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Stock photo archives are a tool that most print publications and graphic artists use, and quite often.

With millions of photos available - many royalty free, you can probably find the exact picture you need for a reasonable price.

But please don't confuse "royalty free" with free.

You do need to pay for most royalty free photos. You can find a few reputable sites that make photos available without cost, but most ask for a link and/or photo credit in return for sharing their resources.

Stock photo libraries are a great place for working photographers to place images. Although the agencies will take a cut of the profits, they can offer good exposure for your work in return, and may be worth looking into if you plan on making money with your talent. Why not? Especially if you have a huge library of digital photos, they could be making a profit for you instead of just sitting in "my photos" folder on your desktop.

These sites are excellent places to find images along with providing tip and ideas for the working photographer to get some stock exposure.

Good luck!

Free Images - This UK site has more than 2500 images available for the price of a link back to them and a credit. First check their terms of usage — follow them and the pictures are yours to use.

USDA Office of Communications - Image Gallery - The 25 categories of photos - including animals, insects and food -- plus links to other government sites provide a wide range of images. Normally, government resources are copyright free, but check for individual credits and an attribution is always a good idea.

NYPL Picture Collection Online - The New York Public Library's Picture Collection Online "is an image resource site for those who seek knowledge and inspiration from visual materials. It is a collection of 30,000 digitized images from books, magazines and newspapers as well as original photographs, prints and postcards, mostly created before 1923." Many images created before 1923 are now in the public domain which means you may use them, but make sure to ask. Great selection of vintage images...

Free Stock Photos - There are not as many images at this site as you'll find on the big commercial sites, but they do have a large number of good quality photos. Take a look...if they have what you need, you're in luck. A link back or credit is the only cost.

Free Pixels - Nice quality and a good range of topics are available at this stock photo site. They keep the copyright and ask to be identified with a credit (as in "photo courtesy free"), but do not require a link back - although they probably would not object. Thanks to Chris for the suggestion.

American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) - This professional organization's site is the perfect place to find the photo or photographer you need. The section on industry resources is a must visit - for both buyers and sellers. The resources for photographers are too numerous to list here... go take a look.

iStockphoto - Offers royalty free images to members with one free image a week available for use. Contests for photographers and designers who are members. Large selection of photos and graphic art work available at very reasonable prices. Forums for members help with general and technical questions...there are other resources for photographers and graphic artists.

Picture Alliance - Five major European picture agencies combined their portfolios for this site...currently there are more than 2.5 million images covering most subject areas including news and sports.

Talkmicro - A note from Anne suggesting this site said, "Talkmicro is a free non-profit forum for Microstock Photographers, With a great atmosphere. It deserves to be listed." We agree. Good active forum with plenty of topics and a whole section devoted to favorite stock photo sites...many with free images.


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