← Back to Blog
Instagram, Marketing, Photography

5 Stock Photo Websites That Are Perfect for Instagram


Did you know that the average business on Instagram posts 1-3 times per day? That means you need to be creating 7-21 new images per week just for your Instagram! That’s a lot of valuable time spent taking, editing, and re-taking photos.

But since time is money, there’s also an easier way to fill your Instagram feed with gorgeous content: by buying stock photos! Find out how you can use cool, creative stock photography to make your Instagram look amazing while saving you time, money…and your sanity.

stock photos instagram

Why You Should Use Stock Photos for Instagram

Long gone are the days of cheesy and expensive stock photos – now every business can get affordable and creative photos that make the perfect social media images for Instagram or Pinterest! The best part? Once you buy the photos, you can reuse them on your website, on your blog, in your newsletters, and more!

Stock photos are becoming more and more popular for Instagram marketing, because it solves a huge pain point for marketers: creating a lot of content. Instead of having to spend hours setting up photoshoots, finding great lighting, and editing photos, you can buy better images than you could ever create at the click of a button.

It may not in your budget to buy photos for all of your Instagram posts, but stock photos can be a great solution and  time saver when you really need a photo or don’t have the right lighting to create your own. For example, here at Later we use stock photos as the header images for all of our blog posts, and then use those same images to promote the post on Instagram:

Over the last few months, I have signed up for and bought photos for Instagram from 5 different stock photo websites. There are a lot of free stock photo websites that you can use, like Unsplash, but over time we found that the quality didn’t quite match up to our brand, and we also didn’t want our blog posts to be confused with our competitors. It’s super important to have a distinct visual identity, which is why I went on the hunt to find affordable, amazing stock photos for Instagram — that no one else was using.

5 of the Best Stock Photo Sites for Instagram

1. Stocksy

Out of all the stock photo sites on our list, Stocksy is the one you may have heard of before. It’s a great go-to source for high quality photos, they have good search functionality, and there’s a lot of content for a variety of industries. If you’re looking for photos of a niche topic, Stocksy is most likely your best bet. In order to sell photos on Stocksy, photographers have to apply and go through a rigorous vetting process. Because of this, the photos are very high quality, which saves you a lot of time from having to sort through low quality images.

Unlike other sites, you also have the option to license a photo for non-web usage (like print, or products for resale), and you can pay to put a market-freeze on the image so that no one else can use it. Both of those options can get expensive, but it’s available to you if you need it!

The only drawback to Stocksy is that if you have a certain niche, you might exhaust all of the photos on Stocksy after regular usage. For example, we usually post a lot of photos with people interacting with technology, and eventually we had to start looking elsewhere.

Price: starting at $15 per photo

2) Stock that Rocks by Bloguettes

social media stock photos

Bloguettes is a blog about social media and blogging, and they’ve created a small yet robust “Stock that Rocks” shop. Their style is consistent, with a minimalist, “blogger” look to it that is perfect for adding text over your photos or just posting to Instagram on it’s own. Because the photos don’t look overly professional, they are #authentic enough that people would believe you actually took the image, which is ideal for using stock photos for Instagram.

Unlike Stocksy, where you purchase each photo individually, Stock that Rocks has a membership program where you can join and get 45 photos for $75/month. Even if you don’t need that many per month, you can sign up for one month, download your 45 photos, and subscribe again once you need more! This is by far the most affordable stock photo site we’ve found (without compromising quality), as it works out to only about $1.60 per image.

Bloguettes are also giving you a deal: you can sign up for their B-Team Free Trial and get 15 free stock photos! 

Stock Photos: $10 each
B-Team Membership: 15 photos a month – $29/month
Stock Photo Membership: 45 photos a month – $75/month

3) Twenty20

Twenty20 is a stock photo site where anyone can upload photos for other people to purchase. This means that there is a high quantity of photos, but a much lower quality of images compared to other sites on this list.

The nice thing about Twenty20 is they do a lot of the sorting and curating for you by grouping photo subjects into collections, so if you search “beach” they’ll show you collections of photos for beach houses, beach day, beach landscapes, etc. That may sound great, but it also means you have to spend more of your time sorting through hundreds of okay images to find the few amazing ones.

Another drawback to Twenty20 is that the only way to buy stock photos is to sign up for a monthly membership. We signed up to get 20 photos a month for $199, which saved us $5 per photo compared to Stocksy, and then cancelled our membership when we had used up our photos for that month, but it was a bit difficult to cancel.

Price: starting at $149/month for 10 photos

4) Social Squares by SC Stockshop

stock photos for instagram and social media

SC Stockshop started as an Etsy shop, and was one of the first websites to revolutionize stock photography with their crisp, clean, and colorful imagery that just begs you to add text on top of it. SC Stock Shop is gorgeous and impeccably styled, but it comes at a premium price tag ranging from $49-79 per photo. A great solution for your website, but not scalable for everyday or weekly social media use.

Enter Social Squares, the new stock photo site from SC Stockshop. You get the same crisp, high quality images you’d expect from SC Stockshop, but at a lower price point of $15 per image. One unique element to Social Squares is that every image is already cropped to a square, which is great because they’ve taken Instagram into account for all of their images. If you’re looking for social media images that you can also use for your newsletter or website though, it might be more restrictive.

Price: $15 per image

5) Death to the Stock Photo

Death to the Stock Photo sends out free photo “packs” each month in their newsletter, but you can also subscribe to their Premium plan to get access to all of their photos. There’s only about 1500 images, which is small  compared to sites like Stocksy and Twenty20, but you get unlimited downloads for $180/year. Depending on the type of images you need, this could work out to be pennies per photo!

Each month they feature a different theme as their pack, and if your industry happens to fit the theme of the month, you’re luck! It’s worth it to sign up and save the free photos per month, but it may not be dependable for always finding the perfect image you need.

How to Use Stock Photos on Instagram

Wondering how you can integrate stock photos into your Instagram account without anyone noticing? It’s easier than you think! Sakura from Bloguettes recommends using them as filler content for your feed every 3-5 photos. Make sure to choose photos that are minimally edited so you can add your own edits on top to make it blend in with the aesthetic of your feed.

START planning your instagram feed


Looking for more awesome stock photos for social media? Try using User Generated Content on Instagram! We’d love to hear what sites you’re using to find quality content for your visual marketing, so leave a comment below.

Later helps you plan, schedule, and analyze Instagram posts. And it’s free! 

Written By

Taylor Loren

Taylor Loren is the Head of Marketing at Later. She was named a LinkedIn Top Voice for social media marketing, and you can follow her on Instagram at @taylor.loren for more Instagram tips and a look inside life at Later.

Schedule Instagram Posts Easily schedule photos, videos & carousel posts with a few clicks Create Free Account
Instagram Analytics Get the insights you know and love from the Instagram app, plus additional analytics for calculating engagement rates, best times to post, and more. Learn More
Linkin.bio Add Your Link in Bio & Drive Traffic from Instagram Create Free Account
User-Generated Content Find photos and videos that’ll resonate with your fans right from your desktop, then share to your social channels in just a few clicks. Learn More
Schedule Instagram Stories Save time and get more views on stories by planning, optimizing, and scheduling Instagram stories right from your desktop! Start Scheduling Stories
Instagram Hashtag Tools Extend your reach, get more engagement on your posts, and save a ton of time while managing your profile. Get Started For Free