How would you make stock photography not suck?

The past year after working with and speaking to many web designers I have noticed a common problem. Agencies and freelancers use a lot of stock photography, usually at the request of clients. However, it is very difficult for them to find the right photo so they have to conduct photo shoots.

I have also been looking through stock photography sites to find images for some websites I was involved in and have had very little success. These two scenarios led me to want to build something better than the current option.

I would love to hear what good and bad experiences you have had with using stock sites to search for photos. All feedback will help create a business that will be a better alternative.

If the client is within my reach… I will personally go and picture their required stuffs. If they are faraway, just simple… will ask them to buy pictures from several sources. Its done!

Thats awesome that you take the pictures for your clients. I have noticed most designers, even if nearby, will still use stock photography. What equipment do you use for the photos? Also, do you charge extra?

Freed1, I use Canon ti, a rebel model ;). I charge extra for sure.

There’s no way around stock photography. It’s great if clients can have professional photos taken of their staff, products, and office, and for certain design elements, but this is just a much more expensive approach than stock photos.

That said, searching for stock photos totally sucks. I’d love to see a company come up with a really great search engine. It’s ridiculous how long I can spend searching photos. I finally gave up on when they made it so I couldn’t filter out Vetta and their other more expensive lines, which is more than half their stock now.

A couple things I’ve learned along the way…

  • learn how to work the search engines as best you can despite their limitations. know what the search engine can do.
  • don’t forget the search term “isolated” for images that are easy to extract.
  • if you find an image you like and need more for the same project, check the photographer’s portfolio/lightbox
  • has jpeg2000 photos, which often come with a clipping path - awesome, no time spent extracting the photo from the background. Unfortunately, their library isn’t very deep and apparently they only accept photos of women who look like if they don’t get laid in the next 5 minutes they’re just not going to make it.

I’d like to find a stock photo company that specializes in taking great professional photos of average looking people. It’s getting to the point where I can’t put a stock photo of business people on a site without dying a little inside. Yet more perfectly even faces, manly square chins, gleaming white teeth, custom tailored suits, etc etc etc blech.

Thanks Kim! We are not going to be making a stock photography site at all. It will be very innovative that helps solve a lot of those problems you mentioned. Seems like you could have a lot of feedback for us. Would love to talk with you about in more detail either through email or the phone. My email is <snip/>