Hide Stock sites on Google Images with StockBlocker for Chrome

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 29, 2015
Updated • May 4, 2016
Google Chrome

Stock images are used a lot on the Internet, especially on news sites. Most news sites that I visit frequently don't use their own images at all anymore or only occasionally, and it is usually easy enough to spot the use of stock images on those sites.

I do think that original images add to the uniqueness of an article, and prefer to use self-created screenshots or images whenever possible.

But that is not the only situation where you may encounter stock images. If you use image search engines, chance is you will stumble upon stock images as well.

It depends on what you are searching for obviously, but for most generic search terms, such as "child playing", "happy couple" or "city skyline", you will get a good amount of stock images returned to you.


StockBlocker is a free extension for the Google Chrome web browser that blocks stock image sites on Google Images.

The extension adds a button on Google Images that you can click on to block a list of stock sites from the results listing.

While the extension takes care of stock sites, it won't eliminate stock images. Since it only blocks stock sites from being included in the results and not stock images themselves, you may very well end up with results that include stock images.

That's not an issue if you just want to make sure that stock sites are not included in the results, for instance if you want to find articles about a certain search query.

How that is done? By using the -site parameter. Essentially, you could simply copy the parameter listing to use it without requiring the extension at all. While you won't get any updates then, for instance new sites that the developers add in the future, you'd be able to use the filter without requiring the extension.

Sample Query


This would mean among other things that you could block stock sites in all browsers and not only Google Chrome.

In addition, it is easy enough to add custom sites to the filter listing simply by adding new -site parameters to the query.

If you take into account that the extension requests access to all sites you visit, and not just Google Images, it makes sense from a privacy perspective to use the query manually instead.


StockBlocker can be a useful extension, but it is too limiting in what it does. There is no option to add sites manually to the filter list for instance, and since it is only using -site parameters to filter sites, no real need to use it at all other than it being more comfortable to use.

Now You: Do you use image search engines?

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  1. Henk van Setten said on December 29, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Yes, this flood of dreary predictable stock photos is a real nuisance sometimes. So in my Google image queries, I always add just one single search parameter: -stock

    This may not work not quite as well as excluding all major stock photo sites by URL, but it still does work fairly well, probably thanks to the fact that most of these photo sites use the word “stock” somewhere in their pages and descriptions. And of course, as a filter this is much easier to use.

    My estimate is that a simple “-stock” parameter will already weed out about 80% of all stock photo results.

    So far, there’s just one major stock photo site that proves fully immune to this filter: dreamstime.com. So when I find that my image search results are swamped with junk photos from the dreamstime site, I just add -dreamstime as a second parameter (so my search term with -stock -dreamstime). No need to add a full URL. This works just as well.

    But… perhaps an even more essential tip to avoid stock photos in image search results is this: just try to use more specific search terms.

    For example, an image search for “manager” will flood you with white-background stock photos of idealized managers. But if you repeat this image search for “my manager” (include the quotes in the search field) then you’ll get no stock photos, but real snapshots made by real people showing managers in real life.

    1. Henk van Setten said on December 29, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Addition: “my manager” turned to to be a badly chosen example. This is always a matter of trial and error… So instead, try “our manager” and you’ll see what I mean.

  2. Maelish said on December 29, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    I tested it this morning but didn’t see a significant change in the search results. Does it really even work?

    1. Dries De Schepper said on December 29, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      HI Maelish!
      It definitely works, but it depends on what kind of keywords you are using. Some keywords will show you lots of stock photos and some won’t show any. That’s why sometimes you won’t see a big difference. But it should hide most of the stock photos with watermarks. If you should still see any, let me know :-)

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on December 29, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      As I said, it won’t remove all stock photos, only those hosted on stock photo sites. That’s probably why you don’t see a difference.

  3. Dries De Schepper said on December 29, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Hi Martin!

    Thank you for writing this very detailed article about StockBlocker.
    I just wanted to let you know that an option to add sites manually is foreseen :-)

    Dries De Schepper

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