A picture is worth a thousand words; not $20 an image.
Visuals (whether it be images, videos, or GIFs) have taken over the Internet and marketers, content creators, and business owners are all aware of this. This is pretty reasonable considering 65 percent of Americans are visual learners.
With imagery playing a massive role in the development and circulation of various marketing materials like newsletters, blogs, and landing pages, stock photography sites have exploded in numbers. Yet oddly enough, many of these sites still house some of the most awkward, contrived and downright cheesy photos imaginable. And if you do go with a site that has more alluring photographs, it can cost you a pretty penny.
There is hope, however; a few standout sites not only feature some wow-worthy images, but a hefty dose of innovation too. Check out these five sites that are well worth a look.
Stocksy was founded by iStock’s original creator, Bruce Livingstone and many photographers find this site to be an invaluable resource when it comes to selling their images. Their ethical approach to the industry is what really allows Stocksy to shine. Its business model is focused on providing fair pay to its contributors and helping them to cultivate sustainable careers while simultaneously providing members with some of the best images available.
Stocksy incentivizes its contributors to capture fantastic photos by paying out 50 percent of the revenue gained on standard license images and 75 percent on extended licenses. What’s more, Stocksy also gives every one of its photographers a share of the company. And to ensure that contributors stay creative, only a limited number are accepted each year to keep standards high. While the images submitted to Stocksy can only be sold there, photographers are still welcome to work with other platforms.
This site houses truly stunning photos that undergo a rigorous selection process and it offers only the best when it comes to moral integrity. For these reasons and more, Stocksy absolutely rocks.
2. Death to Stock
Founders of Death to Stock, Allie and David, are well aware of the pain-points content producers, businesses and other creatives face when trying to locate high-quality images; high prices, generic photos and a decided lack or originality. Hence the creation of Death to Stock.
This site strays from all of the people-against-white-backgrounds nonsense and focuses on lively images. Each month a pack of 10 categorized photos is e-mailed to subscribers. Categories can run from simple things like computers, to more ambiguous things like ‘feeling alive.’ The site also offers a premium package for $10 a month that grants access to its entire library of images. Death to Stock utilizes its own license, which can be viewed on the site.
3. Adobe Stock
A name synonymous with creativity, Adobe launched its own stock photo service last year with the creation of Adobe Stock. After acquiring Fotolia’s existing library in an effort to kick start interest, Adobe Stock decided to take things a step further and get innovative by introducing creative app integration.
For individuals who already employ Adobe software like Photoshop or Indesign, access to Adobe Stock is now available directly through the applications. Images can be edited inside of current projects without having to download the image until you’re ready. Once the final draft of your work is good to go, simply pay to remove the watermarks and you are all set. This can prove to be a phenomenal resource that saves loads of time for graphic designers, Web developers and other creatives. Adobe’s ingenious way of leveraging its stock photo platform could have a major impact on how other sites and agencies view their audience and customers.
4. New Old Stock
If you are looking for images with more of a unique and vintage flair, check out New Old Stock. This site puts a creative twist on stock photography since all the photos on the site are antique images that are free of any known copyright restrictions.
The rare images housed on this site are derived from the public archive via Flickr Commons. Many photos were taken by government agencies and depict some extremely candid moments. On New Old Stock, you can find many pictures of various streets and cities, shots of animals and loads of images containing the people of yesteryear.
Even if you don’t find exactly what you are looking for, this site is a real gem to scroll through, acting as something of a digital time machine. While the photos are free of copyrights, it’s still best to read through the rights and usage page before applying them to a large scale project.
Refe is a true diamond in the rough: This Tumblr driven site is comprised of photos taken only on mobile devices. And thanks to advanced mobile technology, none of the quality is compromised. There is a wide array of subject matters to choose from on Refe including nature shots, technology, urban environments and so much more.
Navigation of Refe is super simple too; all users need to do is browse for the right photo and click the “download” link below the desired image. Refe also provides brief descriptions to help identify locations, fun facts and other things to help give a frame of reference.
Since these photos are captured on mobile devices, Refe provides an authenticity to its photos that is difficult to duplicate otherwise.
There are tons of amazing stock photo resources available online that won’t empty your bank account. It’s all about having a good eye and a willingness to seek out innovation.
What is your favorite stock photography site? What other unique stock sites do you know of that weren’t mentioned here?