Visual Design – Stock Images and Graphics

Naturally you need images to help add to the design of your website and in the case of managing a blog site, you also need them to help sell your point. There are millions of images all over the Internet, but the problem is that you have to contend with copyright laws and trademark issues.

So what’s the answer to this dilemma? Basically you have three choices. One, create all the images yourself. Two, find royalty-free images to use. Or three, consider purchasing/using stock images and graphics.

What are stock images and graphics?

Stock images are usually a generic image of something that you use to sell a product or add dimension to a piece of writing. You might have seen on eBay for example an item listed and a caption underneath stating stock photo. This just means that the picture you’re looking at is not of the actual item for sale, but it is an image of the item.

Stock photos are also used for magazine, newspaper and blog articles. I picked up the image above right off of one of the sites below and added it here to create some color for this post.

There are companies out there that specialize in the distribution of images and graphics that were created by various people for the express purpose of using in specific applications. Some stock images are free, most you have to pay for. Sometimes, you must also take into consideration the format in which they are allowed to be used.

Where do I get these images?

There are plenty of places online offering stock photography and a quick web search will do the trick, but here are a few of the ones I find to have the best quality images

  • Stock.Xchng – This site is considered to be the leading stock image site for FREE images, so you may want to make this your first stop before paying for photos elsewhere.
  • Getty Images – If you want to search through over 24 million photos, this is the only place you can do so. You have probably seen many, many photos in magazines, web articles and more that have a photo credit to Getty Images. Well, now you can get access to these same images!
  • BigStock – The thing I like about this site is that you buy credits to use for purchasing images and not every image is the same credit price. Plus, the more credits you buy up front, the more you save.
  • Shutter Stock – Here’s a great royalty-free collection of images that I just recently came across, but it seems to have a lot to choose from.

My two cents

Use photos as often as needed, but don’t overdo it! You don’t want to crowd your page design with images and graphics that don’t apply to your content. Last but not least, never use copyrighted images without permission! People like me, who create original content, do not appreciate it when people simply take our creations for their own advancement. Speaking of which, you might want to check out my copyright information to see how I allow my site to be used!

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