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Where to Find Great Images For Your Online Articles

Updated on January 29, 2013

Stock photography websites are sites that sells photographs to its members to reuse in a number of ways for either personal or commercial use.

Stock photography websites are becoming an increasingly popular way for writers, bloggers, designers and entrepreneurs to find good quality images. The high level of competition amongst the stock photography websites, means that the consumer has been rewarded with a high level of not only great quality photographs, but also fonts, clipart, animations, videos, vector images, sounds and more.

Who are Stock Photography Websites For?

For the Photographer: Stock photograph websites are sites that allow photographers to upload their photographs to a website and earn a royalty every time someone downloads it. Bear in mind that many sites sell stock photos for only a few dollars each, so you will need to have quite a few sales before you see a significant revenue. A great feature of selling stock photos online is that essentially the images are passive income, so could be generating you income for years to come.

For the Consumer: Stock photograph websites are sites that can have anywhere from hundreds, thousands or even millions of photographs, vectors, animations, videos and sounds available for purchase. These images can be used for blog and website images, for book covers, marketing pamphlets and derivative works such as t-shirts, mugs, mouse pads, greeting cards and hundreds of more uses.

Uses of Stock Photography Websites

Images can be used in articles and blog posts to compliment a story. It can be the edge your story needs to stand out amongst its competitors. You can incorporate images for resale on sites like Café Press and Zazzle. The images can be used for advertising your business in either web form or print. And so much more!

Choosing the Right Photograph

Below are some things to consider when choosing photographs for your site.Is the photo appropriate?

Does the image relate to the article? You need to ensure that there is a logical and direct link between the images and content of the story. Your readers need to be able to understand right away why you have chosen the photograph.

Can you legally use the photograph? You can't just copy and paste any photograph that you find on the net. Buying images from stock photography websites is an easier and less messy way of choosing photographs for your site. It's still a good idea to check the licensing information of each stock photography website that you join. You may find that terms of use include you needing to add copyright credit to an image. This rarely happens when you buy an image from a stock photo site, but it's still a good idea to be aware of your responsibility.

Image Dimensions. There is no rule in regards to what size your images should be. It's best to practice common sense. You don't want your photograph to be too small so that the detail in the image is too hard to decipher. On the other hand, you don't want an image that is too large that it overwhelms the article.

How Do Stock Photography Websites Work?

If you want to download photographs you must first sign up and become a member of the site. Signing up is free and is essential in all stock photography websites. Typically, all stock photography websites have two methods which allows a user to purchase photographs.

Buy Credits: Buying credits is the original and long standing method used by stock photography websites. A user buys credits (usually bundled in 5 or 10 increments) and them redeems those credits for image downloads. Generally the more credits you buy, the cheaper you get them for.

Buy Subscriptions: Buying subscriptions is for the heavy stock photography user and usually applies for those running a blog or website that is updated frequently. It also ideal for those in business. A subscription allows you to purchase a bulk amount of photographs. So if you bought a month subscription, within that month you could downloads hundreds of files. However, some sites have a daily limit, but these are usually quite generous and in the hundreds.

Which Stock Photography Website Should I Try?

Below are two stock photography websites I use. There are probably dozens more, but these are the ones that I have personal experience with. If you have any other suggestions for our readers, please leave them in the comment box below.


Clipart is becoming a new favorite of mine. There are only subscription plans available which actually can be quite economical in the long term and contrary to the name, the site consists of non-clipart media as well such as photographs, animations and sounds

Pros: The licensing agreement of is a lot more flexible and you have more freedom without having to buy extra licenses. You an use the images for derivative products such as t shirts, mugs, mouse pads, without needing to purchase special licences.

Cons: Whilst the site has more Clipart than you could possibly ever needed, their stock photography, whilst growing, is still not up to the same level as Fotolia. Having said that, you are still bound to find some good quality ones if you look hard enough.

Pricing: Pricing starts from US$14.95 for one week, US$34.95 for a month. If you intend to be a heavy user, a year's subscription for US$159.95 will offer a significant saving bringing the cost to approx $3.75 a month (approx .15c a day)


Fotolia is a personal favourite of mine and is where I source pretty much all of my images for my blogs and websites. At the moment I only buy photographs as I go, but I am seriously considering getting a subscription due to sheer volume I buy each year.

Pros: The quality of photographs you find on Fotolia is superb. In fact, I have seen the same photos that I have bought for $1 in national publications! Another pro I have recently discovered is that some photographers submit their images to more than one photo subscription site. I have seen the same images on Fotolia for much less than I have seen them on other sites. Unlike some other sites, once you buy an image on Fotolia there is no limits on how long you can use it for or how many products you use it for.

Cons: You need more Fotolia credits to use the images for derivate products (approx$10-40) Pricing: To purchase photos from Fotolia you need to buy credits, usually in bundles of 10. Credits are discounted depending on how many you buy, which means you could be paying .75 per credit. Alternatively you can buy monthly or yearly subscription packages. The minimum number of credits you can buy is 10, at $1.20 per credit.

So Which One is Right For Me?

There is no hard and fast rule in regards to which stock photo website is right for you. For me, it was a matter of trial and error. In the end I chose a yearly subscription. I like the fact that I don't need to buy new credits every time I need new downloads.I can simply log on and get whatever images I need with no hassle. The trick is to check that the licensing agreements fit in with your needs. Most websites do allow you to use the images for derivative works; you just need to find out what their process is to fit that requirement,


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