Cheap shots!

January 22, 2013 at 5:11 am | Posted in copywriting | 7 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Some salient points …

When I read the quote for my new website, I got a fright. It said something like ‘pictures not included’*.

Last time I worked in a creative studio, clients were charged up to $150 per picture (pic). I needed nine.

Fortunately, much has changed in recent years.

I found and bought the pics I needed for only $15 each – a tenth of what I feared. My relief mirrored that of clients tracking this project with a view to doing their own sites.

Maybe you’ll benefit too.

Above is one of the pics I bought. You don’t see a lot of cuneiform on today’s corporate websites; it’s my WaPIUSP^!

This medium-sized pic is perfect for my purposes. The price licences me to use it on my website and this blog. Legally (and technically) I can’t plaster it on a jet or a skyscraper, but if I’m that successful, I’ll happily fork out an extra tenner.

I got the pic from iStockphoto. All the art directors I consulted recommended this site. Some also mentioned Shutterstock and Dreamstime but I didn’t find these as easy to use. You may.

In addition to being cheap and easy, iStockphoto had all the pics I sought. I added them to my ‘lightbox’, bought ‘credits’ on my credit card, downloaded the files to my PC and emailed them to my IT Guy. Once he got them, it was on.

I’m thrilled. And glad not to be dealing with a full-service advertising agency from last decade. In those days, CDs costing around $450 held themed sets of around 80 pics (e.g. Ancient Scripts in the Workplace).

Once a client approved a creative concept, the agency bought the necessary CD (if it didn’t own it already). It then charged the client up to $150 per pic!

Thus, after recouping the cost in as few as three pic sales, the agency reaped pure profit from subsequent sales for the life of the CD.

So long as cuneiform stayed in vogue, the CD was a money machine.

Next time you get a quote for a job with pics, ask how much they are. You may save quite a few shekels (and get exactly what you want) by sourcing them yourself.


Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

* Images … will need to be provided or … sourced and the licensing fees paid … licensing fees are not included …

^ Weird and Possibly Ineffective Unique Selling Proposition.


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  1. Wow I am outraged at how much agencies could charge for images! It makes me appreciate how cost effective and honest my website developer was when securing images for my site.

    I get my images from Bigstockphoto. I find it has a great selection and very good prices. I might even go so far as to say they are a bit cheaper than iStockphoto.

    When I started my blog I was all about sourcing free (copyright free and financially free) images but the longer I write, the more I realise it’s worth a few pesos to get a better quality image. It’s those kind of details that build up to the image you present!

    • Hi, Belinda! How cool that an esteemed copywriter like yourself is gracing this page! I hadn’t heard of Bigstockphoto, so I’m delighted with your contribution. I totally agree that free definitely ain’t free. Thanks very much for sharing your valuable thoughts. Kind regards, P. 🙂

  2. This comment just in via Twitter from autyhor @stinginthetail
    ‘hiya – was reading yr blog – most ppl on this (mostly free) site do low price/free great range, good community vibe’
    Thanks very much, Sheila; it’s great to hear from you! 🙂

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