Who uses microstock images?
Who will by your photos? Is there a market for your images? These are valid questions if you want to invest time and energy into microstock. Just have a quick look around and chances are big that you just saw a microstock image. Our world is full of pictures and illustrations. You find them in magazines, books, postcards, posters, advertising, websites… And microstock has become one of the biggest sources to obtain this imagery. The demand for microstock images is still rising. I have found many of my images in use on a wide variety of websites and I even found some of them used in my local newspaper.
Microstock images, photos and illustrations, are used by a wide variety of customers. Some people buy them for personal use to print them out and put them on their walls, or by using them as a wall screen. But this is only a very small percentage of the buyers. The biggest part of microstock sales goes to two major groups of buyers: traditional stock buyers and the internet market.
Traditional stock buyers
The first group is made up by the traditional stock buyers that made the shift from regular stock to microstock images. This group was already buying images for their prints and publications before microstock arose. Quite some traditional stock buyers have made the shift to buying microstock images. Magazines, publishers, newspapers, ad agencies, graphic artists, marketing firms, PR firms and designers who used to buy regular stock are buying microstock these days. Image prices are much lower, quality is high and only when they need exclusive or very specific images they will buy regular stock or hire a professional photographer.
The second big users group can be found on the Internet. The rise of the world wide web has created a whole new and fast growing online photography market. More and more people and companies create their own websites or write their personal blogs.
A whole new Internet economy and community is creating webpages, online shops, and sharing information. Most of those users would love to buy your images, but their budget may be quite low. And microstock agencies give them the perfect solution, high quality pictures at low prices. Traditional stock is far to expensive for this new group of costumers.
The Internet is a visual medium and images play a very important role in it. Images can tell a whole story in just one picture. Images not only help to tell a story but they help to keep the reader or viewer interested. Relevant and high quality images can really make a webpage or blog stand out from the rest.
The easiest and cheapest way to buy high quality images
If you don’t need and exclusive image, but one to help you tell a story, microstock is the easiest and cheapest way to go. Images for blog use can be obtained for only a few dollars. These images are high in quality and you can choose from millions of pictures. Searches for good imagery on microstock sites is quite easy and you are persuing them in a legal manner, without the risk of infringement of any copyright laws.
Fotolia is my Microstock agency of choice when I'm looking for an image for this website. They have a huge collection of top quality images.
If you don’t want to pay for your images it is also possible to check the free image section at Dreamstime. They have a vast amount of free images available. If you don’t find it in the free section you can always search their regular catalogue. Free images are of lower quality and quantity of free images on microstock sites is limited, but it is possible that you will find what you need. You can use free low quality images on your blog or website, but they won’t draw the attention high quality images will receive.