Stock photos for Covers on a Budget

One key to a great cover is a great cover picture. One key to a great cover picture is to buy one done by a professional from a stock photo service.

Go to one of the best-known of the stock photo companies:

and you’ll find they cost hundreds of dollars. Yuck!

There are, however, stock photo services that offer millions of images for prices ranging from $1 to about $12, depending on the image size and other factors. At that price, you can not only afford one for the cover, you can do what I’ve been doing with my hospital series—include an appropriate picture at the start of each chapter.

The ones I’ve been happy with are:

Big Stock Photo:

Deposit Photo:

I just found out about a new one:

Dollar Photo Club:

Compare the prices and selection and make your decision based on that.

  • The first two sell based on credits and the more credits you buy, the lower the price of each. I usually careful tailor my credit purchase to my immediate needs.

  • The last one sells a monthly membership. $99/a year gets you 99 images, hence the $1 price for each. That’s the best price if you’re going to be needing a lot.

All three let you search before you join, so see if they fit your needs. And confirm with them that you can use them for cover images and book interiors.

The Library of Congress also has a huge collection and most can be used without charge, although they’re almost all black and white.

You can find examples of how they can be used here: … d690916827 … d583160797

Not all books adapt to having a stock photo at the start of each chapter, but for those that do, it’s a marvelous way to brighten up your book.

–Mike Perry, Inkling Books