Photo agencies

Back in the day, when I worked on magazines, I used to request photos and the picture researcher would come up with them. It’s only when you end up phoning the photo agencies themselves that you realise how bloody expensive they are. And it doesn’t help a bit if you work in the public sector and you’re only printing a few thousand books.

The last few years has seen the growth of royalty-free photo sites. I get the impression they are populated with extras from photographers’ shoots and various other stuff. However, that’s not to say the quality of them isn’t good — some of the pictures are great.

Personally, the best one I’ve come across is Their prices are excellent, the website is very good and they have a big range of images. My only criticism is that most of the models are, well … too good looking. I was searching for a picture of a general practitioner recently and every search came back with some 35-year-old adonis with perfect white teeth. Whereas I really wanted a slightly overweight middle-aged man with a combover. Despite that, I highly recommend them.

Working in the public sector, if the budget allows, I sometimes need a bit more reality and use These are a more orthodox agency and although certainly more expensive than the likes of iStockphoto, aren’t as extortionate as some agencies I could and won’t mention. Oh, alright then, Getty.

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