As a long time publisher in the digital realm, it’s always great to be able to shoot images myself that we use in articles, but most of the time, it just makes sense to buy an image. This frees up time so I can concentrate on the creation and publishing of the actual content instead. Over the years, I have been using iStockPhoto.com to purchase images for a publisher client. Recent policy and pricing changes at this royalty-free stock image site has encouraged me to look elsewhere for images.
Before I share my new source of stock images, let me share some thoughts on why we are looking for a supplement to iStockPhoto. When we first joined iStockPhoto, images used to cost about $1 USD / image for the lowest resolution size (which was higher resolution at the time than currently I might add). We mainly publish online so most of our needs are met by choosing the lowest web version. With increasing image prices and decreasing resolution size, it was time for me to find another source for royalty-free images.
The New Kid in Town – Real World Pricing
After extensive research, I found a newer player in town in for stock images; and they seem to be gaining traction pretty quickly. This new site is DepositPhotos.com. Although their portfolio is not as large as iStockphoto’s, DepositPhotos has plenty of high quality images to meet our needs nicely. Currently, their lowest web version (roughly 425 x 280 pixels) is priced at 0.5 credits. This works out to $0.50 USD / image. On the other hand, iStockPhoto low resolution images (also around 425 x 280 pixels) can be purchased at around 1 credit (about $1.50 / image).
I use the word about because iStockPhoto’s has a tired pricing structure. The larger your money deposit, the lower the cost / image. In fact, you can in theory be purchasing iStockPhoto images for $0.95 / image. But, there is a catch. In order to get this rate, you must deposit $20,000 USD! For users who purchase the $6 minimum buy in, it works out to $1.62 USD / credit. But, number 2, it seems that more recent images being uploaded by photographers to iStockPhoto are priced at 2 credits instead of the previous 1 credit. One credit images are becoming harder to source. So a typical 2 credit low resolution photo ends up costing $3.24 USD. If you make a $75 credit purchase, a 2 credit image would work out to be $3 USD. This cost 500% more than a similar resolution photo from DepositPhotos.com!
Sometimes, there’s a need for slightly higher resolution images (about 800 x 600) and at DepositPhotos, the cost is $1 USD. At iStockphoto, a similar sized photo can go for 3 to 30 credits. You do the math.
Check out the pricing structures yourself. Here is iStockphoto.com’s price guide. Here is DepositPhotos.com’s price guide. And remember that 1 credit at iStockPhoto.com typically costs more than 1 credit at DepositPhotos.com.
For the record, I do feel that iStockPhoto carry more images than DepositPhotos. I can remember 1 time in the last few months where I could not locate a suitable image at DepostiPhotos and had to resort back to iStockphotos. But I must also say that there has been times where I could not find a suitable image at iStockPhoto and had to shoot the image myself. Being able to obtain images from multiple sources is ideal for publishers. For me, having 2 stock image photo websites carries the benefits of both worlds – lower cost and more photo choices.
Demo Yourself – You Decide
You need to perform searches at both websites and see if results and cost / image meet your needs. The best thing is, you don’t just have to take my word for it. DepositPhotos actually offer a 7 day (5 images / day) trial with no resolution limits. Give it a go and let me know what you think! And yes, that is an affiliate link.