Favorite Horse Stock Photography Websites

Aug 19, 2009 12 Comments by


If you are like most other horse people, not much catches your attention like anything horsey … especially a great photo. I’m always looking for great horse pictures. Sometimes I need them for more formal uses, like in designing a print piece or logo, sometimes I need them to illustrate blog posts here on Regarding Horses, and sometimes I just want something cool to use as a desktop background on my laptop or BlackBerry.

And unless you know where to look, it’s not always easy to find that perfect horse photo – especially if you are good about not violating copyrights. There are much better options out there for finding great horse stock photography websites than Google Images.

So whether you need a new header for your blog or business website, or just need some new scenery on your computer, here are some of my all-time favorite sites for royalty-free horse stock photography.

Free Websites for Horse Stock Photography

Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, avoid clip art! It was cool back in the 80’s when we were using apple computers with black screens and the little green cursors, but you have much better options now! Here are a few free stock photo sites that have nice horsey options …

Stock Exchange

Stock Exchange is a great free site that provides high resolution photos uploaded by their members. It is more artsy and professional then your average photo sharing site. I’ve been using it for my graphic design work for years (non-profits don’t like to pay for newsletter images!), and have been thrilled to see it really expand over the last few years. There is currently over 50 pages of horse photos, and the quality keeps getting better. The images largely skew towards horses in the wild or at pasture. There are a few jumping or barrel racing pictures, but nothing too specific. You will need to register on the site to download images, but it’s free!


Flickr is my all-time favorite website for finding photos to illustrate blog posts. I’m a big advocate of using Flickr for uploading and sharing your own photos on your website anyway, but it’s also great for finding specific illustrations. While some Flickr users have reserved rights on their photos, many license them for use under Creative Commons. Go to “Advanced Search” and be sure to check the box at the bottom that says “search under Creative Commons only” to find royalty-free images. Not only are there some gorgeous pictures of horses running free, you can find images from all disciplines, doing all aspects of horse care, and from many major events from the Kentucky Derby to Rolex Three-Day to the Olympics. It’s a great location for finding photos of top horses and riders as well. Another benefit is that the images are available for download in multiple sizes. I believe you do also need to sign up for a Flickr account to be able to download images.

Cheap Websites for Stock Photography


iStockPhoto.com is probably my most favorite website for horse stock photography. If I could afford to get all of my images from here all the time, I would. There are tons of great horse images on here … from artsy to discipline specific. It is a paid site, but you can get a royalty-free web-sized image for as little as $1.50. iStock used to function on a strictly credit-based system, in which you purchased a package of credits and then could download images with those credits. Xsmall versions are 1 credit, small images are 3 credits, medium are 5 credits, and so on. Along with the pay-as-you-go credit system, there is also a new monthly subscription plan for heavy users. One of my favorite things about iStock is that they also provide vector images, or illustrations. These are great for logos or a more whimsical look.

Honestly, I could try to come up with more horse stock photography sites to put in a list, but these are the only three I would recommend. I manage to find everything I need on these three sites, horse related or otherwise. So next time you need a nice horse picture for professional or personal use, be sure to check out these sites!

Oh, and if you want to be able to edit images, download the free image editing software called Gimp. It’s free, relatively easy to use, and has a lot of the same functionality as Photoshop!

Featured, Horsin' Around, Stuff I Like

12 Responses to “Favorite Horse Stock Photography Websites”

  1. greyhorsematters says:

    Thanks Jackie, that’s very helpful information.

  2. RhondaL says:

    I’ve also had good luck with Dreamstime, another stock agency like iStock. I’ve found specific location and action shots there that I couldn’t find elsewhere when I needed them.

    I try to be careful about when using stock photography in making sure that the details inside the photo (the tack, the scenery, the rider’s attire) fit the discipline or breed in question.

    Some of the photographers don’t know anything about horses, so they tag the photos inaccurately. If you know what you’re looking for and scrutinize the image before purchasing it, you can do well.

    After all, a search on the term “horse racing” can bring up photos of thoroughbreds, barrel racers, jumpers and even dressage horses.

  3. Jackie says:

    Thanks GHM!

    RhondaL – I’ll have to check out Dreamstime. Thanks for the extra tips on scrutinizing the photos. One thing, along those same lines, I forgot to mention is that you have to think creatively when you are searching for something specific. Non-horsey people will often label or tag an image incorrectly like you said, and people use many different words/phrases for the same things. If you don’t find what you are looking for on the first try, think of other ways to phrase your search. A little persistence and creativity goes a long way.

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  5. Horse Stock Photography Websites with Best Horse Pictures and … says:

    […] If you are like most other horse people, not much catches your attention like anything horsey … especially a great photo. I’m always looking for great.Continue […]

  6. Sam says:

    I love this picture! 😉

  7. cathy@discount cameras says:

    Thanks for sharing some great sites. Horse photos are lovely. I love these animals! :)

  8. christine says:

    When setting a horse up for a posed picture, usually the most flattering shots are from the side and different breeds have different ways they are traditionally presented for a picture.It is also a little tricky when taking action pictures in horses. But with little skills and more practice taking pictures of horses is fun!

  9. Michelle says:

    Thanks for sharing your list of stock photo sites, Jackie! I’ve always relied on Google. Now I have more options, thanks to you. :)

  10. Bill says:

    I tried out Stock Exchange and I’m liking it. It seems so versatile. Can’t wait to check out the other sites!

  11. Danielle - portraits says:

    These are such great resources! I’m especially loving the diversity of the photos at iStock.

  12. Sparkpaw says:

    You can also use DeviantArt.com Just make sure you obtain photography only under the Resources and Stock Images category (found on the left hand menu side bar). Each provider has personal rules, but they are usually very good, and there are plenty of amazing quality photos there. ^__^

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