The revolution in self-publishing in recent years, combined with the ease and affordability of digital imaging technology has not only been a boon for photographers but also for designer. The widespread availability of affordable, quality stock photography has put professional-looking publications within the reach of a larger and larger number of businesses.
In this article we will compare three providers of affordable stock photography:
For the sake of comparison we have chosen two images – a blue toaster, and the skyline of Sacramento, California. We’ll compare the quality and number of availble images, pricing, and ease of search.
iStock Photo – 13 matches – all relevant
Big Stock Photo
8 matches – all relevant
Shutterstock – 24 matches – most relevant – no photo’s of blue toaster available
iStockphoto – 96 matches – all relevant
Big Stock Photo – 21 matches – most relevant
Shutterstock – 65 matches – all relevant
Comparing pricing for pay-as-you go options, all providers were in the same ballpark, with small images costing less than $5 apiece and large images costing less than $10 apiece. Shutterstock was the highest priced for the large images, but also offered a “super” size, which is 8000px wide.
Both Shutterstock and Big Stock Photo served up some irrelevant results. When digging through hundereds of thumbnails to find just the right photo, this can be a big waste of time. iStockphoto seemed to serve up a higher number of consistently high quality, relevant photos, and was in the middle of pricing. We were not happy at all with the selection of photos served up by Big Stock Photo, and although Shutterstock did have some good images, Compare 4 Consumers recommends iStockPhoto.com for your affordable stock photograpy needs.