The Best 15 Paid & Free Stock Photo Sites for Feminine Brands – and how to find even more

By August 16, 2018 September 6th, 2019 Branding, Design, Freebies

When it comes to your brand, photos are everything! You use them on your website, in Instagram, for your webinars, online courses and e-books. Unfortunately not all of us are great with cameras or have the extra time and money to buy props and organize our own photo shooting days - certainly not me. That’s when stock photos come in handy.

There are plenty of paid and free stock photo options out there and you can spend hours - if not days - researching them. I know for sure that this process leads to overwhelm, so let me save you some time. Here’s my top 20 favorite sites to get paid and free stock photos for feminine brands.

THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY STOCK PHOTOS

My realization about the importance of good quality stock photos came in a very interesting way. Five years ago, I didn’t know about the photographers and resource sites that I know and love today. Back then, it was plain old Shutterstock…

At that time I worked in the packaging design industry and I had to apply all kind of fruit and floral stock photos onto cheap, dollar store cosmetic products. Most of our resources came from Shutterstock, even more specifically from the first few search results for our key words (like “roses” or “apple cinnamon”). The brighter, the more “granny-looking” or the more generic they were, the happier my boss was - well not exactly my proudest design phase, but it made a living when I was still new to Canada.

One day I was walking on Montreal’s bohemian rue St Denis when suddenly something caught my attention: the storefront of a boutique selling high-end, organic skincare products.

Did it catch my gaze because of some superb decoration?

Well, not exactly. It wasn’t the kind of “fall in love with our cute artisanal products” situation that the owner might have hoped. What made me look - and cringe - was a huge photo of an orange.

Yep, an overly generic, more than boring shot of an orange. An orange that I had seen on Shutterstock at least a zillion times and pasted onto labels of $2 shower gel bottles. That photo turned on flashing red lights in my brain saying “Cheap! Cheap! Cheap!” No matter how good the products were, the storefront with that one, lazy photo choice ruined it.

This made me understand how important quality stock photography - one with personality - can be if you want to look unique, exclusive and one of a kind.

And one thing I know about you for sure: you want a business that looks unique, exclusive and one of a kind. Well, the photos you choose are key players to achieve this.

HOW TO FIND UNIQUE & HIGH QUALITY STOCK PHOTOS?

Let me make it clear, I’m not saying that Shutterstock or any of the other stock photo giants are bad. They often provide amazing stock photo options. But they are black holes when it comes to time you spend on finding the photos. Many of my clients complained that they have to scroll hours for one photo that fits their vision. That’s not really effective.

I also find that their pricing isn’t the best any more. Many photographers offer better subscriptions with unlimited downloads on their own sites. So in a nutshell, there are better and cheaper options.

THE KEY IS: FIND YOUR FAVORITE PHOTOGRAPHER

The best from all these options is to find a photographer whose work is in line with your brand. You might find this photographer on Shutterstock, on Creative Market or on a free stock photo site. Then do this: reach out!

Yep, don’t be shy, email that talented photographer and ask her (or him):

  • What is her main topic / focus for her stock photos? - Does she takes shots of desktop scenes, interiors, nature, food, etc - and are these topics in line with your brand?
  • Does she offer monthly freebies? - so that you can try them out risk free.
  • Where does she sell her stock photos? - so you can buy on the site where she earns the most. Shutterstock and Creative Market take a big chunk for themselves from the sales price. If you can buy the photo directly from the photographer, you support her in a more sustainable way which means she’ll be in business longer. Win-win for both of you!
  • How many photos does she has? - you need someone with a couple hundred stock photos already taken so that you can have a nice variety.
  • How often does she adds new stock photos? - so you get up to date new photos on a regular basis. This especially good before major holidays, like Christmas.
  • Does she sell stock photos in bundles? - buying in bundle can be a better deal for you.
  • Does she have membership options? - many photographers offer monthly, quarterly or yearly memberships where you can access all their photos for a subscription fee - which is often a better deal than buying photos on demand.
What the license permits you to do with the photos? - this is really important, you must know what you can do with the stock photos. Some photographers only permit personal use (great for your blog and Instagram posts), others let you use the photo for commercial projects (for example paid courses and book covers). Be clear on these terms from the beginning to avoid legal battles.License rights are overly complicated today with many obstacles to avoid. I found this article very helpful while doing my research for this post. ​

LOOK FOR CURATED STOCK PHOTO COLLECTIONS

Another good way to find great stock photos for your brand is to look for curated collections with the style you need.

You can find these collections on Pinterest or on stock photo sites. My all time favorites are on Unsplash, where users can make collections of photos based on topic, style or any other criteria. And today, I’m sharing with you my Collection of 400+ Royalty Free Stock Photos For Feminine Brands from Unsplash. Just click on this image to get access. I will continuously add new photos to this collection to grow it even bigger.
The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands

TOP 15 PAID & FREE STOCK PHOTO SITES FOR FEMININE BRANDS

OK, I know you’re here for the best 15 paid and free stock photo sites so I don’t make you wait longer. Here they are!

The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands - Unsplash

My favorite stock photo site for CC0 (creative commons zero a.k.a. free for personal and commercial use) stock photos.

Why is it my favorite? First of all, it has amazing, artsy photos with real personality. You won’t find anything boring or overly generic here.

Second of all, you can create collection from the photos you find here. This makes it super easy to organize photos by specific styles, topics, project goals, etc. It’s also easy to reach out to the photographer as they can post their social profiles, and website URL on their Unsplash pages.

free for personal and commercial use, more info . When in doubt, contact the site and the photographer.

Creators: various photographers from newbies to badass pros
Topic / Style: various styles and topics
Easy to search photos: yes
Price: every stock photo is FREE
Number of photos on the site: more than 500.000
Membership account: you can make a free account and create collections from your favorite photos. You can also follow other users and their collections.
License info: here


5 photographers on Unsplash whose work I absolutely recommend you to check:

  • STIL - Superior quality stationery goods, simply designed, using high-quality and curated materials. Lots of black, white, greys and gold. ​ 
  • Jess Watters - delicate and clean style with lots of super cool close-up shots of stationery goods and mouthwatering cupcake photos.​ 
  • Brooke Lark - a must-follow for foodies and lady bosses in health and nutrition, super sharp, super yummy stock photos with vibrant colors.​ 
  • EveryGirlBoss - this is kind of self-explanatory. Great desk and office shots with lots of feminine props and pops of pink and red.​ 
  • Annie Spratt - her photos are bit of an exception in this list. They are darker, with a romantic, rustic vibe. If your business has close ties with nature and it’s more on a vintage style, you’ll love her photos.​

Plus, access my curated collection of 400+ stock photos for feminine brands to find even more talented photographers on Unsplash.

The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands
The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands - Pexels

Pexels is similar to Unsplash and if you have an account (free) you’ll be able to make collections from the images you like. Beside having some amazing items uploaded directly to their site, Pexels also hand-pick photos from other free repositories. So you save time because you don’t have to visit several sites for resources.

free for personal and commercial use, more info . When in doubt, contact the site and the photographer.​

Creators: various photographers from newbies to badass pros
Topic / Style: various styles and topics
Easy to search photos: yes
Price: every stock photo is FREE
Number of photos on the site: a couple thousand
Membership account: you can make a free account and create collections from your favorite photos. You can also follow other users and their collections.
License info: here

The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands - Styled Stock Co.

A small but gorgeous collection of feminine free stock photos, great for blog posts and Instagram.

Creators: no info on this, but you can reach them on social media and their Contact page
Topic / Style: feminine desktop and stationery goods
Easy to search photos: yes
Price: every stock photo is FREE
Number of photos on the site: around 100
Membership / account: none
License info: free for personal and commercial use, certain limitations apply. More info here

The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands - Rightlight

Nordwood is an awesome seller of stunning social media templates on Creative Market and while I checked some of their products, I noticed that they have a free stock photo library too. It’s small, but you get photo setups shot from several different angles which can be helpful. They have a clean, minimalistic style.

Creators: Nordwood
Topic / Style: clean, minimalistic style, various topics
Easy to search photos: only by category
Price: every stock photo is FREE
Number of photos on the site: around 100-200
Membership account: none
License info: free for personal and commercial use, certain limitations apply. More info here

The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands - Picjumbo

I go to Picjumbo for bright and happy photos in their fashion, food and architecture categories. If you pay the quite low monthly membership rate, you can access full collections of corresponding photos.

Creators: Viktor Hanacek
Topic / Style: various styles and topic
Easy to search photos: yes
Price: free stock photos + options to get more photos for a low monthly rate
Number of photos on the site: 2000 +
Membership account: has a paid Premium Membership starting at 10 USD/month
License info: free for personal and commercial use, certain limitations apply. More info here

The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands - Styled Stock Society

This is the first stock photo membership I’ve ever signed up for. Why? The photographer, Elle Drouin had bright and cute photos with the exact colors I was looking for. I loved the variety and that she lately started adding more lifestyle photos. Currently I’m not paying for membership, simply because I have enough photos, but considering to re-subscribe soon.

Creators: Elle Drouin
Topic / Style: fashion, office, lifestyle and stylish, feminine stationery goods
Easy to search photos: by collections only
Price: get 10 free stock photos when you sign up to her list. Rest of the photos are available inside the paid member area or some of them on Creative Market in bundles, starting at $10 / bundle​
Number of photos on the site: 1200 +
Membership account: has a paid membership starting at $69 billed quarterly
License info: license allows personal and commercial use, certain limitations apply. More info here

The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands - Her Creative Studio

I absolutely adore Sandra’s work at Her Creative Studio. Her images are always sharp, and beautifully composed with interesting and stylish props. She’s always able to infuse her photos with natural coziness so you can’t feel the artificial, “shot in a studio” coldness at all.

When you sign up to her list, you’ll get one free image every month.

In addition, proceeds from her business sales are used to sponsor two children from Mali, West Africa. How great is that?

If you love to shop from companies who gives back and makes a positive change in our world, definitely visit Her Creative Studio.

Creators: Sandra Manton Mills
Topic / Style: fashion, office, stationery, floral, wedding, lifestyle and mockups
Easy to search photos: only by category
Price: get 1 free photo every month by subscribing to her list. Individual photos start at $17. She also offers a membership program with unlimited downloads.​
Number of photos on the site: 800 +
Membership account: yes, starting at $127 billed bi-annually.
License info: license allows personal and business use. More info here.​

The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands - Jana Bishop Collection

Previously known as Twigy Post, the Jana Bishop Collection has a praising loyal following, not without any reason. Jana’s photos have a consistent, recognizable style that’s very delicate, light and absolutely feminine. What I found really great about her photo library is that she has lots of photos with interiors. Many stock photographers lack the environment or resources to take photos of full interiors with bigger pieces of furniture but Jana’s shop is an exception.

Creators: Jana Bishop
Topic / Style: fashion, office, stationery, floral, wedding, interiors, home decor, lifestyle and mockups
Easy to search photos: yes
Price: individual photos start at $10, bundles at $47.
Number of photos on the site: 3600 +
Membership account: yes, but it’s currently closed. Sign up to Jana’s list to get info about upcoming new membership programs. ​
License info: license allows personal use only. More info here.​

The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands - SC Stockshop

SC Stockshop is more on the pricier side when it comes to stock photos but there’s a reason for this. Every photo was taken in the highest resolution with maximum attention to details, so you can zoom (and just zoom, and zoom… they are really sharp, high quality photos) in and crop parts of the image. This means that you can use one image in many different ways. Their “Start Here” page highlights these special features through real life examples.You also don’t have to worry about looking like everyone else, because image sets are sold in quantities of 10 downloads each before they are removed from the shop for good.

Creators: Shay Cochrane
Topic / Style: fashion, office, stationery, floral, wedding, lifestyle and mockups
Easy to search photos: yes
Price: get 20 free photo when you subscribe to their list
Number of photos on the site: couple hundred, updated frequently
Membership account: yes, see below at #10, Social Squares
License info: license allows personal use only. More info here.​

The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands - Social Squares

SC Stockshops little sister, Social Squares is a great membership if you need ready-for-Instagram photos. You literally have no tasks on these images, they are cropped to the perfect square size. Also, no additional filters needed. It’s also very affordable, only $25 / month for unlimited downloads.

Creators: Shay Cochrane
Topic / Style: fashion, office, stationery, floral, wedding, lifestyle and mockups
Easy to search photos: yes
Price: unlimited downloads from $25 / month
Number of photos on the site: I couldn’t find info on this but I’m sure it’s over 500
Membership account: yes
License info: license allows personal and professional use. More info here.​

The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands - The Stock Boutique

The Stock Boutique’s strength is that it provides photos for many different professions - beside the usual styled office look. There are collections for women in wellness, health, food industry, for florists and podcasters, etc.

Creators: Alisha Lynn
Topic / Style: fashion, office, stationery, floral, wedding, lifestyle and mockups
Easy to search photos: yes
Price: unlimited downloads from $25 / month
Number of photos on the site: I couldn’t find an exact number, but they add 50+ photos monthly, which means there are a couple of hundred photos available for sure.
Membership account: offers subscription plan from $25 / month
License info: license allows personal and professional use. More info here.

The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands - White Hart Design Co.

Lucie’s business was one of the first stock photography business that I started following on Instagram. She has a very recognizable, delicate style with lots of white, natural elements and flowers. She also creates lots of mockups (frames, wedding invitations, Apple devices). If you are in the wedding industry, you’ll love her work.

She doesn’t offer freebies currently, but you can get 10% off when you subscribe to her list. Also, she “retires” older - but still beautiful - photos from her shop regularly on a discounted price.

Creators: Lucie Carpentier
Topic / Style: stationery, floral, wedding, nursery and mockups
Easy to search photos: yes
Price: she mostly sells mockups starting at $6
Number of photos on the site: couple hundred
Membership account: none
License info: license allows personal and professional use. More info here.

The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands - Rosemary Watson Production

I subscribed to Rosemary’s Stock Brand Library recently because I loved her work and she offered a life-time membership for $149. One payment, no hassle, no headaches.

In her library, you’ll find photos of interiors, office related stuff, food, drinks, florals, etc. The only thing I don’t like is that it’s a bit hard to search the photos. They are only organized by month (when they were uploaded), not by topic and there’s no search bar.

Rosemary offers freebies on her Creative Market shop page. Look for the link in her shop bio. ​ 

Creators: Rosemary Watson
Topic / Style: fashion, office, stationery, floral, wedding, lifestyle, interiors and mockups
Easy to search photos: no, only by month of upload
Price: she sells some photos on Creative Market in bundles, starting at $10
Number of photos on the site: couple hundred
Membership account: lifetime membership for $149
License info: license allows personal and professional use. More info here.

The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands - Springs & co.

I found Spring & Co. on Creative Market when I was looking for photos for an aromatherapy business. If you are looking for a natural, slightly rustic but still clean look with lots of white, their photos will work well for you.

You also get some free photos, when you subscribe to their list.​ 

Creators: Spring & Co.
Topic / Style: office, stationery, floral, wedding, baking, health and mockups
Easy to search photos: yes
Price: they sell individual photos from $7, bundles from $15
Number of photos on the site: 400+
Membership account: no membership
License info: license allows personal and professional use. More info here.​

The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands - Creative Market

Many times, I find my new favorites on Creative Market and then start following them on their own websites. Some photographers though don’t have their own webshops yet.

It also worth checking back to Creative Market, because they offer freebies every week

Some Creative Market shop worth following:

And 1 Extra: Creative Convex - FREE

The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands - Creative Convex

This on is an extra and a bit different than the rest. Chaitra from Pinkpot Studio started Creative Convex as a monthly free image resource but then she turned it into something very interesting.

​She teaches you how to use your iPhone to create stellar photos for your business. Yes, no fancy equipment, just your phone. And to show you how incredibly useful your phone can be, she shares a set of free stock photos, that she took entirely with her iPhone.

WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE PAID OR FREE STOCK PHOTO SITE?

Uh, that was a long list. But I’m pretty sure there are many more amazing photographers and stock photo sites out there. Which one is your favorite?

What are your struggles when it comes to finding stock photos for your business? Share it in the comments so that I can help.

And don’t forget, there’s a collection of 400+ free stock photos on Unsplash, that I curated for you and that I will grow continuously. Access it now by subscribing to the Andimaginary Creative Tribe.

The Best 15 Sites for paid and free stock photos for feminine brands

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.