Bad photography is a sure way to ruin a great website. Low-quality photos give the impression that your company is unprofessional, even if your website itself is well designed and informative.

We take a look at each of the options for sourcing photos, and their pros and cons.

Using stock photo sites

sourcing images stock photos website

A growing number of sites offer access to libraries of stock graphics, typically for a fixed fee per image or set of images.

Recommended and free stock photo sites

Among the most popular stock image sites are ShutterstockiStock and Dreamstime. They offer royalty-free images, which means there’s only a once-off cost per image, rather than a fee for each time you use the image.

A number of free stock photo sites, such as StocksnapFreepik or Pexels, are available, and many offer photos of reasonable quality. They might not have the range of photos available on the bigger stock photo sites, but are worth investigating – especially if you need only the odd image.

Advantages of stock photo sites

Stock photo sites are popular primarily for the wide range of photos they offer. If it’s fairly generic images you need, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for – usually at a reasonable price.

Most stock image sites also have the option of downloading on-demand, meaning you don’t have to get locked into a monthly subscription. If you do need a large number of stock images every month, monthly subscriptions tend to be good value for money.

Disadvantages of stock photo sites

If you’re looking for a very specific subject or composition, you might struggle to find it. For example, stock image sites might have plenty of photographs of pot plants but none in a red pot – which might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Another issue is that stock photos tend to be overused. You might find the perfect photo for your front page only to discover that it has already been used multiple times on other sites. This is a dead giveaway to your clients that the photo doesn’t relate directly to your business, and can come across as disingenuous.

Stock images aren’t taken or used just for business purposes. If you do go this route, try to avoid images that might be considered corny, silly or unprofessional.