When you mention cheap stock photos to a creative professional, you will either get a disdainful look or a smiling face. Some creative departments do not believe in the power of stock photography, especially the large ones. But for others who run small and medium enterprises, cheap stock images are a savior. They provide SMEs with the opportunity to compete against larger players without going beyond their budgets. They give them the chance to tap into the potential of visual content to attract and retain clients.
Because of the smaller players, stock photo sites like on this list are earning millions of dollars. Students, novice bloggers and designers, and other individuals who need cheap stock photos turn to them for high quality and affordable visual content. Although large industries rarely touch them, they are still profiting more than enough. It’s no wonder that a lot of stock sites have sprung up in the past decade. So, why do smaller businesses and individuals love them? Here is a basic definition of cheap stock photos:
“Cheap stock photos are taken without specific brief or assignment from a client or agency. Photographers shoot and submit them to cheap stock photo sites to be licensed. You can then purchase these images for a one-time flat fee as in Royalty-Free and a specific price based on usage as in Rights Managed. They are available to anyone who wish to buy them, so you may find them in other stock sites – even your competitors.”
To explain cheap stock photos in the simplest term, let us use the analogy of a dressmaker/designer and RTWs. When you are invited to a party, you get your dress from two options – you purchase an RTW or you get yourself fitted for a custom dress. Now, this depends on how much you are willing and able to spend for a dress of course. Buying a custom dress is more expensive and requires you to contact the dressmaker/designer earlier. Just like conducting your own photoshoot. You also need to take the shoot a week or a month before you need them.
What is the party is tonight? This is when you visit your favorite store and purchase a ready-to-wear. Although the dress may not exactly fit your body, it can be pretty close. You will also spend less money. This off the shelf option is pretty much like your cheap stock photos. Stock photography many not fit your project precisely, but they can also do the job. They are affordable and are readily available in a click. While they are never the perfect solution for your creative needs, they are a very close approximation of the original idea.
Now that you understand what cheap stock photos are, it’s for you to decide whether they meet your creative needs or not.