Top 10 Stock photography websites, and my take on them

Anybody who has tried creating a website or a blog knows the value of stock photos and stock photography websites. There are a million of them out there, each having a million photos in them. Here’s a good list of websites you can buy images from. I have used a simple test of searching for “office room” to figure out the options available, quality and price on these websites.

1. Getty images (www.gettyimages.com) – One of the best and most expensive stock photography sites, they offer high-quality images and an elaborate search with many filters. The results are good, but I had to answer more than 10 questions to know the price – what would I use it for and how many times, what is my target industry, what size I need, what page would I place it on and so on, before it gave me a price that was a little shocking. Get used to it, high quality comes at a price.

Getty images

2. Istockphoto (www.istockphoto.com) – This one is my personal favorite and was easy on the wallet till a year back. The search results for “office room” gave me some really good pics. And the pricing is available immediately, in credits or USD. Beautiful usability.

Istockphoto

3. Bigstockphoto (www.bigstockphoto.com) – I like these guys. They are not very pricey, they show good results on searching, they have decent filters, and pricing is immediately available. See the search results for “office room” below. The interesting fact is that a lot of photos are common across websites. So dig around till you find the best at the lowest price.

Bigstock photos

4. 123rf (www.123rf.com) – If you have found them multiple times while searching on Google, there is no surprise. They are advertising quite a bit on Adwords these days. Pricing is their key selling point, and they are offering great images at surprising low prices. A search for “office room” gave me decent results and prices starting at 1 credit. Smiles all around.

123rf

5. Thinkstock Photos (www.thinkstockphotos.com) – This is owned by Getty images, and offers same old complicated system for pricing. I had to check out plans and pricing and packs and subscriptions before they could tell me how much an image would cost. And I did not like the results for “office room” much. Thumbs down!

Thinkstock

6. Dreamstime (www.dreamstime.com) – I have downloaded quite a lot of images from this website in the past. Somehow, there is a lack of clarity in images, a lack of beauty that is pushing me away these days. The prices are reasonable, the collection is decent, the search for “office room” gave decent results… but the images look dull and lifeless. The design of the website, which has stayed the same for ages, is also not very confidence-inspiring.

Dreamstime

7. Shutterstock (www.shutterstock.com) – Quite expensive and refuses to reveal the price easily. Their collection of images is good, but not as good as istockphoto.com. Best for those who need high resolution images for printing.

Shutterstock

8. Fotolia (www.fotolia.com) – Pretty standard, a little dull and grey, pretty reasonable in terms of price. That sums of Fotolia for you. If you did not find your image in any of the above websites, why not try them too. Here is the results page I got.

Fotolia

9. Stocksy (www.stocksy.com) – They blew me away with their website design, and got me interested. But my search for “office room” gave me more people than I asked for. It was more like the results for “people working in office”. The photographers are given due credit, and prices are slightly on the higher side. But it is a beautiful site to visit. And who knows, the one photo you were looking for could have been here all this while.

Stocksy

10. Canstock photo (www.canstockphoto.com) – Just when you thought there couldn’t be any more websites with the word “stock” in the domain name, here comes another. And that is what it turned about to be. Just another website with pretty standard photos, and reasonable pricing.

Canstock photo

Along with these, I researched a few others too while writing this blog.

1. Natgeo Creative (www.natgeocreative.com/ngs) – I think they should stick to the magazines. They have some amazing photographs, but the search is horrible, the results are almost non-existent. There are broken links, empty galleries and no clue about the pricing.
2. Corbis images (www.corbisimages.com) – The website looked horrible and refused to load. And that’s when I closed the window.

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