Your usual choices on free stock photography sites: pictures of dollar signs falling from the sky, close-ups on two hands shaking, or models who look so perfect in their perfect surroundings they may actually be pod people from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

So we are beholden to Plato Web Design and Red Website Design for creating this list of sites that offer royalty-free downloads of beautiful images that look like real life, including many scenes suitable for backgrounds for web pages or ads.

For more on effective use of photos in small business marketing, see How to Avoid Lame Images in Your Blog and Image Ideas for Your Website.

Update: These sites have new web addresses: IM Free, New Old StockPicography and Little Visuals.

Stock Photo Sites from Plato and Red Web Design Companies

Thryv builds websites for local businesses that show off images just great. Take a look at our sample websites.