A picture is worth a thousand words.
I’m a writer. Give me a blank page, on screen or in person, and my immediate reaction is to fill it with words. While I’m creative in all sorts of ways, I do NOT draw, or paint, or participate in the visual or graphic arts. I love to write.
But reading paragraphs and pages and miles of unrelieved text, especially online, is tough on the eyeballs! Images can break up the page into pleasing chunks, can add emphasis or accent to important points, can boost comprehension and retention of your content. Plus they’re fun to find!
I get asked a lot about images and copyright, and how to find images that can be used in posts and ezines and other content. Just because you find an image online does NOT mean you are allowed to use it. MOre and more I’m hearing about folks who have had to shut down their site or pay a hefty fine because they didn’t have copyright permission to use an image. Or two. Or ten.
There are now algorithms that can find images based on some code that’s embedded in the files. Don’t risk the consequences!
So where CAN you go for images that you can safely use? Here’s my latest list of stock media sites.
Whatever you do. READ THE LICENSE AGREEMENTS! Royalty-free does not mean free-as-in-no-charge. It also does not automatically guarantee you unlimited use for unrestricted purposes. Sometimes you are limited to 10,000 print pieces or 30,000 web views or something like that. Make sure to understand what you’re getting.
- http://www.everystockphoto.com/ (read the fine print; some aren’t really free)
- http://sxc.hu/ (now part of Getty Images, so I don’t know how long it’ll stay free)
- http://www.textureking.com/ (textures, not images)
Pay for content
- http://www.istockphoto.com/ <= this is probably the site I use most often
- http://www.audiomicro.com/ (music and sound effects)
- http://www.gettyimages.ca/ (images, video, music – this is the industry leader, the gold standard, and usually more expensive than anyone else)