An integral part of creating your online store is sourcing high-quality images which are related to your ecommerce business. If you don’t currently have the resources to source your own images, then you’ll need to rely on stock images to build brand authority and showcase professionalism.
We’ve created this article to highlight the best stock photo sites which you can use to source royalty free images for your ecommerce store. We’ve also included free image sites on our list to make life easier if you’re starting your ecommerce store on a budget.
What is a Stock Image Website?
Stock images are photos that are already captured, edited, and available for use. There are two types of stock images: photos that require you to pay a licensing fee and images that are free to use (aka. royalty free images).
The majority of images which you can source from stock image websites are royalty free, which means that you can use them anywhere without having to credit anybody. When you use stock images, you can also edit them to your liking and even distribute them in marketing campaigns — they’re perfect for ecommerce entrepreneurs.
When you’re searching for stock images, you’ll need to choose between two different options; free stock image websites and premium stock image websites. Both premium and free stock image websites have advantages and disadvantages which you’ll need to take into consideration when you’re sourcing images for your business.
We’ve highlighted the key points to consider when you’re choosing which option is the best fit for your brand.
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Best Free Stock Photo Sites
If you’re an ecommerce entrepreneur who is running your online store with a relatively low budget, then it’s critical that you avoid unnecessary expenses. If you’re faced with the choice between spending some of your budget on stock images or growing your business with marketing campaigns, you’ll need to prioritize the latter.
Free stock photo sites offer a wide range of images and graphics which you can use without any charge– they’re invaluable for ecommerce entrepreneurs who are working with a tight budget. They don’t have a colossal library of images, like premium stock image websites do, but you’ll certainly be able to find high-quality, copyright free images which fit your ecommerce store’s design.
We’ve listed the top 6 free stock photo sites for ecommerce entrepreneurs below:
Shopify Burst is a free stock image website that is primarily aimed at entrepreneurs. The website is clean, with a modern design, making it easy to find free high resolution images.
Shopify Burst’s best feature for ecommerce entrepreneurs is their ‘Business Ideas’ section. In this section, you’ll be able to view categories of images which are dedicated towards specific types of ecommerce stores, like yoga products, or enamel pins.
This free stock image website will give you plenty of choices for images related to your niche and even give you ideas for new products.
Pexels offers a wealth of stock photos for free. These cover a wide spectrum of topics, so you’re sure to find something suitable for your business..
Pexels’ search function is what really makes it stand out from the crowd– it’s simple to use and has multiple useful parameters, which make it one of the easiest stock photography websites to use.
Pexels’ library of images contains plenty of aesthetically pleasing images, most of which are stunning landscape photos, so they could be ideal for the backdrop of your ecommerce store.
Unsplash is another essential free stock image site for ecommerce entrepreneurs. The site is constantly updating its database, adding 10 royalty-free photographs every 10 days.
The images which you can find on the site are of the highest-quality and would fit into any part of an ecommerce store, or any marketing campaigns which you create.
The downside to Unsplash is that their search function is relatively limited, meaning that it can be difficult at times to find what you’re searching for.
If you’re an ecommerce entrepreneur with a strong eye for design, then you’ll find that StockSnap.io is one of the best free stock image sites on our list.
StockSnap.io’s content library includes an extensive bank of photos which cover most aspects of design. We recommend this free stock image website specifically for ecommerce entrepreneurs who are selling clothes, as it features lots of aspirational images which will attest to your target audience.
You’ll also find free stock images for commercial use on StockSnap.
Gratisography is a free stock image website which was created by Ryan McGuire, an artist and designer.
This free stock image site has plenty of royalty-free images which were all taken by Ryan, so the images are truly unique. You can use the content from this website to make your online store stand out from the crowd.
Ecommerce entrepreneurs can also use Gratisography to find free stock images for commercial use.
Launched in 2013 by designer and photographer Viktor Hanacek, Picjumbo offers a vast range of copyright-free images for personal and commercial use.
What’s unique about this free stock photo site is that it displays the images as collections. This is when you can see the same image from different angles and pick the best shot for your project.
There are several collections to view, and Picjumbo daily adds new photos in a wide variety of categories. Rest assured, you’ll have plenty of high-quality images to choose from.
Premium Stock Image Websites
Premium stock image websites generally offer images which are of a higher quality than those which you can find on a free stock image website.
However, these higher quality images come at a price. If you find an image which you’d like to source on a premium stock image website, then you’ll need to purchase the image, or the license for the image, for a substantial amount of money.
As these images cost money, they’re much more exclusive, which means that you’ll be able to make your ecommerce store stand out from the crowd.
Here’s an overview of the best premium stock image websites which you can use to source images from:
EyeEm is a unique premium stock photography website– they’ve built a strong community around people buying and selling photographs. On the EyeEm marketplace you’ll find photographs which have been uploaded by other users.
If you find an image which you’re interested in using, then you can easily buy the full rights, which means you now own the image. Once you’re in possession of the rights, you can use the images for your ecommerce business however you want.
This premium stock image website excels because it was founded by entrepreneurs who are passionate about design and is fueled by a community of like-minded people working together.
Shutterstock is one of the most successful premium stock image websites. Their image library boasts millions of royalty free stock photos, illustrations, and graphics. They’re constantly working to ensure that their library is filled with the highest quality content possible.
Every day, Shutterstock adds ten thousand new high-resolution images, which means that you’ll be spoilt for choice if you use this platform. Shutterstock’s images can be expensive if you purchase them individually, but they’re more affordable if you purchase any of their bundles.
Shutterstock’s built-in photo editing tool is what makes this premium stock image website stand out from the crowd. You can purchase an image, edit, and resize the image all without leaving their website– it’s perfect for ecommerce entrepreneurs who aren’t proficient with photo editing.
iStockPhoto is one of the longest running premium stock image sites. It was originally founded in 1999 and has been at the forefront of design ever since.
iStockPhoto has an intuitive search function which enables users to find images quickly and easily. Even if you aren’t technically proficient, you’ll be able to access iStockPhoto’s wealth of images, graphics, video, and audio.
This stock image website’s pricing plan is amongst the most expensive on this list, but you’ll be paying for high-quality images which you can use for your store. They also have a unique reverse search function, which enables you to check if any of the images you’re interested in have been used by other ecommerce businesses.
Adobe Stock (formerly Fotolia) has one of the largest libraries of content out of the premium stock image websites on our list. You’ll find millions of royalty-free images which you can gain access to for a relatively cheap price. The website has an intuitive design which is easy to navigate around.
Adobe Stock has also incorporated a ‘collections’ system into their website, which is great for ecommerce entrepreneurs. The collections which are available are named core, infinite, and instant. Their core and infinite collections include images which are tailored to desktop use, whereas their instant collection features images which are tailored to mobile users.
This is a great feature for ecommerce entrepreneurs who are optimizing their store for mobile.
BigStockPhoto provides users with an easy and enjoyable experience when they’re browsing the website.
There are simple drop down menus and clearly defined categories which allow you to find the images you’re looking for.
Although these premium stock images are on the more expensive side, you’ll certainly get your money’s worth in high-quality visual content.
Summary: The 11 Best Websites to Source Stock Images in 2021
Now you know various different stock image websites, it’s time to nail the design of your ecommerce store. Remember, you aren’t limited to using just one of these stock images platforms, you should take advantage of all of them.
In summary, here are the 11 best stock image websites to use in 2021:
- Shopify Burst
- Adobe Stock
If you have any questions related to stock image websites, or designing your store in general, let us know in the comments section– we’re happy to help!
Want to Learn More?
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- Reverse Image Search Tool
Is there anything else you’d like to know more about and wish was included in this article? Let us know in the comments below!