iStock is definitely the gold standard of the stock photography/graphics world. Best professional options in my opinion by a long shot. They also recently started offering photos of a more editorial nature featuring current events from around the world. This could be perfect for a government agency looking for properly licensed images of real people and events. They have raised their prices a bit over the years, but for the depth and quality of what they offer, it is still easily worth it. Plus, if you know where/how to search well, you can almost always find what you need for a reasonable price.
Other options that may not be quite as pricey as iStock (their one downside) are shutterstock.com or photodune.net. Both good sites, but I’ve found it slightly more difficult to find the types of images that I’m looking for on these sites. They may be cheaper, but the amount of creative and professional images are few and far between, comparatively. Gettyimages is also a popular one among traditional print shops, but their prices are pretty steep. Photodune is nice though because it is part of the larger envato marketplace: a network of sites with tons of other great resources for designers/developers/marketers/anyone who creates for a living. Definitely worth checking out.
Hope that helps!
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