Stock Photography is existing photography that is available for commercial use - as opposed to assignment photography, which is custom made to your specifications.
There are many advantages for photography buyers who use stock imagery:
Price: Stock is usually cheaper than custom assignments because you are only required to pay a rental fee based on the size, distribution and exclusivity you require for the photo.
WYSIWYG: The image you purchase is the image you publish Â that is, what you see is what you get.
Ideal Situations: The photos that are available for sale in stock photography libraries are often of better quality than photos that are obtainable from an assignment because the images are frequently created under ideal situations (ie weather conditions).
Time: Tight publishing deadlines become easier to fill because of the speed and simplicity of using stock images.
Ideas: If you're an artist and you're having trouble coming up with a concept for a design, you can easily review existing images to help spark ideas.