Stock photography: When you have everything, but the photos

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Finishing your family cookbook, but missing a photo of dark chocolate filled coconut cupcakes to match your favorite recipe? Completing your travel guide to Madrid, but lacking a pristine photo of the Museo Nacional del Prado for your section on museums? Do you want the perfect shot of Tahiti to use on the cover of your honeymoon book? Consider stock photography. It’s not just for advertising anymore.

Stock photography is a great option when you want a specific photograph to complete your book, but don’t have it. There are plenty of options in all different price ranges. Here are just a few to consider; a quick Google search will lead you to many more:

Lucky Oliver: Many of their images start around $1 and there are tons to choose from. Equally cool is the fact that they encourage folks like you to submit your marketable, creative photographs for consideration as stock photography. Hear that sound? That’s extra change rattling around in your pocket from licensing your photographs.

Flickr: Coveting a Flickr friend’s photos that would really rock your book? No worries. Did you know that some Flickr users make their photographs available for others to use by assigning a Creative Commons license? The thing to remember here is “some.” Always check the applied license (listed on the photo detail page) and email the photographer to arrange use of his or her photos.

Getty Images: The crème de la crème of stock photography. (And where our very own Sarah worked before joining Blurb.) This is a favorite of the world’s advertising agencies, but one of the pricier options. Be prepared to learn a lot about royalties, and no, we aren’t referring to Prince William and family.

Our point here is that you’re not limited to your own amazing photos; there is a world of stock photography out there to draw from, if the need arises. Explore your options and let us know which stock photography sites you prefer to use. We’d like to compile a trusted list.

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  1. Great post, Allison! I would also add that the Library of Congress, gives free access to images within the public domain. NASA does it as well, just make sure to read the fine print!

    By Swert
      June 12, 2007 – 2:59 pm   Permalink
  2. More than 3,000,000 million photographs to choose from at:

      June 12, 2007 – 11:13 pm   Permalink
  3. Another great resource for free stock photos is stock.xchng ( I used several of their photos in my own Blurb book and really liked how they turned out. When browsing their site, though, be aware they do link to fee-only photos. There’s little differentiation in search results between the free and fee stuff, so do keep your head about you.

    By Jenny
      June 13, 2007 – 7:00 am   Permalink
  4. Actually, Jenny there is a huge difference in results. There is very little contributor overlap between SXC and Like LO, stockxpert is a community based microstock site ($1 per image). Stockxpert is known for having some of the toughest image review standards (just ask the contributors) in the industry. Much tougher than the free site. Therefore the contributor base is much different and so are the images.

    By Steven K.
      June 13, 2007 – 9:02 am   Permalink
  5. You might also want to check out which has lots of great stock photos, as well as excellent pricing.

      May 27, 2008 – 10:00 am   Permalink

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