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Old 04-29-2007, 09:41 AM   #1
Bill Murmann
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Default I-stock Photo Service OK?

I've always been unhappy about the very high prices that stock photo services charge for their images. Even services like Clipart.com that charge an annual membership fee, charge an arm and a leg for photo service.

However, I recently learned about the Istock photo service that appears to have a wide variety of high-quality images that are offered at very reasonable prices.

The deals they offer almost sound too good to be true. Does anyone have any experience with this service? Is it really a good deal?

--Bill
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Old 04-29-2007, 12:32 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bill Murmann View Post
I recently learned about the Istock photo service that appears to have a wide variety of high-quality images that are offered at very reasonable prices.

The deals they offer almost sound too good to be true. Does anyone have any experience with this service? Is it really a good deal?
Sounds pretty good. The company appealed to Getty Images, which paid $50 million for it.

Poking around, I see some complaints about slow customer service, but I could not find a date or details without investing more time than I had. You might want to look around before leaping.

I would not expect images from IStock Photo to match those we see in expensive advertising, though. The difference between stock and custom photography is in the focus (not camera focus). Coca-Cola, BMW, Target, or even J.C. Penney pay a lot to get precisely the image content, look, feel, movement, whatever, that the art director requires. They use photos to tug at the viewer’s heartstrings en route to the pocketbook, and almost good enough is no good at all.

On the other hand, expensive stock photos suffer from the same problem, so at least these are cheaper, if IStock has something you can use. I am curious to know why you need stock photos, though. Local organizations love natural-looking snapshots of local people; not sure what else would support the expense (any expense, really).

   
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Old 04-30-2007, 06:58 AM   #3
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...I am curious to know why you need stock photos, though. Local organizations love natural-looking snapshots of local people; not sure what else would support the expense (any expense, really)...
The IStock photos don't seem that expensive. I can download three medium-size photos for $4 each. They are about 1200 x 1200 dpi. Larger photos cost a little more.

I'm thinking of using a high-speed, close-up photo of a water drop for a PowerPoint presentation I'm working on.

I don't see a huge need for stock photos--especially since I'm semi-retired and only doing work for a few longtime customers.

However, it's still useful to have the capability of using stock photos from a low-cost source, if necessary. IStock doesn't charge a membership fee, and you only pay for the photos you actually download.

In browsing through their keyword searchable site, they seem to have some nice-looking photos to offer. Seems like a good deal--especially when compared to stock photo services that charge hundreds of dollars per image. (??)

--Bill
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Old 04-30-2007, 01:52 PM   #4
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For four bucks, why not download one you can use and try it?

   
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Old 04-30-2007, 04:24 PM   #5
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I did just that. We'll have to see what happens when I try using it in a PowerPoint presentation.

There is one little quirk about the photo service. You have to use "credits" that you buy in advance to purchase the use of photos. The minimum amount you can purchase is $12 worth of credits, which will get you three medium-size photos, or perhaps two larger photos. The predetermined size is measured in dpi.

Credits can be purchased online with a credit card, or by check through the mail.

Frankly, I don't see myself purchasing a lot of photos, but it's nice to know the service is available if I need it.

--Bill
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Old 04-30-2007, 10:29 PM   #6
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One thing I forgot to mention -- the credits expire. So make sure you use them up before they do (in one year, I think, but don't quote me).

mxh
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Old 05-01-2007, 09:20 AM   #7
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>>There is one little quirk about the photo service. You have to use "credits" that you buy in advance to purchase the use of photos. The minimum amount you can purchase is $12 worth of credits, which will get you three medium-size photos, or perhaps two larger photos. The predetermined size is measured in dpi.

Which tells you exactly nothing, unless they also tell you how many inches as well.

A half-inch tall image at 1200 dpi is a lot different from a 12-inch image at the same dpi.

   
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Old 05-01-2007, 12:50 PM   #8
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Which tells you exactly nothing, unless they also tell you how many inches as well...A half-inch tall image at 1200 dpi is a lot different from a 12-inch image at the same dpi.
This is one of those "mystery areas" for me, Steve. Are digital images measured in inches?

My digital camera, for example, takes photos ranging from 03M to 12M (Fine). I know that the 03M setting is intended for Internet use. The 12M (Fine) setting uses a huge amount of the memory chip and I've never used that setting to take photos.

I'm not really clear, however, as to how those M settings translate to inches in the photos.

I'm assuming that an IStock "medium-size" photo that measures 1200 dpi x 1200 dpi will be suitable for use in a PowerPoint presentation. (??)

I have used photos that dpi size with good effect in a newspaper, with the photo being set three columns (35 picas) wide by 3 inches deep.

The file size for that particular photo was about 1.4 Meg.

As I mentioned, a lot of this stuff with digital photos is a bit confusing for me. One of these days, I'll finally understand it all--I hope! <s>

--Bill
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Old 05-01-2007, 02:43 PM   #9
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At root, dpi and inches don't mean much. Digital images are an array of numbers that represent the colors of each dot in an imaginary grid. The more dots, the higher the resolution of the image. If you know how many dots there are, youv'e got something; if you know how many dots per inch there are w/o knowing how many inches, you've got nothing.

As I mentioned, a 1200 dpi image that's only 1/2" across probably wouldn't be big enough for much of anything but relatively small usage on a PPT slide, since it's only 600 pixels. If that's 1200 dpi at 10 inches, it's going to be WAY too big for any use in PPT (at 12,000 pixels). You'd need to downsample it before using it.

   
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Old 05-01-2007, 03:00 PM   #10
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At root, dpi and inches don't mean much. Digital images are an array of numbers that represent the colors of each dot in an imaginary grid...(etc.)...
I'm afraid dpi and inches, etc. are confusing. I wonder if the file size in megs would be better way of judging the size of the photo. A 4-meg photo, for example, would be larger than a 1-meg photo, etc. (??)

--Bill
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