High-quality stock visuals are a quick and affordable option to boost your designs. Finding the right professional to create art might not be easy if you are new to digital imagery. That’s where stock image sites come in handy. They offer a variety of high-quality visuals for every style and taste, and take care of the legal issues for you. Licensing terms and conditions explain all essential details on the file usage and possible limitations.

Keep reading this article to discover the aspects you must pay attention to when choosing the most suitable stock content marketplace, and the top three reliable sites with HD files.

What to pay attention to when choosing sites for downloading stock photos


Usually, stock image websites offer content under a Royalty-Free license. This type of license means you purchase a file once and can use it multiple times for various projects without paying additional fees. Besides, you don’t infringe copyright when creating content using royalty-free visuals. However, the images you purchase under this license aren’t yours exclusively. Other brands and maybe even your competitors can use them too. You can also find free royalty-free images, which will require attribution when used commercially.

There’s also a Creative Commons license often used by image stocks that offer only free files. It is usually more diverse than royalty-free. The CC license provides free access to visuals, but the content creator retains the rights and flexibility on choosing the exact licensing terms. For instance, Creative Commons images can be free only for personal or commercial use, and aren’t available for sale without prior modification.

Moreover, image stocks can offer content under a Rights-Managed license, the terms of which are usually defined by a specific website, content creator, and usage purpose. For example, you can purchase a visual file to create and sell a particular print or use it in one specific project. Also, you can negotiate the number of copies and duration period for which you will own this content. Therefore, rights-managed images can differ in price, depending on how you plan to use them. You can pay one rate for including pictures in your content marketing strategy and another for using them as part of your branding.

Searching options

There are plenty of photo and vector graphic stocks on the web, but not all of them can be easy to navigate. Luckily, top websites offer advanced search running on AI-based algorithms that deliver needed results, even if you’re looking for an image using only one keyword. Most photo stocks also have filters that allow you to choose a particular visual category, e.g., photos, vectors, illustrations, or other content.

Moreover, stock platforms often simplify your search and offer various image collections. These collections can differ by topic (holidays, sports, romance, etc.), color, and even mood or emotion they convey (energetic, happy, calm, etc.). A diverse search is a notable benefit that eases the searching process and reduces the time spent finding visuals.

Style and type of visuals

The best stock picture sites must offer diverse content. Users should be able to browse and find needed files for different projects, be it some abstract shapes for their marketing design or aesthetic nature shots for promotional purposes. The photos shouldn’t have old-fashioned, staged poses and forced smiles.

Some platforms can focus on photographs, while others offer hand-drawn illustrations, GIFs, and other digitally created visuals. Some are very selective about the image style they approve and publish on their sites. They can encourage artists to be as creative and authentic as possible, and submit vivid, impressive visuals. Other marketplaces can provide as many diverse pictures and visual styles as possible.

Therefore, if you work with a specific branding strategy or a pretty narrow target audience, it might be best to find one photo stock that meets all of your demands and stick to it. On the other hand, if you opt for diversity, you might want to subscribe to and use several platforms.

Top 3 photo stocks featuring HD vector illustrations


Depositphotos is one of the biggest and most diverse stock content websites, offering different images, including 54+ million vivid and appealing vectors available at Depositphotos.com. It is easy to find striking pictures in the library using advanced search filters and browsing trendy curated collections. The collections differ by topics, colors, moods, seasons, holidays, and other factors. For instance, you can expand your image search by checking out Users’ Choice, Newest Files, or Featured Illustrator collections. You can learn more at https://blog.depositphotos.com/depositphotos-review.html.

The Depositphotos marketplace offers free and premium images. 65,000+ free files are available on a separate web page; just click on the Free tab in the search box and input your request. Also, remember to attribute the platform when using free files in your projects. To download premium unwatermarked images, you must purchase a budget-friendly subscription or on-demand plan.

The library offers two royalty-free license types: Standard and Extended. The Standard license allows using pictures for commercial and personal purposes, limiting the number of copies and creation of items for resale or free distribution. The Extended one poses no limits or restrictions, giving you freedom of usage.


Pixabay offers free stock photos, vector art, and illustrations. This platform has a clear content vision and carefully reviews new image submissions, checking their quality and legality. Therefore, the royalty-free visuals there are highly approved by the library and safe to use.

The marketplace offers several curated collections to help you select the right pictures for a particular occasion. Moreover, there are convenient search parameters created to simplify your browsing. You can filter images by size, type, orientation, and color.

Pixabay’s license allows you to use images for commercial and non-commercial purposes without attribution. However, you cannot redistribute or sell those images without extensive modification.


Vecteezy features a variety of images, including photos and vector art. You can find collections on various topics like wedding, lifestyle, animals, and others. Also, some of them can indicate the popularity of the content, like trends or the most downloaded images. Others can show the potential use of a picture, e.g., background, pattern, banner, or other purposes.

Vecteezy offers three royalty-free license types: Free, Pro, and Pro Extended. The Free license allows downloading files with certain usage limitations—you have to attribute the platform and use an image for a certain number of copies. The Pro License lifts the attribution requirement and increases the number of copies. The Pro Extended one poses no limitations or restrictions on content usage.

To sum up

Using stock images can help you quickly create striking designs and appealing web content without spending your resources on producing visuals for a brand. However, you must pay attention to licensing terms and conditions and choose trustworthy stocks like those listed in this article. Explore the platforms and pick your preferred option.

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