The Best Way to Build Your Stock Library

Stock photos are an important aspect of your visual brand and not everybody is a professional photographer. Even if you are, chances are you don't have the opportunities these stock photographers have for taking pictures of the exact items you need to have visuals for on your website, across social media, and on physical marketing materials.  Here is my recommendation for how to nail down some pretty awesome stock photos, vectors, illustrations, and more to build your library.

To avoid legal repercussions, what you want in a stock graphic is either one of the following terms: royalty-free or commercial-use.  All of the options listed are for royalty-free and commercial-use downloads.

1. Sign Up for the 7 Day Free Trial on the StoryBlocks Suite

Formerly, Graphicstock (for images and visuals), Audioblocks (for audio files), and Videoblocks (for, you guessed it, video files).  The free trial limits you to 20 downloads on each service, but hey, that's 20 bangin' free downloads right there out the gate.  If you need more than that, I recommend you consider investing in the subscriptions (a Storyblocks annual subscription at $99/year for unlimited downloads). Graphicstock includes images, vectors, illustrations, backgrounds, templates, and more -- all of which are incredibly useful for your online business.  However, there are a few other ways to accomplish this if you find the fee too steep.

*Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for the Storyblocks suite but that's because use them regularly for ourselves and firmly believe in the service. Signing up using an affiliate link will help us continue to bring you great content and resources like this blog post.

2. Get one month free from Shutterstock

Have you heard of Shutterstock? It's kind of a powerhouse for stock photos, second to Getty Images.  Shutterstock also has vectors and illustrations you can download that are included in the subscription. 

I was blown away at the content offered by Shutterstock.  There are royalty-free images and vectors featured here that I couldn't find anywhere else.  I did say powerhouse, right? If you can budget $29/month for a guaranteed 10 downloads a month of top-shelf quality images and graphics, then I absolutely would do this for your business (that's $2.90 per image).

Until December 31, 2017, you can get ONE month free on their (are you ready for this?!) Annual Subscription Paid Monthly for a Standard License of 10 Images per Month.  Whew, what a mouthful. It's basically a standard license (unlimited digital uses included) of 10 images per month at $29 USD per month-- but remember it's an annual subscription charged monthly. 

Lastly, you can also browse their Shutterstock coupons page for the latest deals.

3. Get Free Stock Images From

I've been a longtime fan of Stocksnap. The photography is beautiful and they have a pretty large database of options for stock images.

For more free stock image sites, download the freebie below.

Important tip

Make sure you go ahead and download the licenses for using graphics from these websites.  These are going to be entitled something along the lines of "license," "your customized license/agreement," "EULA/End User License Agreement," etc. You'll want to save a copy of this.  All active subscriptions to paid services will cover you forever, but if you cancel accounts, this will just help cover you.  But once you download the files, you should have forever coverage, but by downloading the copy of the user license you are just extra secure.