As a designer, I start almost every stock photo search at iStock.com, and more often than not, have no need to move on to any others. A really cool aspect of istock.com, other than dirt cheap prices for high quality photos, illustrations and video, is that itâ€™s a â€œuser generated contentâ€ based social networking site. IStock.com was one of first social networking sites to allow the contributors to sell their work. Open to anyone (content is screened for technical and editoral quality), a sense of community is encouraged through interactive challenges, contest and awards for both the photographers and illustrators, as well as the designers that use their work. Itâ€™s a great environment for creative types, hobbyist and professional alike, to get exposure and recognition for their work. Thereâ€™s even a wiki of copyright issues that post the status of trademarked buildings, art and items that cannot be sold as stock photography without permission.
Now there is even more of a reason to contribute content for sale on iStock.com. Starting in September, contributors who reach the â€œGoldâ€ (10,000 â€“ 24,999 downloads) status on iStock.com will be welcomed to become contributors for Getty Imagesâ€™ Photodisc. This should be a very strong pull for both sides. As more creatives see this as a doorway to real creditability and revenue, the quantity and quality will continue to grow for the consumers. A win win for everyone.