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What are the Best Stock Photography Sites?

By Lena Harrington

Images play a crucial role in graphic design. Not only do images help set a mood or convey an idea, they can also serve to break up long blocks of text, thereby making a long document more visually interesting and palatable to readers. For these reasons and more, just about every graphic design project incorporates a multitude of images.

In some cases, you can obtain images yourself using a digital camera or by capturing screenshots from your computer. Other times, however, you may need a professional image or high-quality artwork that you are unable to obtain on your own. In these cases, it makes senses to use stock photography websites, where you can browse tens of thousands of photographs and purchase licenses for the ones you want to use.

Below are some great stock photography sites worth considering:

  1. iStockPhoto.com
    We like iStockPhoto because it provides a diverse selection of images at relatively low prices. Many images can be purchased for as little as $1.00 for web use. Prices for print projects tend to be slightly higher but still reasonable for the most part. The quality of photos vary quite a bit, but with some patience, you should be able to find the right kind of photo for your project at an affordable price.

    istock photo screenshot

  2. Corbis
    Corbis is without a doubt one of the best stock photography sites out there. Using Corbis, you will have no problem finding plenty of eye-catching photographs and artwork. In addition, Corbis provides good quality comps that contain only a small watermark in one corner of the image. The downside is that prices tend to be a bit high at Corbis. However, if high-impact images are your primary goal, and price is not a major concern, Corbis is a site you definitely should check out.

    corbis screenshot

  3. Getty Images
    Getty Images is every bit as good as Corbis, and slightly cheaper if you want to buy small images primarily for web use. There is some overlap in the images offered by Getty Images and Corbis, but it still makes sense to check both sites if you want to find the best image for your project.

    getty screenshot

  4. Stock.xchng
    While Stock.Xchng is not the best site for finding high quality images, the main benefit is that you are allowed to use the images on this site for free. Therefore, it may be a good choice for people who do not have the money to buy professional stock photo from any of the other sites listed above. Be aware, however, that the selection of images at Stock.Xchng is decidedly limited.

    stock ichng screenshot

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