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Stock Images- The Indispensable Tool For Designers And Webmasters

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Albert Mills
November 10, 2006

Albert Mills

About The Author

Albert Mills is a freelance photo researcher based in Barcelona, Spain currently contracting for an international publishing group based in london and leading advertising agencies in Europe.


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When the already obtainable photographs are accredited for definite usage, then they are called Stock photography. These are also known as ‘stock photos’, ‘photo archive’ or ‘image banks’ in USA. Outside the United States, the term ‘picture library’ is generally used to refer to these stock photos. Stock photographs generally consist of still images, illustrations and videos. Stock photographs are useful to a large section of people that includes book publishers, business resourceful groups, specialty publishers, interior decoration firms, magazines, graphic designers, advertising agencies, web designers and filmmakers. On the Internet there are outstanding collections of stock photography images from all the leading brand names. Instead of going for on-location shooting, using stock photography will help the customers to save adequate amount of time and money. Suppose that submitting a photo on a certain topic is required immediately and there is no time at all for shooting the photo in a conventional time-consuming process. So, stock photos can come to the rescue now. Researchers can easily come across their well-desired images from the broad assortment of online images. With the advent of digital delivery techniques, people can buy, download or e-mail images easily.

In the stock photography industry, the new micro-stock models of images get filed at the agencies. The photographers are paid a certain amount of percentage. There are various factors on which the cost of the images depends on. These are the audience, the frequency and duration of using these images and the associated countries or regions. The licensed price varies from $1 to $200. You can find any type of image that will fit the budget of your project. For big budget projects, you can afford high-cost images; otherwise just go for the images that come at a cheaper price rate. Some professional stock photographers submit their images to more than one agency. The photographers can sell the same image several times. So, the availability of these images increases. In case of ‘rights managed’ stock photography, the agencies go for a separate licensing contract for each use whereas in ‘royalty free’ stock photography, the purchasers can use the image again and again with a single license fee. There is no restriction of time. But there is a limit in the number of usage. In this way, other customers are debarred from using a certain image for a specific time period. From stock photography, both low-resolution and high-resolution images are accessible. You can use the ‘rights managed’ images in 2 mediums separately. But for each use, you have to pay the agency separately. The size of the audience is important here. The non-payment licensing period for most of the stock agencies is 6 months to 1 year. Other options are on hand too. There are also certain provisions to apply for ‘exclusive’ rights in ‘rights-managed’ images. Thus scope of overusing the image by the challenger market lessens. The ‘released images’ are classified into 2 sections. These are ‘model released’ and ‘property released’ stock images. These images are accessible for authorization through stock photography agencies. Usage charge is not required in case of ‘Royalty-Free Images’. So, for unrestricted, worldwide usage, royalty free license is the best resort.

H. Armstrong Roberts founded the 1st prominent stock photography agency way back in 1920. The current name of the agency is RobertStock. In the 1980s, the industry of stock photography got a significant facelift. The Image Bank, Masterfile, Index Stock Imagery, FPG, SuperStock and Comstock Images were the leading agencies of this period. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Getty Images, Corbis and JupiterMedia Corporation emerged as some of the major players in this business. All the photographs are distributed only through Internet. Both professional and amateur photographers are employed in this business. In 2004, fotoLibra started the system of open access model by which everybody became capable of uploading and marketing the images. Throughout Europe and North America, there are several stock photography agencies that supply good quality images to various media publishers and advertising agencies. The demand for lifestyle images is on the rise nowadays.

If we search through Goggle, we can come across innumerable stock photo agencies. You can use smaller or larger agencies as per your requirement. The number of images of your preferred topic varies considerably according to the agency strength. There are certain guidelines you can follow while searching for stock photography images. You should always opt for the advanced search techniques. The position of these advanced search buttons vary according to the agencies. Let us suppose that you are going to search for images on ‘chocolates’. You should insert that very key phrase ‘chocolate’ and click the advanced search button. Soon, you will be flooded with desired results. In some agencies, you have to register as per the agency’s terms and conditions. Not much information is required to register in Index Stock. But FotoSearch, Getty Images and Corbis want extensive information. Your image buying process will get facilitated if you set up an account at the agency’s website. Setting up an account and registering don’t have much of a difference in the websites of some companies. Some agencies proffer special services also. You can search for high quality images such as images without any watermark. In some stock photography agencies, you can get the assistance of professional searchers also. These professional searchers have proven to be immensely beneficial for certain customers. For further queries, calling the customer care associates of the agencies will definitely be a wise option. The amicable customer care services of various stock photography image agencies have got global appreciation.

If you are looking forward to the perfect stock photo for your marketing project, you can at once search through the online agencies. Inserting the keywords, image type, image size and color will be helpful. Searching by orientation like portrait, panoramic and layout is available in agencies like Index Stock Imagery. The more you be specific in terms of keywords, the results will be more precise. Let us suppose that you want photographs on ‘children playing on the beach’. Here, all the key words ‘children’, ‘play’ and ‘beach’ must be included in your search. Re-sorting the images from the search results is possible too. Searching by the name of the artist who has generated the image is another popular option. To make your search more refined, you can insert your desired adjectives in the keyword. If you are satisfied with the images you obtain, you can place them in the ‘light box’ where other people connected to the project can take a look at them. Using the ‘light box’ is acceptable in Index Stock. Some prefer e-mailing the images to the co-workers. The name of the light box appears as the subject line in the mails of the recipients. In the mail, a clickable URL exists that refers to the light box. All the stock photography agencies have almost identical features. After the selection of the stock images, filling up the online ordering form is mandatory. You have to spell out the actual forms of usage of the images. After the completion of the ordering process, you get necessary information from the agencies on the downloading of images. Next comes the step for saving and using the images. The whole process of purchasing a license for online stock photography is trouble-free, speedy and reasonably priced.

Stock photography, nowadays, is an extensively used application of digital media. Digital audio, digital video and other digital ‘content’ are the prime categories of digital media. The digital information processing machines play an important role in this regard. The digital media is technologically far more advanced than the analog media. From the conventional stock photography, a branch known as Micro Stock Photography has emerged. These images are obtainable only from the Internet. The agencies of micro stock photography buy images from a broad assortment of photographers that incorporates recreational photographers also. The cost of royalty free images is quite less. The range of the price is between $10 and $20. Here, quantity of the images is the major concern of the photographers. Bruce Livingstone initiated the microstock photography industry. You can download thousands of microstock photographs from agencies like ShutterStock, Dreamstime, BigStockPhoto, Stock Photo and Fotolia. Gradually, the whole Stock Photography industry is going through a steady growth rate and in the coming years, it will surely undergo further evolution.

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