Photo of a woman editing a video using Adobe Premiere Pro. Image by honeycombhc from Pixabay

Looking for free stock images? Looking for the best free or paid stock video? Searching for stock music and sound clips?

As content creators, we often can run into difficulty acquiring the exact right media for our projects. Sometimes we can't make it to another country to capture establishing shots or B Roll. Sometimes we need music and don't have budget to hire someone to compose it for us. Sometimes you need an image for a blog post to represent working in Adobe Premiere Pro. When we can't capture it ourselves, that's where stock media is a great benefit. At times, though, it can be difficult to find high-quality stock media for your projects. With so many resources out there, it can be hard to know where to start. That's why we put together this list of eight great places to find stock media for your next project. So whether you're looking for photos, videos, music, or motion graphics be sure to check out these resources!

We've divided our list of eight resources into two groups: free and paid. Why recommend paid when there's free content to be had? Sometimes you get what you pay for. Have you noticed sometimes that you'll see the same video clip used over and over in multiple ads for similar things? Or the same music clip in multiple trailers? Maybe the same photo used in blog posts across multiple sites? Those were usually free stock media. With paid media, it's usually a bit more exclusive. Paid stock media usually doesn't get used in as many places, and usually paid stock media offers a much wider array of options. (If you want true exclusivity, you'll find a hefty price tag. But again, you get what you pay for.)

Free Stock Media

  1. Freesound.org - Just like the name says, freesound.org is all about free sounds. Mostly sound effects and foley sound but there's also music here as well. All you need to do to download is sign up with your email address. 
  2. Kevin MacLeod - Whether you know it or not you've heard the work of musician Kevin MacLeod. His website incompetech.com has been a resource for video makers  and podcasters needing music for over a decade. He offers his work for free as long as you give credit and provide a link. You can pay to get a license where you don't need to include the credit (or if your use means you can't reasonably include a credit).
  3. MixKit.co - MixKit offers a variety of free media assets you can use in projects including video, music, sound effects, video templates, and even icons. No sign up is required and it offers video resolutions all the way up to 4K when the creator of the media provided it. 
  4. Pixabay.com - Pixabay is a lot like MixKit but is a bit more image focused than video focused and includes illustrations and vector graphics as well as photos, videos, music, and sound effects.

We also recommend learning about Creative Commons licenses. If you use media under a Creative Commons license you are responsible for following the rules of the license as the creator released it. Sometimes you can do anything you want with this media, sometimes only if you attribute the creator, and sometimes you have to be careful you're not using it for commercial purposes. It is important to understand and respect the terms of the license media is released under. 

Paid Stock Media

  1. Storyblocks.com - Storyblocks has a wide variety of media available for your projects. While their primary focus is video they also have templates for Premiere, After Effects, and other major applications. You can also find audio including music and sound effects and images including vector graphics and illustrations. Their paid plan options for individuals start at $15 per month.
  2. Pond5 - Pond5 has been one of the go to services for stock media for nearly two decades and they've built up a substantial library of just about every kind of stock media you might want. They even have 3D Models. For their media they offer a pay per item level which starts at as little as $1 per photo. You can also sign up for a subscription, which starts at $25 per month for up to 10 music downloads per month.
  3. Adobe Stock - If you're already mostly working with Adobe applications this might be an ideal fit for you. They do have some free media available as well but regardless of whether you're paid or free, you will need an Adobe account to download. There are two options for purchasing. You can get a subscription, which starts at $29.99 per month for 10 assets a month, which does not included videos. Alternatively they offer credit packs, which you can buy starting at 5 credits for $49.95. 5 credits will get you 5 images, for example. 
  4. Motion Array - Motion Array offers photos, videos, sound effects, music, templates, presets, motion graphics, and Adobe Premiere Pro plugins. Unlike many of the other paid options there's not multiple tiers of subscription. Motion Array has an individual subscription option and a team option for multiple users. If you sign up for the individual subscription paying annually it's $249.99, which comes out to $20.83 per month.

For more information, tips and tricks visit www.mnn.org/learn for free workshops, professional courses, filmmaking intensives, and more resources to make your productions successful.