The New Stock Agencies

Once upon a time, there were just a handful of stock agencies and those agencies represented the best and the brightest in visual talent. Today, there are countless agencies that have online presences that will sell just about any quality image for any price. While this certainly opens up the marketplace for low-cost solutions, it often ends up flooding the marketplace with poor quality art, especially photography.

Many long standing agencies do vet their work, but the immense volume can mean that despite their good intentions, mediocre images make it into their vast image libraries and clog up your search results.

Deborah Liljegren at ImageBriefEnter ImageBrief, a rather young agency that is looking to the past and the future. Marrying the old ways (having a creative brief) with the new (online search), ImageBrief is bringing back the emphasis on quality and service. Having worked with them on both sides of the equation, it’s amazing how much time we saved and the quality of work that we got. Certainly, we could have spent hours searching through iStockPhoto.com and hunted around Flickr hoping for a free shot, but the ROI isn’t often worth it.

Even if you have a low budget, it’s worth it to start with a more reputable agency because the time it will save you is invaluable. After all, time is money.