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2,500,000 royalty-free stock photographs, and counting ...

July 16, 2007

You need an image - that perfect image - for whatever reason. You know you don't have it.

Google Images, well, produces a few results, but none of them great. And these images aren't yours to begin with; you can't just borrow them.

Fortunately, that perfect image is available. Often for free, or for a very nominal fee.

I review three of my favorite stock image sources: stock.xchng, stockxpert, and


stock.xchng 100,000 *Free* royalty-free images

stock.xchng is my top pick: it features over 300,000 free stock photos from over 25,000 photographers, ranging in quality from fairly good to sublime. Membership is free, as are the images. Use on websites, in multimedia presentations, broadcast film and video, cell phones are all permitted, as is use in printed promotional materials, magazines, newspapers, books, brochures, etc., etc.

A few (fairly standard) prohibitions apply: images may not be used for pornographic, unlawful or other immoral purposes, for spreading hate or discrimination, or to defame or victimise others. Images containing people cannot be used to endorse products or services. Images cannot be used to as part of a trademark, service mark or logo. Finally, you cannot resell or redistribute the image.

You may or may not be able to use an image for certain specific instances, i.e. for printing photos you intend to frame and sell, or for other saleable items based on that image. You'll have to ask the photographer for permission.

If you make use of this service, please consider contributing your own best work in return.


Buy and sell stock photos at unbelievable quality and prices

stockxpert is the commercial version of stock.xchng. Their database contains some 500,000 images, with another 10,000 or so added every week. Prices range from $1 U.S. for an image sized up to 800x600, to $10 for an image up to 4900x3300 pixels in size. This would allow you to use the image on websites, in presentations, film and video, printed materials, on business cards and letterheads, or as a framed print for your wall. Quality ranges from good to fantastic.

Again, illegal or immoral use of images is strictly prohibited. Extended licences are available for the production of physical items intended for resale, including print copies or electronic items you would like to sell.

As always, read the license terms before you buy.


iStockphoto Royalty-Free images

Finally, is probably the world's largest repository of royalty-free images (1,800,000 and counting!) . Also unique to this site are the extensive collection of vector illustrations, Flash files, and video. Prices range from $1 U.S. for an image 300x400 pixels in size, to $15 for an image up to 3300x4900. Video ranges from $5 to $50, depending on resolution.

Quality, again, is very good; many of the images are excellent.

Permitted uses include advertising and promotional projects, presentations, film and video, and printed materials including books, magazines, newsletters, brochures. Online use is permitted so long as images are no larger than 800 x 600 pixels.

Resale or re-licensing of these images, or of items using these images, is not permitted under the Standard License. Illegal or immoral use of images is again prohibited, under much the same terms as described above.

Note that commercial use, i.e. in items or prints for resale, or electronic items for resale, is permitted under the Extended License; cost for these is relatively reasonable.

Try them, folks. Find the image you need in a minimum of time, and for minimum cost.

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