They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. And in design in general and web design in particular, this is very often the case. Finding that image that just gives your layout that extra bit of style can often make or break a design.
I remember when I just started out in the web design industry around 7 or 8 years ago, finding these images was a real problem. It was not that there were no good stock image houses out there, the problem was the price. As a freelance designer, paying upwards of $149.00 for a single image was not an option especially as the client has not yetok'd the design concepts. Those were difficult times for sure.
Gladly those days are long gone now and these days we are spoiled for choice. With iStockPhoto coming onto the scene and revolutionizing the royalty free stock photo market and array of new business has followed suit and even some of the previously ridiculously expensive stock houses have adopted similar strategies. In this article I will list some of the stock image sites that I find really provide awesome quality for the price and also have genuinely unique images.
iStockPhoto was the pioneers of a new way of selling and providing great quality royalty free images to designers. They are probably still thede facto place where web designers go first when looking for that perfect image for your design. However, sometimes you just cannot seem to find that perfect image. In that case there are some other wonderful new stock houses that have popped up to fill the gap.
One of the first alternatives or should I say alternative locations to find images I found, was Dreamstime. One problem I have with the site is it's name, it does not directly connect to the idea of stock photography to me and I usually end up racking my brain to try and rememberthe sites name :) but, with that aside, Dreamstime does offer a large variety of of quality stock images at a, oh so important, low price.
Crestock is one of the new kids on the block, but they should definitely not be ignored. Awesome quality, huge range and a multitude of payment options from buying credits, subscriptions or, something I miss oniStock, just pay for the image or images you want.
One of the many perks of signing up for a free account at Crestock is their free image of the day. You read correctly, at iStock you can an image and a vector for free once a week but, at Crestock, you will be sent a free royalty free image every day. So go ahead and sign up for your free account and also check out their collection of great images.
If you have a larger budget for your web project and are after images that have a little more edge or funky, images with a different angle on the standards then look no further thenThinkStock . Be aware though that these images are not royalty managed by royalty free as the previous three but, pricing starts from $149.00
There are a multitude of sites such as the four above but, these are the ones I use on a daily basis and from past experience I have never had to look elsewhere.
Now, generally when you design an ad campaign for a client, whether it be web based or in print, your client will more then likely request the use of royalty managed images. These images are extremely expensive and you need to make sure that your client understands this and make special note of this in your proposal to the client, even going as far as having aseparate budget for the purchase of these images. Once you are ready to start searching, the sites below will not let you down.
If you are looking for artistic, high quality, luxury rights managed photography you need not look further then Veer.com. Prices are high but that is what you pay for to have images that are unique to your website or ad campaign.
One of the original suppliers of royalty managed imagery has been Getty Images and they definitely, along with the site below, have the largest portfolio of images anywhere. Great images, multiple options and company you can rely on.
The last site I wish to mention in this article is Jupiter Images. As far as I am concerned, they definitely have the widest range and simply the largest online stock portfolio of any company hands down. They, as Getty, are one of the originators and they keep evolving and expanding their options and content. Absolutely awesome site if you a slightly larger budget.
And that is it, my round up of the seven stock image sites that I find to be the best out there. What do you think? Are there any other sites you would add to this list?