How to search for an stock photo?

Searching for a stock photo that you can buy and use for design needs is best done using stock photography agency websites.  Conducting a Google search will bring up many photos and images, but your legal right to use these online photos is not allowed unless you have written consent from the photographer.   Image searching is easy but why you are searching and how you plan to use the image needs to be determined first before you start searching.

Design images and photos

If you are searching for an image for your blog, a marketing campaign, a website, invitation or any internet or paper use that will have an image be seen publicly, you need to obtain legal permission to use the image.  Internet posting of an image by an artist or photographer does not transfer the right a photographer has to a photo or make the photo ‘rights free'.  Stock photography agencies obtain the written permission from photographers, artists, and designers to sell their creations, royalty free, to their members.  As a member of the stock photography agency website you are able to purchase, download and use images.  This is a cheap and legal way to use images for your design purposes.

Stock photography search engines

There are specific stock photography search engines where you can search all the current sites in one place and see what each agency has to offer.  Our Stock Photo Search does just this and for someone who does not have a stock photo agency membership or a company who has many, this is a good way to see what each agency is offering in your keyword area.  If you find what you are looking for, you will be taken directly to the stock photography website and can purchase from there. Vectors, illustrations, designs and photos are all searchable items on the search engines.

Price of stock agency images

Each stock photo agency differs in prices, and the subscription or credit package you purchase will determine the final price of your image.  Whichever way you look at it, this is a cheap way to obtain good quality images, images that can meet your sizing needs, and if used within the terms of the agency agreement, a legal way to create great designs.  Hiring a photographer or graph designer to create what you need from scratch can be timely and costly.  To avoid missing a deadline, join one of the many stock photography agency websites, and start searching.

Popular stock photography agency websites used by designers worldwide are Fotolia, Shutterstock, iStockphoto, Dreamstime and CanStockPhoto.

Do you have a favorite premium stock photo agency that you work with?  Let us know who you use and why.

I am a publisher and entrepreneur in the stock imagery field. I focus on providing knowledge and solutions for buyers, contributors and agencies, aiming at contributing to the growth and development of the industry. I am the founder and editor of Stock Photo Press, one of the largest networks of online magazines in the industry. I am the founder of Microstock Expo, the only conference dedicated to the microstock segment. I created several software solutions in stock photography like WordPress plugins. Plus I am a recurrent speaker at Photokina Official Stage, and an industry consultant at StockPhotoInsight. I am passionate about technology, marketing and visual imagery.

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