20 Best Stock Photo Sites (Free & Paid) for Stunning Images

You know most people consider stock photos not being as visually impactful as the real photos are. Right?

Well that’s not the case at all!

Maybe they have been looking for stock photos in the wrong platforms.

Or maybe they are stuck in the time when stock photos were all about staged meetings and models wearing a wide smile on their face over a plate of salad.

In recent years, the stock photo industry has evolved to a sizable degree. As per the increasing demand of realistic photos, professional photographers have ditched those generic, cliched photos for photos dispensing connection and authenticity better than ever before.

In this post, we will take you through 10 best open sources (free) and 10 best premium (very affordable) stock photo websites.

See for yourself to end the Stock Photos VS Original Photos debate once and for all.

The Credibility of Our Best Stock Photo Sites List

We narrowed down the 10 Best Free Stock Image sites if and only if they met our set criteria.

Each website ticked the boxes before getting it into our list. Let’s check the requirements that a website must meet that makes it credible to use for your websites. 

  • Photos are licensed and there must be no hidden fares.

  • Crediting the photographer is a choice of the user, not a compulsion. (though a shout out is always welcomed as a courteous gesture.)

  • Photos are nothing less than the highest resolution.

  • The image libraries of websites should be popping with fresh ideas. We don’t want to see the same stock photos used on every other website.

Free Stock Photo Websites

  1. Unsplash
  2. Pexels
  3. Pixabay
  4. Picjumbo
  6. Burst (by Shopify)
  7. NegativeSpace
  8. Stokpic
  9. Gratisography 
  10. Reshot 

Paid Stock Photo Websites

  1. iStock
  2. Adobe Stock
  3. Depositphotos
  4. Death to Stock
  5. Pond5
  6. Yay Images
  7. Dreamstime
  8. 123 RF
  9. Media Bakery
  10. Getty Images

Free Stock Photo Websites at Their Best

First, let’s check out the free websites to source stock photos. See if you find something that resonates with your endeavor without having to spend any amount on it.

If you area photographer, these platforms can equally serve well to sell stock photos.

1 - Unsplash - Stuns you With its WoW Factor

Rating: 9/10

Why Choose Unsplash?

Choose Unsplash if you are a nature enthusiast, and your blog vibes with your taste. The real, raw vibe you get from its collection of Nature Photos is uncanny!

From mountains, landscapes, sunsets to simple plant leaves, bloggers regard their collection as the most authentic.

closeup of leaf in hand

Unsplash is LOVED for

  • Frequent Uploading

10 new Unsplash royalty-free stock photos are uploaded every 10 days. 

This super-high uploading frequency ensures everyone gets fresh and new content. This is to avoid the repetition of the same images all over the internet.

  • Relevant Images

Unsplash is known for its relevance. 

The team of professionals on Unsplash know exactly how to click stock photos that sell. Relevance is the key element of their work.

Here, you search for “A Book with an Apple,” and you get precisely that. No beating around the bush.

  • On-The-Go Usage Facility

Download photos anytime and anywhere through the Unsplash app.


  • Challenging Content

A well-curated collection of simple images depicting great concepts (take a look at the picture below that illustrates “social distancing” through chairs)

practicing social distancing through chairss at distance
  • Consistent Quality

Unsplash is a prime pick as a stock image database for Silicon Valley Companies for its consistency in the image quality. 

The superior quality of images makes you sometimes doubt them being “Free of Cost.” 

Some give a neck to neck competition to paid images, giving your website a more expensive and polished look than ever.

  • Variety of Great Visual Content

The monstrous community of 5,00,000 PLUS professional and semi-professional photographers contributes thousands of new and artsy images each day. 

This vast library leads you to create completely unique content from your competitors, who also fetch images from the same source.

2. Pexels - High-Quality Stock Images

Rating: 9/10

Why Choose Pexels?

Choose Pexels if you wish your website to outperform its competitors with to-the-point, aesthetically appealing videos.

Pexels spoils its users for choice with overloaded options to create fresh and creative content. 

Here, it’s time-lapse videos are worth a mention. 

Enjoying the freedom to edit the video as you like, you can illustrate boring topics in exciting ways integrating texts in these videos. 

Pexels is LOVED for:

  • Excellent UI mockups 

Pexels is the ideal choice for web developers. It is loaded with authentic modern tech images, all free for editing. You can easily integrate your brand’s logo or website’s layout design onto the green computer screen as a model. 

  • Color-Themed Orientation of Images
black and white images on pexels

Guess what? There is a MEGA PERK calling out all the designers! The homepage of Pexels showcases a massive collection of top images aligned following a color theme!

Suppose your business website or personal blog follows a particular color scheme. In that case, you must be aware of its importance in making conversions.

Starting from black and white to colors of life like blue, green, pink, Pexels is beautifully arranged with monochromatic stock photos. This reflects a visually cohesive look. 

This simplifies the process of choosing relevant images based on a single color theme for web-developers.

  • Ease of Use
app of pexels opened in smartphone

Pexels plugins and extensions make the sourcing of images to your projects so much easier and quicker! 

The vast bank of free images is also available at your fingertips through the Pexels iOS and Android app.

These options make browsing convenient with personalized options like “previously liked photos.” 

  • High-Quality Videos on a Variety of Topics

Pexels pioneered as an online library featuring not only high-quality images but videos too.

65% of visitors on a website tend to watch a short video that explains the text written concisely, rather than reading the long paragraphs.

This serves as a tool to skyrocket engagement and bring far more clicks than mere photos. 

cover image of pixabay

3. Pixabay - High-Definition Visual Assets

Rating: 9.5/10 

Why Choose Pixabay?

Choose Pixabay if you are an L&D professional who is short on expenses. 

From the vast online gallery, you will find many visually appealing images. Use them in your e-learning courses and upscale the game of your designs.

Pixabay is LOVED for?

  • Vast Variety of Options

Besides 1.5 million+ royalty-free stock photos, the online gallery of Pixabay features a great many options. This is the prime reason for its high rating. 

You can add so much into your content and all for free!

For the purpose of high-level creative content production, you can explore and download from their collection, which includes:

  • Free music

  • Free videos

  • Free illustrations

  • Free vectors 

  • Specificity

Finding high-res, royalty-free licensed images was never more accessible before! But even better, using Pixabay’s handy search engine tool, you get concrete results to your queries. 

If you are picky with the stock photos you use, Pixabay is where you will find peace.

At Pixabay:

  • Decide whether the orientation of the image will be horizontal or vertical.

  •  Set a particular width and height of the photo.

  • Select color specifications from transparent, black and white or any color of your choice from their list.

  • Pre-define the category from the long list of 20 types of images you want your specific search to belong to.

  • Further narrow down your search choosing one of the categories from popular images, latest images, upcoming images, or editor’s choice.  

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4. Picjumbo - Vibrant and Trendy Images

Rating: 8/10

Why Choose?

Choose Picjumbo if your brand is for young customers, especially teenagers who are into vibrant colors and trendy shots.

Picjumbo is LOVED for:

  • Its Flatlays

Pixabay mainly features flatlays with distinctive visual appeal. They help give your social media, blogs, or websites a more sophisticated, professional, and put-together look. 

If your product can be illustrated well with little details, use flatlays. They divert all the focus of the potential customers to the product developing their interest in the website. 

flatlay of a watermelon piece in someone's hand

Take an idea from the flatlay below covering makeup brushes that can be well used for product photography for your brand.

flatlay image of makeup brushes
  • Model Release Relief

Artists at Picjumbo very cunningly hide the models’ front faces without losing the essence of the image subject. 

Take a look at some of its images below for an idea:

girl wearing mask using mobile phone

These images are technically apt blurring out the faces in not an obvious manner.

This frees you from carefully eyeing only those images that don’t have identifiable models in them.

Thus you don’t have to quite worry about the model release copyright issue with Picjumbo.

However, we always advise you to be careful!

  • Text-Friendly Photos
white flower with blurred background
boy holding bouquet of rose

Picjumbo’s online gallery needs more images to become the ultimate stock photos of the go-to resource. 

However, the current collection is quite text-friendly. Bloggers and content creators can utilize these stock photos as their featured image or thumbnail image.

These images are consistent with their backdrops, having cornered the subjects, so that the text to be written is legible.

different images displaayed on the main page of stocksnap

5. - Soft Aesthetic Vibes

Rating: 8.5/10

Who should go for StockSnap?

Choose StockSnap if your brand vocalizes bold and untapped social issues. This place adds the perfect hint of freshness and newness to emotionally engaging visuals.

From women empowerment, human diversities, black lives, body shaming to rape, you will find a gorgeous array of visual assets here. have their fingers right on their pulses to bring you royalty-free images to use. All  images are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0). is LOVED for

  • Rich Color Schemes
white flower in blue jar

If your e-commerce website follows a primary color stream throughout, will overload you with options.

Each collection of stock photos depict how closely the photographers have followed all photo composition tips that bring about the smooth texture in them.                       

This helps your brand resonate with its ideal audience and communicate with them quickly. 

  • Unique Flare has its uniqueness lie in its originality. Though not in abundance, they have stock photos that deliver the message of your business in a non-cliched manner.




6. Burst (by Shopify) - Featuring New Ideas

Rating: 9/10

Why Choose Burst?

Choose Burst if your website/blog/commercial billboard dispenses chilled out and ethnic vibes.

Burst is galore of creatively stunning public domain stock photos available for use in literally ANY form. 

Also, you will love its stock featuring an active lifestyle. Its yoga and fitness photo collections are a must to check out if you want images that actually motivate your customers. 

women carrying out different aerobics moves

Burst is LOVED for:

  • Its Image Resolution Variety

Burst makes sure its customers receive only the best. For this purpose, it makes photos available in both high and low resolutions.

High-resolution images fit perfectly for web and print purposes, where crisp and clear photos are needed.

While the low-resolution images suit small web graphics speeding up the website speed. 

  • Artsy Collection for Flatlays

Burst packs some of the best flatlays there is to offer. You will find something in every niche.

For product photography stock photos, we highly recommend Burst. Try some of their gems

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7. NegativeSpace - All Imaginable Photos

Rating: 8/10

Why Choose NegativeSpace?

Choose NegativeSpace if your website is not about everything. Instead, it is very categorically sorted.

The homepage of NegativeSpace boasts all its collections under their respective categories. 

Right from each photo album’s thumbnail, you will understand where to head without wasting a lot of time in keyword searching. 

NegativeSpace is LOVED for

  • Neat and straightforward Image Compositions:
sparkler firework in hand

NegativeSpace takes pride in hand, picking the best submissions from photographers. You will never find cluttered images at this venue. 

blue dumbles on floor

This makes the process of deciding which image to use much more comfortable and quicker. 

Their stock photos mostly project one central subject in focus with a blurred background around.

This is how they remain true to their website name, “NegativeSpace.”  

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8. Stokpic - Add That "Human" Element

Rating: 8/10

Why Stockpic?

Choose Stokpic if your products’ use can be better illustrated with unposed, candid photos. Stokpik is a famous choice by users for its spontaneous collections.

Stokpic is LOVED for:

  • Diversity

At Stokpic, we have photos of many diverse and random settings. 

This brings about the uniqueness needed to make your brand or blog stand apart from its competition.

This is mainly because the owner of the website, Ed Gregory, is a photographer himself.

He has been in this field for 10 years, and so his love for shooting just keeps growing. Therefore, he shoots anything that crosses his eyes. 

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9. Gratisography - Real Entertaining Content

Rating: 9/10

Why Choose Gratisography?

Choose Gratisography if your blog has an informal tone and playful, young vibes.

Furthermore, your potential customers ought to be witty enough to get the humor hidden in the images.

We recommend integrating comedy into your blog posts or social media to get the message across in a more engaging way. 

Gratisography is LOVED for:

  • Dedicated yet Versatile
girl holding mannequin leg

We love how this website is effortlessly focused on creating ONLY funny and intelligent content.

Yet, there is still so much variation found. We mean, each image makes you laugh with a different formula. 

  • Clean Humor

The humor in the images is mostly represented in a satirical form.

The community of professional photographers is very keen to make sure no idea is offensive to anyone.

reshot cover

10. Reshot - Find the Non-Stocky Images

Rating: 9/10

Who should go for Reshot?

Choose Reshot if you are sick and tired of the repeated, cheesy and unrelatable stock photos commonly used by every other website. 

Reshot leaves behind its competitors by promising and fulfilling the promise to bring “Non-Stocky photos” for its customers.

This place will surely impress you with its minimalist approach, presenting concepts in a simple but aesthetic manner.

Reshot is LOVED for:

  • Non-typical Results

We tried different websites for “FLOWER IMAGES” to get the EXPECTED cliched bouquets or a girl holding a rose.

Reshot presented to us with an image that genuinely meant to evoke a feeling of fragility and humility in the viewer.

flower seeming like frock of dancing girl

It was quite a “thought-provoking” experience studying each image at Reshot.

We were awed when we realized how beautifully and naturally the image connected the fragility of a young, sensitive girl with a flower.  

Why Use Paid Stock Photo Sites

Because free stock photos are NOT ALWAYS LEGALLY SAFE!

Read that again.

Free stock photos are NOT ALWAYS LEGALLY SAFE!!! 

But why? And how? 

Yes, it’s true! Free stock photos come with their own set of risks.

Photographers waive off their copyrights to the images they submit to these free sites.

This makes them available for use in any commercial project or for personal use without attributing the authors. 

But here’s the catch!

These free stock photos don’t often come licensed with the individuals’ privacy rights, property, trademarks, and logos featured in those images.

You need a SIGNED MODEL RELEASE from the model for every identifiable human face in a photo. If the website doesn’t provide that, you will have to attain it from the model yourself. 

Otherwise, you can get sued by the right holders anytime for privacy infringement. The worst part is the grave amount of Copyright infringement penalties that you need to pay to get rid of the claim.

Sound quite like a trap. Right?

However, you can still use Free Stock Photos Safely!

Follow any of these hacks, and you are safe with using free stock photos:

  • Get the photos with recognizable faces verified for model releases. This is not only applicable to human faces. Even if the featured image has a pet’s face in it, you should have its owner’s consent before using the image.

  • Look for images that intelligently crop out or blur the faces of models, logos, and properties.

  • Don’t use images from unauthorized photographers. 

If you have enough resources to invest, enjoy a carefree experience at these paid stock photo websites. 

Besides having visual assets with higher technical accuracy, these premium websites are entirely safe to use in all legal aspects. It gives them an edge for their high commercial value.

Premium Stock Photo Website Options

Besides having visual assets with higher technical accuracy, these premium websites are entirely safe to use in all legal aspects.

It  gives them an edge for their high commercial value.

Let’s check them out.

istock cover

1. iStock - Assets that Elevate Creative Projects

Rating: 9/10

Cost: ($90 – $110 for 10 assets a month)

Why iStock?

Choose iStock if you have a small or mid-sized business thriving to create a strong email marketing campaign. 

iStock is LOVED for:

  • Availability of Email Videos:

iStock library has so much to offer in the form of email marketing videos. The highest ROI comes from email.

Therefore, experience evolution in the number of clicks using iStock royalty-free stock videos, costing you a fraction of what you will get back.


  • Fastens Workflow

iStock plugins and apps are undoubtedly one of the best toolkits for designers. 

Without leaving your editing platform (Adobe Creative Cloud, Sketch, Photoshop, Dropbox), easily embed images using credit packages or subscriptions. 

Content management was never this convenient.

adobe stock cover

2. Adobe Stock - Storytelling With Images

Rating: 9/10 

Cost: ($25 – $35 for 10 assets a month) – very affordable

Why Choose Adobe Stock?

Choose Adobe Stock if you want to try something grand for your business yet save on your pocket.

Adobe Stock is LOVED for:

  • Free Trials

Adobe Stock lets you try and test their stock photos for a good 30 days. Once you find their content resonating with your brand’s requirement, make it a permanent abode for your projects. 


You even get to embed 10 free photos initially. Make sure you choose the right ones that go entirely according to your brand’s voice.


  • Extensive Catalog with Affordable pricing:

This website gives tough competition to its likes for the variety and high quality of images. Small businesses will find this place perfect because of their affordable packages


The pricing starts from $29.99/per month for annual plans with complete access to standard images, templates, 3D, and music tracks.

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3. Depositphotos - Value for Money

Rating: 8/10

Cost: ($90 – $110 for 10 assets a month) – On the High-end side but well worth the money!

Why Despositphotos?

Choose this amazing platform if you are in search of satisfying content for product photography to be used for your ad marketing.

Depositphotos is LOVED for:

  • Stock Photos with Attention to Detail

Depositphotos is galore of images proposed for featuring in a product’s ad. 

While browsing through their digital shelves, you will be forced to stop by multiple shots to stun you with their details.

sparkling silver heels worn by a girl

The stock image you see above pours intensified lighting on the heels with darkened surroundings.

Such images are highly sought by small businesses who can’t afford to hire professional photographers to capture close-up looks with such precision. 

  • Pricing

Depositphotos are one of those rare agencies that sell more for less.

For a pricing scheme starting from as low as $0.22 per image, Depositphotos has rightly earned the trust of big names like Bosch, TripAdvisor, and much more alike.

4. Death to Stock - Projects with Fresh Visuals

Rating: 10/10 (We loved its costing for the variety and quality they offered)

Cost: ($10 – $20 for UNLIMITED assets a month)

Why Choose?

If you are always on a hunt for fresh content for your brand or blog, choose Death to Stock.

Death to Stock is LOVED for:

  • Updating Target Creatives with Surge of Fresh Content:
death to stock monthly emailing of new photos to subscribers

A great combination of generic and specific stock photos at Death to Stock focuses on creatives.

To keep the inspiration flowing in with continuity, they send the fresh images directly to their subscriber’s inbox.

That’s how you never miss out on opportunities to buy images that will exactly go with your brand’s or project’s “vibe and tribe.”

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5. MediaPond5 - Storytelling Made Easy

Rating: 9/10 

Cost: ($150 – $250 for 10 assets a month)

Why go for Pond5?

Choose if you are anything from a filmmaker to a designer looking for top-notch quality images in the public domain that depict stories and emotions.

Pond5 is LOVED for:

  • Full of life images:

Pond5 features copyright-free photos by artists for artists.

The professional photographers and creators from around the world know their craft well. 


They know exactly how to evoke emotion in the audience.

Each image is strategically captured in a way that runs a short reel of the story behind it.


This is why you will mostly find people’s photos in this domain.

Still, there is nothing to worry about the model releases as they clearly indicate where the licenses are granted.

“We only have model or property releases where expressly indicated on the Item Page.” – Pond5


  • Variety of Media

This space has so much to offer. And everything is far beyond the highest standards of quality. 


Pond5 promises to provide every option digitally possible to elevate video projects of designers. 


It features:


  1. Royalty-free stock videos
  2. Footage
  3. Illustrations
  4. Motion graphics
  5. Music tracks
  6. Sound effects
  7. Photoshop PSD
  8. 3D models
yay images cover

6. Yay Images - Professional Photos at Budget

Rating: 7.5/10

Cost: ($20 – $40 for 35 assets a month)

Why Yay Images?

Choose Yay Images if you have enough time to spare to dig out “Stock Photo Gems That Will Convert” from a pool of cheesy, generic, cliched photos.

This is possible if you are a freelancer having ample time to research the best content without breaking the bank.

Yay Images is LOVED for:

  • User-friendly Platform

Everything is fun and straightforward, from searching to inserting stock photos from Yay Images to your projects.

Using their advanced search features, you will land right on your desired image. 

Its interface houses all the essential editing tools like cropping, text overlay, or resizing. So, you don’t have to first embed the image and then open it up in an editor. 

  • Legally Safe Database of Images

Use all images without worrying about any copyright restrictions. 

This open-source website provides all the rightful perks of legally-safe stock photos to its users for the license fee.

dreamstime cover

7. Dreamstime - Build a Strong Brand Image

Rating: 8/10

Cost: ($30 – $50 for 10 assets a month)

Who should go for Dreamstime ?

If you are a teacher or a student looking for economical options to make engaging and relatable content out of your teaching materials or projects/assignments, Dreamstime is for you.

Dreamstime is LOVED for:

  • Dedicated Corporate Measures

Whenever there is a global economic loss, the Dreamstime team generously rolls out deep discounts for its audiences, especially those belonging to the education field.  

We believe education is pivotal for a society’s progress and development. Because teaching and learning are always more engaging and efficient with visuals, professors, teachers, and students can now access these resources with a special discount,” Serban Enache, Dreamstime’s CEO and co-founder, says. “Providing a safe, educational environment is crucial, but other support actions can back this.

Simultaneously, it also increases the “MUCH DESERVED” royalties of the contributors’ contributors on a significant scale.

This website’s responsible measures make us fall in love with its integrity that it has maintained for so many years.

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8. 123RF - Relentlessly Authentic Imagery

Rating: 8/10

Cost: ($25 – $35 for 10 assets a month)

Who should go for 123RF?

123RF is perfect for your “HOW-TO?” blog. All thanks to their diverse collection!

The millions of stock photos gracing their digital library will give you the “perfectly-fitting” asset for each step in your step-by-step guide. 

Look for yourself how Femina can source the most relatable set of images from 123 RF for each of the functions a Food processor can use. 

123RF is LOVED for:

  • Dramatic Vector Illustrations:
different vectors and illustrations at 123rf

The thoroughness in their royalty-free illustrations, clipart, and graphics make it all look so truthful. 

The funky and vibrant hues of the backgrounds help set a very festive mood for the entire website.

media bakery cover

9. Media Bakery - Bringing Your Vision to Life

Rating: 9/10

Cost: ($90 – $150 for 10 assets a month)

Why Choose Media Bakery?

Choose Media Bakery if your website is populated with visual rather than textual content, illustrating a process from scratch up to its final stage. 

Media Bakery is LOVED for:

  • Comprehensive Image Gallery

Media bakery houses realistic, high-quality images of “common household chores/recipes” in the SEQUENCE IN WHICH THEY OCCUR. 

Your next blog is about “how to hang a framed photo on a wall?”. Search for “NAIL IN-WALL,” and you will be directed to stock images search result page with images of:

  1. A drawer full of differently sized and shaped nails. (you can use it under the heading of selecting the right nail)

  2. Hammering the nail into the wall

  3. Hanging the frame using a looped thread

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10. Getty Images - Visualization of Trends

Rating: 8.5/10 

Cost: ($100 – $300 for 10 assets a month)

Why Getty Images?

Do you want to run impactful campaigns with the latest visual trends?

Look no further.

Getty Images has attained a respectable position by successfully fulfilling its promise to bring images that challenge visual stereotypes.

Getty Images is LOVED for

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

  • Clarity of Subject in Photos
bread shaped in to mobile

At Getty Images, plain backgrounds are a common find. This is done so that the subject is in focus, and no clutter in the background (in the form of patterns, objects) interrupts viewer vision. 

Final Words

Your brand’s overall visual appeal depends majorly on the strategies you employ to hunt the most relevant and useful stock images.

When it comes to designing your website, make sure to avoid the overused, ubiquitous images these websites have. It can result in poor user experience for

Take time and make wise use of keywords to get nothing but the best and uniquely creative images for your campaigns.

We hope this breakdown of free and premium websites was helpful for you.

Have you used any of these suggested websites before? Also, would you like to add any to this list? If yes, then please share the name with us, too, in the comment section below.


How to Click Stock Photos that Sell (The Definitive Guide)

Stock photography pays off your hard work for a more extended period than you expect because they keep reselling. This is probably the best part of it. I mean, is there anything better than receiving a cheque every month for some images you clicked for about four years ago?

However, just knowing how to sell stock photos is not enough. You also need to know how to shoot stock photos that sell.

In fact, there is a reason why only a FRACTION of a million images gets noticed by potential customers. 

What does it take to build a portfolio of “images that sell” and “resell”? Sweat not, for this article, is all about the most precise practices you need to employ as a stock photographer to produce marketable images. 

We did the homework for you and collected practical tips from some learned stock photographers who traded their 9 to 5 jobs for stock photography and never repented. 

And we know from the stock photos vs original photos comparative analysis, that marketers are not going to stop investing in stock images any time soon. The major reason is its affordability in the short-run.

This comprehensive guide comprises each step required to hit the target of getting maximum sales to your photos. 

Before we get started, we need to remind you of a fundamental fact here. 

The Learning Never Stops

As the tips in this post come from stock photographers’ own experiences and years of learning and experimenting, following them will surely lead you to improved sales. 

Employing these hacks, you will NEVER go wrong with the stock photography venture. But the process of learning won’t end there. As you go ahead, you will discover a new way every day to land more sales.   

The domain of exploring new ideas is always open. You will also need to invest your time like these successful photographers to find that “secret ingredient” that will up the game of your photo sales. 

also, not every platform will generate the revenue you want. You need to know the best stock photo sites where you won’t have to struggle much to get traffic to your work. 

Now, let’s dive into the pool of some tried and tested ideas that guarantee your photos’ sales.

It is Choosing The Right Niche That Will Drive Revenue

1. Decide On The Number of Niches

Once you have it clear in your mind about the niche that you will cover with your lens, everything else will fall in place. 

In stock photography, a steady stream of revenue comes when your content resonates with the prospective audience. But that definitely DOES NOT mean you remain stuck with a single niche. 

While a particular niche gives you a target audience to focus your energies on, it can provide a creative rut if you find other niches equally fascinating.  

For some, change and variety are what keeps their energies high. 

You can also feel creatively stagnated like Sandy Noto when shooting a single niche. Know that having multiple niches or none, all work fine AS LONG AS YOU KNOW YOUR CRAFT WELL. 

That’s all that matters. 

As Marta Raptis says:

“It’s great to narrow down what you desire to work with, but it is not necessary to only work on one thing at a time.”


Identify Your "True Calling."

how to decide on a stock photography niche

To get photos that sell, choose a niche that balances revenue potential, passion, skills, and knowledge. 

There is a lot of chance that your stock photos are not selling because your expertise lies in another niche.

“Food” might be a subject that gets your fancy, but you might totally suck as a still life photographer. Similarly, a lack of interest in a food-niche with a decent set of capturing skills will lead you to get life-less photos. The similar has been the case with Andrea Gingerich, the stock photographer who experimented in different photography areas until she uncovered her interest and skills domain.

A simple solution to this is to shoot everything at the start. Once you have a decently measurable bunch of stock photos on different niches, you will eventually find your voice. You will DISCOVER the niche that you like to document and have reasonable control over too.

Choose a Niche Which is Neither Too Broad Or Too Narrow

Putting it straight, you lose sales if your stock photo content is either for “EVERYONE” or for “NO ONE.” 

This happens if your niche is either TOO BROAD or TOO NARROW. 

Therefore, entail a well-defined niche. Having a sub-niche to your general niche gives you a purpose and keeps you motivated. It gives you a TARGET AUDIENCE; your photos will touch the pain points of. 

Bloggers, companies, and advertisers crave quality content and seek those portfolios that meet their specific requirements.  

Zoom out your focus onto what is in demand under your niche and dig narrower into it. But don’t go for a niche that is too narrow to ever get searched for. 

For instance, if you choose the event photography niche and cover different events through your lens, you will be speaking to a ubiquitous audience. 

A broad niche like this will not earn you a loyal customer base who will keep reverting to your stock photo portfolio for similar work. They will expect a different topic every time you upload. 

However, suppose you dig deeper into this niche and go for wedding photography. In that case, it will be a narrow niche, which is also overcrowded and offers a vast competition. 

The larger the competition, the more creatively challenged you to get. Work day in and day out to experiment with your craft to make your photos stand out from the crowd.


In this case, weddings during sunset or wedding departure could be a more precise niche. In both cases, think about executing the same emotions in an eye-catching yet utterly new way. 

A niche TOO NARROW will be a wedding during sunset with a pregnant or a tattooed bride. How many daily searches do you think will be done on this niche? Quite a few or none, right! Therefore, choose wisely!   

Cover Topics That Are Easy to Write But Difficult To Illustrate

Give your creative insights a jerk to develop topics that are an everyday talk on the web but very challenging to shoot. Such matters offer a vast market with near to no competition.

One such topic is “inheritance.” 

There is a big market of law firms and law blogs waiting for content to be created on such a critical subject, but we hardly find any. Look at the stock image below portraying inheritance.

Concept Of Inheritance

3. Photos That Look Genuine Sell More

According to the International photographer, Mark DeLong, it is the authenticity of a stock photo that makes it stand out and empowers it to outperform the competition.

It is not always possible to take a spontaneous shot of a topic you have picturized in your mind. Genuineness in every field appeals to the target audience. 

Make sure you try different settings through angles or props until the finished photo projects a feel of the “realness.” 

This is directly linked to the connection the audience instantly develops to an image if it gives them the “genuine-photo” vibes rather than a “staged-photo” vibes. A blog, commercial website, advertisement all make good money when they evoke emotion to their audiences. 

It is the visual assets that impact their projects’ overall authenticity; hence their eyes look for realistic images.

Take a look at these two stock images below, both portraying “cluttered wires.” Look HOW and WHY the first one keeps the authenticity intact while the other somehow fails to do so.

Cluttered Wires Photo Which seems Spontaneous And Real
A Staged Photo Of Cluttered Wires

4. Click Photos on Trending Subjects

The originality of ideas can make you a trendsetter. Still, the importance of following an existing trend in stock photography can’t be denied.

Carry out a thorough research on web and top stock websites about the current talk of the town. 

As the trends change, keep evolving and tweaking your work for the better.

Use relevant keywords to get your images to stay in the top results of the “trend searches.”

For instance, the “ongoing Coronavirus pandemic” holds a high chance of landing sales to your stock photos.

Covid-19 trend topic

However, an extremely informative piece of advice by the co-founder of iStock, Brad Ralph, is worth mentioning.

“This is because certain variables alter the certainty of an image being sold. For example, does the photographer specialize in niche images or shoot generic cliché, popular topics? A photographer that produces and uploads multitudes of generic business photos that get well-placed in search could get 50 downloads a week or more. Still, they might all be small web-resolution images. A highly skilled and creative artist may only produce 10 exquisite conceptual stock images a month. Still, one print resolution sale could yield equal or better financial wins.”

This suggests that stock photography has all the opportunities of making money open for every type of stock photographer, as long as they know their craft well.

5. A Meaningful and Raw Image is Preferred by Buyers

The viewers convert into buyers when your photo maintains its rawness, both conceptually and aesthetically. 

Add meaning to your work so that it evokes emotions into the viewers. 

Remember, your image’s aesthetic impression is momentary, says the famous wildlife stock photographer, Guy Tal. Far before the technical strokes, it will be the message to make them want to keep the image with them.

Avoid over-processing photos as much as possible. Edit the image only until it looks decently polished. Rest, leave the manipulative control in the hands of the end-consumers.

6. Originality is Never Overrated in Stock Photography

You will never be out of sales while you have a creatively unique and compelling stock photos’ portfolio. 

That “WOW FACTOR” in your image will automatically drive traffic towards your image no matter how common or overused topics you have chosen to shoot.

Get inspiration from Andrew S. Gibson. He is ready to go that extra mile to ask the senior authorities to grant him permission shooting backstage in a stage dance performance. This will add to his gallery an asset of unique images that others fail at capturing. 

7. People Look For Updated Content

If you had stock images that once performed exceptionally well and are now not giving any sales, its context has gotten outdated.

For instance, you clicked a girl holding an old iPhone (which was the latest version back then when you uploaded it) under the technical niche. 

That image roared high in the stock photo market, but now it is not getting noticed at all. Most probably, the mobile is too old, and the image will make their website look outdated. Or the clothing fashion has evolved since then, so the idea is no more relevant.

Old iPhone Photo With a Girl

In that case, recreate that image with a modern feel in it.  

Take a look at the revamped version of the above image.

Update iPhone photo that sells more

8. Your Vision Makes a Photo Sellable Not the Equipment

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to using cameras and lenses for stock photography.

However, most photographers, including Gavin Gough, a famous travel stock photographer, consider any shooting tool good enough. As long as the photographer has the right perspective, set of skills, and creative insight, the sales game is high.

He emphasizes:

“I’ve seen art created with the simplest, cheapest tools that have touched my heart. I’ve seen mundane and forgettable work made with equipment costing many tens of thousands of dollars.”

Final Thoughts:

And that was our breakdown of the most practical methods to click photos that get most downloads from the pros of the field!

It is the most important to keep your expectations in check. Stock photography demands for a long-term dedication and consistency. Meet these two requirements and you will find this space as an overly rewarding one.


How to Sell Stock Photos (The Ultimate Guide 2020)?

If you haven’t realized yet, you can actually cash your creative photography skills. Those masterpieces lying unavailed in your image gallery hold high interest for website owners and bloggers. They use these stock photos to illustrate concepts where words fail to bring the magic. 

Are you looking to sell stock photos but aren’t sure where to get started?

In this article, we will guide you through all the steps you need to take to make actual money selling your stock photos in 2020. 

Step 1: Getting To Know About The Science of Stock Photography

Before anything else, you must be well acquainted with how the stock photography business works and what it actually means. Once you know the game rules well, you are all set to start clicking images that sell well.  

What is Meant by Stock Photography?

What is stock photography?Getting your imagery purchased through an agency, acting as a licensee, is the simplest and most basic definition of what it means by stock photography

Here, the “stock” implies an “archive of images” that a photographer clicks and owns the right to. The artist is free to create the imagery as shot images, videos, audios, vectors, diagrams, and digital illustrations.

The best part is how he can enjoy the creative liberty to feature any subject matter.

The website you choose for uploading your stock photos sells them to clients on either per-image, monthly subscription, or annual subscription basis. 

This transaction means the photographer licenses the images to be used legally for personal or commercial purposes with copyrights reserved.

These stock photo websites charge a generous commission between 15% to 20% for your photo purchases. The photographer can decide the projects his images can be used at.

The Microstock agencies and the photographer share a timely contract within which the agencies can use his/her photos for specific purposes. For the renewal of the agreement, the agency repays the photographer to gain the rights back.

Types of Stock Photography - Explore Your Niche

There are broadly two types of stock photography that differ based on their rights’ distribution and payout structure. 

  1. Macrostock Photography:

This model sells high-quality photos to a limited number of buyers or exclusive people. Agencies opting for this model have strict standards and pay high-end royalties (ranging from $50 to $100 and above). These photos are based on specific subjects.

  1. Microstock Photography:

Microstock photos do not have exclusivity as a part of their equation. These are sold to multiple customers on a royalty-free basis, and a significantly compromised payout(ranging from 20 cents to 100 dollars). Photographers get paid on a per-image download, which is a small fraction of the purchasing fee. 

The image quality need not be as high as required in Macrostock photography. This is why this model has room for a larger number of photographers from all walks of life. 

Furthermore, it accommodates a broader range of subjects, which lets photographers make better use of creative liberty. 

So, Which Photography Model to Choose to Sustain a Better Passive Income?

Agencies found a third option termed as “Midstock photography,” a better, mid-way road to operate on. This model incorporates exclusive and non-exclusive stock photos finding their pricing sweet spot somewhere in the middle of Microstock and Macrostock photos. 

These stock imageries are again sold on a royalty-free basis. If you are well familiarized with all the licenses under which your work will be sold, then choosing websites that operate on midstock photography is a wiser option. 

This way, a single platform can be used to upload your top-quality images to be sold as exclusive and the ones with the higher commercial value and leave no chance of making money. 


Whichever route you decide to take, in the end, the principle of “the more, the merrier” applies to each category. The more pictures you upload, the more opportunities you get to sell your product.

Step 2: Follow the Footsteps of Successful Stock Photographers to Never Go Wrong

Now that you have ample know-how of stock photography, you might doubt its potential as a powerful earning source.

Why Should You "Sell" Your Stock Photos in The First Place?

Let go of your doubts with these inspiring real-life examples that will give you that “push” you need to start selling your photo assets.  

Inspiration – Yuri arcurs

The World’s Top Stock Photographer Selling 4 Million Image Licenses Annually

Yuri Arcurs was a simple mathematics graduate. He has always treated photography as a hobby until he realized it could become a means of living. With the transformation in digital photography, he saw the potential in it, to opt for a career.

However, his financial status only allowed him to buy Canon Powershot G7 as his first-ever professional equipment. 

He worked hard to see all of his 100 clicked stock images getting sold to Microstock agencies. He then invested his hard-earned money in better gear, namely, Canon Digital Rebel XTi D5.

Now, Sony, Microsoft, Samsung, and many more such big names are a part of his client list in his portfolio.

Inspiration – Joe Sohm

The Stock Photographer Who Earns $6 Million Per Year

Joe Sohm, one of the highest-paid stock photographers in the US, has a 30 years long stock photography career life to take inspiration from. 

He sells 50,000 image licenses yearly. You can interpret the impact he holds through this figure. It is like, whatever you see around you on billboards, advertisements, etc., 90% chances are viewing one of his contributions.

If  laymen like Joe Sohm and Yuri Arcurs can become so popular with their stock photography, so can you. 

If you know and apply the photo composition tips, you can earn enough money with even a simple smartphone camera. To bring this money in the best use, invest it in your next best professional gear. 

If you put in all your efforts in the right direction, nothing can stop you from making stock photography a full-fledged career that will do much more than just pay your bills.

Step 3: Learn The Do's and Don'ts of This Avenue to Get The Most Sales

The Reality Check:

Stock photography is an oversaturated marketplace right now. To get ahead of established competitors, you must be clear in your mind about all the targets you need to hit to get more and more images licensed and sold.

For this purpose, let us now direct you straight towards some instrumental pieces of advice and tips from some seasoned professionals. Their words are of value. They have explained the little but impactful practices they implied in stock photography that contributed to their successful journey.

Let us also learn from their experiences and mistakes to know the game well before you step inside the ground.

Tips From Seasoned Professionals To Get Started With a Successful Stock Photography Startup.

We have collected some very precious gems from one of the interviews of Yuri Arcurs that will definitely help you a lot in your stock photography career. Let’s have a look at them:

  • Know What Sells Your Stock Images:

Listen to your critics with wide-open ears, especially those who pin-point minute faults. The world of microstock photography is full of overwhelming talent at this time. 

Learn to take harsh compliments every now and then for they hit you with your work’s striking reality, which you might be thinking really high of. If there is a need, you should even pay critics for speaking the truth.

It is not about clicking anything. Stock photography is about clicking photos that sell. You can and will only learn this with time and mistakes. If you do not have that patience, this field is not for you.

  • Keep Well-Informed About The Trending Subjects:

Trends change every week, sometimes even sooner. If you wish to get to the top of the curve, become proactive, and keep a check on the hot topics which are in high demand

Stock Photos in demand 

However, while covering trending subjects, maintaining the uniqueness of the photos is very vital.

  • Widen Your Social Circle – An Easy Way To Save On Initial Investment:

Try finding “free access” to shooting locations of your interest using your contacts. For instance, if you have a close acquaintance who is a school teacher, you can use that to shoot school-related subjects with easy and free access. 

Try saving money on hiring models as much as possible.  

Some instrumental pieces of advice come from Joe Sohm that you should forever carry with you. According to him:

  • Never Compromise On Copyrights:

Working for websites who want to snatch ownership from you is mere foolishness. If there is anything that you should retain with you in stock photography, it’s your ownership.

I never take pictures for someone if they want to own them. Ownership is everything,” says Joe, “because then you’re never selling anything — you are licensing. You can sell an image 10,000 times. That’s a powerful business model.”

  • Keep Your Images Well-Lit:

How a well-lit photo of a flower looks likeDirect sunlight falling on the main subject is a critical element of 95% of his work.Your lightroom setup should be on point if you are shooting indoors. 

  • Be Ahead Of Time to Get Your Clicks:

Save as much time as possible in traveling and other chores that obstruct your way of taking your life’s best shots. If he would ever have to, he would even avoid the press bus and instead drive to the shooting location in a rented car. This was done not to miss any “capture-worthy” moment that would take his career to the next level.

Mario Av, yet another stock photographer who made unreal success, has something to say:

  • More Photo Sales Don’t Come From Expensive Equipment:

He labels over-spending on cameras as his career’s biggest mistake. A good camera DOES NOT necessarily have to be expensive

He made way more money with his clicks from less expensive equipment, which always came of more use to him than the fancier ones. He suggested a camera equipped with a 20-70 mm zoom lens to do the job correctly.  

We advise you to buy a camera that does well at both video recording and camera shooting in a decent price range. This way, you can also upload stock videos along with stock photos

Also, to add that professional touch to your images, it is wise to invest in a good lightroom set up too, and that’s all. Keep your money intact for better purposes. 

  • Moments Are Valuable:

Unplanned moments captured have a more selling value.

A Candid Photo Capturing a Natural Emotion Between A mother and Her ChildAlso, people prefer to buy more realistic images, so try using as few filters as possible.

  • Don’t Expect Instant Money:

It wasn’t before a year that Mario started making a real passive income through stock photography

His continuous efforts, undistracted focus, and belief in his work were what kept him going. As a result, his hard work enabled him to make enough to cover his expenses, get done with all the debts, and then save sufficient amounts at the end too.

Some GENERAL TIPS that all professional stock photographers often give to get more sales:

  • Upload More And More

Stock photography is a number game for sure. A photo can get rejected because of any weird reason like an infringement of property rights of a “far away” building that one can hardly see in the background. 

Therefore, the more you upload, the more you get chances of getting your photos accepted and make up for the ones that get rejected.

Also, as the website gets updated with more content from competitors, your photos go down in the search results.

It is preferred to upload at least 50 new photos every week so that your images appear at the top when a new search is made.

But don’t just keep changing the angles. To produce better, fresh, and most importantly, UNIQUE content every time you can add new props in the same photo. Furthermore, try shooting from a completely unexpected angle, apply different lighting, and include many other practices

  • Use of Keywords is Everything

To get the best return on time in monetary benefit, do thorough keyword research before posting your photos.

Importance of keywords used for stock photos 

Stock photography websites have millions of files in their database. You need to put in JUST THE RIGHT KEYWORDS to make your photo get discovered amidst the crowd.

Go through the same niche photos on the stock site and look at the keywords used by your competitor whose image is doing really well.

Make use of keyword tools like SEMRush. And for the description part, integrate technical, specific, and relevant keywords in it. Don’t stress too much on the grammar. If the keywords used are essential, the algorithm will trace your photo.    

Now that you know the Do’s, Elena Riim, a famous digital artist and a stock photographer, explains some of this field’s Don’ts. 

Which Mistakes to Avoid That Can Cause Your Stock Photos Face Rejection and Get More Photo Sales

Stock Photography websites reject photos based on the following factors:

  • Digital Noise In a Photo:

A photo with a visual distortion is unacceptable on stock photo sites

To avoid grains in your images, your ISO should be maintained to the minimum value of 100. Also, avoid too much photo editing. Follow other guidelines too to manually fix grainy photos.   

  • A Cluttered Photo:

Any image overloaded with unnecessary objects takes focus away from the subject in question.

how a cluttered photo looks like

Such an image with random objects in the background has a low photo sales value. Try taking as clean a photo as possible.

  • Avoid Sources of Copyright Disclaimers:

Elena: “When taking pictures, you always need to consider other people’s intellectual property, like brand, logos, trademarks or design features. 

Therefore, you may need a specific release from the copyright owners for your picture to be accepted by stock photo sites. Fewer restrictions apply to images issued for editorial purposes, but editorial pictures are less in demand.”

Copyright ClaimsAlso, people you are capturing have all the rights with them to use their photos the way they like. Make sure you don’t have any issues with this fact.

Whereby the models who feature in your shoot are concerned must sign a release form giving you the permission to use their images.

Step 4: Understand Which Platforms Are Well Worth the Effort

Now that you know the right practices and which mistakes to avoid to sell more photos, it’s time for us to guide you towards the right platforms where you should start uploading your images. 

Which Stock Photo Sites Will Generate a Serious Passive Income?

Amongst the microstock agencies pool, only a few pay the deserving amount of money to the photographers. 

Free photo websites are yet another option to upload your work to, but professionals don’t recommend doing so. They are not worth your hard work and time. They pay only a very negligible amount to the photographers once a certain number of visitors reach you photo.

If you are a blogger, using free images from these so-called “free” stock photo sites like Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay can  trap you  under legal restrictions. Remember one thing, nothing is free, I repeat nothing!  

Compared to original photos, free stock sites are tempting to the users for their affordability and easy availability. But the catch with these websites is that they only have the photographers’ license to use their photos. And what about the legal documents called “releases” from the other “right holders” in the pictures? 

A trademark owner can send a copyright disclaimer your way if the photo has used its logo without its permission. Similarly, there are model rights, property rights, and copyrights to get you in severe risky situations. Even the most trusted of free stock photo sites such as Unsplash do NOT make efforts to get these releases. 

Therefore, it’s always better to play a safe bet, especially when your professional dignity is questioned. 

  • Shutterstock outranks other players in stock photo websites that pay a significant amount to their contributors. 
  • Even if you have joined Shutterstock as a new contributor, you can easily make up to $1000 from a single image as Adam did. Bear in mind this is only possible if you tick all the boxes of doing the right things required to get your work approved by them and then get sold. 

Other popular stock photography sites include:

  • Fotolia
  • Dreamstime
  • Getty Images 
  • iStock
  • Adobe Stock
  • Stocksy
  • Envato PhotoDune
  • Crestock
  • Alamy
  • Pond5

All these stock photo sites offer free registrations. The process of selling your photos through these platforms goes like this:

  • Sign up to one of them and make an active account. 
  • Get a good stock of photos ready with you and rank 1 to 30 of your BEST images, which you are entirely confident about. 
  • Each website asks for a different number of photo samples to submit to their stock library
  • AVOID photos that have PEOPLE in it to get rid of the initial hassle of getting a “release” signed by them. 
  • Suppose your submissions comply with the quality standards of these stock photo sites, which are usually very strict. In that case, you get selected to join the community of contributors.
  • Upload at least 10 top photos for the purpose of selling.
  • Add categories to each photo describing its niche like “travel, family time, food,” etc.
  • Add at least 50 relevant keywords to get your photos to appear in the proper search when people look for a stock photo similar to yours.
  • Keep your release forms ready with you if your photos have people, logos, buildings, or someone else’s artwork in it.

These stock photo sites differ based on the royalties they pay, which range from 15% to 50%. 

Dreamstime even goes up to a commission of 60% for selling exclusive content. The only downside working with them is that you don’t get to set your own prices

Your final decision on which platform to start working with should be made by scaling down all the pros and cons, including the competition, pay scale, quality restrictions, and traffic. 

Sometimes “high” traffic outweighs the apparent drawback of a website giving a smaller payout than other stock photo sites. Higher traffic leads to more potential photo sales, which eventually generates a higher gross income that is practically impossible to get with another platform with fewer visitors.

you can also sell your stock photos on your own site but it usually generates a lower revenue when compared to the stock photography sites.

Here are some common solved queries related to submission on stock photography websites that might hopefully answer some of your doubts:

  1. Can I submit the same samples to different Microstock agencies at the same time?

Yes, there is no harm in it. Upload to as many platforms as you can, taking the caution that some stock photography websites have “exclusive photos” options. Avoid such websites.

It is also a good practice uploading images on different Microstock agencies as one photo that gets rejected on one platform can be accepted by the other. This increases your opportunity of earning. 

Is there any issue with post-processing the photo (jpg)?

It is entirely OK to do so, but post-processing a RAW file is more advisable than a JPEG image.

Is there a need for a model release for editorial purposes too?

No, it is only required when the image is to be used for commercial purposes.

Moving to the most exciting part now; the main incentive, that is, what is the best revenue that can come from the stock photography adventure.  

We left the best for the last because it will only be practically possible to attain maximum earning milestones if you put all the above points into action.

Maximum Income You Can Make Through Stock Photography.

There is not really a definite answer to that. It all depends on your creativity and the smart action plan you execute. From shooting to photo editing to choosing the right platforms and the right keywords and everything else contributing to making a higher revenue should be done correctly.

Still, for an estimate, stock photographers make a stable income of $500 or even $3200 EVERY MONTH. Note that this is only achieved once they get established as a regular contributor. 

That’s a milestone one should be after to get back your focus every time you lose your track.

Final Words:

In stock photography, one thing that will surely help you make your work stand out is firstly your creativity and, secondly, your perseverance. 

Original designs will always be in demand. This is why when you are stuck with which niche to play with, you should create one! This niche will always have room to fill no matter how much the competition.

We hope this guide solved many of your queries regarding the stock photography business. It’s slightly tricky, but we are sure that you will make it to the $500/month milestone with a bit of extra effort and smart work.



What is your opinion about stock photography? What do you prefer to use it for, earning some side cash or making a decent living out of it? And why? 

Also, bless our comment section below with your valuable feedback on this extensive guide. 


Stock Photos vs Original Photos (The Definitive Guide)

Marketers often contemplate whether they should use stock photos or original photographs in their visual marketing strategy.

While the former provides easy access to a vast library of images, advocates of original content argue that stock photos lack when it comes to exclusiveness.

However, in both cases, the old photography quotea picture is worth a thousand wordscontinue to hold true!

In this post, we will discuss the debate on stock photos vs original photos and which one should you choose for your marketing.

Images are Important!

Images are inarguably the cornerstone of every branding campaign. Adding photos help break up long blocks of text and make the content more understandable.

In fact, images have been proven repeatedly to boost performance and engagement across all online platforms:


  • Articles with images get 94% more views compared to those without pictures. (Jeff Bullas)
  • Adding photos on Facebook increases engagement by 2.3 times while Twitter users are 150% more likely to retweet posts with visuals.  
  • People remember only 10% of the information they read. Adding a picture improves the recall to 65%. (Brain Rules)
  • More than 67% of online shoppers rate ‘high-quality images’ as the determining factor in their purchase decision. (MDG Advertising)

With so much hype surrounding images, it does not come as a surprise that marketers are forced to look beyond pictures that simply ‘looks nice.’

And again, this is where the debate between stock photos and real photographs heat up!

Why Insist on Stock Photos?

many stock photos in pic

Stock photo sites are the go-to choice of marketers, freelancers etc. who are both – time and budget restricted. 

These websites hold a vast number of professionally taken photographs on unlimited categories, making it easy for marketers to find the right one without putting in any effort.

For the most part, quality is never a question in stock photos. The stock agencies that buy these photographs have a vigorous vetting procedure and hire trained staff to filter out the images that fail to meet their quality standards.

Above all, stock photographs are very cost-efficient with many notable stock photo sites such as,, and, offering unlimited free photos for commercial and personal projects.

 You can also purchase subscriptions from a distributor’s website for unlimited downloads at a very affordable price tag.

Just like every good thing, stock photos come with a few hitches so its important to utilize them effectively and choose the right ones.

Drawbacks of Stock Photos

1 - Too Common

While the easy availability of stock photos is a blessing for many, it can also become an obstacle if the image you use is found on another website. And more so if the same image is used to represent the same concept on a rival’s website. The problem here is the same stock photo can be bought by anyone.

When it comes to stock images, there are specific images that are very popular but overused. Since there are no limits to their usage, you are always at risk of finding multiple places using the exact same photograph in their advertising strategy. 

This creates a negative impression of your brand’s reliability, especially if the consumer has had a bad experience with the competitor’s product or service. 

The Fix – Unstock the Stock Photos

man editing music video

Despite the differences, there is a lot to love in stock photos. And many ways to modify them effectively, so they don’t appear generic.

Make Edits

Making alterations to the image is one of the best ways to make it unique and relevant. Standard editing for stock photos includes cropping, resizing, altering the colors, and even adding texts or overlays to customize the image according to your project’s overall layout.

In fact, most stock photo sites allow you to experiment as much as you want with the pictures. Just confirm their licenses to ensure that they can be changed and not marked to be used ‘as is.’

Avoid the cliches

Two businessmen shaking hands, a picture of an overly enthusiastic customer service representative, or a woman laughing with a salad bowl are just some examples of common stock photos that are sold to stock photo sites. 

But as standard as they may be, these types of ‘unrealistic’ images fail to attract the audience – and ultimately fail to make an impression you want to create.

Avoid such images that have:

  • Unnatural or staged poses
  • Artificial or bright lightning
  • Lack of context
  • People looking directly at the camera

Be Consistent

When choosing images for your blog or website, make sure to remain consistent with your project’s color, style, and overall theme. This will help the audience to stay familiar with your brand. And you can always modify the backgrounds if they don’t match with your complete branding style.

Do Your Research

Google Image Search allows you to instantly check whether the same image is being used on other web pages. Simply drag the stock photo to its search bar. In the results, Google will show you how many times the image has been used and where.

2 - Rights and Licenses

eiffel tower stock photo

Another element to look out for when using stock photos is the licensing requirements. Most images offered on free and paid stock photo sites come with a license that allows users to utilize them in any way they want. 

However, several restrictions on a few of these websites may not allow you to make edits or distribute them for commercial purposes.

Additionally, there are some types of subjects that are not eligible for reuse without proper consent. For example, a picture of Eiffel tower at night – with the lights twinkling is protected by a trademark. And using them without taking consent from the relevant authority can land you in legal troubles.

Same goes for images that include:


  • Recognizable features of a person such as a celebrity
  • Privately-owned property
  • Government buildings
  • landmarks
  • trademarks and logos

Failing to use images without proper authorization can lead to severe consequences that include the penalty of paying a fine, taking down a website, and even a lawsuit.

The Fix – Check Licenses

To avoid landing in hot waters with the legal authority, make sure to read the licensing details of the stock photo you are using…thoroughly! 

Each stock photo site has a dedicated Terms and Conditions page available

This page dictates whether commercial usage is allowed, the extent of editing applicable, and if giving attribution to the original photographer is necessary. 

Follow the rules as stated. You can also check for stock photo sites that offer Rights Managed Licenses. With this license, you get exclusive rights to photographs by paying a small fee. 

Why Not Just Hire a Professional Photographer ?

Original photographs tend to give a more authentic visual impression of your brand. Since you control the complete photography session, you can showcase your brand’s personality more effectively. 

Plus, using real photos of your company and its people make the audience connect better with your organization and foster a long-lasting relationship.

And needless to say, you simply can’t beat the quality produced by professional photographers. Backed by years of experience and the latest equipment, professional images are guaranteed to deliver exceptional results.

In the long run, professionally taken images are cost-effective as well.

There is no royalty to pay for subscriptions, and you don’t have to worry about managing the licenses. 

When planned correctly, the photos can also be reused in different scenarios, making the investment of time, resources, and effort worthy in the end.

Take Original Photos using your Smart Phone

taking photograph with mobile phone

Considering the vast availability of stock photographs, it is very easy to forget about your own skills – and the equipment you have in your hands.

These days, our smartphones are equipped with cameras boasting the most high-grade features capable of taking ‘perfect’ photos. 

And snapping a few images from your phone is not at all problematic. You do it for your selfies, now try them for your marketing too!

Play around with your personal camera. Make edits using the online tools available. The internet is also loaded with tutorials and tips to help improve your photography skills and make them appear more professional. 

Try the DIY Approach

Thanks to several online designing tools such as Canva, you can conveniently create custom graphics for your marketing strategy.

These are especially helpful for designing infographics, hotel menus, logos, banners, and even business cards.

Offering a user-friendly interface, the graphic designing tools are easy to use and don’t require any prior experience or skills.

Above all, most of these tools are available for free, so you can experiment as much as you want.

Can I use both Stock and Original Photos?

With images being a critical component, it is best to use both stock and original photos to enrich your content. When it comes to marketing, conveying the right message with relevant pictures is essential rather than focusing on the type of photograph you use.

If you have the budget for a professional photograph – Great, go for it! But then stock photographs are also valuable, especially if used correctly. 

For eCommerce products, it is best that your photographs are taken by a professional and you can compliment your blog posts with stock photos.


Let us know the type of photographs you use in marketing?

Is it always stock photographs, or do you combine them with original photographs? 

Share your experiences in the comments below!


13 Proven Photo Composition Tips For Landscape Photography

Does it ever bother you that you have one of the best cams out there in the market, but you are still unable to take that photograph you thought you could with the right camera in hand?

No doubt, the camera affects the quality of the photograph, but far more critical is how you have composed the scene into that snap.

Photography is much more than owning the right piece of equipment; it is about the thought behind the picture and how you capture it. Creative photography involves experimenting and it helps to come up with new ideas.

Capturing a beautiful landscape photo involves more than just adjusting the camera and shooting.

There is a photography quote by the famous photographer Edward Weston. He said

“To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk.”


What Is Photo Composition?

So, what exactly is photo composition?

You may think of photo composition in geometric terms because usually, this is how it is presented. However, in reality, you can only understand it more abstractly.

In photo composition, what matters the most is how you position yourself in the scene and the way you arrange the elements in front of you. 

Whenever you compose a photograph, the first thing that you must identify is the subject or the central point of interest in that picture.

The composition of your photograph should direct your viewer’s attention first on the subject, and then on the elements around it. 

When we’re talking about photo composition, we’re pointing to what your camera captures and what your audience sees.

We have compiled a list of photo composition tips for landscape photography, which will help you out to capture the perfect landscape.

Whether you are a professional or amateur, these tips should help you take your photography skills to the next level.

Once you are well-acquainted with these tips, uploading your work to a platform that is worth it, is your next task. Make sure you choose no less than the best stock photo sites that will not let your effort go in vain. 

Photo composition tips for landscape photography

Point Of Interest

The first photo composition tip is to identify the Point of interest. This is unarguably the essential element of photo composition because without a POI, you are capturing a meaningless and random shot.

There is photography quote by Ansel Adams that goes like this, “Nothing is worse than a sharp image with a fuzzy concept.”

When it comes to landscape photography, lacking a point of interest means, you have a vast landscape in front of you, but you have no idea what you may be looking at.

A point of interest doesn’t need to be a person. With landscape photography it can be a mountain or a tree, or a ray of light on some part of a dark cave. It can be anything. However, you must have one. 

The image below doesn’t have a point of interest and appears to be very busy. 

Find point of interest

When you want to photograph any landscape, ask yourself,

What exactly your photo should be about?

That is, the element, which should get the focus, the right exposure and composition.

The image below is with the similar landscape as the first one but, in this one the photographer has kept the rock as a point of interest. 

Thus the perspective and depth of the image is changed.


point of interest black rock

Rule Of Thirds

Rule of thirds is comparatively a more technical tip.

In a nutshell, it is the photo composition with the principle that you put the point of interest on the thirds of your frame.

Let us explain this.

Usually, when you buy a new camera and turn it on to take your first shot, there is a grid that generally annoys you at first. Still, it is quite useful.

This gird is composed of evenly spaced pairs of horizontal and vertical lines.

Rule of thirds grid

When we place the subject on these lines, mainly where they intersect, a much more visually pleasing shot is created.

It helps to create balance in a shot and gives it more context.

See the picture without rule of thirds.

without rule of thirds

By moving the camera to lower third, keeping squirrel as a point of interest, we use the rule of third to create an image smartly.

applying rule of thirds

Now you can see the difference between two images. 

Let’s show two parallel images, so that it is more clear. 

two pictures of mountains and sea - compared

Element Of Reflection

If there’s one thing humans really love, its order and symmetry, and I don’t think there is any natural phenomenon which is more orderly than reflections.

Capturing reflections is an art. Displaying of the horizon line in the center can be alluring.

Reflections are a stunning beauty that adds a painterly texture to an image.

Autumn is a great season for capturing water reflections. The range of colors from the foliage at this time of the year can help you achieve some stunning shots.

Autumn reflection

Once we head into winter, it offers a fantastic time for capturing shots of mist and fog that starts forming over the water. The fog can add some extra drama and mystery to a scene. 

reflection in the evening

Keep your focus on composition. You don’t see the reflection from a normal height. When you get down to the ground level you can capture a perfect shot.

You also have to think about your aperture while taking these shots.  When you get close to the reflection, you must keep the aperture less open, to maintain the sharpness and clarity of the shot.

Foreground Interest

Foreground interest can make a much more interesting photograph and can lead the viewer’s eye-in. You can use foreground to introduce an element of depth into the picture.

By placing something interesting in the foreground of your frame, you can create an amazingly impactful image.

add element in foreground

In landscape images, if you want to capture what you’re seeing with your eye, you must have that 3D effect in a picture. When you have flat images, they don’t grab the viewer’s attention. See the image below. 

without foreground

If you move your camera to a slightly different angle, you can create images that are going to catch people’s attention. People are going to feel that they’re enjoying that scene with you.

Use hyperfocal distance to make everything from foreground to back of your frame.

Use Diagonal Lines

Diagonal lines in an image can add excitement to a picture, which would otherwise be quite dull in a straightforward, side to side sort of a view.

The diagonals add a movement in the photo and catches the attention of the viewer.

Diagonal relationship between the two elements of the image adds more depth.

Diagonal lines

See the images below; where the subjects are parallel to each other, the image seems dull.  On the other hand, where the subjects are diagonal to each other, the image creates a depth.

footprint and rock - comparison image

Add Trees To The Scene

Adding vibrant colors to your photography is always a plus factor. Composing a perfect picture is all about using objects in the foreground and point of interest in the background.

In the case of landscape photography, greenery is your best friend. This image below appears to be a little dull.

without trees and plants

When you set a foreground and point of interest in the background with threes and plants, the impact of the picture changes a thousand folds.

with trees and plants

Add Depth

Elements in your environment play a vital role in adding depth to your landscape photo. If you put together all these elements in your picture, in just the right way, a perfect picture will be composed. 

The second image below shows a perfect example of making a good photograph great. Compiling the surrounding elements correctly will help you achieve the desire result.

With simple composing techniques, you can take the two-dimensional image and give it a three-dimensional feel.

Add Perspective

It is an amazing picture but it does not do justice with the actual place. Check the image below without any specific perspective. 

without depth

To add more depth you can add an object

with depth

But adding himself in the frame, photographer has added a perspective to the image.

Add Foreground, Mid-ground & Background

Without a clear foreground, mid-ground or an unclear background, the image has no impact. See the image below. 

without foreground, mid ground and background

Look at the same image with a clear foreground, mid-ground and background.

with foreground, mid ground and background

See? You just have to be clear and should keep in mind what impact you want to have on the viewer. Shoot it with that in mind.

Create Vanishing Space

If you have an object with parallel lines, you can use it to determine the horizon line and vanishing point. 

See the image below. 

It is an amazing landscape with the parallel wooden pathway. When we draw lines from the edge of the plank on both sides, the point where they intersect is the horizon line. 

And the point where these lines intersect is the vanishing point for anything that is parallel to these planks. 

find vanishing point

When you frame a shot with a vanishing point, it adds drama to an image and draws in the viewers attention. Photographers use it to create a depth in two dimensional medium. 

Golden Spiral

The golden section and golden rectangle are the oldest and most utilized methods to create a perfect shot.

The most pleasing forms to the eye are a golden rectangle and golden section. These are based on the Fibonacci sequence using the geometry in math.

The golden section ratio is 1:1.618. It is also known as the ratio of beauty.

Golden spiral rule

This ratio is seen repeatedly in nature. The spiral connecting the points is found in galaxies, shells and weather.

Mathematically, we have the following equation:






8+5= 13

This image shows  what we get when we transfer this math to geometry.

golden ratio geometry

Let’s show you the image without the golden ratio.

Now set the image frame with a golden ratio.

You can easily see the difference in the image taken with the golden ratio.

Block Method Composition

Block method composition is pretty simple. In this method, you simply have to filter the details which work together to form a composition.

When you see a scene, there will be details which will be irritating. You have to avoid these details as this may seem confusing to the viewer. 

Moreover, you need to define the dominant shapes and figure out how these can work together to create a fascinating image.

See the image below, the shape of sheep are the dominant ones. These work together with the landscape behind to create a great image. 

Use Block Method Composition

Frame Within Frame

The whole idea of a frame within a frame technique is to use something within the scene in front in order to frame the main subject. 

Here is the image to make it understandable. The photographer has captured the London bridge sharply through the frame of the airplane. 

Frame Within Frame

Similarly in the next image the photographer has captured a beautiful landscape including the frame of a cave.

frame within frame

Leave Negative Space

Negative space is a great way to form an amazing photo composition and depth in the image.

negative space

Negative space is a space around your subject.

It is also known as white space.

The subject is the positive space and the space around it is the negative space.

Negative and Positive Space

Here is the picture without negative space. You can see that the image seems too busy.

Busy picture without negative space

Negative space calms the photograph, and it doesn’t look busy.

with negative space

Leading Lines

Leading lines is a technique in which you use the elements of the environment to create a visual pathway to the focal point or the subject of the image.

In the image below, the photographer has used the leading lines to focus on the clock tower. 

leading lines towards the focus point

These leading lines don’t need to be straight ones. They can be in a curve, spiral or anything, which may guide a viewer’s eyes to the main subject in the image.

leading lines

Which one is your favorite composition tip for landscape photography?

We would love to heard from you in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Think Sharply, Focus on Abstract. 

Happy Shooting!!


24 First Photographs Ever (Categorized)

First Photograph Ever

First Photograph in the history

French scientist Joseph Nicephore Niepce took the first photograph in 1826. This photograph captured the view of courtyard and outbuildings, from an open window, at the Niepce’s estate in Burgundy.

Heliography technique was used by Joseph Niepce to capture this photograph.

Heliography is a quite complicated process. In French, it means “light writing.” Niepce invented this process after several experiments, where he learned the art of capturing an image with the action of light.

Niepce used light-sensitive material, which automatically engraved the image for him. He applied the petroleum-based substance on the camera obscura for 8 hours. The light unhardened the bitumen with lavender water and thus revealed the image of rooftops and trees.

First Self-Portrait

first self portrait in the history

Instagram’s CEO and co-founder, Kevin Systrom, made history on July 16, 2010, when he uploaded the first photograph on Instagram. It featured an unidentified dog and foot.

The photo gathered over 84000 likes. Systrom, in an interview, expressed that he would have put more thought into it if he knew that it would become so famous.

He also recalled how he was testing his Instagram app by using numerous photo filters. Systrom was surprised as this picture became such an iconic and memorable photo.

First Photo on Instagram

first photograph on Instagram

Instagram’s CEO and co-founder, Kevin Systrom, made history on July 16, 2010, when he uploaded the first photograph on Instagram. It featured an unidentified dog and foot. 

The photo gathered over 84000 likes. Systrom in an interview expressed that he would have put more thought into it if he knew that it would become so famous.

He also recalled how he was testing his Instagram app by using numerous photo filters. Systrom was surprised as this picture became such an iconic and memorable photo.

First Colored Photo

The first colored photograph was clicked back in the year 1855.
Jame Clerk Maxwell invented a theory that a conceivable color can be created by mixing three light sources.

The photograph was clicked by Thomas Sutton, under the instructions of the mathematical physicist James Clerk Maxwell.

Maxwell directed Thomas to take three separate black and white photos of a tartan ribbon. Thomas used 3 filter colors, which were blue, red, and green. When these were projected on the single screen using similar filters, the three photographs compiled as one.

Though the photo was taken in 1855, it was unveiled in the lecture of Maxwell in 1861.

First Photo on Facebook

Arie Hasit picture

The first non-founder to set up a profile on facebook was the person who uploaded the initial image on the social media platform.

Arie Hasit, a friend of co-founder Chris Hughes, made the first account on facebook in 2004 and uploaded the first picture.

Due to technical glitches, his profile got deactivated on its own several times, and the first picture uploaded on facebook was lost.
According to Chris Hughes, Arie Hasit’s Profile Picture was the first to be uploaded on the social media platform.

First Photo of NewYork

First photo of NewYork

 The oldest known photo of New York City was captured using the daguerreotype process in 1848.

The photo depicted a home situated at a hill on the upper west side.

You would not believe it, but the road captured in the image is the broadway. This picture took several minutes to be clicked.

Before this photo was discovered, the oldest picture of NYC was of lower Manhattan’s Chatham Street.

First Photo of Moon

first photograph of the moon

We all love the moon. Right?

The beauty of nature can’t be denied.

Wondering how this image was captured?

John W. Draper took the first photograph of the moon in 1840. This photograph was a daguerreotype that was captured from the rooftop of New York University.

Unfortunately, the image is not available in its original shape as it endured considerable damage over time.

First Photograph of a President

First Photograph of A President

John Quincy has already marked his name in the history of politics, but precisely talking about photographs, he is also listed in the milestones of photography.

John is the sixth president of the U.S. and the first one to have his photograph taken.

Philip Haas captured this daguerreotype in the year 1943 in a studio in Washington D.C.

First Photograph of Tornado

first photograph of tornado

The first-ever photo of a Tornado was taken in 1884. This tornado struck South Dakota, destroying a farm.

It killed four people, and another two got wounded in the incident based upon historical records, meteorologists can assume that it was neither an f-3 nor f-4 on the Fujita scale.

A man, F.N. Robinson, who was present in a street that was 2 miles away from the area hit by the storm, took this photograph. It was the first-ever photograph of a storm.

First Moving Photograph

first moving photograph

In 1872, Eadweard Muybridge, an English photographer, discovered a way to capture moving pictures.

It took six long years to crack the code, and Maybrige eventually succeeded in 1878.

He arranged a 12 tripwire camera along the racetrack to capture the moving pictures of the horses.

The movement of feet and hooves set the stage for the first motion picture.

First Photograph of Lightning

first photograph of lightning

Even at this age, lightning gives me Goosebumps.

Where many people get frightened of lightning, some of us love to capture it.

In the year 1882, a photographer named William Jennings captured the first photograph of lightning.

First Underwater Portrait

first underwater portrait

Under-Water Portrait is a milestone in the history of photography.

This portrait needed a waterproof camera, which was invented by Louis Marie Auguste Boutan in 1893.

Six years later, he finally took the first underwater portrait in 1899.
The above photograph is of an oceanographer and biologist, Emil Racovitza.

First Landscape Photograph (Colored)

First Landscape Photograph (Colored)​

Back in 1877, a photographer named Louis Arthur Ducos Du Hauron captured a colored landscape for the first time.

For those of you who don’t know, Louis was the mastermind behind the process of colored photography.

The photograph above is titled “Landscape of Southern France.”

First Digital Photograph

Digital photography was invented in 1970’s.

The first digital photograph captured, was of the newborn baby son of Russell Kirsch, taken by Russell himself.

This was a square picture with the dimensions of 176*176.

First Photo of Space

first photograph of space

The first photo of the space was captured in 1946.

Unfortunately, the camera was destroyed when it was dropped back to the earth, but the film survived.

First Airplane Crash Photograph

first airplane crash photograph

After the Wright Brothers flight in 1903, the incident of a plane crash took place in 1908.

Orville Wright survived the plane crash, but the aviator Thomas was the first person to die in the powered plane.

First Photo of Earth From The Moon

first photo of earth from moon

The first photograph of earth from the moon was taken on the 23rd of August in the year 1966.

This photo was taken by a spacecraft named Lunar Orbiter 1. The picture was first received by a NASA tracking station near Madrid in Spain.

According to NASA, this picture was taken during the 16th orbit of Lunar Orbiter 1. The photo was shot from a distance of 380000 kilometers.

First News Photograph

first photo in news

Louis Daguerre shot the first-ever photo featuring a man in a cityscape. In this picture, a person can be seen shining his shoes somewhere in France.

It is said that Louis didn’t intend to capture the person in the picture and that it happened accidentally, as he was trying to take the photo of the cityscape.

Shooting photos in that era took long exposure times and capturing this particular photo took 10 minutes.

First Photo of Person In A Cityscape

First Photo of Person In A Cityscape ​

Louis Daguerre shot the first-ever photo featuring a man in a cityscape. In this picture, a person can be seen shining his shoes somewhere in Paris.

It is said that Louis didn’t intend to capture the person in the picture and that it happened accidentally, as he was trying to take the photo of the cityscape.
Shooting photos in that era took long exposure times and capturing this particular photo took 10 minutes.

First Aerial Photograph

first aerial photograph

The first aerial photograph was taken long before the first plane flight.

As it is known, the first plane flight was taken in 1903, but the first aerial photograph was clicked in 1860 by James Wallace Black.

He made it possible by attaching a camera to a hot air balloon and managed to take an aerial shot of Boston city.

He named this photograph “Boston as the eagle and wild goose see it.” This was the first bird’s eye photograph ever.

First Photograph of Mars

first photograph of mars

The first photograph on mars was taken on the 20th of July in the year 1976, when Viking 1, the first spacecraft to orbit and land on Mars, touched its surface.

The objective of the Viking mission was to take high-resolution images on Mar’s surface and to search for evidence of life on Mars.
Viking 1 was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. After 11 months, it landed on the surface of Mars, where this photograph was taken by Viking 1 orbiter.

After this, 16000 more pictures were taken in the Viking mission and project.

Photograph of the First Hoax

first hoax photograph

The first Hoax Photo was captured in the year 1840.

Two pioneers of photography, “Hippolyte Bayard” and “Louis Daguerre,” had a great rivalry between them.

Bayard established the first positive printing process, but he was convinced not to announce it. In the meanwhile, Daguerre publicly announced the daguerreotype process.

Bayard felt it was not fair, and it resulted in taking the first self-portrait of his fake suicide. The photo was titled “Self Portrait of a Drowned Man.”

First Photograph of Sun

first photograph of sun

The first photograph of the sun was taken in 1845, the era of the dawn of photography. This successful shot of the sun was taken by Leon Foucault and Louis Fizeau.

The exposure for this picture was just 1/60th of a second. Foucault and Fizeau used tools like the draper and created a daguerreotype image, which was about 5 inches in diameter.

After the invention of cameras and photography, people of that era focused on taking images of things that the naked eye could not see.

The First Photograph of Cape Canaveral Launch

The First Cape Canaveral Launch Photograph

 The first Cape Canaveral was launched in the year 1950. NASA photographers snapped the first photograph of the rocket. .

It was quite a long ride to the historic first photos. 

But we enjoyed it while compiling them for you. 

If you think we have missed out on any of the milestones do mention it below in comments. 


180+ Photography Quotes (The Ultimate List)

The best thing about photography is that it captures the moments that can’t be relived.

Usually we look at fantastic photographs with admiration, but what are the words of wisdom of the photographers who are behind the lens?

If you love photography, you will love our list of photography quotes.

And if you are looking for quotes on a specific category, you can filter it out.

Keep reading and get inspired.

Quotes About What is Photography?

Image Courtesy: Don McCulllin

  • “Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.” Don McCullin
  • Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be. Duane Michals
  • “Photography is a response that has to do with the momentary recognition of things. Suddenly you’re alive. A minute later there was nothing there. I just watched it evaporate. You look one moment and there’s everything, next moment it’s gone. Photography is very philosophical.” Joel Meyerowitz
  • A lot of people seem to think that art or photography is about the way things look, or the surface of things. […] They don’t understand that it’s not about a style or a look or a setup. It’s about emotional obsession and empathy. Nan Goldin
  • “Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” Aaron Siskind
  • Making a photograph is rather like writing a paragraph or a short piece, and putting together a whole string of photographs is like producing a piece of writing in many ways. There is the possibility of making coherent statements in an interesting, subtle, complex way.” David Goldblatt
  • “To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces.” Ansel Adams
  • “It isn’t the alphabet that’s important. The important thing is what you are writing, what you are expressing. The same thing goes for photography.” Andre Kertesz
  • “The best images are the ones that retain their strength and impact over the years, regardless of the number of times they are viewed.”Anne Geddes
  • “You can’t teach people photography, they’ve got to learn how to do it the best way possible for them. They can learn from looking at pictures… but they don’t really get intimate with the medium until they’ve made a few bad shots.” Cecil BeatonAaron Siskind

What Is Good Photography?

  • “If it makes you laugh, if it makes you cry, if it rips out your heart, that’s a good picture.” Eddie Adams
  •  “It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter because you can invent things. But in photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary.” — David Bailey
  • “The best pictures differentiate themselves by nuances…a tiny relationship – either a harmony or a disharmony – that creates a picture.” Ernst Haas
  • “If you don’t have anything to say, your photographs are not going to say much.” Gordon Parks
  • “No place is boring if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and a pocket full of unexposed film.” — Robert Adams
  • “Photography is truth. And cinema is truth twenty-four times a second.” Jean-Luc Godard

Image Courtesy: Steve McCurry

  • “Just because people use Instagram and take cellphone pictures, it doesn’t mean the pictures are meaningful, anymore than a text someone sends a friend is great literature. Is it something that’s going to remain? Is it going to inspire us?” Steve McCurry
  • “A good picture is born from a state of grace. Grace becomes manifest when one is freed from conventions, free as a child in his first discovery of reality. The game is then to organize the triangle.” Sergio Larrain
  • “The best images are the ones that retain their strength and impact over the years, regardless of the number of times they are viewed.” Anne Geddes
  • “A good photograph is like a good hound dog, dumb, but eloquent.” Eugène Atget
  • “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” —Robert Capa
  • “A photograph is a collision between a person with a camera and reality. The photograph is typically as interesting as the collision is.” Charles Harbutt
  • “To me a photograph is a page from life, and that being the case, it must be real.” Weegee

Inspirational Quotes About Photography

Image Courtesy: Ansel Adams

  • “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”Ansel Adams
  • “In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”— Alfred Stieglitz
  • “A picture is worth a thousand words.” – Unknown
  • “Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is.”— Anonymous
  • “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” Ansel Adams
  • “The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.” Andy Warhol
  •  “Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.”Marc Riboud
  • “It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.” Alfred Eisenstaedt
  • “It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.”— Paul Caponigro
  • “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” Dorothea Lange
  • “A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.” Annie Leibovitz
  • “Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.” Peter Adams
  •  “The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.” Andy Warhol
  •   “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”Ansel Adams

Image Courtesy: Marc Riboud 

  • “Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.”Marc Riboud
  • “The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.” — Scott Lorenzo
  • “A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.” Annie Leibovitz
  •   “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” Ansel Adams
  • “One doesn’t stop seeing. One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time.” — Annie Leibovitz
  • “Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” — Marc Riboud
  • “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” Dorothea Lange
  • “Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.” Peter Adams

Art of Photography

  • “Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed.” Garry Winogrand
  • “A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.” — Irving Penn
  • “It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter because you can invent things, but in photography… it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary.” David Bailey
  • “The magic of photography is metaphysical. What you see in the photograph isn’t what you saw at the time. The real skill of photography is organised visual lying.” Terence Donovan
  • “I think good dreaming is what leads to good photographs.” — Wayne Miller
  • “Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.” Man Ray
  • “It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.” — Alfred Eisenstaedt
  • “Photography is a medium in which if you don’t do it then, very often you don’t do it at all, because it doesn’t happen twice. A rock will probably always be more or less there just the way you saw it yesterday. But other things change, they’re not always there the day after or the week after.” Paul Strand

Image Courtesy: Pete Turner

  • “Ultimately, simplicity is the goal in every art, and achieving simplicity is one of the hardest things to do, yet it’s easily the most essential.” Pete Turner
  • “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” — Elliott Erwitt
  • “All the technique in the world doesn’t compensate for the inability to notice.” Elliott Erwitt
  • “The best camera is the one that’s with you.”– Chase Jarvis
  • “You must let the person looking at the photograph go some of the way to finishing it. You should offer them a seed that will grow and open up their minds.” Robert Doisneau

Wedding Photography Quotes

  • “Don’t look at other wedding photographer’s work. When you walk into a room, find the one thing that you are attracted to and focus on that. Your instincts will guide you to finding an image that you love.” – Ben Chrisman
  • “If you force it and you keep looking for moments then you’ll end up shooting what you think the wedding should look like rather than actual moments that are unfolding in front of you.” – Joe Buissink
  • “You need to use [a hat] when you have to, such as when it’s raining. Or, when you just feel like it. Sometimes you wear it because you need to get the sun out of your eyes. Think about flash in the same way. Don’t use it all the time, but also don’t shy away from it. If it’s dark outside, use flash. If you know there’s time, and you have a good idea, and your clients will love it, then go for it.” Matt Kennedy

Image Courtesy: Roberto Valenzuela

  • “Circumstantial light considers not only all the properties and behaviors of natural light, but also how that light interacts with the objects around [you], so that [you] can transform those objects into light-shaping tools.”– Roberto Valenzuela
  • “It is a profound honor as a photographer to witness two people falling in love.” – Jesh de Rox
  • “If I can dig deeper and show more of who people are, aside from it being a wedding day, then I feel I’ve succeeded. Usually, at the end of the night, that comes out. The party’s over, and they one hundred percent become themselves.” – Tyler Wirken
  • “When [you] acquire an understanding of the science behind light and what governs it, then [you] can predict its behavior and control the lighting in [your] photographs.”– Roberto Valenzuela
  • “The people who hire me as a wedding photographer hire me not just because of my photographic style, they hire me because of the style of my personality. My style and personality match, so they know they’re getting a genuine style.” – Jared Platt
  • “The most important thing at a wedding is to photograph the bride. The second most important thing is not to forget the groom.” – Alix Reuters

How To Do a Perfect Photoshoot?

  • “The key is to photograph your obsessions; whether that’s old people’s hands or skyscrapers. Think of a blank canvas, because that’s what you’ve got, and then think about what you want to see – not anyone else.” David Lachapelle
  • “A photograph is a moral decision taken in one eighth of a second. ” — Salman Rushdie
  •  “The satisfaction comes from working next to 500 photographers and coming away with something different.” David Burnett
  • “Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.”— Yousuf Karsh
  • “There is no such thing as taking too much time, because your soul is in that picture.” Ruth Bernhard
  •  “My favourite words are possibilities, opportunities and curiosity. If you are curious, you create opportunities, and if you open the doors, you create possibilities.” Mario Testino
  • “Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.”– Ambrose Bierce
  • “I can’t tell you how many pictures I’ve missed, ignored, trampled or otherwise lost, just ’cause I’ve been so hell-bent on getting the shot I think I want.” Joe McNally 
  • “The pitfall of photography is that you can end up looking at everything through a camera, instead of seeing it for itself. The viewfinder isolates you. When you look through one, you’re cutting everything else out of your vision. The camera can open many doors, but sometimes you need to put it down and live.” Maggie Steber

Image Courtesy: Andreas Gursky 

  • “Try to understand not just that we are living in a certain building or in a certain location, but to become aware that we are living on a planet that is going at enormous speed through the universe. For me it’s more a synonym. I read a picture not for what’s really going on there, I read it more for what is going on in our world generally.”Andreas Gursky
  • “Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.” – Diane Arbus
  • “I think a photograph, of whatever it might be – a landscape, a person – requires personal involvement. That means knowing your subject, not just snapping away at what’s in front of you.” Frans Lanting

Best Technique For Photography - Quotes

  • “I go straight in very close to people, and I do that because it’s the only way you can get the picture. You go right up to them. Even now, I don’t find it easy. I don’t announce it. I pretend to be focusing elsewhere. If you take someone’s photo, it is very difficult not to look at them just after. But it’s the one thing that gives the game away. I don’t try and hide what I’m doing – that would be folly.”   Martin Parr
  • “We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.” Ralph Hattersley
  • “Self-conscious artiness is fatal, but it certainly would not hurt to study composition in general. Having a basic understanding of composition would help construct a better organized image.” Berenice Abbott
  • “The more specific you are, the more general it’ll be.” Diane Arbus

Image Courtesy:Mary Ellen Mark

  • “By making a frame you’re being selective, then you edit the pictures you want published and you’re being selective again. You develop a point of view that you want to express. You try to go into a situation with an open mind, but then you form an opinion and you express it in your photographs.” Mary Ellen Mark
  • “No amount of toying with shades of print or with printing papers will transform a commonplace photograph into anything other than a commonplace photograph.” Bill Brandt 
  • “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”Robert Capa
  • “Limit your tools, focus on one thing, and just make it work… you become very inventive with the restrictions you give yourself.” Anton Corbijn
  • “The most important piece of equipment after the camera is a good pair of shoes. A writer can work from a hotel room but a photographer has to be there, so he/she is in for a hell of a lot of hiking.” David Hurn
  • “During the work, you have to be sure that you haven’t left any holes, that you’ve captured everything, because afterwards it will be too late” Henry Cartier-Bresson
  • “A lot of photographers think that if they buy a better camera they’ll be able to take better photographs. A better camera won’t do a thing for you if you don’t have anything in your head or in your heart.” Arnold Newman
  • “You are responsible for every part of your image, even the parts you’re not interested in.” Jay Maisel

Image Courtesy: Sally Mann

  • “I’m so worried that I’m going to perfect [my] technique someday. I have to say it’s unfortunate how many of my pictures do depend upon some technical error.” Sally Mann
  • “Just be prepared to look back in a few years on yourself, and your photos, and laugh.”– Ben Chrisman

Quotes About The Importance of Intuition In Photography

  • “If you want to make good photographs, a camera has to be second nature to you. Devoting too much attention to technical decisions can interfere with your creative processes.”Robert Farber
  • “It’s weird that photographers spend years or even a whole lifetime, trying to capture moments that added together, don’t even amount to a couple of hours.” — James Lalropui Keivom
  • “It seems to me that women have a bigger chance at success in photography than men… Women are quicker and more adaptable than men. And I think they have an intuition that helps them understand personalities more quickly than men.” Lee Miller
  • “The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation.” — Susan Meiselas
  • “Technique undoubtedly helps make photography magical, but I prefer to work with atmosphere. I think that the obsession with technique is a male thing. Boy’s toys. They love playing… but once you’ve perfected something you have to start searching for a new toy. I would rather search for a new model or location.” Ellen von Unwerth
  • “Everything always looked better in black and white. Everything always looked as if it were the first time; there’s always more people in a black and white photograph. It just makes it seem that there were more people at a gig, more people at a football match, than with colour photography. Everything looks more exciting.”– Jack Lowden
  • “It would be mistaken to suppose that any of the best photography is come at by intellection; it is like all art, essentially the result of an intuitive process, drawing on all that the artist is rather than on anything he thinks, far less theorizes about – Helen Levitt
  • “It is very hard to say where you’re going until you get there. That kind of thing is based very much on instinct. As a photographer, one of the most important lessons I have learnt is that you have to learn to listen to and trust your own instinct. It has helped to guide me – this far at least.” James Nachtwey

Image Courtesy: Edward Weston

  • “Photography concentrates one’s eye on the superficial. For that reason it obscures the hidden life which glimmers through the outlines of things like a play of light and shade. One can’t catch that even with the sharpest lens. One has to grope for it by feeling.”Franz Kafka
  • “For me, documentary photography has always come with great responsibility. Not just to tell the story honestly and with empathy, but also to make sure the right people hear it. When you photograph somebody who is in pain or discomfort, they trust you to make sure the images will act as their advocate.” – Giles Duley
  • “Witness is borne and puzzles come together at the photographic moment, which is very simple and complete. The mind-finger presses the release on the silly machine and it stops time and holds what its jaws can encompass and what the light will stain.” Lee Freidlander
  • “The secret of photography is the camera takes on the character and personality of the handler.” Walker Evans
  • “The better images occur when you’re moving to the fringes of your own understanding. That’s where self-doubt and risk taking are likely to occur. It’s when you trust what’s happening at a non-intellectual non-conscious level that you can produce work that later resonates, often in a way that you can’t articulate a response to.” Jerry Uelsmann
  • “The camera is a remarkable instrument. Saturate yourself with your subject and the camera will all but take you by the hand.” Margaret Bourke-White

Short Photography Quotes

  • “To me, photography must suggest, not insist or explain.” — Brassai
  • “There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.” – Abraham Lincoln
  • “If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it’s a street photograph.” — Bruce Gilden
  • “One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you’d be stricken blind.” —
  • “A good photographer records; a great photographer reveals.” — Skyler Reid
  • “If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.” — Jim Richardson
  • “Gosh, my job is so easy! I just click a button all day… said no photographer ever.”– Unknown
  • “Today, I am going to shoot someone… and they will love me for it!” – Unknown
  • “For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.” ― Henri Cartier-Bresson

Image Courtesy: Tim Walker

  •  “Photography: so many attempts – so few masterpieces.” James Elliott
  • “With creating, we are literally bringing something into existence that didn’t exist before.” – Montana Dennis
  • “For every negative that is a disappointment, there is one that is a joy.” Edward S Curtis
  •  “Photography’s 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent moving furniture.” Gregory Heisler
  • “If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.” Lewis Hine
  •  “It’s more important to click with people than to click the shutter.” Alfred Eisenstaedt
  • “Buying a Nikon doesn’t make you a photographer. It makes you a Nikon owner.” — Anonymous
  •  “Which of the photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.” — Imogen Cunningham
  • “Above all, life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference.” ― Robert Frank
  • “The camera sees more than the eye, so why not make use of it?” —Edward Weston
  • “If you see something that moves you, and then snap it, you keep a moment.” — Linda McCartney
  • “When people ask me what equipment I use – I tell them my eyes.” — Anonymous
  •  “Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.” ― Paul Strand
  • “When I photograph, what I’m really doing is seeking answers to things.” — Wynn Bullock
  • “Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future.” — Sally Mann

Image Courtesy: Steve McCurry

  • “I think life is too short not to be doing something which you really believe in.” — Steve McCurry

  • “Once photography enters your bloodstream, it is like a disease.” — Anonymous
  • “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know.” — Diane Arbus
  • “I didn’t choose photography, photography chose me.” — Gerardo Suter
  •   “Essentially what photography is is life lit up.” — Sam Abell
  • “I believe photographers should shoot what they want, not shoot what they get.”  – Roberto Valenzuela
  • “Photography is a love affair with life.” — Burk Uzzle
  • “All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.” — Richard Avedon
  • “The pictures are there, and you just take them.” — Robert Capa
  • “Photograph the world as it is. Nothing’s more interesting than reality.” — Mary Ellen Mark
  • “A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” — Edward Steichen


So, what is your favorite photography quote?

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