How to Find Great Stock Photos

How to Find Great Stock Photos

How to Find Great Stock Photo Resources

Images can make or break a website. Not all businesses have great photos of Idaho yak farms to use throughout their website like our friends at 4 Peaks Yaks. The prominent use of photography is one of the popular trends sweeping through web design in 2015 which experts say is sure to stick around. It is a no brainer that images are effective in building confidence and winning customers, so how do we go about finding and using great stock photos?

There is an art to choosing great photos. The first step though, is knowing where to look. I prefer to choose stock images for my clients’ websites, so I usually include the cost of images in a website design package or make an arrangement to add the cost to their invoice.

I view it as one of the creative services that I provide. It makes sense to have your designer choose the images for your site so that they are optimized for use and tell a cohesive story alongside one another.

Some of my clients have later asked where I found their stock photos so that they can purchase more similar images. I use different services depending on the type of image I am trying to find. Here is a summary of my recommendations as well as some tips for finding, selecting, and presenting images to others for their review. I hope it is helpful for you!


Stock Photo Resources For Blog Posts and General Images





This website catalogues free stock images. Some can be useful, but others may have a color filter or other details that don’t work for your site. I found the camera image featured on this blog post on Pexels.


Dollar Photo Club


dollar photo club stock images

This is the service I use for my own personal blog images and for general images on popular topics. I often search here first to see if I can save my clients money one some of their images. You “apply” for a membership for $10 a month and are allowed 10 downloads a month. This service is particularly great for bloggers who need 10+ images each month or for web designers or social media marketers who will use it for their clients.


Stock Photo Resources for Specialized Industries (medical, educational, military, etc.)




Shutterstock provides high quality and specialty images for the across the board price of $15 dollars an image. In my experience, these are generally about the quality of iStock essentials collection, although has different options and some great finds.

Beware the automatic subscription add-on while checking out on this site. If you change any of the terms on the check-out page it will add your choice to sign up for a subscription again.




iStock Photos

With iStock Photos by Getty Images you will pay either (approximately) $30 or $10 per photo depending on whether you are looking at an image from the “signature” or an “essentials” collection. You are required to buy a pack of “credits” to purchase the image, so the price per photo will vary based on the number of credits that you purchase. Understandably, the “signature” images are really high quality and the essentials are more basic. I try to use a mix, highlighting the signature images on large sliders and reservign the essentials for smaller uses.


Tips for selecting and presenting stock images to clients:

-Make a list of images that you are looking for based on your website design (3 slider images, 4 blurb images, 1 vector icon, 2 staff page images, etc.)
-Consider format (horizontal or vertical, empty space for text), color, tone, and other essential qualities before you start looking
-Use the lightboxes initially, but don’t view this as a collection of options to share with your client unless they have asked for it
-Use the “related image” search to find variations of an image that you like
-Download low-quality, watermarked versions of stock images and insert them into the website to create a demo
-Take the time to edit the low-quality, watermarked versions with whatever gradient overlays, filters, and text effects you may need to find out if they don’t work before you purchase them
-Don’t overwhelm your client with too many choices. Instead, ask for a final decision between two images if you need their field expertise to understand what the image will convey to their niche audience. Make it your goal to show them a website with stock photos inserted so that they can see the “full picture” of the design

Do you have a different stock image service or resource that you recommend? Any additional tips for web designers in selecting and presenting stock images to clients? Let me know in the comments!