Whether you need images for an article, presentation or video, iStockphoto offers a wide selection of media to fit your needs. Unlike other royalty-free or public domain image collections, iStockphoto features a searchable database of images and other media that returns relevant results. If you search for pictures of hot dogs, you will actually find pictures of hot dogs, instead of photos of random canines.
iStockphoto was created in 2000 by Bruce Livingstone who was looking for a profitable way to enter the stock photo business and had an idea to create something new. What started out as a free image service providing thousands of photos for web designers became the platform for submitting and selling stock photographs, videos, sound effects and Flash files.
The way iStockphoto works is simple. Artists and photographers provide images. You pay a small fee to use that image for your personal and commercial projects. The artist or photographer receives a portion of the fee. All images you purchase through iStockphoto become yours to use as many times as you want.
iStockphoto is not designed for the random user who only wants to download one or two photos, although you can purchase material through the website that way. All users must create a free account to download media and must then purchase credits to use toward that media. Each type of image and size of image is priced in credits. For example, a medium-sized photo may cost seven credits, while a small web video may cost 15 credits. The more credits you buy upfront, the more you save. Subscriptions, designed for those who find themselves needing images on a daily basis, offer significant savings over pay-as-you-go accounts. Regular promotions and coupon codes also allow you to save up to 20 percent off the cost of credits. A free photo is offered every week and select photos are offered at discounted rates as well.
If you are a photographer, videographer, artist or graphic designer who needs to make extra money, you can apply to be an iStockphoto contributor. Contributors must take a quiz to determine their skills and submit samples of work before being approved. Once approved, contributors are paid a 15 percent royalty rate and have the option to earn more by becoming exclusive contributors. As an artist, you also have the ability to determine how your work will be used.
Most of iStockphoto's images, audio and video fall under a standard license. This means they may be used to accompany articles in magazines, newspapers in newsletter, included on book covers or within books, used in advertisements, on posters and on websites. You may not, however, use the images for resale items without purchasing a special license. You should carefully read over the license restrictions before purchasing images from iStockphoto.