Website designers, developers and content providers always appreciate a ready availability of stock photography. Stock photography websites are a primary source, and in some instances the only source, of images for the designer for a given project.
As there are a number of excellent providers of these type of images, you will almost always have a wide selection to choose from. Most of these stock images are inexpensive, and a few are free. In any event, you’ll find taking this approach far less expensive than hiring a professional photographer and will require much less effort than would be involved if you were to take the photos yourself.
If you regularly have projects involving design or illustration you may already be familiar with one or more stock photography merchants. You may even have a favorite provider that you most often turn to when you are in need of one or more special images. I have my own favorite agencies whom I look to when I am in need of high quality photos, often at the spur of the moment.
iStock is a well-established, highly-respected provider of stock photography. This merchant is in fact the oldest of its type. The products it provides are of good quality, they feature the appropriate legal guarantees, and include not only photos but sound effects, videos, music and vectors as well.
If you place an order with iStock and type in the code SUMMER20 you will be given a 20 percent discount if you are a new client. This discount applies to their complete product line, the only caveat being that you purchase the material with a minimum of 30 credits. Whether you are ready to take up this offer or not, I encourage you to sign up at iStock now so their large inventory will be at your disposal for future needs.
While iStock remains my favorite provider, Alamy runs a close second. Alamy has a truly massive collection of stock files, more than 18 million in fact, from which you can make royalty-free purchases. The only problem you are apt to be faced with is having to make a choice among so many excellent options. You will almost always find something that satisfies your immediate needs.
Here is a tip that can be of help in finding the right product since the Alamy’s home page can be a bit difficult to navigate for the new customer. Scroll to the bottom of the page; then click on the links where you see the “For Buyers” heading.
You will find the user interface Stockfresh offers extremely easy to use, and you will normally have to spend very little time to find the resources you’re looking for. The number of options available to you may be somewhat smaller than is the case with some other sources, but each and every offering is of the highest quality.
You don’t even have to register to shop with Stockfresh. The ease in shopping combined with the quality of the products makes visiting this site a pleasure. You will have to look long and hard to find a mediocre product.
If you plan to use Stockfresh as a source of material in the future it may be to your advantage to sign up for one of the subscription plans offered. This will enable you to take advantage of their frequent discounts, some being as much as 50%. If you have a website or your own blog you might consider joining their affiliate program.Thiswould enable you to advertise their services and earn a 10 percent commission on purchases made by those customers you have referred to their site.
Media Bakery has been in business for over 10 years. During that time it has put together an extremely large and diversified collection of photos, music files, vectors, and videos, with over 10 million different products in total.
A subset of these offerings, roughly 2 million items, have been set aside in what they call their Microstock Image Collection. Media Bakery’s sophisticated search features makes it an easy task to browse through this collection. I have found the material offered to be very affordable. Most of the items range in price from $1 to $49. Since navigating the collection is easy and the shopping experience is painless, I consider Media Bakery to be among my top five sites.
PhotoSpin has not been in business quite as long as iStock but is still one of the pioneers in the stock image business. This company was in fact the first to offer an image subscription program. The nature of the programs offered has changed over the years, improving from one program to the next. Currently, a subscription enables you to access up to 50 downloads a day and up to 1,000 every month. This is an excellent feature if your work requires access to large numbers of images.
Photospin is another enterprise featuring an affiliate program. It is no problem to link to PhotoSpin from your website or blog using the banners and contextual links that are provided to assist you in referring visitors to their site. Their current commission rate is 15 percent, a rate that is one of the highest of any stock site and is also a rate that is higher than many affiliate programs in other areas offer.
While Photofolio has much to offer to its customers, one of the truly fine features of this company is the way in which it treats the photographers, designers and other artists whose work it has in its inventory. Portfolio’s business model stresses the importance of these providers, many of who may fall into the starving artist category as they seldom get fair compensation when their works are sold.
Photofolio follows through on it business model by providing commissions that are never less than 60 percent of the sale price to these artists. Offering such a high commission as a middleman is somewhat of a rarity in what is a very competitive field. When an enterprise places such value on the providers of the product it sells it is not unreasonable to expect the same feeling of appreciation will be extended to its customers. This is something I find highly pleasing and I am certain you will as well.
With Mostphotos the stock photographs just keep coming, with thousands of new items being made available every day. Currently there are over 7 million royalty-free, highly professional images in stock, and given the constant stream of newcomers there is never a lack of fresh material to choose from. This is an excellent site for a graphic designer or art director to visit and is definitely worth checking out if you are a blogger or website developer.
Snapwire offers its products from a somewhat different perspective. With Snapwire you don’t search for what you want, you explain what you want. Your request will be forwarded to one or more freelance artists who willcreate the custom photos you are looking for. With Snapwire it is possible to get an image that is exactly what you want rather than something that is close. You are in effect hiring a professional, as many of the providers are, but at far less expense.
When you shop at Corbis Images you’ll feel somewhat like the proverbial kid in the candy store. The quality of their offerings is excellent, the images are royalty free, and some of their graphics images border on the fantastic. The Corbis Image product line is broken down into a number of specialty categories designed to assist you in finding and selecting what you are after.
If you’re looking for a stock photography provider with an international flavor, Shutterstock would be a good choice. Shutterstock calls New York home but you can access it from 150 locations around the globe and shop and conduct transactions in any of 20 different languages. Shutterstock has an impressive business model and is a great favorite among professionals.
To sum up
This then is a list of my favorite places to find affordable stock photos featuring the highest quality. As you can see, each one operates in its own unique manner but the results are usually the same, a satisfied customer and more often than not a satisfied contributor as well. If you have a favorite stock photo site and feel it should be included in this list, please let me know so I can pay it a visit.
Images that you can buy from these agencies: