The Biggest Stock Photo Libraries on the Internet


For a lot of business owners, it can seem like there are a billion different factors that influence every decision, and your decision of which stock photo vendor to go with is no different.  And for a lot of business owners as well, it can seem like only size matters.  Managers and business leaders want the biggest stock photo libraries they can find, with the assumption that a huge variety of images will lead to the best stock photo library.  In the breakdown that follows, we’ll share a few reason why this kind of thinking isn’t always the best way to approach your stock photo library, and make some arguments that size isn’t all that matters when you’re deciding which stock photo service to go with.  But first, here are a few of the biggest stock photo vendors, with some notes on their truly massive stock photo library options and offerings.

  1.  Shutterstock

As an industry leader and pioneer, Shutterstock has long been known as a great place for businesses to find a large and varied stock photo library.  With more than 50 million media offerings in their library, this stock photo agency definitely has a lot going for it as far as bulk goes.  Images in the Shutterstock Library are categorized broadly as either photos, vectors, illustrations, editorials, or icons, with music and stock footage available as well.  The largest photo section is additionally widely categorized, with offerings in themes as broad and varying as “animals/wildlife,” “patterns,” and “beauty/fashion.”  Browse their stock photo library to see all of their other 20 categories, and to see how huge a 50 million image stock photo library truly is.

  1.  Fotolia

With more than 30 million images, and tens of thousands added every day, Fotolia is one of the largest and fastest growing stock photo libraries out there.  Their library is easily searchable, and results can later be filtered by category, with popular organizational labels like “people,” “animals,” and “food.”  Furthermore, results can be narrowed down by things like color scheme, whether or not photos have people, and other more specific metrics used to find exactly the kind of photography that you need.  While there are quite a few options to narrow down and refine what you are searching for, and results are displayed somewhat intuitively, it can be overwhelming to weed through a stock photo library this huge to find the things you need.

  1.  Depositphotos

A stock photo library of around 20 million images makes Depositphotos one of the largest vendors of stock imagery around.  Images are categorized by a massive number of labels: 36 total categories as far ranging as “Jewelry and Gems,” “Fauna and Flora,” and the abstract “Concepts” help label the huge image database and make it more sortable for subscribers to the service.  Images can be further sorted by metrics like popularity, image orientation, and more,  all in the hopes of making Depositphoto’s huge stock photo library more accessible to users.  Even so, such a huge number of options can be overkill for small or medium sized business owners looking for the perfect image for commercial uses.

Beyond Stock Photo Library Size

It can seem like the size of an agency’s stock photo library is the most important thing to consider when choosing which vendor to try out for your business, and the three services above prove that a big library can indeed be a good thing for business owners looking for the right vendor.  But there are a lot of other things to consider as a smart business owner when choosing the right stock photo library to pick from, and finding the vendor that meets your needs perfectly.

First, take some more time to seriously look into how each vendor categorizes and organizes the photos they offer.  50 million stock photos sounds great in practice, but can be a nuisance if it is hard or impossible to search through them all.  Second, think about what you will need stock photos for, and how big of a library you really need.  Some of the biggest vendors with the biggest stock photo libraries to pick from are also prohibitively expensive for small business owners, so be wary of choosing the right library that actually meets your needs and doesn’t give you things your business won’t benefit from.

Finally, consider how often other people are using images in the stock photo library of the vendor you are thinking of trying out.  A library with 50 million images isn’t necessarily the best choice for your business, if a service with 1 million images has 50 times less users.  Think about how many people will have access to the photos you want to use, and remember that bigger agencies see more users.  All of which is to say that size matters, but keep more in mind than just how big a stock photo library is when choosing the right service.

Blogger Problems – Where can I Buy Cheap Stock Photos?

Being a blogger isn’t just typing a wall of texts. It’s all about presentation and visual appeal that would make most Cheap Stock Photosreaders stick around, read and enjoy the content. And what way could be more efficient than using high quality cheap stock photos and illustrations?

You can literally just grab and save photos all throughout the internet but when you’re using them for commercial or even personal gain it would be wise to educate yourself about copyright laws and creative commons. To make a quick summary, you can’t just use photos from other sites while being lackadaisical about the rights of the image owners. It is the same as stealing. You either need permission to use them or buy them.

Fortunately, there are a lot of sources to obtain cheap stock photos. There are hundreds or even thousands of stock photo agencies that contribute to millions and millions of stock photo content all throughout the infinite space of the internet. But you can’t just simply pick a random or just any website for your stock photo needs. You will need to make a little research and get a good “feel” of the website before deciding on investing on pay-as-you-go credits or subscription.

Here’s what you need to consider before deciding which website or stock photo agency to invest in:

  1. Quantity – the more photos a site has in their library, the higher the chances you’ll be able to find the images you would want to use in the future.
  2. Search tool and filtering – since several sites have millions of stock photos to choose from, a stock photo site should be equipped with a competent search tool that capable of advanced search features and filtering in able to narrow down your specific keyword search results.
  3. Layout and User Interface – As the saying goes, first impressions last – and it couldn’t be truer than when looking at a website’s layout design. A good stock photo website should be user-friendly to both the regular and casual netizen. Think of it like a menu in restaurants. In order to help your customers decide which one to order, it should be organized well and look presentable. Image previews and teasers can help considerably and several websites utilize this to give both potential and current customers something to look forward to.
  4. Price – probably the most important factor. To most customers, the prices of stock photos will always be an automatic deciding factor. A lot of superb high-quality images do not come cheap but to those who have a lot of budget to spare this might not be an issue.

Here is a short list of websites to buy cheap stock photos:

  • Shuttershock – a popular site for stock photos and images as well as other content. Signing up for an account on Shutterstock will give you access to weekly free photos and other bonuses.
  • Dreamstime – has a very flexible purchasing system. After an easy free signup, you will then have access to their free selected images section.
  • Fotolia – is among the famous stock agencies that has one of the cheapest royalty free stock photos. They offer cheap subscription fees and licenses that “don’t expire”.
  • iStockphoto – utilize the credit system for their regular clients. They have an impressive quantity of content and a neat search tool feature
  • PressFoto – unlike most websites that uses credits for purchase, this site features the ability to purchase with real money without the need to convert your cash for credits.

There are still a lot more other websites to check out that offer cheap stock photos. But make sure to check quality of content and your image preferences in their library before investing in a subscription or purchasing a pay-as-you-go credits.

Best Sites to Find Cheap Stock Images

stock-photos-sitesStock images are an important commodity in the internet because of the variety of uses most especially for business, online marketing or personal blogs. Due to the fact that a picture is worth a thousand words, a carefully picked and appropriate image can do wonders to those who would benefit from its use.

Because of this, cheap stock images are being sought because you can’t just simply grab an image without giving due to its creator or make it worth his time by paying for the image.

In order to avoid any legal repercussions from using any image you get in the internet for commercial use or personal gain, it’s better to settle for cheap stock images if you really need them. There are several images that belong in the public domain though – meaning they don’t belong just to anyone and can be used by anyone, but don’t expect much.

What some people want is to look for subscription plans for 3 stock photo agencies and compare their rates. Several people have limited budget while some can afford a high budget. From single images amounting to a measly $1 to images that can even reach far beyond that, it is wise to apply for a paid subscription rather than single purchases if you plan to use a lot of images.

The list will focus on rates that take in consideration both single purchases and subscription fees.

To make accurate comparisons, you need to standardize the prices. Different photo sites have different prices and packages so you need to make a few trips to several sites to compare their rates.

Here is a list of royalty free stock photos only (without the inclusion of special collections, exclusives, or vector images):

  • Shuttershock – a very popular site for lots of stock photos and images. The lowest price on Shutterstock is 28¢ for a single royalty stock photo. Signing up for an account on Shutterstock will give you access to weekly free photos and other bonuses. You would find several samples and thumbnails with watermarks on the images but rest assured you won’t be seeing those in the images you purchased.
  • Dollar Photo Club – with an offer of $1 per image in any size (vectors included), that’s basically a steal. Also offering 100 images for only $99 is just downright cheap compared to all the other stock agencies in our list. They also offer an incentive of 10 free images if you subscribe to a $99 yearly subscription.
  • Dreamstime – has a very flexible purchasing system that can easily direct users to their cheap royalty free stock images amounting to a measly 20¢ per image (lowest price). Aside from the easy and free sign up, you will also have access to their free photo gallery after the sign up process.
  • Fotolia – also has one of the cheapest royalty free stock photos around. The lowest price can amount to a mere 14¢. They also have rates of $1 for large images. They also offer cheap subscription rates and the royalty-free images they have offer up for sale have worldwide licenses “that don’t expire”.
  • Deposit Photos – 10¢ per royalty free stock photo is definitely one of the cheapest around. They offer a free trial for all new members that allows them to download 35 photos (5 photos a day for a week) The cheapest stock photo agency on a price per photo comparison
  • Photospin – the cheapest stock photo agency offering a surprising 1¢ per stock photo (for the cheapest ones they have). Coupled with very large image library of over 2.5 million images, photospin is popular image library since 1999. Managed by designers, photographers, and IT specialists, they cater to the huge demand of stock images in the internet and they deliver the cheapest prices of a stock image available for personal and commercial use.
  • Photodune – a popular site that not only sells royalty-free photos and images with a starting price of $1, but they also buy them. Their price basis is dependent on the size or megapixels of each file.
  • iStockphoto – they have “credit packs” for the regulars and a library of content nearing a whopping 10 million. This impressive number of content includes high resolution images, clip art, stock photos, vector illustrations, videos, and music files.
  • PressFoto – featuring over 6 million stock photos, images, clipart, vectors, and videos, this site allows you to pay as you go and allows you to use real money in the form of US dollars and not in credits as many stock photo websites utilize. With real money, you can purchase subscriptions as well as individual photos, images, or other contents and even rent them if you have a website you want to use them on.

Given the numerous sites to get cheap stock images from, you must always take into consideration that you should always optimize the worth for your buck. It is wise to not simply be allured by cheap stock images.

Some images are expensive for a reason – the most likely reason is that they are simply gorgeous with a generous serving of pixels reaching high resolution.

Before subscribing or becoming a regular buyer of images from stock photo agencies, you should always try out the free images or some other images at specific price ranges and compare their qualities. Remember, it’s never always a good thing to settle for the cheapest price. Why not settle for a better quality that only costs several cents more?