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Get Your Summer Photos From These Top Providers

A website or blog without illustrations won’t always keep a visitor interested in what you have to say for very long. This is something you can avoid by the judicious use of stock photography. For larger design and development projects, having access to sources providing these products is a must.

There is no shortage of online merchants that can provide high-quality photos and images. Most maintain a large inventory to choose from, in some cases an extremely large inventory. You can usually expect to find a large selection to choose from in an affordable price range. There are even images that can be yours for free, or at a discount. Taking advantage of what a stock photography merchant has to offer is usually a time and money saver.

You may be wondering where to get started, or perhaps you’ve already chosen a merchant or two. If that’s the case, you might have a favorite merchant you know you can turn to when you have special needs or requirements. I have a few favorites of my own, merchants I know I can usually rely on to fulfill a specific need.

iStock

To be the oldest provider of online stock photography is one thing. To be the most popular is another. iStock is both. This merchant has a huge product line that features large selections of photographs, vectors, sound tracks and videos with new items added every week. Most of the items in their inventory are royalty free with legal guarantees for their use provided as well.

iStock

If you sign up, now considering purchasing some credits. If you use a minimum of 30 credits towards your first purchase, you will be given a 20 percent discount with the SUMMER20 coupon code. This discount applies to any items you purchase. If your need for stock photography will not occur until sometime in the future, it would still serve you well to sign up and see all of what iStock has to offer, including their specials. When your need does arrive, this large and diverse inventory will be at your disposal.

Alamy

Favorites come and go with time but currently Alamy ranks a solid number 2 among my personal choices for stock photo providers. The reason for this is their 18 million and growing inventory of quality stock photographs and other items needed by the designer/developer. You will feel like a kid in a candy store as you browse through this massive selection.

Alamy

To make matters easier for you, the Alamy website features an extremely user-friendly search engine to help you drill down to the exact item you’re looking for. The home page can be a bit confusing to the newcomer at first, but if you go to the bottom of the page you’ll find a “For Buyer” button. Click on that, and the rest should be easy.

Stockfresh

The number of stock photos and images Stockfresh has to offer may be somewhat smaller than most of their competitors but this merchant more than makes up for having a smaller inventory by offering only the highest-quality stock images. In addition, their user-friendly interface makes finding what you’re looking for a pleasant and rewarding exercise.

Stockfresh

There is no need to register in order to make a purchase. Shopping at the Stockfresh online store is a pleasant experience, and you won’t find a mediocre product no matter how hard you look. While registering is not a requirement, you may still want to consider signing up for a subscription service.

By doing so you’ll be in a position to save money by purchasing items during one of their periodic discount specials. In some instances, you will be able to save up to 50 percent. If you have your own blog or website, you can also earn money by joining their affiliate program. Refer a visitor to Stockfresh via an advertising banner or a link and you’ll receive a commission if that visitor makes a purchase.

Media Bakery

Media Bakery is one of the newer stock photography providers as they have only been in business for 10 years. In that time however they have compiled a collection of over 10 million stock items, including photos, videos, vectors and audio tracks.

Media Bakery

A fifth of this collection has been set aside in what Media Bakery calls their Microstock Image Collection. While browsing through this collection you will find most of the items are fairly affordable, with prices ranging from $1 to about $50. I’ve found that browsing through Media Bakery’s inventory is more of a pleasure than a challenge thanks to the sophisticated manner in which their search engine functions. The ease of navigation, this merchant’s painless shopping process and the fact that they carry more than 160 independent brands are the reasons this source of stock items is among the top five on my list.

Photofolio

Customer satisfaction plays an important role in any business model, but how a merchant treats its suppliers is equally important. Photofolio has a reputation for treating its artists, photographers and designers very well in return for the high quality items they provide for this merchant’s collection. When you provide a high-quality product that is very likely to be selected by a customer, you would expect to be rewarded by your client, and Photofolio does just that.

Photofolio

The commissions offered to these providers will often equal 60 percent of the sale price. This is significantly more than seems to be the norm in this competitive business. The way the providers are treated carries over into the way the customers are treated. I’ve found that this merchant seems to place a high premium on customer satisfaction. I believe you will find this to be true as well.

PhotoSpin, Inc.

PhotoSpin, Inc. is not one of the oldest stock image providers but they are nevertheless considered to be among the pioneers in the stock image business sector. This merchant was the first to introduce the subscription concept, which it did 15 years ago. Since then, this program has undergone various changes and improvements. At the present time, as a subscriber, you can download up to 50 files at any one time and download as many as 1,000 files each month. If you work with large numbers of stock images, such a program can definitely work to your advantage.

Photospin

PhotoSpin also has an affiliate program that is free to join. If you do so, you will be given advertising banners and/or contextual texts that you can place on your website or your blog, advertisements which refer visitors to PhotoSpin. When one of your visitors makes a purchase, you will receive a 15 percent commission. The is a higher commission than most affiliate programs will offer and is among the highest commission, if not the highest that is offered by any stock image merchant who has such a program.

Mostphotos

As a website developer or a graphics designer you might think you are on cloud ten when visiting Mostphotos, but you may have to settle for cloud nine. This merchant’s inventory of over 7 million royalty-free stock images is truly amazing from the perspectives of quality and professionalism. What’s more, a constant stream of fresh material is constantly being added. What Mostphotos has to offer is at least a notch or two above the quality you may have become accustomed to when browsing through most stock photo collections.

Mostphotos

Snapwire

Snapwire is a stock photography source with a different business model. You tell this merchant exactly what you want and the merchant takes it and runs with it. Rather than searching through a few million items to find a close comparison, Snapwire has a professional artist create an image for you that exactly matches your requirements. You are in essence hiring a professional to create your custom image, but at far less cost since the work is done by freelancers.

Snapwire

Shutterstock

Shutterstock stands out a bit from the other merchants on this list due to its truly global presence. Based in New York, Shutterstock has offices in 150 locations around the globe. You are, of course, most likely to conduct your business with this merchant by going online. When you do, you’ll find you can use any of 20 different languages to help you do your searches and make your purchases. The way Shutterstock goes about doing business is important too. Many professional artists and designers have turned to this company as a source of stock material because of its impressive business model.

Shutterstock

Corbis Images

Corbis Images features an eye-opening selection of stock images. This collection of images, as a whole, could be summed up in a single word – fantastic. These images are available on a royalty-free basis, so they are free to use for commercial as well as personal purposes. It’s not very difficult to find what you’re looking for either, as the collection has been divided up into a number of helpful categories.

Corbis

In Conclusion

My list of top ten favorites may vary from time to time, but not usually by much and what you see here are my current favorite providers of quality stock images. The business models may vary, but all of these merchants feature outstanding stocks of high quality, royalty-free photos and images. Each of them, in my mind, places a great deal of emphasis on customer satisfaction.

If you have a particular favorite I’d like to hear about it. I’ll gladly acknowledge your input and most likely pay a visit to the merchant you consider to be one of your favorites.

Showcases

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