Where to find professional images for your website?

Images are an important part of a beautiful website. When putting images on your website, there is a lot to keep in mind, like placement, dimensions and file size. But before you think about those questions, you need to know where to find high-quality images.

Where to find professional images for your website?

Why should I use images on my website?

Photos and images serve an important role on your website.

  1. Websites with images get more views. Most people do not like reading pages after pages of text.
  2. Images bring your product or service to life. Images allow your visitors to visualize your product or service and themselves using it, thus impact purchasing decisions.
  3. Websites with images get more attention when they show up on search result pages. For example, go to Google and search for "chocolate pudding recipe." See how web pages that have photos display a thumbnail picture next to the link? Which website are you most likely to click on?
  4. Images help viewers remember what they saw and read.
Where to find professional images for your website?

Why are high quality images so important to your website?

Considering the importance of photos and images, it makes sense that the quality of web images be the best possible. Poor images can cheapen even the most beautifully designed website and have a huge (negative) impact on how your viewers feel about your site and your business.

You can certainly use a content management systems like WordPress and Joomla to create a website. They are powerful and extremely flexible, but they also have a steep learning curve that requires a certain level of technical skills. New beginners may find WordPress overwhelming. For example, WordPress theme and/or plugin customizations often do require you to tweak some codes.

Benefits of using high-quality images:

  1. It makes your products more appealing and desirable
  2. It makes your website look more professional, credible and trustworthy
  3. It makes your website look more expensive
Where to find professional images for your website?

How to pick the right images for your website?

Here are some tips on choosing the right images for your website.

  1. Use high quality images.
    Large, pixel perfect, high resolution image always work best. Don't use any fuzzy or pixilated images! This most commonly happen when people use images that are too small. When they expand the image to fit the space, the image is stretched and ends up being distorted and fuzzy. So, make sure you don't upload a small picture then stretch it to fit the space dedicated for the picture.
  2. Use unique images.
    What if your website targets a saturated niche? How do you stand out? Stock photos is a great resource if you use it correctly. However, the worst pictures you can use on your website is the same cheesy photo that almost every other business website is using. You don't want another cookie cutter website, so stop picking cookie cutter images for your website. Use images that look more real and candid.
  3. Use images that complement your content
    Don't just pick any random picture because it look nice. You want the image to work to your advantage. For example, instead of just displaying an image of your product, you might want to have an image of someone using or interacting with the product. Images that display interactions give your visual content a lot more depth and can connect very well with your audience.
  4. Feature people who resemble your target audience
    People want to see themselves reflected in the images. For example, a website aimed at teenagers should obviously avoid using images of infants or senior citizens.

Real or Stock Images, how do I choose?

Real Photos

The best option is to hire a photographer to shoot images for your website. If you have the time and ability to create the image you're looking for with relative ease, then why not?

Benefits of real photos:

  1. You get unique photos that are personalized and specific to your needs
  2. Real photos have a better chance of engaging your visitors
  3. You avoid the biggest drawback of stock photography – your competition using the same image on their website.

  1. The downside of this option is time and cost.
  2. If you are planning on creating the images yourself, you should have some photography experience and skills.

Stock Images

Stock photographs are professionally designed or photographed images sold or licensed for use. Stock photos are generic images that cover anything from everyday objects and people to business settings, nature, landscape, landmarks and more. If your photography experience is limited to snapshots and selfies taking with an iPhone, then stock images is probably the way to go.


  1. Stock images are readily available. All you need to do is go to a stock photo website and download image(s) that best fit your needs.
  2. Stock images are affordable. You can easily find high quality images for less than $10. You can also find good quality free stock images on some stock photo site and within the image library of many website builders.
  3. You are not required to have any photography experience or skills.

  1. Stock images are generic images. While they can be stunning, they might not be an exact match to what you need.
  2. Chances are, the image that you want to use is already on your competitor's website.
  3. You have to read the fine print carefully. Some stock images come with restrictions and limitations. Free images are normally highly restricted.

Where is the best place to find free stock images?

Free images are great because they are, well, free. These images are free to download and use on your website. But since anyone can freely use them, you will very likely see the same images on multiple websites.

  • Unsplash

    All photography on Unsplash is completely copyright-free, including for commercial purposes. Photos are high-resolution photographs mostly of breathtakingly attractive landscapes. Unfortunately, there isn't much of an organization system – you will need to scroll through endless of images for a specific image.

    Searchable? No
    Attribution required? No [see Unsplash License]

  • New Old Stock

    If you are looking for copyright-free vintage photography, New Old Stock is a must-see! New Old Stock publishes vintage photos from the Public Archives that are free of known copyright restrictions. Most of the photos on New Old Stock are black and white. Each photo also comes with a small description, With New Old, you will not only get to download and use the images, but you can also read a small description of each.

    Searchable? No
    Attribution required? No [see New Old Stock Rights and Usage]

  • Pixabay

    Over 580,000 high quality photos, illustrations, videos and vector graphics, free for commercial use. By registering for a free Pixabay account, you will get complete access to a huge library of stunning images in a variety of sizes. Make sure you check out their Editor's Choice of the best images chosen by their team.

    Searchable? Yes
    Attribution? No [see Pixabay Terms]


    StockSnap has a large selection of beautiful free stock photos and high resolution images. The site also has a very handy search feature making it easy to browse through the thousands of images available. StockSnap adds hundreds of images on a weekly basis.

    Searchable? Yes
    Attribution? No [see License]

  • Gratisography

    Gratisography is a project by Ryan McGuire – he takes all the photos himself and release them as free downloads. The collection of photos is relatively smaller than the other stock photo website, but the photos are definitely unique and stunning. Check out his Whimsical collection of wonderfully weird images.

    Searchable? Yes
    Attribution? No [see Gratisography Terms]

  • Negative Space

    Negative Space is modest in size, but it offers a really useful search tool – you can search for images that have space for copy of the left, right or both sides.

    Searchable? Yes
    Attribution? No [see Negative Space License]

  • Splitshire

    Splitshire is a collection of stunning free stock photos by web designer Daniel Nanescu.

    Searchable? Yes
    Attribution? No

  • Picjumbo

    PicJumbo is a collection of beautiful free stock photos by web designer and photographer Viktor Hanacek. Images are split into rough categories and displayed in a blog style, not in the form of a gallery. One great feature of PicJumbo is that any time you find an image you like on PicJumbo, you can use the test drive feature to preview different ways that you can use it.

    Searchable? Yes
    Attribution? No [see PicJumbo's Terms]

  • Death to the Stock Photo

    If you want to browse the free photos, you have to sign up to their newsletter. Then, every month a photo pack of 10 photos within a certain category will be emailed to you. While this step can be quite annoying, you can be sure that the images will not show up on many of your competitors' websites.

    Searchable? No – you have to sign up to browse photos
    Attribution? No [see Death to the Stock Photo's License]

  • MorgueFile

    Morguefile is another great resource for free, high resolution stock photography. The site has an easy to use keyword search tool. Another great feature is the built-in crop tool that allows you to edit photos before downloading.

    Searchable? Yes
    Attribution? No [see Morguefile license]

  • Pexels

    Pexels is a search engine site that compiles the high quality stock photo website. They have added their own search tools to make it easier to find photos.

    Searchable? Yes
    Attribution? No [see Pexels license]

  • FreeFoodPhotos

    FreeFoodPhotos is a free stock photo library of high resolution food and beverage photography.

    Searchable? Yes
    Attribution? No [see FreeFoodPhotos license]

  • FreeFoodPhotos

    FreeFoodPhotos is a free stock photo library of high resolution food and beverage photography.

    Searchable? Yes
    Attribution? No [see FreeFoodPhotos license]

  • Website Builders (Wix,, Weebly, etc.)

    Most website builders like Wix, and Weebly have free image galleries that contain professional images you can use for your website. The image galleries available from website builders are all comprised of professional images and are not in violation of any copyright laws. So, if you are using a website builder to create a website, we strongly recommend you check out the website builder's image library first.

What does Attribution mean?

When searching for free stock images, there are two descriptions you'll see the most:

  1. Creative Commons Zeros – this means you can use the photos in any way you'd like, without needing to ask for permission or credit the creator of the photo.
  2. Creative Commons with Attribution – this means you can use the photo in any way you'd like as long as you credit the creator of the photo.

If you want to use an image that requires attribution, simply add a short sentence that cites the photographer (ie. "Photo by John Smith") and include a link back to their website, if they have one.

Where is the best place to find paid stock images?

Paid stock photographs are normally available at a premium - the payment is given to the owner of the image. One major benefit of paid images are they can be purchased in different sizes. Also, you will be able to choose from a wider range of stock photos that are available for nearly every industry.

  • Fotolia

    Fotolia runs one of the largest stock photo library in the world. It contains millions of images, vectors, illustrations and video. Pricing is based on pay-as-you-go credits as well as monthly subscriptions.

  • Adobe Stock

    Adobe Stock contains millions of high-quality images, illustrations, graphics and videos curated by Adobe. Pricing is based on pay-per-image or monthly subscription. One biggest feature is you can access and manage the images right from your Creative Cloud apps, such as Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC and other Adobe CC desktop apps.


    iStock by Getty Images contains photos, video, audio and illustrations. Pricing is based on credits (you are not required to sign up for a monthly plan) and the more credits you purchase at one the more money you save.


    500px was intended to be a photography community much like Flickr – where you can sharing, buying and selling photography. They even have their own iOS and Android app for capturing, editing and sharing photos. It has a large selection of unique images. Bundle and subscription services are available for additional savings.


    Shutterstock is a very popular site that contains images, videos, music and illustrations. Pricing is based on image usage, and they also offer monthly subscriptions, allowing you to download as many images as you need during the subscription period.


    Bigstock is a subsidiary of Shutterstock. They have a large collection of photos, vectors and illustrations. Pricing plans are charged on a monthly basis, but there is a limitation on the number of photos you can download per day. One plus though, you can re-download images you have already paid for free.


    Getty Images has a very big selection of paid images. They are not the cheapest, but they have one of the best selection of non-stock-like photos, many of which are exclusive to Getty Images so you can't find them in other stock image sites.

  • Vectorstock

    Vectors are perfect for print projects because they can be resized without sacrificing image quality, so resolution isn't an issue. VectorStock has a large selection of high-quality vector illustrations.

  • Dreamstime

    You may recognize many of Dreamtime's best stock photos from popular magazine and newspaper ads. Dreamtime has an excellent collection of images. Pricing options include pay-per-download credits and monthly subscriptions (but there is a limitation on the number of photos you can download per month).