Where to Find the Best Premium Stock Photography

There are free images out there but they are not without their drawbacks. Because they are free, they are widely shared and used so there’s a high risk of using an image that someone else is already using. And I know that you don’t want to risk the embarrassment of showing up at the party in the same dress as someone else.

Also, the search functionality of the websites that house free stock images can be pretty limited. Not having advanced search features like photo orientation or colors means spending more time sifting through bad images looking for suitable images. Sometimes finding the image you have in mind out of the free images on the web can be a needle in the haystack experience.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to free images:

In Walks Good Stock Photography

And I’m intentionally using the word “good” here. I’m not talking about bad stock photography, photography that’s shot in bad lighting on bad sets with inauthentic, whiter than white, forced smiles on everyone’s faces! The last thing a psychotherapy website needs are images that demonstrate inauthenticity and emotionlessness.

Good stock photography on the other hand, is awesome. It shows real people in real situations. With really good lighting, really good composition, great colors, great energy, and they provide a variety of emotional wavelengths. Good stock photography is more than toothpaste smiles.

And in many cases, good stock photography is also more fair to the photographers and artists. A lot of the larger stock sites pay less than 20% of the sales to photographers. That is worse than selling your art in an overpriced art gallery in Mykonos! At least there, the artists get half.

We can all do better with stock photography and buying good stock photography from good sources can help artists too.

Important – before we jump in: note that you should always always read image licenses for any stock image source, including the ones listed here. Many licenses limit how you use images of models in the context of mental health and have other guidelines for what the license gives you a license to do.

The Best Premium Stock Photography

 

Stocksy

Stocksy premium beautiful stock photography

Listed first completely intentionally. I am in love with stocksy! Stocksy is a multi-stakeholder co-operative, meaning all of the photographers are also co-owners of the company. Talk about fair, sustainable business. And they pretty much have the best photographers ever shooting images too. So beautiful. I want to live in stocksy.


Twenty20

Twenty20 stock images is a stock website that provides access to amazing photography from everyday experiences. With an emphasis on including mobile photography, the images are authentic and original imagery and created by real people.


BRWN Stock Images

BRWN stock images is a stock website with a specific focus on providing images featuring people of color. Because of the underrepresentation of black and brown people on popular stock sites (even some listed here) there is a real need for the project and the images are GORGEOUS! And affordable.


Snapwire

Snapwire Awesome Stock Photography
Snapwire has a unique approach to stock photography. You can search their marketplace, which is similar to other stock sites, but you can also request photos be created just for you. If you need that particular image for your online marketing or branding, this is a great option!


Lightstock

Lightstock Premium Stock Photography

Lightstock collects, curates, and licenses stock content for the faith-based community. But even for therapists who are not of the Christian faith can find images of contemplative, calm, people that aren’t cheesy and aren’t super contrived on this website. A gold-mine for speaking to the universal struggles we all go through.


Death To The Stock

kat-love-design-death-to-the-stock-photography
Creates amazing photo stories that are the anti-stock. You can actually get incredible free photos from Death to the Stock delivered to your inbox monthly but they also have a truly awesome premium plan which includes access to a huge photo library and a premium photo pack among a few other perks.


500 Prime

kat-love-design-500-stock-photography

The images at 500 Prime are sourced from the 500px community, a community of photographers around the world. The selection is just amazing. A lot of authentic, inspiring images.


Creative Market

Creative Market for Photos

It’s not the best option out of the bunch for easy searching but you can find some interesting things here. I like how all of the photography here is actually uploaded and sold by the artist themselves! There’s a photos category that you can search within and you can also sometimes find mega photo packs like this one including 500 images.


Maybe There’s More Out There

Although I’ve been searching for the best of the best when it comes to good stock photography, there might be more out there.

Do you know of any great stock photography projects that I should add? If you purchase stock photography, where do you purchase it from?

I’d love to know what you think of these options or more about where you find premium stock. Feel free to tweet me or get in touch by sending me a note. I’d love to hear from you.

Kat Love

Hi, I'm Kat! I'm the founder and lead designer here at Empathysites. Therapists helped me heal from childhood sexual abuse so now I help therapists with creating their websites. I write on topics like website design, strategy, and turning website visitors into clients. Reach out anytime if you'd like to say hi. Pronouns: they/them/their