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4 Places to Find Great Stock Photos

4 Places to Find Great Stock Photos

Stock photos can bring style and substance to any PowerPoint presentation, and there are millions to choose from online. It can be hard, though, to find stock photos that are actually worth using; so many of the photos available look generic, cheesy or staged.

The key to finding great photos is knowing where to look. These six websites are our go-to sources for well-curated and high-quality images and illustrations.


Unsplash features images from photographers all around the world. They’re completely free to use for both commercial and noncommercial purposes. You don’t even have to credit the photographer, although it’s nice to do so as a professional courtesy. We love Unsplash because its photos are shot and edited in an artistic fashion; the images don’t feel commercialized or posed like many stock photos do. That said, its portfolio has less variety compared to paid subscription sites.



Founded in 1995, GettyImages was the first company to license imagery online. Today, it offers a comprehensive portfolio of creative and editorial photos, microstock photography, video footage and music. Unlike most websites offering free stock photos, GettyImages has a broad range of images and illustrations to choose from — more than 80 million, in fact. However, the site charges for downloading and using its photos.


Like Unsplash, Pexels offers free photos that are submitted by both novice and professional photographers, and you can use them for commercial or noncommercial projects without crediting the artist. But it has an added perk: You can modify and edit the photos. One downside of Pexels is that the file sizes of its photos can be a little small. That shouldn’t pose a problem for designers using the images for PowerPoint presentations, but it could create issues for those making billboard or print pieces.


One of our favorite affordable stock sites is iStock. This Getty-owned company provides both credit-based and subscription-based options for accessing its photo library. Buy individual credits if you only need photos occasionally or select a subscription option if you need images more frequently. For example, you can access all of the photos in the iStock library for $199 a month.

Nappy is a free image site that’s focused on representing black and brown people in a way that’s purposeful and authentic. This is a great resource for finding photos that break out of some of the basic image types and representations that you find on traditional stock photography sites.

Undraw is a free resource for semi-customizable, open-source illustrations. Illustrations can help round out your overall image approach, and can offer great depth and flexibility without some of the challenges that come with real photographs.


Icons8 (also known as Ouch!) offers free or subscription-based illustrations with a modern vibe. Sometimes it’s hard to find the illustration style that fits your brand particularly if you are going for a very contemporary or youthful brand – this site makes it easy to find fresh assets for your presentation.

Regardless of the site you shop, keep a few things in mind: Always download high-resolution images when they’re available. Choose photos that show realistic-looking people behaving naturally and avoid images that feel forced or stiff. And be picky — great stock photos can mean the difference between a so-so presentation and a really stellar one.

Happy photo hunting!

Update (02/24): we’ve revised this article to add some new sites for stock images

Looking for more information about presentation visuals and beyond? Check out our resources for expert advice and tested strategies.

About the author

Danielle John is the founder of VerdanaBold. She has more than 25 years as an award-winning designer and creative lead, directing the visual expression and production of thousands of high-value new business pitches, C-level presentations and internal presentations for major global brands. When she’s not busy at VerdanaBold, she can be found antique shopping and spending time with her husband and two kids.



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