Visual content is King, and not without a reason. First of all, most of us perceive information as images. Secondly, we tend to spend more time on web pages decorated with visuals. Last but not least, we are two times more likely to pick the product accompanied by vivid images and videos. And if even in the era of YouTube, shooting a video still remains a mystery for many, what everyone is truly capable of is picking worthy photos to adorn blog posts, product descriptions, and marketing materials.
However, blinded by the abundance of free images on the web, aspiring lovers of beautiful imagery every once in a while violate the copyright law and put themselves into the danger of being caught in litigation before they know it. But in fact, there are a few tricks to find the image source that you need and extract as many photos from there as you need. Without further ado, let’s delve into those!
1. Bother to Get Permission to Use Images from Google
Google keeps a scary amount of data and definitely loads of photos to grab and use, huh? Sounds good, but the truth is that most pictures that you can find via Google Search are protected by copyright, and even those ‘labeled for reuse with modification.’ Alas, Google is not certified to bear responsibility for labels it assigns to photos and therefore it may set you up by assuming copyrighted images to be free.
In other words, as long as you are willing to stay on the legal side of the fence, you are obliged to contact the owner of the photo and ask him/her for permission to use the intellectual property. Any arrogance potentially leads to lawsuits, especially if you represent a big company worth arguing with.
2. Use Third-Party Image Search Engines to Boost the Process
While Google is undoubtedly the most comprehensive search engine, you might try other search engines as well: Bing Images, Flickr, Yahoo Images, Yandex, Picsearch, Creative Commons, Pinterest Visual Search Tool, etc. Whichever one you use, make sure the image has been allowed for commercial reuse or commercial reuse with modification if you’re willing to edit the picture to make it unique, adapt to the style of your business, etc. If neither the watermark nor metadata contains the required info, as well as Google reverse image search returns no results, better avoid using the shot since it’s not safe.
3. Search on Free and Paid Photo Stocks
While cruising through search engines might be tiresome and unexpectedly ineffective, you have all the chance to facilitate search by navigating right to the vast larders for all types of images – photo stocks. Indeed, free and paid photos repositories are goldmines of photos that may be used ‘as is’ or after slight refinements are done. One way or another, you are likely to end up searching photos on one of these top-notch photo repositories:
- Depositphotos. Home to more than 120 million images, the 10-year-old website is a one-way destination for those craving cheap and versatile photos on every topic, from business to beauty, as well as valuable tips on dealing with photos, shared within a Depositphotos blog, a lovely place for desperate imagery fans eager to dig deeper. Price-wise, images are quite affordable, only $9.99 per month for 10 hi-re pics. The cheapest on-demand pack includes 10 images at the total price of $49.
- Shutterstock. Tons of illustrations, images, vectors, and other visuals are uploaded to Shutterstock daily. The ever-growing collection has all imaginable types of pictures. Five images will cost you $49, and if your thirst is serious, feel free to spend $249 per month to unlock 750 images within the monthly plan.
- 123RF. More than 50 million stock photos, vectors, music tracks, and video files are available at 123RF at a price of $0.27–$2.90 per item depending on the subscription plan. There are also on-demand packages of credits for one-time/occasional visitors. Though it might be inconvenient to deal with credits at first, you will get used to it in a while. Other than that, 123RF is a top-notch photo repository with featured contributors, dozens of image categories, and ‘Trending’ shots, which, by the way, you should avoid unless you love seeing your photos on competitors’ websites.
- Fotosearch. One of the firstcomers in the universe of stock photos, the 20-year-old Fotosearch employs a multi-million collection of out-of-the-box imagery. More than 100 employees ensure round-the-clock customer support and the utmost quality of photo materials. The retail prices, however, may burn a hole in your pocket: on-demand images are valued at $8 per item, which is why it’s worth considering a weekly/monthly plan with 10 daily downloads for $99.
4. Separate the Wheat from the Chaff
Regardless of whether the stock employs 10 or 100 million images, the only thing that you should worry about is how many of those pictures are relevant to your search request. Take advantage of advanced search options embedded into photo stocks to sieve out all relevant images. And if those are not enough to satisfy your hunger for perfection & beauty, proceed to the next photo stock in your list.
The truth is, the excellence of the photo doesn’t necessarily meet the price tag attached to it. Among hundreds of millions of paid and free images on the web, there are always obscenely overpriced and hilariously undervalued ones. Heaps of high-quality pictures are waiting to be unearthed – just dare to dig them out!
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