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The Five Best Stock Photo Options for Your Business Website

Build a website fit for a king—without overpaying for royalties.

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When you start building your company website, you will be presented with many different templates to choose from. Of course, every business is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all website format, but one thing websites have in common is the use of images.

Humans are visual creatures. It’s no surprise that people tend to gravitate toward photo- and video-heavy apps like Instagram and TikTok. If you want to grab the attention of potential customers and stand out in the overcrowded eCommerce world, you will need to find the highest-quality images at the lowest cost.

Not handy with a camera? No problem. Luckily, there are tons of excellent stock photo resources for you to explore. Whether you can pay a little bit of cash (BigStock is a great budget-friendly option) or none at all, there are stock photo websites out there to suit your startup’s budget and aesthetic needs. Let’s dive in.

What are stock photos?

Stock photos are digital picture files available for use to businesses and organizations. They are helpful because they save the time and money spent on hiring a photographer. With the way the internet has progressed, there are stock photos floating around for just about every niche. Those in search of stock photos can either pay a nominal licensing fee or choose royalty-free images. Most of the stock photos online fall into the latter category.

Since business owners have permission to edit stock photos and use them for any purpose, there’s a certain level of freedom involved, making it a smart choice for entrepreneurs. You can use the images for social media, marketing campaigns, website backgrounds…the possibilities are endless. 

Where can you find stock photos?

1. Shutterstock

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Shutterstock is an incredibly popular site for sourcing premium stock photos. In fact, if you plug “premium stock photos” into a search engine, you will more than likely get a link to Shutterstock within the first couple of results.

There is a good reason for this—its collection is gigantic. Not only does the site have millions of stock photos, but it also offers hundreds of thousands of graphics, charts, illustrations, and cartoons. All of its images are carefully filtered and curated. In addition, there are new uploads daily, ensuring that if you don’t find what you need today, you’ll more than likely find it tomorrow.

If editing photos is not your forte, you also have the option to edit the purchased photos and play around with them right there on the website without the need to upload them to a third-party platform. 

2. Getty Images

Its reputation precedes it. Getty is one of the biggest players in the stock photo game. It’s highly respected and well-known for having some of the best content on the internet. Its website is aesthetically pleasing, and users have the option to mix and match image, video, and music files. 

An advantage of using premium stock photos is that they’re more often shot by professional photographers. Though they might cost a little bit more, the satisfaction you’ll get from your photo quality is priceless.

Getty’s services are slightly more expensive than some similar offerings out there, but its payment plans are transparent. With no download limits, options for personalized content and commissions, and built-in website tools that not only allow you to edit photos but let you do so simultaneously with a team, Getty ranks high on the list of excellent premium stock photo companies. It will even help you get the rights for viral videos and movie clips to use in marketing. 

3. iStockPhoto

iStockPhoto, the more affordable Getty-owned brand, has been around longer than some Gen Z entrepreneurs have been alive, so it must be doing something right. It could be the amazing quality and resolution of its photos, its specific and easy-to-navigate search bar, and the sheer variety of options you have to spice up your website with multiple types of image, audio, and video files. You can even do a reverse search to see if and how its photos have been used in the past, whether for eCommerce or something else entirely. 

The site has annual and monthly plans for different packages and budgets, and in the grand scheme of things, paying a licensing fee monthly or yearly is still far less expensive than paying for individual photos taken by a professional photographer. 

4. Depositphotos 

If you’re on a budget, Depositphotos should be one of your first stops. Its flexible plans range from pennies per photo to the low hundreds per package, and there is a 17% discount for annual plans if you’d rather not do an on-demand package. The site will even allow you to customize your plan or package to fit your specific business needs. Its business plans are comprehensive, and there are options for small, medium, and large enterprises. If you’re not happy after 30 days, you will receive a full refund. 

5. 123RF

Many major companies use the services of 123RF, and for good reason—it has a vast collection of free photos, audio files, vectors, videos, and more. There is a Plus option for big bundles of photos, but you may be able to find what you need in its free library (updated daily). With its affordable plans and wide range of categories, 123RF is a great resource for startups that don’t yet have a steady income or capital to spare but still want quality images. If you like what 123RF has to offer, it makes more economic sense to purchase multiple photo packs at a time rather than picking through the individual photo options.

There are plenty of other stock photo sites around the internet, but remember that you get what you pay for. Sometimes it’s worth spending a few dollars on a great collection of stock photos. Bargains, discounts, and bundles are almost always available, so look around and determine what works best for your business.

Alex Borisov

Alex Borisov Is Laying the Foundations of Next-Gen Startups

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