Stock photo agencies thrive to have rich catalogs covering all possible topics of interest, including sport-related images.
However, there are different types of sports photos and not all of them can be found on all agencies. Plus, not all sports images can be used for all purposes.
Here we explain what kind of sporty images you can find, where, and how you can (or cannot) use them.
When it comes to sports stock photos, there are two main things to consider: the concept and your intended use. These two factors make it easy to understand and identify what type of image you are looking for, and whether it’s available for license on a stock photo site for what you need it for.
Sports Themed Photos – If you want a photo that illustrates a sports background –like a volleyball court or an American football field–, or a young woman practicing boxing, or even a soccer ball on the grass or a set of dumbbells next to a wall-to-wall mirror, what you need are professional stock photos with a sports theme. You can find them in high resolution and under royalty-free license at most top stock photo agencies, be it that you explore their themed galleries, or use their advanced search tools. You can use these photos for your website, blog, social media, marketing, and other commercial-related uses with no problem.
Celebrity Sports Images – Now if what you are after are pictures of famous athletes or any other celebrity from the sports industry, this is a different story. Some stock photo sites (not all of them) do have celebrity sports photos, be it posed portraits, images from event coverage, or even of official competitions and tournaments –such as the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup– but they are for editorial use only: you can license them to use in your articles and publications, for illustrative purposes. This is ideal if you run a news website or a sports fan blog that follows a sports icon figure, and you need newsworthy images. But it’s important to note you CANNOT use these celebrity photos to endorse your product or service, or for any kind of marketing strategy. This kind of licensing agreement is obtained through other means and conducted with the sports celebrity you wish to use.
However, you don’t really need a celebrity sports photo for your visuals to be effective. Non-celebrity photos can be as impactful, as long as they’re high quality, professional, and well within the topic.
It’s not so much a matter of if you could, but if you should. Free images are under different types of licenses that are a lot looser, and oftentimes no background check has been done to ensure they’re valid. As a result, they are nowhere near as legally safe for commercial purposes as royalty-free images.
There are times when a free photo can be okay to use. Photos of extreme sports where people are wearing helmets, a man running away from the camera in a generic-like location, an image of a yoga mat in a bamboo-decorated space, overall pictures where people are not recognizable, or not present. For everything else, you’re better off with premium, yet very affordable, royalty-free photos.
There are several stock photo agencies with great and very rich selections of sporty images. Here are our recommendations!
Stock Photo Secrets – Budget-Friendly
The Stock Photo Secrets Shop is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses. It has plenty of sports-themed images and very affordable pricing.
Photocase – Unconventional
Photocase is the leader in unique and more artsy stock images, including those with a sports concept.
Shutterstock – Commercial-Styled
Shutterstock is famous for its huge catalog, where you can find millions of images on every topic imaginable with a clear commercial value. They have tons of sports photos to choose from.
Bonus: They have editorial sports photos, too!
iStock – Affordable Premium
iStock is renowned for its highly curated library where you find both budget images and high-value shots that are still affordable. They have a large selection of sports stock photos.
Adobe Stock – Trendy
Adobe Stock thrives to be a very modern and up-to-date image bank. They have great sport-related pictures with a very fresh aesthetic.
Dreamstime – Convenient
Dreamstime is a well-established stock photo agency with very convenient pricing and a wide offer in photos and licensing. They have sports images for every need.
Want help finding a photo? We got you. This is a search feature for Dreamstime below, and we already entered a specific keyword to find Tiger Woods images, all you have to do is hit the button and see what results come up!
Use sports stock photos for news, reviews, and editorial articles, as well as for marketing and advertising –always verifying your license allows it–.
You don’t need a celebrity photo to reach out to your audience, but you can still find one in a stock photo site if you know where to look.
No matter what your project is, there is a sports stock photo that has just what you need.