  7. 307

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

  8. 358

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

  9. 409

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

  10. 460

    great article…thanks.

  11. 511

    Lutfar Rahman Nirjhar

    August 18, 2009 12:37 pm

    You forgot to mention some other site like ..

    Thanks for the article..

  12. 562

    awesome overview… thanks mate

  13. 613

    Great stuff. Thanks!

  14. 664

    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.

    • 715

      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:

  15. 766

    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.

  16. 817

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

  17. 868

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


  18. 919

    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.

  19. 970
  20. 1021

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

  21. 1072

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

  22. 1123

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

  23. 1174

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

  24. 1225

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

  25. 1276

    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.

  26. 1378

    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.

  27. 1429

    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

  28. 1480

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

    this site have all images its free

    free rigister …

  29. 1531 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.

  30. 1582

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

  31. 1633

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

  32. 1684

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

  33. 1735

    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.

  34. 1786

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

  35. 1837

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

  36. 1888

    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.

  37. 1939

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

  38. 1990

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

  39. 2041

    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.

  40. 2092

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

  41. 2143

    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.

  42. 2194

    Brand new site from the makers of SXC and Stockxpert:

  43. 2245

    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.

  44. 2296

    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..

  45. 2347

    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

  46. 2398 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.

  47. 2449

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

  48. 2500

    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.

  49. 2602

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

    All the photos on the site are totally free!

  50. 2653

    Thanksss for alll!


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