Inexpensive Stock Image Websites (and free ones, too!)
Including good images on your website that are optimized for SEO is crucial to performing well in search engines as well. Here are some good stock sources for finding the perfect images for your website if you don't have any photos of your own. I recommend taking your own photos of your business and employees and products if you can, as personal real photos are always the best! Using stock image sites can mean that other websites and businesses may use the same photos as you, so having your own original photos is always a plus. Hire a local photographer, you won't regret it!
But, if you just need photos quickly, here are some great options:
If you're looking for some good free stock photography for low-or-no-budget projects, here are some great resources:
Inexpensive Paid Stock:
I just started using Stock Photo Secrets, their image library is good, and they have an offer of $99/year membership that includes 200 XXL stock image downloads, so that is very reasonable at 50 cents per image! Upon first quick search, this site seems to have a good selection of images. This may be another great resource for inexpensive stock images!
VectorStock has great vector art for $1 each, and they are easy to edit and customize using Adobe Illustrator. At $1 for each credit, very reasonable for the quality of a lot of their vector stock art!
DollarPhotoClub – this is not linked because it is now defunct! :( Adobe Stock purchased them, and I'm not a huge fan yet of Adobe Stock, as they want a subscription fee every month, you cannot just buy one image. I only like to pay as I go! I was able to transfer my DollarPhotoClub credits over to Adobe, which I'm currently using, but it took a few emails and calls to get my stocks actually switched over,. Also, a warning – I accidentally signed up for Adobe Stock monthly subscription when I downloaded 10 free images, as they auto-signed me up for their subscription plan, but sent me no emails about the actual plan, where you pay ($19 for 2, or $29 for 10 images a month) if you use it or not! No thanks!
istockphoto.com – Now owned by GettyOne, this keeps getting more and more expensive, and they have now made it confusing with their two separate "lines" of images, you can get Essentials, or Signature images, but it seems that the search keeps defaulting to showing all the images, so it's hard to search for the lower cost images quickly. Pre-Getty, istockphoto.com used to be around $2-3 per image, but now it looks like it's $12 for "essential" images to $33 for "Signature" images.
thenounproject.com Cool Icon resource!
I haven't used this one yet, but the prices are reasonable at $2.50 for a small JPG (800x600) up to $12 for an XXL image (3840x2880). A quick search resulted in a lot of photo options, so this may be a great new resource!
FREE STOCK IMAGE SOURCES:
Use these if necessary, not as much of a selection and there is a strong chance these "free" images are used on hundreds of websites, but they are a good alternative to paid stock if you have no budget at all!
These above websites above make their money through their stock image ads that you'll see threaded throughout. Below is another new free stock photo website I heard about – this one was created more for the use of unused photographer photos from projects, and has turned into a free stock source:
I just heard about Upsplash from a designer at a Denver advertising agency, upon initial search, it has some decent high end photos. However, the selection isn't huge. But for free, what do you expect? Apparently, these photos are totally free to use in any way you want commercially or for personal use. I'm not sure how the photographers make any money off this, except through exposure? You can upload a few of your photos to be downloaded for free, and then you can get a website link and Upsplash page in exchange, so it could be a way to get more people to find you.