List of Stock Photo Agencies Providing Real Vintage Images

I have noticed that sometimes in the Web what is called a “vintage photo” is in reality a retro-style photo, or it is simply a recent photo having a vintage look. Therefore, I have decided to write down a short list of stock photo agencies that offer real vintage photos.
This list is far from being complete. Moreover, the Web is full of lists and directories of this sort. However, this one is at least updated. I voluntarily avoided comments about each photo agency, they would have been biased :-)
Please write me if you know about other good websites offering these same resources.

Historical Stock Photos
Library of Congress
Pump Park
Smithsonian Institution @ Flicker

Pricing Stock Photos
Pricing is a major component of the marketing mix.
If a market is efficient, the price of a private commodity equals its marginal cost, i.e. the cost of the last unit produced. Many markets are not efficient. In this case we need to add some inefficiency rent. The more a market is inefficient, the larger would be the rent captured as profit.
How do we compute the costs of online delivered photos? The list of costs includes:
- The cost of the photo itself, in terms of the image file produced.
This adds up to the time spent in filming, transportation to the site, and/or staging, depreciation of the technological equipment such as computer, cameras, lenses, tripods, filters, etc., models, time spent in post-production editing and assembling. It pertains to the photographer. Therefore, we can assume it equals zero for the distribution agency, as contributors receive royalties.
- The cost of having the photo files online.
This includes hosting, domain, and maintenance fees, as well as the cost for coordinating, editing, tacking care of the customers, and accounting fee.
- The cost of having the photo easily found in the cyberspace.
This cost pertains to ensure visibility of brand and products on the Internet. Thus we have costs for marketing, advertising, editing newsletters, blogs, social network pages, fora, and analyzing the results of the campaigns.
When archival photography (i.e. analogical old photos) comes about, the first cost on the list is different from the case of new digital images. Digitalizing paper photos includes costs for hand scanning (fragile!), archiving, keywording, translating, editing and optimizing the images.
Once the photo file has been produced at whatever cost, and been stored in the online archive, the cost of the newly added image tends to zero for digital photography, as it is only related to the enlargement of the hosting space. The same number of workers will be able to manage the growing number of the images in the library. Also promotion costs do not change as function of the number of images added to the library.
In the end, as pure guesswork, I would figure out the marginal cost of a stock photo to the distribution agency, to be somewhere between $0.05 and $5. The cost of a newly added photo decreases as the number of images in the archive increases, and increases as the promotion costs increase. Quality also plays an important part in the pricing game.

Image Sources for Academic Research

One practical issue in contemporary academic research is finding good sources for illustrating properly the publication you have been working at. More and more pictures appear in textbooks of every discipline. It is not only for documenting, but also to ease the reading and market the final product.
Actually, in the last decade, picture libraries’ offer have increased both in number and in choice; however, the problem of finding good resources at an affordable price is still of major concern for the poor academic.
There is plenty of great pictures you can legally use in your publication without paying a penny, such as the ones in the archives of Public Libraries (Congress, NOAA, etc), Creative Commons, Wikimedia, Flick, etc. However, these images are part of the commons, and consequently have unregulated access and use. Therefore everyone else can use these images for free.

Macrostock photography agencies such as Getty and Corbis have beautiful archival images, and offer a wide choice of pictures to researchers. Unfortunately, they license images at premium prices. This is not an issue for advertisement, but it may be a barrier for a researcher. Moreover, they miss familiar and amateur pictures, which are fun!
For these and other reasons, I have decided to implement an online archive of vintage photography. I am a researcher myself, and therefore the kind of images I propose are strictly selected in order to represent something worth documenting in an historical sense. I need to balance the budget, so I cannot offer these images for free. However, special prices are reserved for fellow researchers and scholars. Come and visit the website Colaimages.

Marco Colazingari

Stock Photo Editing

RE: Editing Stock Photos

Image use and editing has been geometrically increasing since the beginning of the WWW.
There is widespread use among professionals such as editors, graphics, designers, bloggers, web developers, art directors, journalists, historians, and authors.
More and more people use images.
Sometimes someone is not sure about the proper use of them.
The copyright law is a very complicated issue.
Here we answer 2 very common questions about the possible use of the images.
This concerns photographs for which the copyright is expired, as we specializing in vintage photography.

 Q. Can I use stock images I have licensed as part of my handmade items for sale, either online or in physical stores?

A. Regarding the use you may do with the stock photos you have licensed, basically there are 2 kinds of images:
1. Images you can use only for editorials (e.g. celebrities);
2. Images you can use for anything (aka creative).

Editorial use means that the image can be used to illustrate matters of general interest, for educational and cultural purpose, or newsworthy events, but not for commercial purpose. If you see the sign Only for Editorial Use, then you cannot use the image to sell items.
Images for a creative use can be embedded in items for sell.

Q. Can I use the images, alter them, decoupage them and then sell the altered images as digital images online? 

A. You may alter images as you please, as long as you do not bring the model portrayed into disrepute. You may sell the physical product in which they are embedded.
Regarding selling digital images online: You cannot resell the digital content that you have licensed.
However, you can sell your altered images if the resulting transformation is a work of art. It is called compilation copyright, or derivative copyright. They are defined by the Copyright Act as a work that is formed by the “collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship.”