A woman sits in a workshop surrounded by shelves of uncoated ceramic cups and vases. With one hand, she types on the laptop perched on her lap; with the other hand, she holds an orange mug. The woman has curled hair piled on top of her head, and she wears a gray clay-stained apron over a pale green collared shirt.
Some stock photo libraries also offer videos, GIFs, music, and sound effects. — Getty Images/Marco VDM

Stock photos are a great option for marketing campaigns that need visual assets, but don’t have a budget for original photography. Stock photo services offer an extensive collection of professional images, but finding the right one for your budget can be tricky. Many stock image sites have different pricing tiers depending on how many images you need, your licensing requirements, or the style. Here are a few great free and paid options to explore the next time you need a stock image.

Pexels (Free)

Pexels is a great place to find photos and videos that can be downloaded and used for free. This site is clear about what you can and cannot do regarding licensing, making it easy to comply with copyright laws. All images and videos are free to use and edit as needed — no attribution required. That said, brands cannot imply endorsement of your product or service by any person or brand appearing in an image or video. Explore images and videos organized by collection (e.g., “food photography”), search by keyword, or browse popular images to find what you need.

[Read more: How to Avoid Social Media Copyright Infringement]

Unsplash (Free, Paid option)

Unsplash offers a wide variety of wallpapers, images, and backgrounds that can be downloaded and used for free without attribution. Like Pexels, you can search by keyword; there’s also an option to follow specific creators whose style matches your brand. Unsplash+ is the site’s paid subscription option. For a monthly fee, access members-only that’s refreshed monthly with unlimited royalty-free downloads. This option might be a good fit for a design firm or creative agency.

Pixabay (Free)

Pixabay’s library includes stock images, royalty-free videos, vectors, GIFs, and music. With over four million assets, this extensive site offers much to explore. Pixabay, fortunately, offers curated collections and search filters to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. One thing to note: Many businesses turn to free sites like Pixabay to find images. Search carefully to make sure you find a unique image — otherwise, you run the risk of posting a stock image that many other brands have already taken.

Unsplash offers a wide variety of wallpapers, images, and backgrounds that can be downloaded and used for free without attribution.

Shutterstock (Paid)

Shutterstock is one of the most well-known sources for stock images. Like Pixabay, Shutterstock offers music, video, sound effects, and more. Shutterstock’s library consists of 475M+ assets, plus access to design tools that allow you to edit directly on their platform. There’s also an AI image generator in case you can’t find an existing asset you want to use for your business. Shutterstock’s image pricing is structured either as a per-image cost or a subscription-based amount for a certain number of downloads per month.

[Read more: 9 Free Apps for Editing Your E-Commerce Photos]

Adobe Stock (Paid, Limited free option)

Adobe Stock is Adobe’s stock media database, featuring high-resolution, royalty-free photos, stock videos, music tracks, and more. Adobe structures its pricing as either subscription plans or single-purchase credit packs. While the majority of Adobe’s collection requires payment, there are a limited number of free photos, free vectors, and free videos that you can browse to see if any meet your needs.

Getty (Paid)

Getty is another platform best known for high-quality, professional stock images — especially for editorial content and media outlets. Here, you can find images from recent events (such as the Met Gala or NBA playoffs) alongside creative-style collections that are better suited for marketing. Many photographers offer content exclusively to Getty. If you’re seeking something you won’t see anywhere else, Getty might be your best bet. Getty is among the most expensive platforms on this list, however; pricing is determined by the size of your asset (large, medium, small) as well as by how many images you need.

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