Welcome to iStockphoto, the web's original source for royalty-free stock images, media and design elements. For over 10 years artists, designers and photographers from all over the world have come here to create, work and learn. Although iStockphoto started with just a few photos in 2000, we now offer vector illustrations, videos, music and sound effects, Flash and, coming soon, logos.
Millions of people depend on iStockphoto for affordable prices and exceptional quality. All iStock files are royalty-free1, which means you only have to pay once to use the file multiple times. We even offer a Legal Guarantee1 - our promise that content used within the terms of the license agreement will not infringe on any copyright, moral right, trademark or other intellectual property right, or violate any right of privacy or publicity.
Every day you see thousands of images in magazines, packaging, posters, online and on TV. But very few of these images were created specifically for that product, promotion or concept - what you're seeing is stock photography. Stock photos are ready-made images that are licensable for use in your advertising or promotional materials to illustrate specific things, concepts or ideas. iStockphoto's images, media and design elements are just the beginning - they are the raw materials to get your graphic design started.
In 2000, Bruce Livingstone was on the brink of going into the traditional stock photography business, but was having problems marketing against a world of me-too competitors. He had boxes of CD-ROMs full of thousands of images ready to ship. At the last moment, he was seized with the belief that the old way of distributing images just wasn't going to work anymore. Maybe he just didn't want to lick that many stamps. Whatever the reason, he put all the images online for free, interested to see the reaction. He called it iStockphoto. Web designers loved it and downloaded as many pictures as they could. Some of them had digital cameras and started uploading images of their own. When the monthly bandwidth bills topped $10,000, Bruce polled the growing iStock community to find out if people would support paying for images.
In 2002, iStock began selling credits. Now you could get a high-quality image for under a dollar, and the artist who contributed it got paid a royalty. It was an entirely new way of doing things. Some people called it the birth of 'microstock'. We just call it iStock.
iStockphoto sowed the seeds for an entire industry, with millions of files, millions of members and tens of thousands of contributing artists, sending us photographs, illustrations, videos, sounds effects and more. But the basic idea remains the same: anyone, anywhere can join us for free, find the digital media they need and sell original content of their own. It was truly the democratization of the stock industry.
See an interactive timeline of iStockphoto's history.
1 Excludes audio files in the Pump Audio collection.