Why Imagery is Important & 10 Stock Photography Sites

80% of people remember what they see, compared to 10% what they hear and 20% of what they read. That’s why imagery is so important for your organization. Whether it’s photos or illustrations, images can make a connection and a lasting impression.

We’ll take a look at photographs and illustrations and provide links to sites with both free and paid resources. Hopefully, you’ll find a new resource that will elevate your imagery!


There are three options for sourcing photos. Think about your photography wants and needs to help you choose between them.

DIY Photography

A cost-effective operation is to take your own photos. Do you have someone on your team willing to take photos at your next event? You don’t have to spend time briefing a professional, and the DIY option gives you time to experiment and be more creative. Keep in mind that you might have to invest in new equipment and the job will take you more time than a professional.

Hire A Professional

Maybe you have a big event or gala planned. Or you need headshots of your staff and board members for your website. Using a pro is often the low-stress route to high-quality photos. Professional photography does not come cheap, though, so you need to be sure that the return on the photos will justify your cost.

Stock Images

There are some photos you simply can’t take. And even if you could, if often cheaper and quicker to source an existing photo. Stock photography is quick, you can instantly download an image and place it into your layout. There are plenty of sources of low-cost and even free images; be sure to obtain the license or rights to use the image and try to credit the photographer when possible.


Illustrations are images that are drawn by an artist which can help your organization stand out in a way that photography can’t. Icons are a great example of one type of illustration that can be used on your website, social media, or an infographic. If you go this direction, make sure you choose one style (flat, hand-drawn, loose lines, etc) and stick to it so that your images look cohesive.

Below are links to some of the photography and illustration stock websites I use. I organized the websites by quality and cost. Hopefully, you’ll find a new resource that will elevate your imagery.

High End: Best Quality but most Expensive



Adobe Stock

Middle of the Road: Good Quality but Affordable

Creative Market

Deposit Photos

The Noun Project

Flat Icon:

Low End: Low Quality but Free