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Low-Cost Stock Photo Websites

Stock photos can add a professional, photographic flair to your project.

Although you may already know what a stock photo is many people still ask – What is a stock photo?

So …a stock photograph is an existing photograph that is offered for sale for use in artwork or publishing for example. Great photographs are a big asset (people actually remember photos more than they remember words). The photo on the left is an example of a low cost stock photo.

Many stock photos are quite expensive but there are some stock photo sites around with great photos and low prices (as little as a few dollars each). These are the stock photo sites I have used with success over the past few years.

Bigstock Photos

This was the first stock photo site I ever used. The photo quality is quite good. The pricing is wonderful especially if you only need small photos. Although not one of my favorite sites anymore it still has good value – especially for people with a small budget.

This site also uses a credit system, meaning you buy ‘photo credits’ as needed and use them to buy photos. Different photos are worth differing credit amounts, depending on things like their size.

Finding stock photos

Dreamstime has become my second favorite site to use for stock photos. They offer both credit and subscriptions options (both at a great price) and there are some really brilliant photos in their collection. I’ve used Dreamstime many times and have always been very pleased with their range.


This is my top site for stock photos. The photos are generally very high quality (although some are also available on other stock photo sites). Fotolia provides the option of either credit or subscription. I have always used the credit option and I think their prices are amongst the best available.


iStock has some great photos to use but their prices have increased since last time I was on the site. Despite this they are still cheaper than many of the other stock photo sites on the web.

You can buy ‘photo credits’ or a subscription on iStockphotos providing some nice flexibility to meet your needs (I’ve only used the ‘photo credits’ option on this site and have found it very useful).

Shutterstock Images

Shutterstock is a subscription only site – but their prices are very reasonable making the site a good choice if you need a high number of photos. (A one month subscription enables you to download 750 hi-res photos.) I used the site a few years ago and was very pleased with the service.

Photo: Kevin Saff – Flickr Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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