A decade ago, the first stock photo web sites started at $1 per image. Over time prices have been creeping up to $15 or even more. I could buy 10 or more of these for a client presentation. Now I see the amount of money I spend on images going down again.

  • I use fewer images. Not every single point you want to make needs to be backed up by a photo.
  • Stock image databases have been diluted by millions of cliche photo compositions, wherever I can I look for alternative more genuine images that are free to use under a creative commons license
  • There is increasing competition from free stock image sites, and even competition among the big guys (if you are an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber you can buy 10 images at $3 each each month from Adobe Stock).

What can stock image sites do?

  • Curate images better
  • Offer bundles of images that are compatible, uniform in style
  • Offer images with huge white spaces, i.e. extended canvases
  • Instead of ready-made compositions, offer layered Photoshop files so you can make your own

Let's see if the stock sites are listening


Art: Gerard van Honthorst (1590–1656) , Allegory of Painting, 1648