How Specialty Stock Photo Sites Can Make Your Photo Quest Easier

When looking for photos on stock photo sites, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the tens of thousands of photos to choose from. In cases like this, finding just the right stock photo can sometimes be a challenge.

For example, I recently did a search for “banana” at one popular stock photo site.

The result? Over 2,600 photos!

And here’s where part of the problem arises: One of the first 40 photos wasn’t a piece of yellow fruit, but a piece of machinery. The photo is labeled as “Yellow abstract metal construction.”

The word “banana” doesn’t appear anywhere in the photographer’s description of the photo. The closest I can figure is that the machinery is “banana yellow.” Who knows?

I do know this: If I need a photo of a banana for the cover of a magalog, my client won’t be happy with a piece of yellow machinery.

The reality is, you’ll often have to look through dozens, or even hundreds, of photos unrelated to what you need. While looking for a picture of an apple, a stock agency’s file may also present you with pictures of apple carts, apple crates, apple pies … and anything else with the word “apple” in the description or keywords.

That’s where specialized stock photography sources come in handy. The all-in-one stock photography sites do a great job of giving you thousands of options and one-stop-shopping. But if you’re a copywriter working in a specific niche, wouldn’t it be nice to only have to search through photos that relate to your niche?

Let’s take the health field as an example. Most all-in-one stock photography sites will have some health-related photos. But chances are, as with our banana example, you’ll waste a lot of your time looking through pictures that have nothing to do with what you’re really looking for.

Instead, you can use stock photography sites that specialize in health, such as Doctor Stock (www.doctorstock.com) and LifeART (www.lifeart.com ). Starting your search at these sites will save you time and frustration because they only include health-related photos.

Maybe you need a photo of a human skeleton for your health promotion. If you do a search for “skeleton” at an all-in-one site, you’ll get human skeletons, animal skeletons, skulls & crossbones and more. But at the specialized sites, you’ll find exactly the kind of skeleton photo you’re looking for much more quickly.

Other specialty sites focus on religion, maps, food … and nearly any topic you can imagine. Here are a few that you may want to bookmark:

Maps: http://www.mapresources.com/

Objects with no backgrounds: http://www.photoobjects.net/en/

Religious: http://www.goodsalt.com/

Food: http://usa.stockfood.com/

Aerial: http://www.aerialstockphotography.ca/

Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs and Spices: http://www.1000bananas.com/

As with many specialties, specialty photos usually cost a little more. That’s why it pays to explore these sites ahead of time to discover what they cover and the average cost. If a particular stock site and your client’s budget are a good match, you can save yourself -- and your client -- a load of time.

All the top designers know how to use their time efficiently. Specialized stock photography sites help you quickly zero in on the photos you need without having to waste time searching through junk like “yellow abstract metal construction” photos.

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Published: August 9, 2007

1 Response to “How Specialty Stock Photo Sites Can Make Your Photo Quest Easier”

  1. Very interesting and informative! Both as a budding photographer and as a soon to be copywriter. Thanks!

    Guest (Garth Osborn)June 16, 2014 at 8:55 pm


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