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Web-based photos and graphics

Thursday, October 24th, 2013 by Servage

Stock photography and illustrations
If you aren’t confident in your design skills, or you just want a head start with some fresh imagery, there are plenty of collections of ready-made photos, illustrations, buttons, animations, and textures available for sale or for free. Stock photos and illustrations generally fall into two broad categories:

rights-managed and royalty-free.

Rights-managed means that the copyright holder (or a company representing them) controls who may reproduce the image. In order to use a rights managed image, you must obtain a license to reproduce it for a particular use and for a particular period of time. One of the advantages to licensing images is that you can arrange to have exclusive rights to an image within a particular medium (such as the Web) or a particular business sector (such as the health care industry or banking). On the downside, rights-managed images get quite pricey. Depending on the breadth and length of the license, the price tag may be many thousands of dollars for a single image. If you don’t want exclusive rights and you want to use the image only on the Web, the cost is more likely to be a few hundred dollars, depending on the source.

If that still sounds too steep, consider using royalty-free artwork for which you don’t need to pay a licensing fee. Royalty-free artwork is available for a one-time fee that gives you unlimited use of the image, but you have no control over who else is using the image. Royalty-free images are available from the top-notch professional stock houses such as Getty Images for as little as 30 bucks an image, and from other sites for less (or even for free).

Another way to get free images is to find photos and drawings released by the artist under a Creative Commons license by the artists who created them. There are a few types of Creative Commons licenses, so be sure to check the terms. Some artists make their work free to use however you want; some artists ask only that you give them credit (attribution-only); some limit the image use to non-commercial purposes.

Following is a list of a few of my favourite resources for finding high-quality stock photography and illustrations, but it is by no means exhaustive. A web search will turn up plenty more sites with images for sale.
Flickr Creative Commons (www.flickr.com/creativecommons/)
The photo-sharing service Flickr is my first stop for finding photos released on a Creative Commons license. The quality varies, but I can usually find what I need (such as the red panda in Chapter 10) for the cost of a photo credit. Try using the Flickr search tool Compfight (compfight.com) to find images based on “interestingness.”
iStockPhoto (www.istockphoto.com)
If you’re on a tight budget (and even if you’re not), there’s no better place to find images than iStockPhoto. Prices start at about three bucks a pop. It’s my personal favourite image resource.
Getty Images (www.gettyimages.com)
Getty is the largest stock image house, having acquired most of its competitors over recent years. It offers both rights-managed and royalty-free photographs and illustrations at a variety of price ranges.
Veer (www.veer.com)
I like Veer because it tends to be a little more hip and edgy than its competitors. It offers both rights-managed and royalty-free photographs, illustrations, fonts, and stock video.

Web-based photos and graphics, 4.5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
Categories: Guides & Tutorials

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