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How microstock originated, features of photobanks and microstock

Microstock (microstock) – the budget segment of stock photography, offering high-quality images for a penny, is rapidly gaining momentum. What is not surprising: high-quality photography has never been so cheap and affordable. Today in microstock photos are bought not only by regular customers of photo banks but also by those designers who had not even looked in the direction of buying legal photos before. It is logical: before they could not afford it. Now – it is available to everyone.

Stock photography and design – misalliance or happy marriage?
By definition, design is the creative process of creating an object, image, object, etc. But it is far from always advisable to create a design from scratch, personally developing all its elements. There are many bricks from which, with the right layout, a good design can be made. One of these bricks is stock photography – images that are ready to be used in any section of graphic design: newspaper and web design, packaging and poster design, corporate identity, TV design and other media products.

Classic photo stock
Photobanks – intermediaries between a photographer and a buyer of photographs – appeared in the 60s of the twentieth century, when the market for professional image buyers (advertising and publishing industries) realized that buying finished photographs is cheaper than ordering photo sessions, and the exclusivity inherent in an individual session is not always advisable.

Before the advent of the Internet, the scheme of interaction between the photobank and the client was rather laborious: the image is selected to order by the photobank employees or by the client in paper catalogs (now electronic media are also used), the acquired photograph was provided in the form of a slide that was supposed to physically arrive at the client.

Until recently, a finished photograph could only be bought in traditional photo banks at a price commensurate with its use (medium, print run, industry). Prices started at a few hundred dollars and reached breathtaking amounts of tens of thousands of dollars per license.

The appearance of microstock
But the development of the Internet has also influenced this industry, giving the prerequisites for the emergence of a new market segment – micropeyment photobanks or microstock, where you can buy photos at a price of a few tens of cents.

Low price is achieved due to several factors:
• Type of license. Microstock images are licensed under the Royalty Free, a non-exclusive license that is payable once without additional fees. Royalty Free allows you to reuse an image without restrictions on industry and territory and with very democratic restrictions on circulation (rarely less than 250,000 copies per medium). Royalty is a common type of license; licensing details in different photo banks may vary slightly.
• Self catering. Microstock is an online store where a user searches for, buys and downloads an image, referring to those. support only in case of problems.
• High market competitiveness. As in any other segment of the Internet business, microstock competitors are “just a click away”, which forces market players to constantly work on their competitive advantages, including pricing.

The emergence of microstock fell on fertile ground for the growing demand for cheap images caused by the Internet boom on the one hand (each website should be illustrated) and the financial crisis of the two thousandth on the other hand, which provoked an outflow of funds from traditional advertising, and therefore from traditional advertising photography.

Photo: Photobank Photogenica
What is interesting microstock for the designer
Microstock stock banks are a cheap, fast and convenient way to get a high-quality image. Just go to the site, select the picture you want, pay (prices start at forty cents), download and you can continue to work – embed the photo in the project. The purchase process, when the photo is already selected, takes about fifteen minutes, no more.

Why buy, you can download it from the Internet! ..
Each image has its own author and is protected by copyright law. The right to practically any use, including editorial, commercial, and even non-commercial, must be documented.

If you have discs with clipart, but there is no documentary evidence that you can use them in commercial or editorial activities, such use of these clipart is illegal. Using images from resources that provide stolen stock content or any other sites, unfortunately, is also illegal.

It’s not worth stealing photos for several reasons:
• for this threatens administrative and criminal liability;
• this is not ethical in relation to the design customer – you make him an accomplice in a crime, push him to the legal “minefield”;

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