The Biggest Stock Photo Libraries on the Internet


For a lot of business owners, it can seem like there are a billion different factors that influence every decision, and your decision of which stock photo vendor to go with is no different.  And for a lot of business owners as well, it can seem like only size matters.  Managers and business leaders want the biggest stock photo libraries they can find, with the assumption that a huge variety of images will lead to the best stock photo library.  In the breakdown that follows, we’ll share a few reason why this kind of thinking isn’t always the best way to approach your stock photo library, and make some arguments that size isn’t all that matters when you’re deciding which stock photo service to go with.  But first, here are a few of the biggest stock photo vendors, with some notes on their truly massive stock photo library options and offerings.

  1.  Shutterstock

As an industry leader and pioneer, Shutterstock (click here for review) has long been known as a great place for businesses to find a large and varied stock photo library.  With more than 50 million media offerings in their library, this stock photo agency definitely has a lot going for it as far as bulk goes.  Images in the Shutterstock Library are categorized broadly as either photos, vectors, illustrations, editorials, or icons, with music and stock footage available as well.  The largest photo section is additionally widely categorized, with offerings in themes as broad and varying as “animals/wildlife,” “patterns,” and “beauty/fashion.”  Browse their stock photo library to see all of their other 20 categories, and to see how huge a 50 million image stock photo library truly is.

  1.  Fotolia

With more than 30 million images, and tens of thousands added every day, Fotolia is one of the largest and fastest growing stock photo libraries out there.  Their library is easily searchable, and results can later be filtered by category, with popular organizational labels like “people,” “animals,” and “food.”  Furthermore, results can be narrowed down by things like color scheme, whether or not photos have people, and other more specific metrics used to find exactly the kind of photography that you need.  While there are quite a few options to narrow down and refine what you are searching for, and results are displayed somewhat intuitively, it can be overwhelming to weed through a stock photo library this huge to find the things you need.

  1.  Depositphotos

A stock photo library of around 20 million images makes Depositphotos one of the largest vendors of stock imagery around.  Images are categorized by a massive number of labels: 36 total categories as far ranging as “Jewelry and Gems,” “Fauna and Flora,” and the abstract “Concepts” help label the huge image database and make it more sortable for subscribers to the service.  Images can be further sorted by metrics like popularity, image orientation, and more,  all in the hopes of making Depositphoto’s huge stock photo library more accessible to users.  Even so, such a huge number of options can be overkill for small or medium sized business owners looking for the perfect image for commercial uses.

Beyond Stock Photo Library Size

It can seem like the size of an agency’s stock photo library is the most important thing to consider when choosing which vendor to try out for your business, and the three services above prove that a big library can indeed be a good thing for business owners looking for the right vendor.  But there are a lot of other things to consider as a smart business owner when choosing the right stock photo library to pick from, and finding the vendor that meets your needs perfectly.

First, take some more time to seriously look into how each vendor categorizes and organizes the photos they offer.  50 million stock photos sounds great in practice, but can be a nuisance if it is hard or impossible to search through them all.  Second, think about what you will need stock photos for, and how big of a library you really need.  Some of the biggest vendors with the biggest stock photo libraries to pick from are also prohibitively expensive for small business owners, so be wary of choosing the right library that actually meets your needs and doesn’t give you things your business won’t benefit from.

Finally, consider how often other people are using images in the stock photo library of the vendor you are thinking of trying out.  A library with 50 million images isn’t necessarily the best choice for your business, if a service with 1 million images has 50 times less users.  Think about how many people will have access to the photos you want to use, and remember that bigger agencies see more users.  All of which is to say that size matters, but keep more in mind than just how big a stock photo library is when choosing the right service.

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