OUTSHINE YOUR COMPETITORS ON SOCIAL MEDIA WITH THESE RESOURCES
Capturing the essence of a brand through
storytelling with visuals
is a top priority for all business owners.
According to Social Media Examiner way back in 2018, 32% of marketers said that visual images were the most critical form of content for their business.
Now as we move forward in the competitive landscape of social media, blogging and vlogging in 2021, it's critical you have fast, easy and continual access to stop-scrolling images.
You've heard it, I've heard it and we've all heard it .... every brand MUST create: engaging, educational, entertaining, delightful and valuable content (photos, images, videos, etc.) to entice their target market to buy into their brand.
But wading through a dizzying array of stock image websites looking for the perfect photos, videos, illustrations, vectors and downloadable music is time-consuming and, let's be honest, a little addictive.
To save you time and to help you with creating, launching and growing your brand through visual storytelling to assist you in the creation of your lucrative competitive advantage - I've curated the most comprehensive collection of microstock sites from around the web. Please know that affiliate links are used throughout this website and I may get a small commission if you decide to purchase anything, and I thank you deeply because it will help me go on to create many more review style lists to help you achieve a competitive advantage.
What is a microstock website?
A website that provides direct access to royalty-free and paid for photos, graphics, illustrations, and royalty-free images - known as stock images.
Stock images are often used for marketing and advertising purposes for print publishing, for websites and blogs, for promotional work, and for commercial or personal projects.
Are stock images free?
Generally no. The photographer or author of a stock image makes it available for licensing.
As you scroll through this ultimate list of microsites, you will discover websites offering royalty-free stock images. But royalty-free doesn't always mean free, especially on the web, and there are some pros and cons to using royalty-free stock images in your storytelling efforts.
So before you backflip with joy into the delicious sweet but risky royalty-free image pool, there a few things you need to know and pixelrockstar has kindly outlined the complexities. I encourage you to read this here.
Quick links to The Ultimate List of Stock Images & Videos from the world-wide-web.
The Best of the Good
Top of the list is Adobe Stock. This microstock site is the best in the business, and there's a good reason why.
Adobe has stringent guidelines. Contributors (photographers, videographers and the like) must abide by these guidelines, resulting in subscribers paying a high price to access these tremendous assets.
Always keep in mind that price is indicative of quality. If it's quality you're after (you nod your head), then Adobe could be the ideal, albeit pricey, resource library for you!
Here's the link to their plans and pricing page. You will see that you can download 5 images and videos for $54.95 or sign up as a subscriber for approx. $40 per month to receive 10 standard assets.
I have given Adobe Stock 5 stars only because I am bias (on this review only, promise). Disclaimer: I am a contributor. I'm also a subscriber because I moonlight as a graphic designer, sometimes.
Serving world-famous brands (including yours soon 😃) and featuring, ready for fast download, over:
14 million high-resolution editorial images,
132 million royalty-free stock images,
43 million vectors,
7 million high-definition video footage, and
41 million stock illustrations and paintings . . .
Depositphotos is a MUST HAVE resource when telling your brand story.
Their most popular subscription plan is the monthly plan where you get 30 downloads for $29. Fantastic value.
Depositphotos have clearly thought about you when devising their pricing structure because 30 downloads a month = 30 social media posts per month. In all honesty, if you post more than once a day .... hire a social media person to manage the scheduling and engagement. You've got a brand to build, honey, and spending more than 10 minutes a day on social media is more than enough time. I digress, sorry.
With Depositphotos, it works out to be one download a day at one dollar a day. Perfect! To sweeten the deal, Depositphotos offer a free 7-day trial and you can download 10 images for free. Got to love that.
Yay all the way with Yay Images and this is why - 12 million royalty-free images & over 200,000 HD/4K videos using either a simple or advanced search feature.
Yay has to be included in The Best of the Best. Not only do they offer an impressive library at a low price ... the user experience is as seamless as floating on air.
You get to type in a search phrase, choose the orientation of the image and even choose the colour filter. Bingo! This is a super useful feature.
You get a 7-day free trial when you sign up to any of their subscription plans. Yay! This is awesome because the free trial remove any risk because you get to test drive Yay Images before committing to the subscription.
And .... Holy moly, Yay Images pricing starts from $0.16 per download 😍.
This has to be the cheapest microstock site.
Yes, yes, I know. I say that price is indicative of quality and Yay Images smashes this belief by offering unique high-quality images for a low price.
I like how Yay Images reassures you with their, "Get the images you want and the legal protection with 100,000 photos added every week, including high-resolution images, vectors, and graphics."
I rely on YAY Images for unique images that will stand out in my graphics for social media, websites, webinars and powerpoint presentations. The search feature gives me quick access to exactly what I am looking for. It is an efficient system with quality images! I recommend YAY Images highly.
Check out Yay Images here.
Getty images is the market leader and has been touted as the best stock image website in the world.
It would just be plain rude not to give Getty Images 5 stars.
It’s a super easy website to navigate, and you can easily find images that you can purchase individually.
Prices start at $200 per download.
An alternative is to buy image packs ranging from $185 for 5 downloads through to a 10 pack of large images and 4K videos for $555.
An ultimate list of stock images resources wouldn't be complete without a review of Shutterstock.
$49 per month plan allows you to download 10 images only per month
monthly subscription - cancel anytime by turning off the auto-renewal feature
annual subscription - a 12-month commitment and is 40% cheaper compared to the flexible monthly option
If you create a free account, Shutterstock gives you 40 videos for free. It's their gift to you and the videos are edited and resized for your social media needs. They choose the videos to gift you. Whether they're any good or not? The jury is out on this one ... but ...
If you sign up for a Shutterstock subscription, they'll give me a $50 MasterCard® Prepaid Card and you'll receive one for $30. If you refer a friend, you'll also get a $50 MasterCard® Prepaid Card, and you're friend will get a $30 one!
Side Note: their image resizer is the bomb. All photos throughout my website have been resized with this tool. Why? Because Google likes webpages to load fast. If your webpages are filled with megabyte exploding content, let's just say that Google doesn't like that.
Also, check out their social media templates here! It's worth a look as you can create FB headers, Instagram stories etc., in no time :)
With an excellent reputation and often ranked amongst the top websites for royalty-free stock.
Offering over 85 million images on demand with credits for $0.88 – $22.50 each, depending on size and level, and credit pack used.
You can choose your subscription plan duration from month to month or for up to one year.
I love their royalty-free music and sound effects.
Everyone loves Pixabay, if 1 billion users count as everyone. Pixabay has 1.18 million royalty-free photos, illustrations, vectors, and videos plus an extensive music library from all different genres.
Pixabay work with a proprietary license agreement that enables commercial use for both digital and print, with no attribution required. There is a problem with spending time on Pixabay to find ideal stock for your storytelling .... when you choose a stock image you could be redirected to Shutterstock to purchase the image. That said, there's still the plenty of great stock to choose from for free.
Yes indeed, today sure does feel like a good day to start downloading Pixabay images for free and saving them to your swipe file. Side note: Pixabay is owned by the hugely successful Canva, and if you're already using Canva, you're actually using Pixabay images. Random fact.
Find Pixabay in the app store here.
This microstock site is created by Appsumo, who aren't shy when it comes to creating some of the best business apps on the plant.
You won't be disappointed AT ALL by Stockunlimted. This is an end-to-end graphic design resource library, and at the time of writing this review, Stockunlimted is priced at $19 month for unlimited downloads from over 1 million high-quality stock graphics, images, audio files, icons and templates.
They offer a 7-day money-back guarantee, no matter what the reason. This microstock site has a Download History and Favourites feature so you can save photos and go back to download your favourite ones. Nice touch.
"An endless library of dazzling stock content as far as the eye can see."
BRILLIANT 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼. Go to their website NOW because at the time of writing this review, they have a promotion ... $49 for three year access to unlimited downloads BOOM
Five stars all the way for Rawpixel. This resource is a must if you're keen to up your game when telling your brand story.
Their selection of files feels limitless.
We all love free, and with rawpixel you get 10 images and psd files a day to download for free for personal use. When you upgrade, you get access to their beautiful premium resources. And when I say beautiful, I mean it.
They currently offer a business lifetime membership plan for $19 per month on their yearly plan with 10% of your membership fees going to support Hope for Children 💙. At the time of writing this review, you can get unlimited access to the most awesome design resources forever for $99.00.
What I also love about Rawpixel, is their Creative Boards and their interface allows you to either search by image or board. You can save boards and create your own boards too, for easy access in the future. This feature is similar to Pinterest interface. Kind of. Sort of.
You can invite your friends to join rawpixel and when 4 friends sign up, you get rewarded with unlimited downloads from their free collection forever :) You will LOVE rawpixel to bits ..... especially when you discover that you can download images in pre-format social media size specifications 🥳
Sometimes you discover things that are better than margaritas on a sunny day. PikWizard is one such thing.
This is a well-organized site that is easily searchable. What do we love about PikWizard the most? Absolutely everything.
I could rave on and on or I could simply tell you that for $9.99 a month you get 60 images. Nuff said.
Videvo aims to create the world’s largest resource of free, safe-to-use videos and motion graphics thoughtfully organised into collections. They upload new stock daily!
Currently, Videvo offers over 15,000 free stock footage and motion graphics clips of the highest quality.
It's free to sign up and you'll get instant access to all their free content, with some additional extras ☺️, or you can choose a premium plan to get access to their crème de la crème content:
Videvo Plus ⚡️ Plan: 25 Premium downloads per month for $14.99 per month; or
Videvo Pro ⚡️ Plan: 50 Premium downloads per month for $24.99 per month.
Why have I given Videvo 5 stars? BECAUSE OF THE ECONOMICAL PREMIUM PLANS! Plus ..... Videvo not only offers high definition videos and motion graphics at a great price, they also offer over 100,000 music tracks and sound effects in their Video Pro plan and it's absolutely worth it.
This outstanding microstock site is definitely an agency worth knowing and using and honestly, I'm head over heels in love with this microstock site and this is why ....
They charge $35 a month for 25 downloads or choose the yearly plan for $389 a year for 50 downloads per month 🙌🏼.
Unused downloads carry over each month, for up to 3 months. Nice touch. Member price for HD videos - $99 for 5 videos. This is reasonable, yeah?
This is what they have for you:
4.5 million exceptionally beautiful royalty-free images 🙏🏼
2.3 million vectors 🙏🏼
1,400 fonts 🙏🏼
with 100,000 new files added weekly.
You'll appreciate and have fun with creating personal lightboxes (similar to a Pinterest board) and you can send these image selections via email. StockPhotoSecrets gets my vote for one of the best microstock sites on the planet.
This is a rather cool feature ▻ if you can't find exactly what you need (you will, but just saying), you can put in a request for what you want and they'll submit your suggestion to their contributors. Voila!
The Best of the Good
Modern and youthful style photos. Best for blog post cover photos and ideation.
This is one of my favourite 'go-to' websites to find stock images. Millions of other people think so too because Unsplash offers an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute and use any of their photos for free, without permission from, or attribution to, the photographer.
Even though attribution isn’t required, Unsplash photographers appreciate it as it provides exposure to their work and encourages them to continue sharing.
The downside of Unsplash is that it is the most popular stock image resource and, more often than not, you will see the photos you choose to use in your storytelling on your competitor's social media feeds, blogs and websites and ads.
Random fact: Unsplash started blogging on Tumblr. They offered leftover professional shots from an in-house production for free download. It escalated to its own stand-along website with over 500 thousand royalty-free stock photos from photographers and these photographers get their own portfolio pages. All of this is free.
You'll relish exploring the photos, collages, transparent background images and other backgrounds if you're after something definite.
ICONS8 content is minimalistic.
The images will work a treat if your target market is millennials.
Contemporary. Pastel. Studio Shots. Tidy.
If these elements reflect your brand style, then you'll enjoy this fun interactive website.
You'll dig the feeling of knowing you can access their full set of assets and all their apps too for $......
Okay ... wait for it ... take a deep breath. The price is .... 👉🏼 $259 per year or $29 a month. I can hear you breathing out a sigh of relief as you devour 50 photos, 25 vectors, 15 music tracks and 100 icons every month. Talk about content overload. Yep!
Now you have two choices. Go to ICONS8 and we'll see you back here in a few hours because you'll get caught up playing with their graphic design software, Lunacy for Windows, and their Photo Creator, or continue your scroll through this list of microstock sites, but it doesn't get much better than this!
Most of the royalty-free images from microstock sites are overused if the images are free to download. This makes it hard for you to create a brand story that cuts through the clutter.
Death to Stock offers authentic non-stock photos and videos.
On this microstock website, you will not come across the same old boring royalty-free images. You can expect fresh avant-garde photos from their contributors every month to take your visual storytelling to the next level.
Build your brand story from their unique 4500+ library from $12month for unlimited downloads. They offer a 14-day free trial.
The Ultimate List of Stock Photos & Videos wouldn't be much of a list if Flickr was omitted.
This stock photography website hosts more than 10 billion photographs!
Please know that Flickr photos are Free but copyrighted and require written permission and consent from the photographer because, as we know, it is illegal to use someone else’s work without permission. Public credit does not provide copyright permission nor are Flickr photos public domain.
The pioneer in photo stock supplies with an impeccable reputation.
iStock is backed by Getty Images who are well-known for their high curation level and extensive catalogues.
iStock uses a credit system for pricing, or opt-in for a $29 a month subscription and received 10 downloads per month. This works out to be $2.90 per download but to access their full library, where the best images are, you'll have to hand over $85 a month for 10 downloads.
Yes, iStock is priced on the high side; however, the quality of their content is exceptional if you're a subscriber so you can get your mouse on their best pics.
The icing on the top - they offer free stock weekly to their subscribers. And the cherry on top of the icing - you can create boards (yes, just like in Pinterest), where you save your favourite images.
Hundreds of thousands of very high-quality photos covering a variety of popular themes ... and are totally free to download and use in your storytelling. No attribution required. But ... the photographer donations to Public Domain looks a bit murky, so make sure you know exactly what rights they waive.
Nonetheless, you'll appreciate the artistic feel of their curated collections and their dynamic website. They have a sister website dedicated to free videos, and I highly encourage you to make a donation to the artists. We're kind ladies after all.
Arnold Pilapil via Life of Pix
Free high-quality stock photos with a natural contemporary feel.
The modern aesthetics of the photos scream “social media”.
You'll like how you can search for photos by colours, and then Kaboompics suggests related images for you to purchase from iStock. Is this annoying? Yes and no.
I like this site because it will be a great resource for you if your target market is young adults.
You can also download your chosen photo in three different sizes: original, medium or custom. If you pick a custom size, simply type in the width you need and the site will adjust the photo accordingly. Yes indeed ... perfect for social media.
According to customer reviews, some people are dissatisfied with their purchases from 123RF. Yet for other customers, they're beyond delighted.
"123RF is one of the best and most affordable stock photo sites around! You get a lot of bang for your buck here!" via Trustpilot
You have to admit their catalogue is extensive and features trending items such as photos of current national holidays. Prices start from $42 for 10 images a month and you just might find exactly what you're looking for. I personally like their textures selection.
Worth a Look
Here we find an oh so pretty small collection of free photos with a defined feminine style.
Most of the photos are flat lays and desktop shots with a very modern, clean, soft and minimalist concept.
Here is a list of their categories:
If your brand is all about femininity, then this microstock site is a must for your storytelling.
Created by designer and photographer Jeffrey Betts, Foca Stock displays thousands of his own royalty-free photographs made available for free download and use in creative projects, including commercial ones. Topics like nature and workspaces are predominant, and there's a notable absence of photos of people, though I think the curation level is excellent.
This website offers something that no other microstock website currently offers - thousands of original fine art photos by SEO consultant and photographer Martin Vorel.
His images are of outstanding quality and cover various subjects too. And they're all made available to use for your storytelling for free.
New Old Stock is a curated collection of copyright-free retro stock photography that recaptures history.
All the images you download from Pexels are royalty-free. And just like Unsplash, you're permitted to download the images for free and modify the photos. Yet, unlike Unsplash, Pexels offer an array of videos to choose from BUT you can only use Pexel images for a personal project or for mocking up a design with a client.
When you download a photo or video, you can donate directly to the artist, and Pexels doesn’t keep any of the donations.
Don't let Pexel's search function limitations deter you from browsing this site.
A vibrant gallery of stock images but some galleries have limited contents. Nonetheless, have a look. Pexels just might have exactly what you're looking for if you're mocking up a design with a client.
Boasting beautiful and exclusive free stock photos and free videos.
Splitshire offers around a thousand artistic and very professional styled photos from Photographer Daniel Nanesou's personal archive, spanning various current themes, that you can download and use in storytelling - free of charge.
Thousands of good quality free images and videos on popular subjects for personal or commercial use.
It is a varied selection that mixes traditional and artsy photos. The downside of ISO Republic is that you're continually directed to Shutterstock to purchase the photos/videos or to sign up to Shutterstock for a 1-month trial. No one likes to be sold to.
All images and videos are free so happy downloading. Attribution is not required, but it’s always nice to credit the creator and help more people discover their work!
Only If You Have To
With more than 100,000 stock photos and images to choose from, RGBStock.com is one of those microstock sites for finding images for your site in a pinch. It is a particularly great source for businesses that lack big budgets.
The images are free and the only catch is you must contact the image’s owner and request permissions to use his/her photos.
Hosting over 2000 images by stock photographer Viktor Hanacek and covering multiple popular themes.
Viktor offers his entire collection of 3,000 images for a donation from $15.00.
This is very kind (and I feel like a meanie now because I have 2 stars to ration to PicJumbo out of my bucket of stars).
Offering a generous amount of videos for you to download. The only downside is that most of the footage has the Videezy watermark on the bottom LHS of the videos.
If you buy credits, they will cost $19 per file, or you can purchase a bundle of 10 for $49. This is a fair and reasonable price for the quality of their videos.
If you don't pay for their videos, you are required to give full attribution. Click here if you want to discover more.
An eclectic collection blending in commercial-like shots with artistic images and the occasional unique, edgy picture. All photos are free to use for any purpose from Skitterphoto.
You may download and edit photos and even use them commercially in your storytelling. But legally-wise there are some concerns. Naturally, site owners' photos are safer to use, but identifying them is difficult. User submissions, albeit warned on legal matters, are only reviewed for quality, leaving you to check and confirm their legal status before using them in commercial work.
Just another me-too free microstock website offering no point of difference.
But yay for you ..... if you made it this far through the list then it proves you have the patience of an entrepreneur. But don't stop now ... the best is not to come ☹️ .... so head on back up to the top of the page where the treasures are.
Waste of Internet Space 🤪
Just as the website name implies, here you'll find photos focused on the subjects of startups, small businesses and entrepreneurship. The images have an authentic style that shows diversity and realness.
The big annoying downside of Startup Stock photos is this .... it's an elementary website, and there's no search selection.
If you're only after specific images of startups, then this site may be perfect for you. And all photos are free.
Alamy is a stock photography agency with a long history in the market, offering over 220 million stock images, vectors, videos and 360-degree panoramic images.
Alamy is a traditional and reliable name in stock photos, so it's certainly worth considering. I'm not a fan, this is why ....
... there are negative reviews from the photographers and artists who contribute their work to Alamy for sale because they get paid peanuts or nothing at all :( .... hence why Alamy only receives 1 star in this review .... even though their pricing system is simple with no subscriptions, no credit redeem system, and no need to register! Images are priced from AU$14.99.
The site uses APIs from multiple stock photo providers to enable convenient, and quick. image previews and downloads. You'll like the Categories page where you can quickly scan what you're looking for.
This site can get a little frustrating when you choose a perfect image and then you see that it has a Shutterstock watermark on it ... so then you have to go over to Shutterstock to purchase it.
Doesn't freephotos.cc know we're busy 🙃 ?
Offering a limited collection of interesting free stock photos, but after a little search, you may find the ideal image for your storytelling.
You may also find their website a bit glitchy because it's riddled with retargeting advertisements. Usually, this indicates the company's business model is centred around bombarding their audience with ads instead of offering a delightful and seamless customer experience.
1 star from me sorry.
Featuring whimsical and rather strange collections, Gratisography doesn't offer many photos, but the ones they offer will surely delight you and they're free.
However, if you're after high-definition quality photos (and I know you are), it's probably best to avoid this stock provider.
Offers over 1000 high-quality photos that are totally free to download and use.
The photos are shot and owned by web designer Steven Ma. While totally suitable for commercial use, the collection is a bit meh.
The search function doesn't work. I searched for 'woman' and was shown a collection of boats 😹
Over-priced royalty-free low-quality photos.
The website doesn't allow you to enlarge the images.
Waste of time going into this website but you never know, it could contain the perfect images for your brand story ... nah, don't bother looking.
Much like several of these websites, you can use these images for commercial or non-commercial purposes.
And, when you register for the site, you can download 10 free Adobe Stock images and with some images (the good ones) you get redirected to Shutterstock to buy them .... WOT, not again 🤦🏼♀️
There you have it ... The Ultimate List of Stock Image & Video website links to help you create a competitive advantage by outshining your competitors on social media, in your blogs and on your website.
Time is precious, and it is sincerely hoped this webpage has helped you quickly access the perfect images, videos, illustrations, vectors and audio files to create on-brand storytelling for your business.
Remember to save this website link to your browser so you can access it at any time and please share this useful webpage with your co-workers, friends, on your social media platforms and in Facebook Groups so we can all shine in our brand's storytelling.
Beadman MMktg, AMAMI CPM
I see a world filled with women of influence.
I clearly see every woman, in every walk of life, financially independent and walking to the beat of her own beautiful drum. This is my vision.
To help me achieve this vision, my goal is to help ladies with free marketing resources and in my online courses .... so these women can all go on to help other women, by providing them with employment and the opportunity for them also to be financially independent.