advanced photoshop

Top 5…Photo stock sites

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Tips & Tutorials, by Anna-lisa Saywell

We filter through online stock sites providing you with the best examples of value-for-money and quality content


Top 5...Photo stock sites

UK: Starts with six credits for £7
US: Starts with six credits for £9.99

There’s much more to than just royalty-free stock images, as the website also provides illustrations, video, Flash animations and even audio files, amounting to over ten million resources in all. Free membership includes access to special offers and hand-picked stock, chosen for its superior quality. The Vetta Collection holds the best of the best from a range of artists, priced slightly higher for its premium quality.

Scratch the surface even further and you’ll find’s The Steel Cage design competition, which gives artists an opportunity to win free credits. When you’re not winning them, there are three ways to buy, either as pay-as-you-go, via subscription, or using a corporate account.

Prices at first appear steep, but reflect the quality on offer. The Designer’s Toolbox is worth a glance if you’re looking for image elements noted for their modern style. Subscriptions are also available.


Top 5...Photo stock sites

US: Starts with 10 credits for $13
UK: Starts with 10 credits for £10

Sign up for free to Fotolia for a choice of nearly 17 million royalty-free stock photos. On top of those, there are plentiful vectors and videos available to use in your Photoshop compositions. The Infinite Collection is where you’ll find the best of Fotolia’s internationally sourced premium stock. Subscriptions are available.


Top 5...Photo stock sites

Credit: Alfred Borchard


Stock.xchng is a free resource with a pick-and-mix approach. Images come in all orientations and sizes, and the Lightboxes feature enables you to bookmark your favourite images. An Advanced Search filter can sort the restricted image types from non-restricted examples, with some images requiring credit to the artist.

Free Digital Photos

Top 5...Photo stock sites

Starts from free

Great stock photos don’t necessarily have to come at a high cost, or even any price at all. Free Digital Photos provides every one of its images as a free download, but at small pixel dimensions, for example 400 x 300. This makes them ideal for using with web projects, or as part of a larger composition. Bigger files come at a price however, starting at $3 and rising up to $10, per image, for the highest resolution. This is comparatively cheap based on competitor pricing.


Top 5...Photo stock sites

UK: Starts with eight credits for £7.10
US: N/a

As well as priced stock, there’s a lot of free photos at Dreamstime, which is especially good if you’re designing on a budget. Prices start as low as £0.14, credit packages start at £7.10 for eight credits and subscriptions begin with a 25 daily download limit for a month, costing £170.55.

  • Pixel Stock Photos

    Pension funds in the UK now own just 4.7% of the shares quoted on the London Stock Exchange, and individuals another 10.7%. Meanwhile, the proportion of Britain’s companies owned by foreign individuals.