I‘m always on the hunt for quality images to use for various web projects. When I need a high-quality image for use as part of a site layout, or to include as a high profile page element, I always buy these images at iStockPhoto.com.
Many of you may be wondering why I’d pay for an image when a simple search in Google Images will display a bazillion results… for free nonetheless.
Well… I’ll tell ya…
Just because an image appears online and in a search result does not give you the right to use it. It is not your intellectual property, therefore action could be taken against you if the image is used on your site without the owners’ consent. All images and photos on iStockPhoto are royalty free, so you can use them on as many projects as you like, without fear of consequence.
The images at iStockPhoto are high quality, and often available in various sizes – for print or web use. Web graphics often won’t cut it for any printed materials, so it’s extremely important to find high quality source graphics for use on posters, flyers, business cards, etc.
I am very particular about the images I’ll utilize on my websites, so I’d much prefer to cut to the chase and buy a high quality graphic — one I know that is royalty free — rather than spend a great deal of time sifting through search engine results trying to find a decent one.
iStockPhoto has a very advanced search feature which enables you to find just the image(s) you’re after within seconds. This makes locating just the right image very easy and painless.
There are a lot of great stock image sites out there, but I prefer iStockPhoto’s image credits system. Many sites require you pay a subscription based fee, but iStockPhoto offers a pay-as-you-go method of payment. To buy any of the images from their site, you need to purchase iStock credits. The credits begin at $1.54 each for 12, but you can buy larger quantities of iStock credits at an increasing discount. For example, if you buy 120 credits, then they’re only $1.46 each.
Images are available for as little as 1 credit, but the average one is going to run you about 7-10 credits, with some going as high as 15 and even 20 (for Exclusive Collection photos). I usually buy in for at least 50 credits at a time, which costs me $75.00.
Update: March 1, 2012 — Sorry folks, but iStockPhoto has contacted me and told me to remove the code from this post. It is an exclusive offer provided by one of their partner sites, so I can no longer feature it on this site; however, you can try SAVE17 to get 17% off your next credit pack.