Pictures speak louder than words. A smart photo conveying the main idea of an article owes 50% to a blogger’s success and his popularity among readers. It catches people’s eye and hooks them into reading the post. It also helps to find the content when somebody is searching for a certain theme on the web.
There are different sources to find creatives for a blog. The most popular ones are Google Image Search, free stock libraries, microstock and macrostock agencies. The existing image pool is impressive. Professional and amateur photographers all over the world add hundreds of photos every day. So a number of image libraries available grows at a mushroom speed. At the same time this visible vast choice is quite illusory. You can fish for a desired picture for hours before you find what you have been looking for. Images are scattered across a range of stock libraries and prices.
Photo Stock Images
The choice of a photo stock depends on your requirements and budget. If your budget is limited or zero then free photo stock libraries (Morguefile, Freephotos, Freeimages etc.) are helpful. If you put exceptional quality and exclusivity forward, macrostock agencies (Getty Images, Jupiter Images, Photos.com, iClipart.com, etc.) will suit your needs best. If your priority is a good quality at a minimal cost you should surf through microstock agency collections (iStockphoto.com, Fotolia.com, Dreamstime.com and others).
Microstock and Macrostock Agencies
The main differences between microstock and traditional (macrostock) agencies are prices, image type files available (e.g. png, jpeg, vector files etc.) and sales models (e.g. monthly/yearly subscription, pay-as-you-go or pay-per-download, etc).
Traditional stock agencies sell Rights Managed or Royalty Free Images. The prices are high because they offer high quality exclusive photos. Some macrostock agencies have subscription plans or you can buy just a pack of photos. The price depends on a number of images to be purchased.
Microstock agencies source their photos not obligatory from professional photographers. Amateur photographers can contribute to its pool and sell their pictures at a cost between $1 and $5 per photo or pack. The price depends on the desired image resolution. The larger resolution is the higher the cost will be.
Getting images for free is a great thing. But “free” often means low quality, a limited choice, poor search options. Besides it is necessary to check image license type before you download a photo to make sure that you are not violating the copyright. Moreover license policy for one and the same image can vary from a site to a site. The so-called free photos may turn out to be copyrighted. One website permits you to modify pictures and use them as you like. Other sites prohibit commercial use of the same picture, etc. Very few images are truly copyright free.
How to distinguish copyright from non-copyright photos? What tools serve to track copyright material? What restrictions and permissions exist for royalty-free image usage? What are the main image license types? We will dwell upon these questions thoroughly in further posts.