Yes, stock photography has been around as long as advertising and marketing. And, not too surprisingly, the process of getting great stock photos as changed dramatically as the Internet technologies and web-based business models have shaped the design landscape. Now throw in the MASSIVE movement of everything being either image-heavy or, even more importantly, video-heavy, and you've got an important question facing ALL business owners:
WHERE DO I GET GREAT IMAGES/VIDEO AT A REASONABLE COST??
Quick answer: I typically use www.BigStockPhoto.com, www.ShutterStock.com or www.Fotolia.com (in that order). I avoid GettyImages like the plague - including iStockPhoto.com. That decision is as much philosophical as is the fact they're way more expensive.
To figure out what size images you need, do your calculations as follows:
72 dpi for the web;
Meaning an image that spans five inches on your screen will need to be 360 pixels wide. At this rate, most of the images you buy for use on your website will only cost a couple of bucks.
300 dpi for print work;
Roughly quadruple what you buy for the web if you're going to use it in print. You can get away with print pieces at 240dpi if it's a good quality photo and it's processed right (color balance, sharpness, etc.)
Here's another great tip
...if you're willing to go "free" but at the cost of giving the photographer attribution;
- Go to: Flickr's Advanced Search
- Put in your search criteria at the top
- Check all three Creative Commons boxes at the bottom
- Click the "Search" button
- On the next page, in the top left, change the pull down from "Relevant" to "Interesting"
- Click on an image and then click on the three little dots in the lower right corner of the page to see alternate sizes. Some of them are many thousands of pixels wide and totally usable for print work.
- BE SURE TO READ ALL THE RESTRICTIONS ON THESE IMAGES. Most of the photographers who post up photos under Creative Commons are simply looking for the exposure they get by putting their work out there. For example: Kudos to "Rollan Budi" for the awesome photo, "Dog Chillin' With Red Sunglasses."