There’s no doubt that on visual platforms like Instagram, you just can’t afford any compromises when it comes to the quality of the photos you use. Nor can you go without them.

However, coming up with an original photo every time you decide to make a new post can be a hassle –and if you don’t have that kind of time, you won’t be able to post at all.

But luckily, stock photos exist! Thank Heavens!

Whether you are a writer who wants to pair their poetry and prose with relevant images or a cook who needs mouth-watering food images highlighting their Instagram posts, stock photos are the perfect solution for you!

The Internet is filled to the brim with stock photos you can use for relatively cheaper costs, or even use and re-use for free. You just have to look around, but that’s where this guide steps in and does the looking around for you.

Why are Stock Photos great for Instagram?

Before we jump into our list, let’s convince you why you should be considering stock photos.

Stock images are high-quality photos that are uploaded to the internet by the generous community of photographers from all around the world.

You can use these stock photos to save your time, deal with the more important tasks at hand, or simply save the costs of buying the equipment needed for such high-quality images.

Also, if you are a brand on Instagram who likes to post multiple times a day, investing in that many images might not be very economical. In that case, the best option for you would be free-stock photo sites.

Here are some of the best sites you can use to get stock images to fire up your Instagram feed in no time. Now, these stock image sites are divided into two categories: Premium sites where you will have to pay up some amount in order to use the images and free-to-use stock image sites where you can pick up any image you like for free.

Premium Stock Photo Sites for Instagram:

Premium stock photos sites consist of some of the highest quality images you can find online. Their database is extensive, and there are hundreds and sometimes even millions of options to use from. Although you have to pay a certain amount to use an image, it is still more economical than hiring a professional photographer. Here are some of our favourite premium stock photo sites for Instagram to beautify your feed:

1. SC Stockshop:

SC Stockshop is a great premium stock photo site that you can open up and instantly start using. Along with offering a wide range of aesthetic pictures that would make an Instagram feed prettier by ten folds, it also has a tutorials section filled with elaborate videos for you to see and learn from. The videos show everything –from how to design the images to fit your brand to the exact steps required for adding personal designs on their mug-styled stock images. All in all, it’s a great stock photo site for anyone to use, and it lets you know how you should use it!

2. Stocksy:

Stocksy United is a British platform that provides royalty-free stock images by accepting them from photographers all over the world.

Stocksy is one of the top competitors in the stock photos business, and anyone who uses the Internet for stock photos and videos will bear witness to this. Now, what makes Stocksy, one of the best, if not the best, is that the stock photos you can get are of the highest quality and so aesthetically pleasing that any photo you come across, you will want to buy and put it up on your Instagram feed.

Apart from that, Stocksy also offers brands customized galleries they can use to keep their Instagram and other social media feed consistent. So, if you want to ensure your feed uses your brand colours or your brand’s theme, this site is perfect for you!

However, Stocksy is fairly generous when it comes to paying the contributors.

3. iStock:

iStock is another premium stock photo image site powered by Getty Images. Now, even if you haven’t heard of them, we are sure you have seen that Getty Images logo plenty of times.

iStock prides in providing stock photos at “ridiculously low prices”, which you can find with their subscriptions. There are different plans, like monthly, yearly, full access or limited access. These plans let you get eye-catching photos for as little as $0.22 to $0.49 each.

iStock offers more of a business-focused stock image gallery, so that would make it a great choice for your brand campaign on Instagram. If you buy these photos on demands using credits, you’ll be paying between $8 to $33 per image depending upon the collection you choose and the credits you use.

4. Photocase:

Photocase is a Germany-based stock photo site. It was founded way back in 2001 and might be one of the oldest in the business. All those years in the stock photo market are a clear indication of its credibility and quality.

You can find Photocase images in the range of 14 Euros to around 42 Euros depending on the type and size of the picture you choose. There are no subscription plans available unlike most of the premium sites on this list. However, Photocase does offer credit packs for bulk purchases.

5. TONL:

In 2021 and beyond, diversity and inclusivity are crucial things to consider promoting through your brand. Not only is this essentially “God's work” but it can bring unparalleled exposure to your brand or in this case, your Instagram feed, and the best stock photo site to use for this is TONL. TONL offers images from all around the globe, portraying rich cultures, different ethnicities and variety. It would spark up your Instagram feed and will make it stand out amongst the rest. TONL does offer a subscription, and you can cancel it at any time too. This one should be on your radar.

Free-to-use Stock Photo sites:

These were some of the premium sites that provide you with excellent options, and are worth your money but if you want to get amazing pictures for free, don’t worry because we have got your back on this one too. Below are some websites with amazing stock photos to choose from for your Instagram page, and they are FREE!

6. Pixabay:

We are sure this one is going to interest you! With Pixabay, you have a collection of over 1.8M free ready-to-use stock assets. The fun part is you not only have high-quality stock photos for your feed, but you can download their vector images to use as backgrounds on your Instagram Stories and Highlights as well!

This site is also perfect for you if you are an artist that makes the music of any sorts. You can use their free high-quality stock videos as background, and the cherry on top? You can edit and modify the stock photos you get from Pixabay as you please before using them.

7. Negative space:

Negative space is, no doubt, a positive source of free stock images. The website has a user-friendly handle, the pictures are CCO licensed, and you get to choose from various categories and colours. If you are looking to have a consistent image of your brand on Instagram, this one might work the best for you! You can also search through popular hashtags on their search engine. You can subscribe to their website to get an email every time free stock images are posted there and then, download those images and later edit them according to your needs.

8. RawPixels:

RawPixels is another excellent website which provides you with lots of diverse options. Going to their domain is a treat to your eyes as it is filled with colourful, versatile, and beautiful images. There are free and premium options. You can choose to go to the page that is full of free images. Not only can you get those stock pictures for free, but can also choose from a number of templates, vectors, illustrations, mockups, icons and much more.

The site lets you search for the pictures of your interest through their search option, which will take you to the closest photos related to your work due to their pinpoint targeted results. Moreover, you can also select from many different sizes and types of images quickly since it filters out the most suited options for you in a matter of seconds. With their ‘World Face’ project, they aim to collect pictures of people from every country. A part of the earnings from these photos go to ‘Hope for children.’

Don’t forget to check out this one!

9. Foodiesfeed:

Foodiesfeed, as the name indicates, is the source of all your food-related pictures for free. It was established three years ago with the aim to provide high-resolution food images. The creators of Foodiesfeed believe that together we can contribute and help each other in a much better way. So, you can not only download pictures from the domain that are CCO licensed but can also contribute to the already present treasure of more than 1700 images that are available on the website. Presence of a search bar and categories also make it easier to filter out options and select the most desirable images quickly.

10. Splitshire:

Splitshire is a site as unique as its name. The site consists of a private collection of the famous designer Daniel Nanescu (split: as to share a piece and shire: closed environment, meaning sharing a piece of his private collection). This website is full of unique high-resolution images with different shades of colours of the owner’s creativity. Ten years of Daniel's collection of photography has been shared on the website, all for free only to support other creators struggling to make their name. This website aims to help creators find free stock images and blend them with their personal works to promote creativity.

In addition to stock images, you can also find videos on the site. The categories are unique and very different from the ordinary, making Splitshire a great resource of free images for the creators of the world.

11. Fancycrave:

Fancycrave is another website created to support freelancers by giving them tips and resources curated by professionals. It believes that freelancing and self-made business is the only way to escape the rat race. Their free section of photographs is full of high-resolution images mostly related to travelling and places.

The domain is easy to navigate. Fancycrave uploads two pictures from professional photographers every day and thus, is continuously growing. This site is diversifying its already diverse oasis of pictures regularly, and you should be there to benefit from it!

The creators at Fancycrave believe in providing pictures that share stories and have a tinge of emotions. Therefore, the images you find on Fancycrave are far ahead of your old, traditional stock images. It's a great resource for Instagram stock photos if you're going for unique, different and emotional.

12. New old stock:

If you are looking for some vintage style stock pictures and want your followers to travel back in time without paying any penny, New old stock is the place of your choice. It is a collection of old pictures from public archives that require no credits. This website has a dream of recapturing history, and they are doing their job well.

The old-age feel of the images on their site will be great for you if you have anything to do with history, literature, old art and just about anything from the past!

13. 1 million free pictures:

The site's name is pretty self-explanatory. The site is a humongous treasure of free stock images. Its creators are amateur photographers and people who want their pictures to benefit the world. Their vision is to support students and professionals who are new in the business and can not afford photographs.

The site holds a variety of images in terms of both quality and theme. But with such a vast database, you are bound to find something that works for you.

Have anything you want to add to our list of stock photos that are perfect for Instagram? Email us at info@socialmediacalendar.co and let us know! For more information about how to glamorize your Instagram feed, check out the rest of our blog.