Need a great image for your latest design project or newest website? Then stock photography is the answer. Stock photography is images that are sold over and over. The images come in many forms. Traditional stock photography includes images that are sold for a one time or limited time use only. An ad agency needs a photo of a couple for a print ad. They pay the stock photography agency a fee to use that photo one time in their ad. These types of images are very high quality and usually very expensive. They are restricted in their use and have other limitations.
Then there is Royalty Free stock photography. These images may not be of the same quality but are much less expensive. They may or may not have restrictions on use. They could have no restrictions to use on a website but there may be a fee if you wanted to use it in a print ad or package design.
License-free means there are no restrictions on where you can use the images. Usually, these are low-resolution images suitable only for the web.
You can find images at any number of stock photography websites. Some individual photographers have their own websites where they sell only their photos. There are a number of large stock photography websites that handle images from many sources. You will also find collections of stock photography on CDs, often themed based. There are also a number of free stock photography and clip art websites and specialty sites that deal in different themes such as vintage photos.
The costs for stock photography will vary from site to site. Some sites offer different sizes of the image at different resolutions. The higher the resolution and the larger the image, the higher the cost. These images are usually for print use. At the high-end are images suitable for a website. You can pay per image or buy a subscription that will allow you to download many images over time. All sites have a search feature so you can find the perfect image for your project. Some sites specialize in certain types of images, while others have images in many categories.
Some sites will allow you to download a comp or sample of the image you are interested in so that you can try it out in your layout or design. They will have a watermark of the stock photo agency across the image, so it is only suitable for testing and not the final layout.
Remember, images you find on the internet are not free for the taking. Many images are copyrighted so when you find a great image in a Google image search, that doesn’t mean you are free to use it in your project. If you find an image you like, then buy it. It is the right thing to do.
Great images will give your next design project a fresh new look so give stock photography a try.