Stockvault Review

Stockvault Review 4

Launched in the seemingly distant days of 2004, Stockvault is one of the most highly respected sources for free stock photography, both by resourceful designers trying to save a few bucks and resourceful photographers who are trying to make a few bucks. This dual-sided loyalty is what has allowed Stockvault to grow their image base beyond 130,000 free stock pictures and their contributor base past 100,000 skilled artists and content makers.

Searching for free stock images online is not something that anyone enjoys doing, if for no other reason that just how many new stock image sites have popped up in the last few years. Cutting through the noise to find the sites that are actually helpful can burn time that you would rather spend designing, producing, or creating.

In this guide, we are taking a closer look at the free stock image provider Stockvault, starting with some of their most helpful features and then continuing on to examine how Stockvault stacks up against sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexels, and more.

Bullet Point Overview

  • New free stock photos added every day
  • Also includes thousands of free texture images& vector designs
  • Over 130,000 free photos available now
  • Over 100,000 members and contributors
  • In-house curation team reviews every submission
  • Stock image library is organized by helpful categories
  • Contributors can choose between 3 different license types
  • Picture detail pages include a direct-link donation button to support the artist
  • Free stock photos can be viewed and organized by license type
  • Membership is 100% free, and only required for contributors and photographers
  • Comprehensive tutorial section with content directed at both creators and photographers
  • Access to discounted stock image and graphic design bundles
  • In-house blog is a great resource for design articles and new photo freebies

In Depth Overview of the Site

Stockvault was founded in 2004, which makes it one of the longest running free stock photo resource that is still alive and well, and in fact, continuing to grow at an impressive pace. Along with some of the more well-known free stock sites like Pixabay or Unsplash, Stockvault has made its reputation off of smooth design and easy functionality.

However, Stockvault can also boast over one hundred thousand registers of users, the bulk of whom are active contributors. This has helped them create one of the largest free stock photo collections on the web …. One that is releasing new images, textures, and vectors every single day.

Speaking of textures, this is one area where Stockvault excels. A dedicated free texture library offers thousands of different background textures, all of them high-definition image files that can be used as backgrounds, overlays, or in any other creative way that you can think of. While Stockvault is certainly not the only place to source this kind of thing, they certainly seem to have the largest no-fee selection. Downloading images on Stockvault is stunningly simple, and in fact can be done in just a couple of clicks. The detailed file information for each photo is provided just beneath the download button, which makes it easy for artists and designers to get the fast information that they’re looking for. This includes author, license type, and file size, among others.

Becoming a contributor is quite easy, and once a photographer submits 30 photos, they can start using Stockvault to build their profile, attract new clients, and even accept digital donations via PayPal or Skrill right on the photo detail page.

To summarize, Stockvault is a reliable source of free stock photography that offers a large catalog of both images and contributors alongside a smooth site design that makes it a pleasure to browse. Contributor donation features make Stockvault a must for any designers or photographers who are looking to add some momentum to their craft or even make a bit of extra money.

How Stockvault Stands Out from the Free Stock Image Crowd

Stockvault Review 5

There are a number of ways in which Stockvault is able to outperform even the most popular free stock photo sites, though they might not be apparent at first glance. For one, the free image library is considerable at over 139,000 (it will be more by the time you read this) and over 100,000 registered members. The sheer size of Stockvault separates it from most of the competition.

Stockvault also does a particular good job of organizing their images into detailed collections and categories. This is how most people want to browse through stock photography … in an easy, logical way that makes finding the perfect image not only hassle-free, but also exciting, and creatively stimulating. The texture offering is impressive, and certainly scores some additional points for Stockvault. These are high-definition images that you can really feel the texture of, and as overlays they are sure to bring that same HD texture to the surface of your own project.

Stockvault handles licensing by allowing contributors to choose from one of three different licenses for every image that they submit. While this can be seen as a benefit to many photographers, it has proven to be somewhat confusing to the average user. Fortunately, Stockvault hosts a number of FAQs and tutorials that break it down quite well.

What Kind of Stock Photos Does Stockvault Do Best?

To put it simply, Stockvault’s free photo library is particularly well-balanced, especially for a site in this size range. No doubt the key to this balance is the staggering number of registered contributors who are submitting images on a regular basis.

There is a curation process at play, so just about every photo hosted here is going to be of a reliably high quality. In other words, you aren’t going to have to scroll through a sea of poorly focused or framed images trying to find something that is good enough for your standards.

The People Who Should Be Using Stockvault

Stockvault is a reliable source for any designer or marketer who is looking for an advantage over the competition. Not only is the library packed with free high-resolution stock photography, but the whole collection is neatly organized into detailed collections that make browsing a simple, enjoyable affair. Downloading is a cinch, and the photo detail page makes it easy to know what kind of license you are dealing with.

The other reason Stockvault is so valuable to designers in particular is the amount of additional resources that are regularly provided … from thoughtful blog posts to detailed graphics tutorials that can help elevate any marketing project or artistic endeavor.

For the photographers and stock photo creators out there, Stockvault is one of the few sites that is pretty much a “must-have”. After reaching the 30 image minimum, you can use the image detail page as your own fundraising apparatus by taking advantage of their brilliant “Buy Me Coffee” button that appears next to qualified images.

How Stockvault Handles Stock Image Licensing

Stockvault Review 6

Stockvault is one of the few free stock sites that allows contributors to select which license they would like to make their image available under. These three different licenses can have a significant effect on how and where the image can be used and/or reproduced, so it is important for both designers and contributors to know the difference and to keep track.

Non-Commercial License

Stock content under a non-commercial license can be adapted, re-worked, or used for personal, educational, and non-commercial purposes without having to attribute the original image author.

Commercial License

As the name implies, images that fall under a commercial license can be used for commercial purposes, like marketing campaigns, social media posts, and even merchandising. However, you cannot license or distribute the image without altering it in some form (known as stand-along basis).

Creative Commons (CC0)

If an image is associated with a Creative Commons license, it means that the person who created it was waived all ownership and therefore transferred the image into the public domain, making it possible to distribute, modify, alter, or utilize the image both personal and commercial ways without seeking permission or providing attribution.

What’s Included with a Stockvault Member Registration

Stockvault is a 100% free stock image source, offering user-contributed photos, images, textures, and vectors from all over the world. This library, while subject to some use and copyright restrictions, is free for anyone to use without a registration.

Signing up for an account with Stockvault is only necessary for those who are interested in becoming stock content contributors. However, once you are registered in this capacity then you can start contributing right away … and once you have 30 images approves, you can start accepting donations for your work.

Premium Offerings

If you click the big “Premium” button at the top of the Stockvault page, you will be taken to Shutterstock, which is of course one of the largest and most impressive royalty-free image stores on the web. However, Stockvault does not offer any kind of paid or premium service through their main website … if you find yourself paying for something, it is likely via Shutterstock.

Price Structure

There are built-in or hidden fees with Stockvault; the entire stock image and texture library are available to anyone for no charge.

Browsing Stockvault by Collection or Category

Stockvault Review 7

As mentioned above, oneof the primary strengths that Stockvault brings to the design and marketing community is their user-friendly organization system, which allows users to browse either by curated, thematic collections or more specific categories.

For example, there are over 10,000 images filed under “Food & Drink”, while smaller, boutique collections like “From Paris With Love” or “Fruits & Leaves in Autumn” have only a few hundred and are more related by their theme than the actual content of the image.

Downloading Stock Photos from Stockvault

The download process is perfectly simple. In three clicks you can have the image of your choice saved to your hard drive or shared via your favorite social media platform. There is no need to sign up for any account unless you are trying to upload photos as a contributor.

In addition, all of Stockvault’s supplemental resources, blogs, and tutorials are available to all users, not just registered contributors. This is another reason why Stockvault has become a regular haunt for indie designers and guerrilla marketers for a couple of decades now.

Contributing Stock Photos to Stockvault

Registering for an account with Stockvault is only necessary for those who want to start contributing pictures to the massive stock library, therefore becoming part of an expansive team of creative professionals all working to make high quality images a reality for even projects with no budget.


The internet is one of the few places where being around for a long time is not always the profitable way to go, but since Stockvault is dedicated to creative expression instead of profits, they have been able to grow and thrive even after multiple decades of operation, attracting new contributors all the time and growing their free stock library by leaps and bounds.

Stockvault’s contributor system with built-in donation buttons provide a unique incentive for photographers and vector artists, which perhaps explains how after all this time their regular contributing user base has only continued to grow.

The clean presentation, smart organization, and 3-click download capabilities are what makes Stockvault a winning choice for anyone who is looking for clean, HD stock photography. And finally, Stockvault’s selection of additional educational resources are a big draw for contributors and designers alike, and they’re just sitting there waiting for a smart designer or marketing director to come along and reap the benefits.