The Three Best Stock Photo Memberships for Creative entrepreneurs
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I’m sure it’s not news to you that beautiful, on-brand photography for your website is a must. You’ve probably realized that you need to round up some stellar professional photos for your biz — maybe not even just for your website! Social media? Brochures? Other branded collateral? Suddenly it all starts to add up, and you know good photos are something you desperately need… But what if you can’t quite afford to hire a professional, or are laser-focused on investing back into other areas of your business? What do you do then?
Get a stock photo membership, that’s what!
Is A Stock Photo Membership Right for Your Creative Business?
I’ll start here: In a perfect world, where money and Cadbury Crèmes grow on trees, my professional recommendation as a designer and brand strategist will always be to hire a professional photographer. That being said, the world isn’t perfect, money doesn’t grow on trees, and Cadbury Crèmes don’t either (which is probably a good thing. So, if your budget is keeping you from personal branding photography, let’s talk about the next best thing: Stock photography!
My clients are always asking how they can get professional photos for their business without hiring a photographer. Regardless of the reasons why, the fact of the matter is that they don’t feel like they’re in a position to invest in a personal branding photo shoot. Sound like you?
If that’s a “yes,” the good news is that I’ve got answers! While you can always go the free stock photo route (subscribe to my mailing list to catch the blog post on that later this month), there are some major benefits to joining a stock photo membership site:
Cost: Depending on your needs, a smaller, ongoing monthly expense may be a better choice at this stage in your business than a one-time lump-sum investment with a photographer.
Accessibility: Membership sites are always producing new, reliable, high-quality photography, so you’ll always have access to fresh images. Many membership sites also make sourcing photos a breeze by providing search filters based on color, content, and more.
Versatility: Many stock photo membership sites give you a long leash when it comes to how the images can be used: you can edit them, retouch them, filter them, crop them… the list goes on. Most professional photographers don’t offer that kind of creative freedom, mainly because it’s important — and perfectly reasonable — for them to maintain the integrity of their artistic style.
If going with a stock photo membership feels like the right move for your business, then this monthly roundup is for YOU!
Which Stock Photo Membership is Right for You?
This month I’ve rounded up what I consider to be the best stock photo membership sites available to creative entrepreneurs. Remember, I’m a designer and not a photographer — so this is coming from a UX & design perspective, and is based on factors such as image quality, diversity, versatility and accessibility!
Haute Stock: A Girl-Boss’s Dream
Haute Stock is a leading stock photo membership site for women in the creative industry. At the time of this post’s publication, the service offers two membership options: A quarterly membership ($99 every three months) and an annual membership ($299 once a year).
If you’re looking for styled stock with lots of white space and a bright, “light & airy,” ultra-feminine luxury vibe, Haute Stock will be your dream come true. With Haute Stock, you’ll have access to thousands of styled images in a wide variety of color schemes, which makes it a top choice among creatives. Finding images that suit your brand couldn’t be easier — just filter your search by color or theme!
Bonus: Haute Stock also offers styled product photography ready for editing in Photoshop (perfect for your Etsy, Instagram or Squarespace e-commerce shop!), design packs, and social media templates.
Atelier 21 Co.: An authentic Styled Stock Reality Check
If you’re after a breath of fresh air and some styled stock with a more authentic vibe, Atelier21 is the answer! Inspired by “real life,” this styled stock is perfect for creatives who need or want a visual aesthetic that is clean and professional, but that also feels genuinely authentic rather than over-polished. Atelier21 Co. is the only styled stock membership I’ve found that has figured out how to strike that sweet spot where professional styled stock photography meets approachable, real-life creatives!
With new monthly images, unlimited downloads and tons of creative freedom to use the images for your business in any way you see fit, Atelier 21 Co.’s membership is a steal starting at the quarterly price of $89. (Use the code STROHM10 for an extra 10% off your membership!)
Bonus: They’re also the only styled stock platform I love that ALSO offers a membership for designers and managers, which extends the image licensing to up to FIVE of your clients.
LaPorte Images: Lifestyle photography with an editorial vibe
An annual styled stock membership valued at $150 per year, LaPorte Images is the ideal choice for creatives looking for a softer, moodier vibe with just a touch of that light and airy feel. LaPorte is the perfect fit for wedding industry creatives looking to uplevel their overall aesthetic! Images for LaPorte are more about capturing breathtaking moments from the everyday lifestyle, and less about generic-looking office flatlays.
LaPorte’s monthly membership offers unlimited image downloads, access to new images every season, and access to a commercial license option for images sold as part of your own product more than 500 times (such as a social media pack or graphic).
Bonus: Though it isn’t part of the membership, LaPorte also offers Lightroom presets — an excellent (and fun!) option if you’re comfortable taking your own photos, but want them to have a professional and cohesive look and feel.
I’ve Picked My Membership — Now What?
Not sure how to choose the right photos for your website or brand? I’ve partnered with Ingrid Urena, the creator of Atelier21 Co., to help make the process a breeze!