I love Photography. That might be an understatement. I haven’t quite gotten confident enough to try and sell any of my photos as stock but I have used quite a few both here and on other sites. I also dabble with quite a bit of graphic and print design. However, when I can’t find a quality photo of my own I go shopping at Royalty free stock photo sites. I also think know that great looking photography is a must for any professional looking website. Darren Rowse at Problogger talks about the importance of using photos in blogs and if you have ever visited a website with no or very poor pictures you know know fast that can turn you off. I also know that most of us (me too!) don’t want to pay a ton for images for your blog or site. Thanks to flickr you can get quite a few great images if they have the right creative commons license. When you can’t find what I want on flickr or just want to make sure you are using a photo legally it is best to visit a good royalty free stock photography site.

With this in mind, I wanted to take some time and show you some reasons why I chose iStockphoto for the bulk of my stock photo needs.

View My Portfolio

1. Free stock photos. 30 to be exact. It’s my motto, “If it’s free, it’s for me!”…we all love free so why fight it. Sign up and download 30 free stock photos (from a selection of 50, but they are great high resolution images)

2. They are the “exclusive” holders of the Awesomeness Poster stock photo “Vapor Trail.” That’s right. For all of you lovers of How I Met Your Mother and Barney’s Awesomeness Poster this is the only stock photo site with the original photo. Despite the smaller resolution of it compared to the superior quality of the Awesomeness poster I made…this is still the only place to find it.

3. The dollar bin. Photos for a buck… the next best thing to free high quality photography is cheap, high quality photography. And though using cheap and high quality in the same sentence may seem wrong or oxymoronic…it’s not.

4. More free images. Sign up…(didn’t I already say that) and then courtesy of Caldera you can get some more great free images, 10 to be exact..don’t be complaining.. Free is free!

5. Selection. At the time of this writing, iStockphoto had 2,818,816 photos..and they seem to add more high quality stuff every day. Essentially, I have never went there and not found what I was looking for.

6. Again, Even more free images courtesy of Scoopt (30 to be exact).

7. You may notice a trend here but, in addition to the freebies listed above, iStockphoto offers a new free stock image each week!

8. In addition, they also offer a free vector illustration each month. Sometimes there is a need for a photo and sometimes a need for an illustration. And incidentally, after reading after reading this post from robcutton on “How to Turn a Photo into an Illustration” …I may be trying to use a few more illustrations…great article by the way. Thanks Rob.

9. If you don’t like any of the free photos they have to offer there always coupons for credits floating around the internet. For 5 Free credits try: DECK5FREE
If you find any other feel free to post them here in the comments.
FYI… It took me forever to find so this is the link to where to redeem iStockphoto credit codes.

Update: Need another reason? Now iStockphoto offers a free video download each month!