If you’re a UX student or a budding new designer like myself, you’re probably on the lookout for high-quality visual content to spruce up your prototypes, presentations, portfolios and what not. Fear not, young Padawan learner, we’ve put together a curated list of websites where you can get the best stock photos for your design work:

1. Unsplash

Unsplash is popular because of its wide selection of high-quality images which you can use for free. Membership is not required, neither is attribution (but it is appreciated). The best part? It comes with plugins for all the big prototyping tools – meaning, you can access Unsplash directly from your design tool and insert images straight into your work. How cool is that?

Type of Content: Photos

Gallery size: Large (over 2 million images)

Membership: Not required; free for commercial and personal use

Attribution: Not required, but appreciated

Others: Available plugins for Figma, Sketch and Adobe XD

The Unsplash plugin for Figma in action
2. Pixabay

Another great site that offers copyright-free, high-quality images, Pixabay has a huge library of illustrations, vector graphics, videos and music. No registration required, and all the content is free for personal and commercial use.

Type of Content: Stock photos, illustrations, vectors, videos, music

Gallery size: Large (over 1.9 million images, videos and music)

Membership: Not required; free for commercial and personal use

Attribution: Not required, but appreciated

3. Pexels

Pexels is a community-built site that offers free curated stock photos and videos. Plugins for Photoshop and WordPress, as well as add-ons for Google Slides and MS Office are available for quick and easy upload to your designs.

Type of Content: Stock photos & videos

Gallery size: Large (thousands of images and videos)

Membership: Not required; free for commercial and personal use

Attribution: Not required, but appreciated

Others: Has iOS & Android app, available plugins for Photoshop & WordPress, Google Slides Add-on, MS Office Add-in

4. Shutterstock

Shutterstock has long been in the stock photo game and boasts an impressive library of images and other material. You do, however, have to subscribe to a plan to access its royalty-free database. If you’d like to give it a spin before committing, you can sign up for their free trial and download 10 free images (just don’t forget to cancel your trial at least 5 days before it ends, otherwise they charge you automatically!).

Type of Content: Stock images, photos, vectors, illustrations, footage, video, and music

Gallery size: Extra large (370 million images)

Membership: Sign-up and payment required (pricing plans available here)

Attribution: Not required

5. Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock is another subscription-based stock photo site with a huge asset library. Its Creative Cloud Integration allows you to search, preview and license within Adobe apps and share easily across multiple devices. To subscribe, you avail of “credit packs” that allow you to buy a certain number of royalty-free images or videos, and the credits are valid for a year from purchase. They also have a month-long free trial that allows you to download 10 free images (but again, don’t forget to cancel your subscription before the trial period ends if you don’t want to get charged).

Type of Content: Photos, vectors, illustrations, audio, templates, 3D

Gallery size: Extra large

Membership: Sign-up and payment required (pricing plans available here)

Attribution: Not required

Others: Creative Cloud Integration

6. Storyblocks

While also a paid service, the beauty of Storyblocks is that it offers subscription plans that allows unlimited stock downloads, flexible licensing, and an easy-to-use video editor. It also offers After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Apple Motion templates that add an extra oomph to your designs.

Type of Content: Photos, vectors, illustrations, audio, templates

Gallery size: Large

Membership: Sign-up and payment required (pricing plans available here)

Attribution: Not required

7. Vice’s The Gender Spectrum Collection

The Gender Spectrum Collection pushes the envelop of media representation of trans and non-binary people by providing a free stock photo library of members of these communities as “people not necessarily defined by their gender identities—people with careers, relationships, talents, passions, and home lives”. The beauty of this collection lies not only in its advocacy for inclusion, but also in its call to think critically and challenge implicit stereotypes and tropes about gender identity.

Type of Content: Photos

Gallery size: Medium

Membership: Not required; free for personal use only

Attribution: Users must credit The Gender Spectrum Collection in captions

8. Disabled and Here Collection

Another stock photo library that promotes inclusion, the Disabled and Here Collection is a disability-led effort to provide free and inclusive images from the perspective of its creators, with photos and illustrations celebrating disabled Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC).

Type of Content: Photos and illustrations

Gallery size: Medium

Membership: Not required; free for personal and commercial use

Attribution: Users must credit Disabled And Here for photos; illustrations should be attributed as “[ARTIST] for Disabled And Here” (artist will be listed on the image page). When possible, user should link back to the Disabled And Here project page.

9. Disability:IN 

Disability:IN provides disability inclusive stock photography to the public as part of its efforts to empower business to achieve disability inclusion and equality. The organisation encourages companies to use the images in recruitment material, marketing material, internal and external communications, etc.

Type of Content: Photos

Gallery size: Small

Membership: Not required; free for personal and commercial use

Attribution: Users must credit Disability:IN in captions

There are plenty of other stock photo sites out there, but these made the list because of three factors: gallery size, variety of selections, and recentness of photos. If I had to pick a favorite, Unsplash would be my go-to site, primarily because of the plugins that make it so much easier to preview how images might look on your prototypes. But, as mentioned, all these are topnotch resources. 😎

Hope these inspire you to create stellar designs! If you have more sources to add, feel free to comment below 👇

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