The Pros and Cons of Using Stock Libraries for Creative Work

If you are doing any creative work like graphic design or videography, you probably use stock images and stock footage in your work. So what's the deal with stock libraries? Are they useful for the creative community? In this article we'll look at the pros and cons of stock websites.

Stock image and video libraries have become popular among creators over the last 10+ years. Such sites offer a fast way to get images or videos for various creative projects. You can either access free stock sites like Unsplash or Pexels, or buy image subscriptions on sites like Shutterstock or 123RF, or even sign up for unlimited stock video downloads. Whatever your provider of stock imagery and footage is, these sites have advantages and inconveniences.

Benefits of Stock Libraries

Let's see where stock libraries fare well.


For one, stock libraries offering images, vectors, videos, music, sound effects, and templates save time and effort. As a creator you know that it can take a long time to create or find the perfect image or video. With stock libraries, you can find images and videos quickly.


Hiring a photographer or a videographer can be prohibitively expensive. Stock libraries offer images and videos for less money. With free stock libraries you don't pay anything at all.


Stock libraries have a wide range of images and videos. Well, it makes sense as such libraries have thousands of contributors enriching their database on a daily basis. So the sites have content for almost every topic. This makes it easy for creators to find what they need.

Easy to use

Most stock libraries have user-friendly websites with powerful search filters. In this way creators can search and download images and videos in line with their unique needs. This saves creators time and energy.

As you can see stock libraries are valuable resources for creators to save on time, effort, energy, and cost in finding the perfect asset for a project.

Disadvantages of Stock Libraries

Here are the cons of stock websites.

Lack of Originality

One big disadvantage of using stock images and videos is that they may not be unique. Many creators use the same stock assets. This can make your work look unoriginal and dull. Your audience may not find your work interesting if it looks like other people's work.

Limited Customization

Stock images and videos cannot be customized easily. They may not perfectly match your project's needs. If you are committed to making changes to the stock assets, that can actually take a lot of time and effort.

Legal Issues

Well, the legal aspect is something to consider while using stock creative assets. Some stock libraries have strict rules about how their content can be used. These rules are part of the licensing agreements you agree to after you download the image or video. As a creator, you must follow these rules. If you don't, you may put yourself in danger of legal actions. So it is important to read and understand the terms and conditions of the stock library.


Some stock images and videos may be low quality. Because stock websites accept content from a multitude of contributors, the skills that are behind the content may vary. In some cases the quality of the assets may be low. This can make your work look unprofessional. So you want to choose high-quality images and videos for your projects.

Should you use stock libraries?

Yes, stock libraries are great tools to get creative assets quickly. Stock content can help fill out gaps in your projects - say, b-roll for videos is easier to get on a stock video site than go out and shoot it yourself. 

Still, you should realize that stock content is not necessarily unique to your project. Somebody else may be using it too, which makes your work look less unique.

Is it OK to use stock images on your website?

Yes, it is OK to use stock images on your website. But, as a creator you need to be careful. Choose high-quality images that match your website's theme. Also follow the terms and conditions of the stock library when it comes to permissions. This will help avoid legal problems.

In conclusion, you can now see that stock image and video libraries have their pros and cons. They can save you time and money, and offer a wide variety of content. But, they can also be unoriginal and low quality. In the end, you will need to decide for yourself whether a stock library is something your project will need.

What's next?

Take a look at the top stock video libraries where you can download unlimited videos. Or become a new contributor to the world of stock libraries - see what it takes here.