Stock photo websites are a rising trend. But how did it manage to get this big so quickly?

To understand this phenomenon, you have to look at stock photo websites from two perspectives – one of the business owner and the other is that of a photographer. How does any stock photo website benefit each party and why?

For businesses, primarily magazine editors and bloggers, you can get royalty-free photos and not just any photos – exactly the ones you need. For photographers, this gives you an excellent opportunity to earn passive money. You will get a fraction of the proceedings for every photo that gets bought.

Now that we know how good stock photo websites are. Although there are some famous market leaders, new stock photo projects are already snapping at their heels. Let’s check which ones showed themselves effective except the biggest leaders already well-known on the Web. Here are our top 8 picks.

stock photosPhoto by Moose

1. Negative Space

What we loved the most about Negative Space is that it has one of the strictest content policies around. Aside from auto-moderators, there are editors and other people constantly looking through new submissions.

That way, there is almost no way that you will be forced to search more than you normally do. Inappropriate images, explicit images and the ones containing a product are immediately are and were always instantly removed. Before being published, every photo is manually approved.

What else was good about this particular site? Well, it’s clear that they invested a lot of time improving their filtering system. You can arrange your search results by the following categories – alphabet, name, tags, copy space, category, color, size, date of publishing and more.

Also, their licensing system is one big advantage, as it is based on the Creative Commons CCO License. It’s a great choice for both businesses and young photographers and was one of the most successful stock photo websites of 2018.

2. Moose

Another choice for the list of best stock photo websites was Moose. With Moose, you have a categorized collection of stock photos at your disposal. While they are free, the only requirement to use them is to link them. Therefore, you will be doing promotional work and helping the site work. It’s a neat concept.

Unlike many websites, Moose gives you the opportunity to use photos that are standardized. Every category features different people and objects, but the layout is the same. Thus, using multiple photos from the same collection won’t be an eyesore on your website.

3. Death to Stock

This particular website might not seem that ideal for businesses, as it functions on a community-like principle. Its creators, Allie and David, saw the problems that both companies and photographers face, in the field of stock photos.

Death to Stock functions on the principle of subscription. You have to enter your email, and you will receive various stock photos on a monthly basis. This may also be seen as a downside because many businesses need stock photos right away.

However, we’ve also tried the premium membership which is $15 per month or $180 on a yearly basis. This small fee gives you the opportunity to download as many photos as you wish, without restrictions.

A good detail about this is that, due to the premium fee, you get to see where the money goes. It usually funds projects concerning the development of the site and funding photography trips. It presents a noble cause. Our financial allocation report is constantly updated, which is a good thing.

4. Picjumbo

Picjumbo was one of our favorites during the review process. Stock photo websites like this are a great thing for both creatives and businesses around the world. The entire concept lies with photographers not looking for recognition and renouncing their rights to the photo. This gives the ultimate freedom of information to everyone.

‘’A lot of our clients used photos from this site in particular, as a part of their dissertations, believe it or not. It’s a trend on the rise”, says Paul Rodriguez, an editor for a respected dissertation service.

Furthermore, Picjumbo has strict quality filters, and only 4K or UHD images are allowed to be published. This is a great method of work, simply because it promotes effort and stimulates artists to work harder. Better content is a bonus for everyone.

5. Stokpic

Ed Gregory is the man behind this project. He designed the website to function on a free-for-all basis, as he sends 10 new photos every two weeks. According to the license, you get to use the photos in any way you like.

What makes this website different from many others is that there is a clause in the license stating that “identifiable people may not appear in a bad light.” To test this claim, we’ve asked them to show us their approval form, and they never posted an image of a person without consent.

This is a great cause to support, as it allows artists to have control over their reputation, as well as the fact that people are being protected. There is also a premium package, which allows you to download up to 100 new images on a monthly basis. Stokpic was surely one of 2018’s best stock photo websites.

6. Kaboompics

This site is completely free, and this is a big advantage for startups and struggling businesses alike. The only condition that you have to abide by is just credit the website when you use the photo. Some of our board members thought it was a slight downside, but the general consensus is that crediting is never negative.

The creator is a Polish-based web designer and photographer named Karolina. Based on a free-for-all principle, this website takes care of all the needs connected to stock photos.

This is the only way the website functions, as the team behind it believes in an open source way of approaching visual content.

Despite this lenient policy towards paying, make no mistake – the content policy was and is as strict as it can be. One downside might be that the site is not as big as the competition, but it is still great, nevertheless.

7. Startup Stock Photos

This entry on our list was specifically made for startups and young up-and-coming companies. Like Kaboompics, there was only one requirement – that we credited the website whenever you use a photo or two. That way, we could easily accomplish whatever visual goal we had in mind. A benefit of this website is that you not only have free material but that it’s also equipped with precise filters.

Out of all the entries on this list, Startup Stock Photos may very well have the cleanest interface. It’s been stripped down to the bare minimum, allowing everyone to get the content they want.

8. LibreShot

LibreShot has become very popular in a very short time. What set them apart is a special software that compares entries to images all over the web. That way, the website can enforce its policy – unique content. That’s right, LibreShot has a unique images-only policy.

This ensures that any business will get a complete one-of-a-kind stock image. For projects and business that want uniqueness at the beginning stages of their development, LibreShot is the site to choose.

how to build stock photo websitesPhoto by Moose

To Conclude

Stock images unite businesses and photographers in a uniquely artistic way, providing work for everyone. These sites are all excellent in their own particular way, with the only differences being your preferences.

Some of them are premium, whereas others pride themselves in being open-source and completely free. Whatever option you picked, as a business owner or a photographer, you won’t be disappointed.

About the author: this is the guest post by Mary Whitman, a writer and editor based in Adelaide, South Australia. Among her interests, you’ll find Art and Sustainable Development. You may connect to her on Twitter.

Title photo by Moose

Check our handy tips on black-and-white photography, review how to get good stock photos legally and read about the history of stock photography.
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