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How to Find High Quality Stock Photos on a Budget


Here at Knopp & Co., we strongly believe that it matters how a campaign looks. If your ads, website, or handouts are ugly or unprofessional, people are more likely to ignore them. An important aspect of all marketing is stock photography. Unfortunately, it can quickly become expensive, especially for campaigns on a budget. We've found a few websites that offer great solutions for any campaign but especially smaller, cash-strapped campaigns.

In case you haven't dealt with stock photos before or don't know what they are, here's a quick explanation. Whenever you see a picture of a generic dog, park, child, or neighborhood, there's a decent chance you're looking at a stock photo. If you don't need a photo of the candidate or a local landmark, high-quality stock photos can help your digital and printed materials feel more professional and approachable. It's significantly less expensive than hiring a photographer and staging photos just for your campaign. With that out of the way, here are our recommendations.


Unsplash is the first place we go to look for stock photos for clients. They have the best, highest quality stock photos for the great low price of free. All of their 200,000+ photos are 100% free to use for commercial use and do not require attribution.


If we can't find something on Unsplash, we usually head to Stocksnap. They have some of the same photos as Unsplash but they also have others that Unsplash does not. The usage terms are the same as Unsplash as well.

Pexels or Pixabay

Pexels or Pixabay are our last checks before we move on to paid options. The quality starts to drop off at this point. We haven't found a lot here that we can use but they're still worth a quick search.

Make sure to use multiple search terms before you give up. If you're looking for pictures of a house for instance, also make sure you search terms that are might result in photos of a house.

Adobe Stock

If you can't find any free options, Adobe Stock is where we go for paid stock photos. They let you purchase individual photos for $10 per image. They also have great pricing for monthly or annual subscriptions as well.

We don't feel like we can recommend sites like Shutterstock at this point. The biggest issue with Shutterstock is you can't purchase a single image. You can only purchase an On Demand package that lets you buy 2, 5, or 25 images at a time. The 2 image option works out to $15 per image which is more expensive than Adobe Stock.

If you have questions about stock photos or would like to hire us to design and execute your digital or print marketing campaign, send us an email.

Reagan Knopp