Buying images – “free” just isn’t worth it

If you’re creating presentations, blog posts, or any other type of content, you need a good source for buying images. Yes, I know you don’t have to pay, but “free” image sites just aren’t worth it, since quality and search capabilities leave a lot to be desired – and you don’t have to worry about usage rights.

In the past, I’ve used iStock for images, but with the most recent price increase, it was time to switch. But to what? It had been a while since I had checked out the options, so I asked some colleagues what fee-based sites they were using for images.

I received quite a list of recommendations, but – when it came time to select some images for this blog – I had no idea which site would work best for me. So, I decided to do some comparison shopping.

I ran a search for “military records” in each and looked at pricing for small images on pay-as-you-go plans. Here are my results:

  • shutterstock.com – First result was perfect for my use. 2 images for $29
  • Depositphotos.com – No results worked
  • fotolia.com – That “perfect” image from shutterstock was here, later in search results. Pricing: 10 credits for $11.20. This image costs 1 credit.
  • bigstockphoto.com – My image was there, costing 1 credit. Smallest credit plan is 10 images for $35
  • fotosearch.com – Limited results
  • graphicstock.com – They didn’t like my search – nothing relevant at all. Tried just “military,” but no results worked.
  • canva.com – Needed account just to search. In the name of research, I decided to bypass my usual ban on this type of arrangement. Then they forced me to go through their tutorial. Maybe there’s a way to bypass, but I didn’t see it. Finally searched – and none worked.
  • DeathToTheStock – Need $15/month account to search. Not going there.

After completing my comparison shopping, I decided to go with fotolia.com. Easy searching, found my favorite image, nice price.

What’s your favorite site for buying images?

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