If you buy stock photos on a regular basis, you know that there are now a number of ways that you can obtain photos. You can go through a stock agency and have a professional researcher send you low-resolution images, pick the one you want and then wait for the transparency. While this may work well in a number of situations, most marketing firms these days are on tight deadlines. You won't be able to contact your stock agency representative at midnight when your client has asked for a design the next morning.
But, you can simply go online to a vast number of Internet-based stock photography companies, browse collections and download the right photo for your use. While it's true that inexpensive stock photos have wide open fields of use, depending on the project you may not need to strike an exclusive deal for the particular photo you need. So, an online, low-cost alternative may be the best deal and the fastest workable photo to find.