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Cheap Stock Photos - How to Find the Best Cheap Stock Photos

Navigating the Internet Seas to Find the Image You Need

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There are hundreds of stock photo sites out there, but picking the best ones is no easy task. You must consider the selection, for one. The quality. The content. And perhaps most of all, the licensing terms.

The internet is overflowing with images. But when you are looking for cheap stock photos that you can use for your own purposes, it can quickly become a mine field. This is especially true of cheap or free sites – you must take special care to read the fine print, or you could wind up in a world of copyright trouble. Some sites simply want some form of recognition if you use their images in a commercial work. Some seem to be free for any purpose, but when you read the fine print you discover that it’s only free for expressly non-commercial use. (And if they find you using their pictures for a commercial purpose, get ready for a lawsuit!) Take the time to carefully review every single photo site’s terms and conditions and licensing agreement before you use them. You’ll be glad you did!

With that said, here are a few good places to get started:

iStockPhoto.com: one of the reigning kings of online stock photos. They have an incredibly wide variety of categories, and their prices are reasonable. What you pay is determined by the size and quality of the photo you need – a small web graphic will cost next to nothing, and they go all the way up to super-large high quality images.

MorgueFile.com: Don’t let the rather morbid name fool you – Morgue File is a “Public Archive for Creatives by Creatives”, where you can use any image for just about any purpose. Pretty much the only thing they don’t want you to do is sell copies of the image as if you were the copyright owner.

Flickr’s Creative Commons: Many people don’t realize what a great resource Flickr can be for acquiring fresh photos to use. Many Flickr users upload their photos under different Creative Commons licenses, which means that you have permission to use them. (Under various conditions – see individual licenses on the page).

There are hundreds of other sites out there, but these are three that rise to the top.

Wherever you get your online stock photos, just remember: never “assume” that a photo is safe to use for your purpose! Break out your reading glasses and check the details. If you do this consistently, you’ll find a site that meets all your needs, and you’ll have the peace of mind from knowing no lawsuits will be headed your way!

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