If you have ever tried to build a project online, one of the first issues that you run in is finding good quality graphics for it. Everyone wants a spectacular looking website, but not everyone has professional photography and editing skills. So where do you go in order to find amazing quality free or cheap stock photos? We have compiled a list for you based on our own experience in building websites and writing content for our clients.
Using the same dull free stock photos that everyone else and their moms are using, is a bit counterproductive. When you join the world of internet, you need to make your work stand out. Great graphics can either engage your site visitor or turn him or her away. How many times have you came across a website and immediately clicked the “back” button because the website looked… how do I say this.. ugly?
Finding the perfect platform where you can find all of the things that you need can be time consuming. Heck, finding the right picture that flows with your content well is time consuming as it is. We will make this easier on you and present you with our research based on a few parameters that we looked for.
This top 8 cheap stock photos article lists these website based on the following but in no particular order unless mentioned:
- Quality of the photos and graphics
- Quantity available to the users
- Ratings by the consumer
- Ease of use
1. Envato Elements (Free + Cheap)
Legit Verified Recommended Choice
Number one on our cheap stock photos list is Envato Elements platform. Envato marketplace is a one stop shop for all of your stock photo needs as well as videos, Instagram templates, audio files, fonts, icons, logos, motion graphics and many more.
With over 50 million stock photos and unlimited uses, there is not much that you cannot find on Envato marketplace. Unlike a lot of its competitors, Envato lets you use their products unlimited times per month. If you are building an online asset in any niche, chances are you are find what you are looking for on this site.
At $16.5 per month, Envato has become our number 1 choice for stock images as well as stock videos and other graphics. The variety and quality of their products is second to none.
Price: Free for over 1 Million stock photos or $16.5/month for 50M+
2. – Canva Photos (Free + Cheap)
At the beginning we used sites like Pixabay or Pexel to get our free or cheap stock photos but we were limited in choices. With paid platforms you get much more and better quality media to populate your website. If $16.50 per month is a bit too much for you at this point, $9.95 from Canva might be the right way to go.
Canva is known in the world of online marketers to provide great designs and was primarily used for logo creations. With the time passing by, Canva has branched out to provide unlimited stock photos at your disposal.
Price: Free to $9.95 per month
3. – Pexel (Free)
Pexels is quite a bit like Pixabay but with a better design. Seems to have more free stock photography that are of a higher quality but are fairly limited in the amount of choices as of this moment.
A few years ago Pixabay was our top choice for completely free images, but Pexels have stepped up their game and is now a leading provider for free stock photography. If you don’t want to spend any money, this website would be great starting point.
4. – Pixabay (Free)
Our first completely free stock photography website of choice is Pixabay. When we started in online marketing industry, we solely used this website for our stock images.
With over a million of free stock photos to choose from, Pixabay has a wide variety of assets that can help you get started without spending a dime. We used photos from Pixabay and then edited them to our liking before using.
The way Pixabay keeps its images free is based on the adds that they run on their site for Shutterstock. Usually when you look for images for your project, you might find a close match on Pixabay but the advertisements at the bottom of the images will be more suitable. Shutterstock is pretty expensive, in our opinion, coming in at 10 images per month at $2.99 per month paid yearly ($29).
5. – Unsplash (Free)
Another great site for free stock photography. If you can find what you are looking for between Unsplash, Pixabay and Pexel, you will not have to spend any money.
Unsplash seem to have less choices than the previously mentioned free stock photos websites, but their image quality is top notch. The search feature inside of the website seems to be a bit confused as well when looking for specific stuff.
For super specific niche projects, the best way to go is signing up for sites like Envato Elements. For more broad projects, free sites can suffice just fine.
6. Stock Photo Secrets (Cheap not Free)
This platform has great variety of cheap stock photos to choose from. However, it is not free. At the time of writing this article, Stock Photo Secrets had 6.7M images to choose from with 100K new images being added each month. Chances of you not finding what you need are pretty slim.
Monthly memberships start at $35/month for 25 image downloads ($1.4 per image), while yearly membership is $99/year for 200 downloads ($0.495 per image). Clearly they want you to sign up for a yearly membership, but we think that there are other great paid options mentioned above.
Price: $35/month starting package, gets cheaper with yearly packages
7. Dreamstime (Free or Cheap)
With over 134 million images to choose from this site is a good source for cheap stock photos as well as free stock photography. There are 30 million of users to certainly think so. The selection of what they have to offer is incredible, as well as the quality of photos and videos.
The big downside is their pricing plan. While you can get images for as low as $0.2 per image, that only happens if you sign up for their $1724 yearly plan. You can get some free photos on their 1 week free trial but the lowest paid plan starts at $70/month for 50 images. That’s $1.42 per image download. While this is still considered a cheap stock photos site, it’s definitely not the best option.
Price: Free 1 week trial, paid plans start at $70/month
8. Big Stock Photo (Cheap)
Based on other reviews that we have gathered, Big Stock Photo has made it to our cheap stock photos website list. With 92 million files on deck, they do seem to have quite a variety of images to choose from. However, other paid sites mentioned above have a better selection, in our opinion.
Image pricing is based on the image size. In order to download images you need to purchase credits.
Price: $35 for 10 images is the starting point, the more credits you buy, the cheaper the photos will get.
Ending Thoughts For Cheap Stock Photos and Free Stock Photography Website Review
If you have read through this whole article until the end, you should not have a problem anymore picking a website for your free or cheap stock photos needs.
Whatever you decide to do, you should always edit images for meta tag deletion and tweaking them to your liking. Meta tags is something to consider since it might lower your search engine rankings. If Google knows that you are using an image that’s posted on another 1000 websites, they might lower your ranking.
As far as which site to go with for your photography needs, keep in mind that most of the people choose to go for free stock photography websites. To not look generic, you might want to look into paid websites and weigh your options. Our number 1 choice is Envato Elements due to a fairly low monthly price, incredible selection of images and unlimited downloads per month.
If you know another site that could be added in the list, please don’t hesitate and shoot me an email.
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