A Stock photo is photography or other imagery of common landmarks, concepts, and events that can be used and reused for commercial design purposes. Book publishers, specialty publishers, magazines, advertising agencies, film makers, web designers, graphic artists, interior decor firms, corporate creative groups, and other entities utilize stock photos to fulfill the needs of their creative assignments.
By using stock images instead of hiring a photographer to perform on-location shooting, customers can save valuable time and stay on budget. With a wealth of images, digital stock photo databases that may be searched online save photo researchers valuable time when they are looking for just the right image. With today's digital delivery methods, images may be purchased online and delivered via FTP or email, the very same day.
Stock photography is sometimes called a photo library, or just stock photos. The term photo library often refers to the website or physical location where the photographs are stored. Photo libraries are also sometimes called image banks. As modern stock photo distributors often carry stills, video, and illustrations, none of the existing terminology provides a perfect match for the state of the industry.
The business of selling stock photos has been around since the American Civil War, when Matthew Brady sold images he and other photographers made of the war for use in stereo viewers (ASMP - 1984 - Stock Photography Handbook. Pennyfeather Press, New York). Various stock photo libraries have been actively conducting business around the world for much of this century, but the real surge in popularity for buying and selling existing photos has only surfaced over the past fifteen years. One of the first major stock photo agencies was the one founded in 1920 by H. Armstrong Roberts, which continues today under the name Retrofile. For many years, stock photography consisted largely of outtakes ("seconds") from commercial magazine assignments. By the 1980s, it had become a specialty in its own right, with photographers creating new material for the express purpose of submitting it to a stock house.
Stock photos are usually available in multiple resolutions and graphic formats, to suit the needs of the publisher. A web site designer typically requires 72 ppi jpg/gif/png graphics, whereas a magazine publisher is much more likely to require 300 ppi TIFF, for example.
One interesting fact has come to light about the effect of the digital stock photo market on the creative community. According to TrendWatch Graphic Arts, "thirty-five percent of creative professionals say their use of scanners is decreasing as a result of having access to a digital camera and stock photos."
Stock photos are now more commonly taken with digital cameras, rather than being scanned from books, prints and film/transparency, which allows a much faster turn-around time from taking the photograph, to having it available for
The use of stock images is moving into many new and unexpected areas as well. With the explosion of home PCs and the growing sophistication of small and home business computer facilities, even small business owners, students, and individuals are using stock photos. While this has not been a big focus for most stock agencies, it speaks to the product's pervasive influence and broad appeal.
Our Stock Photography Services
The DW Stock Picture Library is one of Australia's leading stock photograph galleries. Over the last four years the photo library has built up a rich resource of over 200,000 high quality stock images. We represent some of Australia's leading photographers as well as many great international stock agencies.
Our Categories page will show you some of the subjects that we
carry stock photographs of. Aside from our large selection of photographs still waiting to be
loaded on our site, we have enormous coverage of Australian animals
(Kangaroos, Koalas, Insects, Marine life etc.), Australian landscapes and
cities (Deserts, Mountains, National Parks, Beaches, Mood Scenes,
Rainforests) and Travel images covering most countries of the world. Lastly, our people images are natural and not staged.
Combined with this wonderful collection of great stock images covering the widest range of topics, the library is the only one in Australia to also offer
you the freelance services of researchers with extensive knowledge of picture
& text researching, photo-editing and rights & permission clearance. In other
words, if the images you are seeking are not in our files, we will locate them
for you, clear the necessary rights, document all images and finalise the project
on your behalf.
We can assist you in creating and establishing your own
in-house photographic collection, resulting in an efficient filing system where
previously inaccessible images can be easily retrieved and utilised for your in-house
To view samples of projects we have been involved with and for
further information on these and the other services we have to offer, please go
to our portfolio.
Our office hours are 9.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., Monday to
Friday. Telephone or email your picture request. Images can be sent
via email or cd.
Just use the IMAGE SEARCH box at the top right of this page to get started.