Stock images are big business. In the past they were used mainly by large blogs and news websites, however over the last few years we have seen many small blogs use royalty-free stock images for their blogs.
This is partly due to the increase in awareness of website owners not using images illegally. Simply copying and pasting images from Google Images is a sure fire way to get a threatening letter in the post. I do not agree with the way some companies pursue website owners, though I do believe that website owners need to respect the property of others. Using a copyrighted image is no different to someone copying one of your articles and using it without your permission.
Not getting sued is not the only reason to purchase stock images. Stock image services offer two things that other image resources cannot: choice and quality.
Depositphotos contacted me recently and offered me a free trial which allows me five photos to be downloaded every day for five days. Not one to pass up a freebie, I decided to take them up on their offer and see what they offered.
As I write this article, the Despositphotos website claims it has 1,024,673 customers and 15,084,652 royalty-free stock files. Royalty-free does not mean an image is free to download. It means that once you have purchased an image, you can use it as many times as you want. That is, you do not need to pay a royalty every time you use it.
Finding images on Despositphotos is easy. Down the left hand side of each page there are dozens of categories listed, from abstract designs to objects, people and vintage. The home page shows has a tabbed interface that shows the latest uploads, best selling files, tag cloud and lightboxes.
Lightboxes are a feature that most stock image services offer. It works like a favourites system where you can store related images. For example, let’s say I needed to find good photos about New York. I would simply create a new lightbox named “New York” and ensure that all images I like are added to that lightbox. I can then review all photos later and decide which ones I wanted to use.
I was really impressed with how Depositphotos allows you to search for photos. You can search by category or by contributor. To help you define your search better, you can also exclude certain keywords from your search. For example, if you are searching for mountains but you do not want to use Mount Everest, simply enter “Mount Everest” as an excluded keyword so that you do not see them in your search results.
Depositphotos offers photos, vector images and videos. Your search can be improved even more by defining the orientation, size and colour of the file you are searching for.
You can also change the number of results that are displayed on each page and filter results by best sales, best match, most downloads and most popular.
The sheer volume of images and videos on Depositphotos is astounding. You may find yourself in the position where you are overwhelmed with too many options. This is why lightboxes and search filtering are so important.
Like most stock image services, Depositphotos uses a credit system for files. Smaller images are cheaper (e.g. 1 credit) whilst larger images are more expensive (e.g. 5 to 10 credits). At first I thought that all images cost 1 credit however I soon realised that they have two pricing options: pay as you go and payment by subscription.
Videos are more expensive. For example, I found a video of the Canadian flag waving in the wind that cost 10 credits for a video of 320 x 240 resolution and 150 credits for 1920 x 1080 (HD) resolution.
If you choose to pay as you go, a credit roughly costs 1 dollar. Prices get cheaper if you pay more in advance. For example, you can purchase 50 credits for $50 however 100 credits only costs $95. This is very competitive when compared to other services such as Shutterstock, which charge $49 for 5 images. All pay as you go credits have to be used within a year of purchase.
Pay as you go is a good option if you only need images or videos one time only, whether it be for a book cover or for your new website logo. Their subscription plans are more practical if you are using images on your blog or website regularly. Videos are not covered in their subscription plans.
They have two subscription options – a daily subscription plan and a monthly subscription plan. The best plan to choose really comes down to how often you need to download images. $69 per month can buy you 5 images per day or 10 images per month. At these lower price plans, the daily plan will make more sense for 99% of people. As you move up to higher plans, the argument for choosing the monthly plan gets a little stronger. For example, $179 per month can get you 20 images per day or 100 images per month. The actual price you pay per image is always much cheaper with the daily plan though it is likely you will not use your total allowance. Though with both subscription plans, you never have to worry about how many credits an image costs.
If you are predominately downloading small images for posts and featured image, you may be better off choosing the pay as you go method. You can get image around 700×700 pixels for around 1.5 credits each. Most blogs do not publish images wider than 700 pixels so if you are only using photos of this size, you may find pay as you go better. $50 would get you around 33 images of that size.
The subscriptions offer much better value to those who download stock images regularly and to those who need high quality images. Therefore those of who who publish articles frequently may be better off with a subscription plan.
If you own a blog, you are in a position to get free images through Depositphotos by taking part in this subscription for bloggers program. All you need to do is email them at email@example.com with a link to your blog URL. Once they have confirmed that your blog is suitable, simply review Depositphotos on your blog and email them a link to the article. You will then be given a free subscription. They may also offer subscriptions to your readers as prizes.
If you want to know more about Depositphotos, I recommend checking them out and seeing what they offer for yourself.