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Stock photo prices plummet

Posted by Michael Bloch in web development (Sunday November 19, 2006 )

When I started out on the web, buying stock photos and images was horribly expensive; sometimes up to a couple of hundred dollars for a single pic. Photo CD’s commonly sold for $500. Times have certainly changed and you can now pick up quality stock photos for as little as a couple of bucks.

If you’ve just about had enough of recycling images from the photo CD you bought years ago, but have dreaded the thought of paying out mega-dollars for a new one; consider some of these alternatives.

Big Stock Photo (aff) – quality images for just $1 – $2 each and over 675,000 photos to choose from. I’ve been using this service for quite a while and find it to be excellent. I’ve also had various communications with Tim, the owner of Big Stock Photo – great guy and a pleasure to work with. Membership is free and you can either buy credits in advance (good discounts) or pay as you go. A couple of bucks is dirt cheap for the quality. Photographers can also generate revenue by uploading their portfolios and selling their photos via the Big Stock Photo service.

Fotolia (aff) – they’ve been around for a year now, but I first came across the service today. Fotolia describe themselves as a global online social marketplace for creative digital stock images in four languages. Fotolia state they have over 1 million images and photo in their catalog, selling from $1 – $3 each. As with the Big Stock Photo service photographers can sell their images via the site, with Fotolia taking a commission on each sale.

Why are the photos so cheap?

You’ll still pay top dollar for stock images from high profile services such as Getty Images, but the reason that sites such as Big Stock Photo and Fotolia can sell images so cheaply is that they have mobilized a huge source – part of that being amateur photographer community. “Amateur” doesn’t mean poor quality images by any means; some of the photographer’s skills rival the best in the world – but for many it’s a hobby and through these services, one they can monetize. Everyone wins.

Learn more about using stock photos and imagery on your site.


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