We're back . . . after what seems like eons. In any case, you're probably wondering about the nitty-gritty of this subject, particularly about costs.
There are a number of variables with the cost scenarios: Tiffany Ruhl, our image guru, suggests that art museums are usually a bit more expensive and that securing images from AP Press or Corbis is the most costly of all--sometimes running in the hundreds for a single use. On the other end of the spectrum, many universities, historical societies, and archives charge anywhere from $20-$100--managble for most institutions. Generally, this price is for an image that's about 300 dpi, but larger, higher-resolution versions can usually be secured for a few extra dollars.
Once you've located the images that you'd like to use, you'll need to fill out the request forms in their entirety. At this point, you must specific how you'll be using the image(s): whether for display, educational purposes, print, or web. Sometimes, there's an "all media" usage fee that covers everything. Once you've submitted the forms, the waiting begins. Turn around times can be as long as four weeks (so plan accordingly). If, however, collections are all digital, and there's somebody whose job it is to receive requests, you may be dealing with a matter of days rather than weeks. The Golden Rule, especially with a tight deadline, is to follow up with a phone call. Even though many of the request forms are available online, talking to a human being can certainly expedite the process.
If you're still wondering where to begin in the first place, Tiffany recommends launching with a simple Google search, and don't underestimate Flickr as a possible source for contemporary images. To date, we've used several Flickr images, without cost, on exhibition panels. We simply asked permission from the publisher and provided a complete credit under the photo. Bottom line is, there are ample resources out there so that your next exhibition can be that much richer . . .