Downloading Professional Images Inexpensively

Professional photographs and graphics can transform a simple Web page design into a professional online presentation. But high-quality images can be pricey. For professional, royalty-free images without the high cost, visit iStockPhoto where you can buy — and sell — high-quality photos and other images for $1 to $5 (depending on the resolution).

This searchable site makes it easy to find all kinds of photographs, illustrations, and even animated graphics and videos. Search for German Shepherd, for example, and you'll find nearly 1,000 photos of those lovely beasts; search for dogs and you'll find more than 16,000. You can even search for general terms, like smile or raised hands, to find images to fit almost any design idea or Web site.

When you find a photo that you like at iStockphoto, you have the option of downloading a "comp" version for free. (It has the iStockphoto logo printed across the middle but is handy for mockups). You can also save images into a collection (called a lightbox) that's stored on the iStockphoto Web site so that you can easily go back and review your favorites later.

When you're ready to purchase images, you can use any major credit card to buy credits on the site. The more credits you buy in advance, the better the price. The cost of each image is based on the resolution — the higher the resolution, the more the image costs, and most images are available in multiple resolutions. Low-resolution images, which work fine for most Web sites, cost as little as $1. The standard rights agreement covers most commercial uses up to 500,000 copies. An extended license is available for a higher price. Make sure to read the license agreement for details.

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