DTP


 
Lively discussions on the graphic arts and publishing — in print or on the web


Go Back   Desktop Publishing Forum > General Discussions > Images

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-29-2007, 09:41 AM   #1
Bill Murmann
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 139
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
Bill Murmann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2007, 12:32 PM   #2
ktinkel
Founding Sysop
 
ktinkel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: In Connecticut, on the Housatonic River near its mouth at Long Island Sound.
Posts: 11,189
Default

Quote:
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).

   
__________________
[SIZE=2][COLOR=LemonChiffon]::[/COLOR][/SIZE]
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
ktinkel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2007, 02:54 PM   #3
terrie
Staff
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 8,929
Default

I don't know what they charge but they are legitimate if the fact that The Washington Post uses their services/images is any indicator of legitimacy...

Terrie
terrie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2007, 12:33 AM   #4
marlene
Staff
 
marlene's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,419
Default

Yes, the deals istockphoto offers sound too good to be true. Yes, I have experience with them. And yes, it can really be a good deal!

When a client first suggested using istockphoto, pointing out that their image prices start at less than $5, I was very skeptical. But I have found some really good stuff there, and at their prices, I don't have to think twice about buying them.

The downside is the inconsistency -- I'm not sure if the images are vetted or if just about anyone can upload images for sale. I've seen some mediocre-quality images, including ones my clients picked out and insisted I use (although I found better ones). And the thumbnails are too small -- you can't always see the detail or how sharp the images are (or aren't). I wish they would post larger thumbnails -- even with a watermark, I'd get a better idea of how good they are.

And some of the images aren't available in the largest sizes -- there doesn't seem to be any standard set of sizes. Images seem to be available in whatever sizes the individual photographer decided to produce.

If you choose carefully, you can find some really nice images. I think the last time I bought "credits" they were 10 credits for $12.00, and the last image I bought was 6 credits, so that's (if my math is right) $7.20. And the image was really good -- very sharp, good color, no JPEG artifacts, etc.

Some of the images require tweaking in Photoshop, but some are pretty good as is. I've even found object photos with clipping paths. And they also have some vector images, although I haven't tried any of those yet.

I've noticed that sometimes the search keywords are a bit strange -- I'll search for something and get some images that don't seem to have anything to do with my search terms. And I find the site a bit slow, so searching and reviewing a lot of images can take time.

My biggest concern is that as they get more popular, their prices will go up. When I first starting using them, 10 credits went for $10, so they have gone up slightly.

BTW, the more credits you buy, the cheaper they are. But I always buy the minimum (10 credits).

FWIW, there's another, similar (inexpensive) stock photo site -- based in Europe, IIRC -- but I can't remember the name or URL at the moment.

mxh
marlene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2007, 03:08 AM   #5
LoisWakeman
Staff
 
LoisWakeman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Uplyme, Devon, England
Posts: 1,402
Default

Bill, they have pretty high submission standards technically - but of course what you don't get is any kind of exclusivity, someone to help you find the image you want, or a particular photographer's look.
LoisWakeman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2007, 06:58 AM   #6
Bill Murmann
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 139
Default

Quote:
...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
Bill Murmann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2007, 07:00 AM   #7
Bill Murmann
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 139
Default

Thanks, Terrie. That sounds like a good "testimonial."

--Bill
Bill Murmann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2007, 07:12 AM   #8
Bill Murmann
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 139
Default

Quote:
Yes, the deals istockphoto offers sound too good to be true. Yes, I have experience with them. And yes, it can really be a good deal!...(etc.)...
It's good to know that you've had some favorable experience with IStock, Marlene. You mention some good things to consider.

I know what you mean, for example, about being wary of thumbnails. I've had a customer give me digital photos that looked OK as thumbnails but which turned out to be out of focus when enlarged.

--Bill
Bill Murmann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2007, 07:21 AM   #9
Bill Murmann
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 139
Default

I see what you mean. Lois. The added value that you get from professional-level services is missing.

Using a service like IStock then might not be appropriate for expensive advertising, but might be OK for a brochure for a local business. (??)

It would probably be a good idea to discuss using a service like this with a customer.

--Bill
Bill Murmann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2007, 07:39 AM   #10
LoisWakeman
Staff
 
LoisWakeman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Uplyme, Devon, England
Posts: 1,402
Default

I agree with all you say.

http://www.asmp.org/commerce/royaltyfree.php gives some examples of when big companies have embarrassed themselves by using the same cheap Royalty-Free image in an ad.

Personally, I think the micro-payment agencies like Istock stink - as I have no intention of selling my lovingly crafted images for peanuts! But if I was shooting apples on tables or people shaking hands in offices etc, perhaps I might feel differently?
LoisWakeman is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
New Google Service Susie The Corner Pub 7 04-02-2007 06:24 PM
Typography Today in stock ktinkel Fonts & Typography 0 03-09-2007 12:39 PM
Text msg service via web LoisWakeman Web Site Building & Maintenance 8 05-16-2006 01:35 AM
Now that's what I call service! Robin Springall The Corner Pub 4 03-28-2006 01:51 PM
Two-sided cover stock called ?? ElyseC Print Production & Automation 16 07-30-2005 12:17 PM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:54 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Contents copyright 2004–2014 Desktop Publishing Forum and its members.