One of the first considerations that arises when creating a web presence is how to find images for a website. Including images on your website has a big impact on visitors that increases engagement and interest in your products and services.
Many small businesses do not have enough quality photos and graphics to optimize the visual component of their website. This is especially true if for business blogs, where it’s a good idea to include a fresh image with each blog post. In this entry I will take a look at some resources online that offer stock photography and graphics. I’ll point you to free and paid resources to build your image collection.
Premium Stock Photography Sites and Stock Image Sites
Paid websites offer collections of high quality photos and graphics that users purchase by buying credits on the site. When using such sites, it’s a good idea to invest in one or two sites rather than buying a smaller number of credits at many sites, as the price per credit goes down when you buy in bulk. Stock photo prices range from inexpensive (around $1-$2 per image, depending on how many credits you buy) to hundreds of dollars per image per use.
The most affordable option (aside from free images) are royalty-free images (as opposed to rights-managed images). If you intend to use a royalty-free image directly in the sale of a product or service or as the primary design element of your website, you are required to purchase an extended license. An image purchased http://piggyslots.com/software/netent-software/ with an extended license will typically cost around $50-$75 per image, depending on the amount of credits you purchase. Some sites also offer monthly and yearly subscription plans with daily download limits.
Some premium stock photography websites and stock image websites include:
GraphicRiver.net – Graphics, print templates, web elements, add-ons, vectors, icons, fonts, logos, and more
PhotoDune.net – Photo categories including animals, architecture, business, food, health, sports, people, technology, and travel
photos.com – A large collection. Use the link below to take advantage of a coupon.
Save 12% on all image packs, online only, at Photos.com. Use coupon code 4ZCPC46N during checkout. Expires 03/31/2013.
getty images – Images, video, and music. Rights managed (RM) and royalty-free (RF) collections.
shutterstock – Large collection of over 20 million stock photos, illustrations, vectors, and videos with 10,000 images added daily. You can sign up to receive a free weekly photo delivered via email.
dreamstime – Download Royalty-Free stock photos, illustrations & images for as low as $0.20 per image or free
corbis images– More expensive than the other sites, but it does offer some truly unique and compelling images. Offers a variety of licensing options on royalty-free and rights managed images.
Mooch Travel Photography – A stock photography resource dedicated solely to travel images.
Free Stock Photography Sites and Stock Image Sites
You can find high quality materials on free image sites, but the selection is not as wide. If you are looking for something particular and unique, you’ll have much better luck browsing paid collections. With that said, if you are looking for a common image – a skyscaper or a flower, for example, you can probably find a suitable image in a free gallery. Free images can either be public domain or require some kind of attribution and restrictions on usage. Be careful when downloading free photos that you pay attention to the licensing restrictions that may come along with your downloads.
Here are some resources for free materials:
bigfoto.com– Notice the navigation menu at the top left of the page. You can browse by countries and by themes.
Morgue File – A free photo archive
Nations Illustrated – Photography from around the world
Wikimedia Commons – A resource for creative commons and public domain images.
Creative Commons – A resource for creative commons images.
Stock Photography Terms
When browsing for images, you’ll regularly encounter some terminology regarding the licensing restrictions for the use and distribution of images. Here is a basic summary of what these terms mean:
- Royalty-free – Images that you don’t pay royalties on each time you use them are called royalty-free images. Buy a license once and use the royalty-free image as many times as you desire. However, you typically cannot use royalty-free images for commercial profit unless you buy an extended license.
- Rights-managed – Strictly controlled, rights-managed images are usually paid for on a per use basis and exclusivity of use is rolled into the agreement. This is often the most expensive way to buy stock photos.
- Public domain – Images that have been made available for free use with no terms attached. Wikimedia commons is a good place to find public domain images. Not all free images are public domain – many free images require attribution.
- Creative commons – A system of licenses which allows photographers to provide their work for free with restrictions. Restrictions include requiring image attribution wherever the image is used and may include excluding images being used in commercial applications. Creative commons is used by photographers as a way of promoting their work to a wider audience.