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Top 6 Free & Paid Methods of Sourcing Photos for Your Website

An integral part of designing your website is sourcing high-quality images which are related to your business. Delivering high resolution images can help with SEO optimization and increase user engagement. Stock image websites contain an extensive library of high-quality images, graphics, and often videos. Are you legally allowed to use images? Are you hesitant to add visual content to your site? Free and paid images vary widely in the rights and permissions they are bound by; most of the resources below are copyright or royalty free.

We have compiled a list of the best free and paid methods of sourcing photos for your website and an insight into their content license. Read over the terms and conditions of each site you try so you know exactly what type of attribution is required.

Free Services

Free images are less focused and best to use for social media posts, articles, etc. The photos tend to be more natural, steering away from cheesy stock photos. You will find more artistic images in free rather than paid image resources.


Unsplash offers high-quality photos taken by talented photographers. They have more than 2 million images to choose from and every single one of them is FREE for commercial or noncommercial use. The images are on par with many paid images. You don’t have to give credit if you use any photos from Unsplash as website images, but we encourage you to! Choose from one of their image categories to find what you are looking for. You can find Unsplash’s content license here.


Pexels has more than 1 million images uploaded on their library and every single one of them is FREE for commercial use. You can use and modify the images as you please for both commercial and personal use without attribution. With their efficient search functionality, you can quickly find the right images for your website. Check out their Trending Topics for inspiration.You can find out Pexels’ content license here, which states what you can and cannot do with the images.


Pixabay is clean and intuitive, making it easy to navigate your way through more than 2.2 million free photos, vectors, and illustrations. All photos are shared without copyright restrictions. You can filter your query in the search bar by clicking on the downward arrow and choosing between images, videos, vector graphics, and much more! You can even search by colour, category, size, and orientation. Find Pixabay’s content license here.

Paid Services

Paid images offer more options for ads and business websites. If you are searching for images that serve a specific purpose, paid image resources will give you more choices.

Paid image resources heavily tag their photos to make them more searchable - you’ll save time and be able to quickly find the perfect photo.


Need images for your next website design or blog post and you are willing to spend the money? Look no further than iStock. With new photos added daily, there is a wide selection of high-quality images, illustrations, vectors, videos, and audio files to fit a variety of different topics. iStock offers monthly subscription-based prices or credit packs. Bonus: you will get free monthly and weekly illustrations and video clips. You can find their content license here.


Shutterstock has a very wide range of photos and graphics that are budget friendly and reasonably priced. They have multiple galleries of more than 270 million images, videos, vectors, and so much more! You don’t have to commit to a monthly or yearly plan with Shutterstock, you can simply buy credits and use them towards any image you like. Find their content license here.

Getty Images

Getty Images is your go-to resource for commercial images. They have one of the best selections for non-stock-like photos and graphics; some images are exclusive to Getty Images and you cannot find them anywhere else. Getty Images has a wide selection of photos, vectors, illustrations, videos, and music. Find their content license here.

If you want to achieve powerful results with your online marketing you should be using photos, illustrations and graphs regularly. An image can enhance your design, landing page, article, ad, or other creative piece. Now it’s time to start sourcing your images. Remember, you aren’t limited to using just one of these resources, take advantage of all of them.

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