Recommended Image Libraries

One of the best ways to work smart is to subscribe to an royalty-free image library.

These give you unlimited free access to huge collections of photos, and sometimes clip art and icons etc.

The best ones have really smart tools to help you search, like searching for photos that feature a certain key colour, or ones with similar keywords to another photo.

Normally you can sign up for a week, a month or a year. It gets cheaper the longer you sign up for.

Why you should sign up to royalty-free libraries

Do you spend hours trawling Google Images or Yahoo! Image Search to find the right photo to use on a client's site? I used to do that a lot. It can be painful pulling up pages and pages of images that are too small, watermarked, poor quality or just not good enough. And then you have the background stress of always wondering whether you've infringed someone else's copyright.

If you're a full-time web designer, I'd encourage you to get an annual subscription to something like without delay.


Make it work for you

Once you have a subscription - use it!

Whole site designs can be built around one really great image, so get to know your resource, learn how to get the best out of the search tools, and milk it for all it's worth!

(Personally, I started off with an annual subscription to both, which proved a worthwhile investment, and have recently added


My Picks

Click on the images below to check out the sites. Try some sample searches for free.


This is a great value mixed bag. Everyone should make this pay for itself many times over.

Annual Subscription Cost: $169.95

A huge collection of people and things shot in studio against a white background, made available at a range of resolutions from 1 - 16MB.

Also provides PNG "clipping" masks to make it quicker & easier to cut out images.

Annual Subscription Cost: $399.95


A massive collection of 325,000+ very high-quality imagery. Probably offers the ideal package for web designers.

Get this one if you can afford the $50/month outlay. You'll be amazed how much you use once it's at your disposal.

Annual Subscription Cost: $599.95

Over 120,000 high-resolution photos and photo-objects (with clipping paths).

Files go up to 50MB for use in print.

Annual Subscription Cost: $699.95


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