Where Do You Find Images for Your E-commerce Website?


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Unique high-resolution images are critical to any e-commerce website. However, you don’t have to invest in your equipment to assemble a professional design. More stock asset platforms connect vendors to free, low-cost images to fit virtually any situation.

We’ll walk through some of the best stock image services online and explain the differences between the top providers.

Key takeaways:

  • Several platforms feature stock images online, and we will review the six we recommend.
  • Images are essential for e-commerce websites because they are the primary way to attract people to your product.
  • Hero and product images are among the kinds you can use for your online store.

Leading Stock Image Services

Consider these stock image services for your e-commerce website:

  • Pixabay: Pixabay has over 4 million total assets, including images, videos, music, and vectors. It has a strong collection of illustrated and real photos, free for commercial use through the Pixabay license. There aren’t any premium subscriptions or licensing fees to worry about, so Pixabay is a good choice for vendors with limited budgets.
  • Death to Stock Photos: The key difference between Death to Stock Photos and conventional stock photo sites is that Death to Stock Photos are all originals shot by its creative partners. This gives it more of a curated feel compared to most other platforms we’ve covered. Death to Stock Photos costs $15 or $12 per month, paid annually for small businesses, and $42 or $59 per month billed annually for freelancers and agencies that work with clients.
  • Unsplash: Unsplash is one of the largest stock image websites online. It provides various assets such as 3D renders, wallpapers, textures, and even pictures of current events. Ads support Unsplash, and it doesn’t charge for access to any of its assets.
  • Shutterstock: Shutterstock is another leading stock image service that offers assets through a subscription model. Image plans run $29 monthly for 10 images or $479 for up to 10 users (750 monthly downloads). The company uses a credit system where you get monthly credits to spend on various assets.
  • Adobe Stock: Adobe Stock is another subscription-based stock image service, although the company also offers a limited range of free assets, including photos, vectors, and videos. It’s available as an add-on to any Adobe Creative Cloud plan, and standalone subscriptions start at $29.99 per month for 10 standard assets per month. New users can start with a one-month free trial before deciding whether to continue as a paid subscriber.
  • Desygner: Desygner is a visual design tool that integrates with Shutterstock to give users access to over 150 million unique images and videos. While its stock asset library isn’t as impressive as we’ve seen from other providers, Desygner’s templates and visual design capabilities make it a good option for creators who want to integrate stock images into larger visual elements.

What Images Does Your Small Business Website Need?

If you want to create an engaging, professional website, you need strong images, which are critical for setting the tone of a website and guiding the customer experience. Here are two of the most common types of images on e-commerce websites.

Hero images

Large images typically take up most of a website’s homepage. The End Clothing site, for example, starts with a revolving hero image that showcases some of their most popular collections.

The hero image is your best chance to give new visitors an idea of what your store is all about. Following End Clothing’s example of a revolving hero image helps introduce people to your brand while allowing them to see various products.

Hero images are intended to catch the viewer’s eye, so be careful when using stock assets in this way. While some stock images are captivating, others look more generic and could prevent your site from making a strong impact on visitors.

Product images

Product images are fundamental to any successful e-commerce site. Too many stores rely on generic, unclear images that don’t give visitors a clear visualization of the product they’re looking at.

Effective product images include multiple angles and allow you to see the item’s key features and characteristics. In some cases, adding videos alongside product images can give viewers even more confidence in what they’re looking at. For example, a product that requires some assembly could be paired with a video of someone completing the setup process.

Like hero images, product images aren’t always a good opportunity for stock images. Remember if you have access to a stock image, there’s a good chance your competitors can use the same one. Custom product images are often a great investment in the professionalism of an e-commerce website.

This Amazon listing is a great example of the power of product images. Milwaukee’s first image shows the main products included in the set clearly, and separate images focus on each individual item.

Amazon product page for a Milwaukee drill set.
Source: Amazon

Finally, users can see a 360-degree view of the items for a more complete visualization. Every image comes in a high resolution and lets viewers zoom in, providing all the visuals to know exactly what they’re getting.

How Can You Improve Your E-commerce Images?

Creating or finding clear, high-resolution visuals is the first step toward successful e-commerce images, but it’s far from the last. There are many effective ways to optimize your images further for better search engine optimization (SEO) performance and a more intuitive customer experience.

Lazy loading

Along with poor visuals, long loading times are another issue that can push visitors away from your site. Lazy loading is one of the most powerful e-commerce optimization strategies, particularly for sites with many high-resolution images.

Instead of immediately loading every image on a given page, lazy loading prioritizes elements above the fold — in other words, elements you can see without scrolling down. Images below the fold only load in as you scroll down to see them. This approach makes the top of the page display as quickly as possible while avoiding delays from loading elements you can’t see.

Search engine optimization

SEO is typically associated with text, but it’s also important to remember the principles when adding images to your e-commerce site. For example, remember to name images before uploading them instead of using a default name like IMG0001.PNG.

An image’s alt text and captions can also impact the website’s search engine rankings. Alt text is written to describe the content of an image, which is particularly important for visitors who can’t see the image. In the same way, Google uses it to understand what’s in each image, so clearly written alt text helps you rank more highly for relevant keywords.

Finally, make sure to include captions next to images, especially for ones that aren’t visually clear. Using the right SEO software streamlines nearly every aspect of your approach to SEO.

Images are among the most important elements of any e-commerce site, so choosing them wisely is critical.

Creators have more options than ever regarding stock images and other assets. Any of the six sites we’ve listed make it easy to find professional images for your e-commerce website.

Frequently Asked Questions About E-commerce Images

What image type is best for e-commerce?

E-commerce images should use these file formats; WebP, AVIF, JPEG, JPG, and PNG. These are the most preferred options for web images. The wrong formats can make it difficult for your website to load or rank on search engines.

Why are high-quality images important?

High-quality images make it simpler to tell the story of your business and/or demonstrate your services. These images also are much more likely to attract and retain the viewer.

How do you optimize an e-commerce website for images?

There are several steps you can take. First, name your images descriptively and in plain language, and optimize your alt attributes and thumbnails. Also, reduce the file size of your images, and select the right file type. Choosing your image dimensions and product angles carefully and using image sitemaps is important.

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