While it may be tempting to go right for a Google image search when you need a photo for a project, it's worth the time, effort and expense to invest in an image from a stock photo agency. When you grab images or photos from a Google image search, you are essentially stealing someone else's work. That's the best reason to use a stock photo agency over a Google image search.
If you use a Google images search you're probably stealing, and that's tacky
When you find an image from a Google image search, you're not only potentially violating copyright laws, but frankly, it's just plain tacky. There are photographers who make their living taking gorgeous pictures and selling their work. When you take that image from a Google search and use it, you're essentially stealing from that photographer.
And what about images from stock photo agencies that come back from a Google image search? Those are images a person paid for the right to use. When you grab that image from a quick Google search, again, you're stealing the image. That's not to say people don't use Google images, they do. And enforcement is practically non-existent, especially beyond the larger photo agencies. But it's so easy and generally inexpensive to use a stock photo agency, it's well worth the effort.
Stock photo agencies have better quality images
When you get an image from a stock photo agency rather than a Google image search, you are going to get a high-quality, high-resolution image. Images from Google are usually low-resolution and are cropped to odd sizes. This is especially important if you need a larger image. Stock photo agencies will always be able to provide images that are high-quality and high-resolution enough to be scaled larger and look sharp in a variety of sizes.
Stock photo agencies have a better selection of photos and images
Google image searches generally return a fairly random selection of results. Stock photo agencies are set up to be user friendly and easy to naviagate. If you use a stock photo agency you usually have a choice between vertical or horizontal images and can even use a series of images by the same photographer, giving your project a far more professional look. Stock photo agencies use professional photo editors and it shows in the overall quality of the product.
Stock photo agencies are probably cheaper than you think
For just a couple of dollars you can own the right to use an image from a stock photo agency. While most stock photo agencies offer a range of prices on images – some can be very high-end – you can likely find exactly what you want for less than five dollars. Even more valuable, now your work is protected against a photographer suing you because you stole their work. A good night's sleep because you took every precaution to protect your work is priceless.
Stock photo agencies support photographers an artists
Because it's so easy to steal photos and images from a Google image search, it's increasingly difficult for photographers to make a living. Stock photo agencies offer photographers a marketplace to sell their images and protect their work. If for no other reason than to help support photographers and artists make a living and create work that not only moves you, but makes your work jump off the page, it's worth the extra effort to use a stock photo agency. Using a stock photo agency instead of a Google image search is simply something you can feel good about.