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Finding good quality, appropriate images for a site can be a challenging task. When clients have to find their own photos for their websites, sometimes I get asked what some good resources are. Here are the places I usually look for great images:
The Best Option Attempt to get as many of your own photos as possible. It is WELL WORTH the investment of resources to have good quality photos taken. These images are a gateway to allow people to see so much about who you are as a business. A photo is an instant method of communicating a great deal of information. Your customers want to see your business and products in action. Stock photos can stand out on a website and discredit it. There’s a time and a place for stock photos, but if you do have to resort to using them, avoid the types of photos that may come off as cliche or look like filler.
If you are having images shot, a lot of room around the subject of the photo (especially to the left and the right) will allow for more cropping options. This is especially useful for sites that may feature images in a wide gallery slider, where in order to fit, the top and bottom of the photo will have to be cropped. These types of photos are also more easily integrated into ad banners as well.
Secondary Resources There are very few free sources out there for high-resolution images, Stock.XCHNG is one of them. Though limited, if you are looking for something fairly simple you may find it here.
If you cannot find what you need here then you will probably need to move onto the premium stock sites. 123RF is the first one I go to because it’s a bit less expensive than the other sites and I’ve actually found a good amount of ethnic diversity in their people shots. This can be very important and sometimes tricky to find. Shutterstock and iStockPhoto are two high end sites that are going to give you great quality and a huge variety but be much more expensive. Keep in mind that if you are only planning to use the images for web, you can get away with purchasing the smaller sizes, but if you think you may want to use the image for print EVER, go ahead and spring for the large sizes.
Do not snag images from Google image searches. This could get you into copyright trouble. Do, however, use these images for ideas and brainstorming. You can create your own art from any image on the web as long as you change it enough to make it your own. This could involve taking a photo and cropping it, dropping out the color, adjusting the contrast, and isolating the subject from the background – creating a high contrast spot graphic that does not resemble the original image.
And remember to keep the highest resolution versions of all your images. You never know when you may need those pixels.