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 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!