Just Creative

I’m Jacob Cass, the founder of JUST™ Creative. I’m a multi-disciplinary graphic designer, working with clients all around the world. My specialty is logo & brand identity design. JUST™ Get in touch.


Best Stock Photography / Vector Sites?

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Everyone has different go-to’s for stock and I’ve love to hear what you personally consider the best stock / vector sites out there so please do share in the comments.


As for me, for the past 1.5 years I’ve been subscribed to Shutterstock, a high quality yet affordable, royalty-free stock photography & vector art subscription service. I’ve used their images on a regular basis and you would have seen many of their images in my blog posts, mainly used to add visual interest to a otherwise boring page of text.

Today, I wanted to let you more formally know about Shutterstock‘s great service and also offer you guys a 10% discount (see below). I don’t normally do these sorts of posts, but after using their service for so long, I have no problem in referring them and with a discount for you, it’s a win-win for all.

It’s not just their stock that I have been impressed with either, but also their constant innovations & improvements to their website, most importantly, their search function which makes it a lot easier to find that ‘one image’.

So yeah, if you’re looking for a quality, yet affordable stock solution, I highly recommend Shutterstock. For the 10% discount on any subscription, simply add “justcreative10″ to the checkout page. This code is strictly for 10 days only and expires on July 4th 2011.

In your opinion, what is the best stock photography site?

40 JUST™ Creative Comments

  • Prerak Patel


    Thanks for a brief but a good and important piece in regards to stock photo sites. I have to say, I have been trying to sort out options for a while now as to what is a good stock site and since I have been following your design advices closely, this articles sums it for me.


  • Andrew Peacock

    I personally really like http://sxc.hu as most things are free and I can usually find what I’m looking for.

  • Jordan

    The agency I work at uses mostly Getty, with Corbis and Veer mixed in.

    I find them all to be very good.

    I’ll check out Shutterstock.

  • Jacob Cass

    I used to use Sxc.hu back before Shutterstock, thanks for the reminder. I also recommend them!

  • Erik Kubitschek

    I also use sxc.hu and shutterstock but don’t forget the Envato Network, Graphic River has a nice group of offerings as well. I know they have alot of vectors, psds and knockouts.

  • Tristan

    I’m usually iStockPhoto.com for almost everything. Occasionally you can find the same stock at dreamstime.com for cheaper. While iStockPhoto is a better range and overall better quality, at dreamstime you can download vector stock as a high res jpg if you don’t need the source files. I also use sxc.hu occasionally, and for quick 1 time purchases pixmac.com is handy. Another handy tool is tineye.com reverse image search. Want to know where someone got certain stock from? use tineye to find out. It’s also handy to put up screenshots of your own work to find out if anyone is ripping it off!

  • Mark

    Okay, I’ve used Shutterstock for a while too, but their constantly raising and exorbitant subscription plans simply forced me to look elsewhere, like iStockPhoto, Veer, Fotalia, and Photos.com (Getty). I have even used some free/open sources like EveryStockPhoto. Comparatively speaking, other pay-for-use photo services provide quality that is just as high or better than Shutterstock for a fraction of the price. Maybe the case where you might see Shutterstock become affordable is when your team is using their allotted 25 images per day, 365 days a year. At $2559 per year with 25 images per day, that works out to approximately $0.28 per image. And what about the same plan at Fotalia… $2061 per year. 1-year with 100 images per week at Photos.com… $988.00.

    You may want to consider keeping a spreadsheet of image sites, their services and offerings, along with costs so that when it comes time to make recommendations, you know where it stands relative to the others. Certainly cost is not the only factor, but it is a big one.

  • Marina

    I agree with Mark, Shutterstock is a quite expensive. I use Fotolia where you can find great variety of choice for affordable price.

  • 3rddesign

    I use Fotolia because it is not very expensive. I’ve been using it to some of my blog posts.

  • sheila

    Hi Jacob!
    Long time fan, love your site, your resources are always amazing! I’d have to agree with everyone else, iStockPhoto is my go-to for high quality, affordable imagery. I would consider Shutterstock, but I find even their cheapest option of $10/download isn’t always suitable if you want something like a small graphic for the web, which might be closer to $4 (2 credits) on iStock. And of course http://sxc.hu is invaluable for us starving students! ;)

  • Lavender

    I use 123RF.com in some of my projects because of their affordable prices and good services.

  • David Christian-Woodruff

    I work as a website designer and developer and use a lot of images in the designs that I do. To spend time actually drawing or sourcing our own images would hinder the work we have to do immeasurably. It is for this reason that we use Shutterstock. It’s a great resource, the prices are massively better than other similar services, including iStockPhoto who charge huge amounts of credits for one image.

    If anyone wants an extensive range of images costing a credit each no matter the size, then I suggest going no further than the Shutterstock website and am glad that Jacob has taken the time to tell everyone about it.

  • Jeremy Darko

    I use sxc.hu if necessary and I never pay for anything online. After all, what’s the point? If you just do the right amount of research you can find anything for free. I frequent gfxtra.com and gfxcool.com frequently anything that you are looking for can be found there. You don’t have to be a hero to feel invincible. Creativity Takes Courage.

  • Sara

    Excellent collection of photography sites

  • nathan powell

    Ive been using http://sxc.hu for years now. Its great.

    If I have to pay for images I head over to istock as its great value for money.

    Thanks for the post

    Good luck!

  • Chris

    I’m using Istockphoto, but there is trick to get the high resolution photo and remove the watermark completely from their site.

  • Amos

    Our newest article about the 5 cheapest stock photo agencies might help you better to decide. You might like to read it here: http://www.stockphotosecrets.com/buyers-guide/5-of-the-cheapest-stock-photo-agencies.html
    I would love to hear your feedback on my new stock photo helping website.

  • Jacob Cass

    Thank you all for your feedback and suggestions on the best stock photography sites, I’ve got to check them out and see for myself.

  • Mistures

    I work with shutterstock, but sometimes. I prefer to take the pictures myself.

  • zohaib zulfiqar (Graphic Designer)

    Mostly agencies use shutterstock.
    great website with huge collection

  • Stefan

    We just suscribed to Thinkstock. Slightly more affordable rates ( some prices for stock photos are just ridiculous )

  • Gary

    I run http://www.stickstock.com, which has a couple thousand free stock images now, and growing.

  • M1Creative

    I use Shutter Stock and have always been very happy with them. It is a little bit naughty for the previous posters to be dropping in links to their own sites although at least the one above is a photography site!

  • Roman Dekan

    Started New Stock Vector Agency Now, what is your opinion? I am sending URL adress.


    Stock Vector Images, Symbols, Illustrations, Icons, Design Elements, Logos, Templates, Cartoons & Vector Cliparts.
    Royalty Free Vector Graphics.

  • ArenaCreative

    The best stock photo website is the place that offers the specific image(s) you need, at the price you can afford. Shutterstock is a great place to both buy and sell images, and I’ve personally enjoyed them over the years.

  • Apramit

    hey just for what i was looking for..m convinced enough to use shutterstock! Thanks for the share Jacob

  • Aiden

    Aside from shutterstock, there’s one site I know they are posting a great high quality stock photography and its Free. You can add to your list the http://www.kozzi.com.

  • sarah

    loving http://www.ingimage.com they have a great selection of really nice images/vectors. well worth taking a look

  • haris

    for some free pictures, exist a new site http://www.photosshare.gr

  • Elizabeth

    I’m a fan of fotolia.com – but nice to learn about other sites!

  • marco colazingari

    Hi, thank you all for your useful information.
    However, if you are looking for great vintage photos have a look at http://www.colaimages.com
    We specializing in vintage stock photos and archival images.
    Our price are reasonable and the quality is great.

  • Beth

    I believe the best stock for graphic design is the pictures you take yourself.

  • Mahmod

    sxc.hu is great and i like pixbay.com also

  • Lookboard

    in my point of view, Shutterstock seem to be the best resource.

  • vacanza studio

    hey just for what i was looking for..m convinced enough to use shutterstock! Thanks for the share Jacob

  • Cris DeRaud

    A good alternative to sxc is http://www.rgbstock.com/

  • Jonathan Etnyre

    I work for Thinkstock/Getty Images/iStockphoto and I can provide a discount for anyone that is interested in purchasing Getty Images’ Stock Photography site – Thinkstock. Mention this post and I can give you up to 20% off a new Thinkstock subscription. Call me today at
    Jonathan Etnyre

  • JP

    Yes, short and sweet. Shutterstock is a great resource. I’ve used it a lot in the past.
    But for another option, a cool, indie photo blog I know is http://paulstocktextures.tumblr.com/
    STATS (for quickly-scanning gd’s)
    -no fee/limit
    -royalty free
    -commercial use= yes
    -no attribution required

  • Jessy

    Shutter sock complete and useful for webmasters .


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