32 Places for Cheap Stock Photos for #EventProfs

Stock Photography for Events and Conferences

The Photo Conundrum, here is how it plays out at desks and conference rooms across the association and event world on a daily basis…

It is time to start marketing your event or conference. You need to start updating the website, getting those social media posts ready to roll, and you are warming up the email marketing engine…. And now you need images for all of these internet outposts because you read our post about Canva and you know that images matter.

You open your pictures folder and just like you suspected, the images from last year’s conference still suck. The internet fairies did not sprinkle magic dust and make them better while you sipped margaritas over the summer. You had hoped, but alas… no joy. You wanted to hire a professional photographer but that little witch that controls the budget would not let it happen. “Save some money and lose some money” you had said…”Good one, but still no” she replied.

So here you are, contemplating using images that you find on the internet. You know better though. You are smart and understand that if you use any ol images off those interwebs you might find an army of bloodsucking copyright lawyers smashing through your door fangs bared and out for blood… Your blood. And they are thirsty my friend. You quickly dismiss this idea because you are the top of the heap in mental acuity in your little neck of the association woods. A lot higher on the mental totem than what’s her name that holds the purse strings…but what to do. You only have a week!

We know your pain. We have been there. So we have rounded up 32 of the best places to get licensed stock images for free or cheap to help you on your little association and event marketing adventure… Remember, these are “stock photo sites”, not “exactly the image you need in 10 seconds sites” so you still have some hunting to do. Licensing varies site to site, image to image, so make sure that you read the fine print and know the different types of licenses that are out there whether they are creative commons or commercial, editorial, retail. For example, if an image is Creative Commons Licensed and requires attribution, don’t be a douche… Give attribution or you could be in a jam.

These are in no particular order, just the way that we found them…we have a couple of favorites and have marked them as such.

Yay Images


  • Online use of images starting at $9.99 a month. Pretty good price if you use a ton of images.

DepositPhotos –  (PlannerWire Favorite)


  • Images starting at $0.90, you can also find good deals on image packs on sites like AppSumo. I love DepositPhotos and it is our number one source for Stock Images. I can’t say enough about them. Why? Good price, quality images, no hassle.



  • 10 medium images for $25.00. Not bad at all.

Stock Free Images


  • Web size images are free, they offer plans for higher resolution images.



  • Images starting at $0.00. Free is in the name. Free is good.

Unsplash – (PlannerWire Favorite)


  • This is a really cool site that offers 10 free images every 10 days. Not all of the images will be perfect for what you need but they are cool and every once in a while, the perfect image will hit your inbox… We love it because it is like a little photo present that you get to unwrap every week or so.

Death to the Stock Photo 


  • Seriously. Any name like that has to be kick ass. They have great photos and two pricing models. Free and $20.00 per month for the premium end of the spectrum.

Life of pix


  • Amazing images. All free. Really. No strings.



  • They have freebies (17 in the conference category) and then bounce you out to ShutterStock for additional premium images.



  • Free stock images that may or may not be not for your little tribe, but they are amazing. If you use one, the “buy me a coffee” button is in the upper right corner. Please use it



  • Good stuff at a good price. They have both subscriptions and credits starting at 11 images for $14.99.



  • Travel Images. Free. Lots of them. Go.

Free Range Stock


  • This one is a little different. The artists and photographers are not giving away their work (although it is free to you). They receive a percentage of the advertising revenue. Pretty cool model.



  • This one is owned by ShutterStock (one of the big corporate monsters of the photo world). The prices are pretty reasonable for the quality. They have a variety of plans but credits for images start at 10 images for $35.00. Much more palatable than some of the other stock photo giants that are not mentioned in this post.



  • Finds Creative Commons images from across the interwebs. This one is different and cool.

Foodies Feed


  • You just need images of food. Here they are at a low cost. Get a belly full of photos.



  • Free images that are really awesome. Watch out though, you might get popped over to ShutterStock cause they mingle the free with the premium. All good though, just pay attention.

The Public Domain Archive


  • Free or you can go premium for $10.00 a month. Yes. $10.00 a month… and this supports the cause (you also get better download options and the ads are turned off).



Some photographers in Europe decided free was good. A pretty decent variety.

Wikimedia Commons


  • Yes, the internet is full of amazing things and Wikimedia is one of them. Over 25,000,000,000 media files that you can download and use. Here is what they say “Unlike traditional media repositories, Wikimedia Commons is free. Everyone is allowed to copy, use and modify any files here freely as long as they follow the terms specified by the author”. Easy enough.

ISO Republic

ISO Republic

  • They bill themselves as free high quality images for creatives. Be creative.



  • Modern images for free. Cool site. Premium images are marked as such.



  • Images, art, and fonts all in one location with a few inexpensive price points.

New Old Stock


  • A library of old photos in the public domain… Not sure if they are good for events and associations but skimming through here is a good way to spend a couple of hours.



  • Searches for images from places including Flickr. Interesting.



  • Free photos in a bunch of categories.


RGB Stock

  • Tons of free images. Create an account to download in hires.



  • Searches the web for free stock photos and actually has a WordPress plugin that attribution and licensing easy.



  • Interesting name… They claim to be a search engine for every free stock photo on the web. This would make all of these other listing irrelevant…



  • Free images and illustrations if you can give attribution. Pay a small fee if you can’t.

IM Free, by IM Creator –  (PlannerWire favorite)

IM Free

  • Free stuff from one of the webs leading do it yourself website builders. There is a whole lot more than photos here.



  • Some photographers just want their work to spread. We like that.

So. There you go.

Not really sure how to end a post like this except to say, happy photo hunting. I hope one of these sites helps you find exactly the image your conference, event, or association needs.


Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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