What every photography researcher ought to know about buying digital stock photos

I hope you found this stock photography report useful in helping you to buy digital stock photos more intelligently in the future. I would suggest that you search for more information about photo buyers and digital stock images so that your photo buying job will be much more productive.

Your Step-by-Step Guide to Buying Digital Stock Photos

If you’ve been a photo buyer for your magazine or site any length of time, you probably realize how much the photography industry has changed.

Many professional photographers are now using high-quality, high-res digital cameras instead of film for their stock photos. Read below to find out the easiest way to locate and purchase digital stock photos for your magazine, brochure or Web site.


Where to Buy Stock Photos

One way to find stock photos quickly and easily is through a stock agency Web site. Stock agencies provide several benefits.

– They offer a large inventory of stock photos by many different photographers.
– You can choose from a variety of styles, colors, photo sizes and quality.
– With digital stock agencies and portals, you can normally buy right from the site without having to put in a request for certain images
– You conveniently have 1,000s of stock photographers in one location instead of having to sift through individual photographer’s stock photo submissions sent by parcel post. As you know, postal mail doesn’t come with a search box!
– With a stock agency or stock image portal, you can save time because they offer uniform buying guidelines, download methods and search capabilities no matter which photographer you choose.


Individual Photographers

Another way to find digital stock photos on the Web is to contact a freelance stock photographer directly.
You might need to work with a photographer one-on-one if …

a) you need stock photos for a specific location or with a specific theme, and are unable to locate the photos you need, or

b) you’d like to assign certain projects to one photographer who specializes in that field. It is even possible to work with some stock photographers by setting up an “on spec” relationship.

This means that you give the stock photographer your photo needs and he/she shoots images with the understanding that you may only purchase one or two (or none) of the stock images.

I have worked with several textbook photo researchers this way and I’ve found that the images the photo buyer didn’t use many times sold at a later date to a different photo researcher.

Working “on spec” may be easier to set up than you may think, especially if you catch the stock photographer during a slow photo period.

“On spec” is many times a win-win for the stock photographer and the stock photo researcher.

This is just one example of how the Internet makes it possible to work with one or many photographers and transmit your photos quickly by email or by download from a photographer’s Web site.


Quality and Size of Digital Photos

Probably one of the most confusing aspects of buying digital stock photos is how to determine the size and quality of an image.

When you receive photo submissions by postal mail, you have the actual photo print or transparency in hand, making it easy to determine if the quality and size are adequate for your project. However, with digital photos it’s not always that easy.


Formats Used in Digital Stock Photography

JPG (or JPEG) format, which is one of the most popular formats for digital stock photos, enables the photographer to reduce an image’s size tremendously for emailing to photo buyers while retaining the size and quality needed for most magazines and publications up to even a two-page spread.

Most digital stock images are displayed as thumbnail images, and then high-resolution (high-res) images are emailed at the photo buyer’s request.

Warning: A major drawback of using JPG digital files for photos is, if the photo is re-saved over and over it will lose some digital information each time it is saved. So, it’s a very good idea to save a JPG image as a Tiff file as soon as you receive it. This way you can save it without sacrificing quality.

Fortunately, most stock photo agencies require that images be of top quality before they’re accepted. This eliminates your worries about the quality of images in many cases, but always make sure the size of the stock image fits your needs before making a purchase.


Model / Property Release

If you plan to use your stock image for advertising purposes, or for some editorial use, you may need a model or property release. Check with your magazine or client and do some research to make sure which images will need a release.


Licensing Agreement for Digital Stock Photo Usage

Also, read the photographer’s licensing agreement carefully so you’ll know how, where and the length of time you can use the photo.

The general rules of usage still apply when buying stock photos on the Web. That’s another reason to work with a dependable stock agency site or directly with a professional stock photographer.

Use these tips to help locate great digital stock photos easily, and when you need them!

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