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Quick Resource Guide: Online Stock Photography

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and the right photos can bring copy to life. But with today's time and budgetary constraints, it's often not practical or possible to hire a photographer to get the pictures you need. That's why, whether you're a website designer, an art director for a print publication, or even a photographer, online stock photography has much to offer. Buying Online Pictures For the uninitiated, stock photography is often known as royalty free photography. In other words, those who want to buy the pictures do not have exclusive rights to use them. The upside is that royalty free pictures and illustrations cost only a tiny fraction of the price of an exclusive photo or the cost of hiring a photographer to take the shot.

Better yet, when compared to only a decade ago, even royalty free pictures have come down in price. Thanks to digital photography and high-speed Internet connections, you no longer have to buy an entire stock photography CD (and wait for it to be shipped to you) to get the shot you want. Instead, you can buy only the photos you need and download them immediately. Prices can range from two dollars for a small photo (500 pixels on the longest side) to twelve dollars for a large photo (a minimum of 1600 pixels on the longest side). Similarly, the cost of illustrations ranges from about three dollars to about twenty dollars.

So, in what ways can you use online stock photography? Each photography site has its own licensing terms, but generally you can use the pictures for your own business, in print publications, on websites, in marketing and promotional materials, in PowerPoint presentations, and in film and television. You can also use them for materials you prepare for your clients. Online stock photography sites typically prohibit you from re-selling or distributing pictures, using them as part of a template that you sell, or on packaging for commercial products. Selling Pictures If you're a photographer, you probably already have a collection of stock photographs. Signing up with an online stock photography site is a painless way to increase your revenue stream and gain exposure for your work. Typically, a royalty free site requires that you complete an online application and submit three sample images. Once the site accepts your submission, you can begin selling your stock photos. To sell your pictures online, a site normally requires that the photographs be your own work and that you hold the copyright to each image you sell. For photos of people, the site may require a standard model release. Typically, the site handles all of the sales, promotion, customer support, and transaction issues, and you receive half the fee from each sale.

Generally, you get paid once your sales reach a certain dollar amount (the threshold for many site is fifty dollars). Photography adds warmth and vibrancy to everything from simple brochures to complex websites. Images instantly express concepts and emotions, and can quickly capture a reader's attention. With online stock photography, it's easy to bring your work to life.


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