Need great photos to share online? There are a lot of different places you can get these photos. You can create them yourself. You can get them from other people. You can find them through creative ways. You can even just hire someone else to do the whole thing for you.
Here are the top four places to get photos to share online.
Place #1: Paid Stock Photo Images
Paid stock photo image sites pay professional photographers to go out into the world and upload them to their sites. These photos, once online, can then be purchased by people who want to use those images for commercial purposes.
Some of the top paid stock image sites include:
Typically, these sites work through a variable price system. The larger the image you need, the more you’ll pay. Some sites use a credit system, while other sites you simply pay a straight fee for the image.
For example, with iStockPhoto, you can pay anywhere between 3 and 15 credits for an image. A credit costs between $0.24 cents and $0.95 cents per credit, depending on whether you buy them as you go or get a monthly subscription.
Some photo sites work a little differently and incorporate aspects of social networking as well. For example, Fotolia is designed as an online social network where photographers can sell their works.
If you’re looking to work with only the highest quality images, then paying for them is the best way to go. The quality of paid stock images is usually significantly higher than the quality of free stock images.
Place #2: Free Stock Images
Free stock images are exactly what they sound like: Stock images that you can use for free. These usually come with restrictions. For example, you may be allowed to use the images for web purposes, but not for print purposes or for distribution through DVDs.
Often time’s you’ll only get lower resolution images for free and need to pay to get the higher resolution versions.
Two of the top free stock image websites are sxc.hu and Morgue File.
Most images on http://sxc.hu can be used for web purposes, as well as DVD purposes. You need to ask for permission before doing anything that constitutes redistribution, such as using the image in a web template. You also need to ask for permission before creating print on demand items like coffee mugs or T-Shirts.
http://MorgueFile.com has one of the most liberal distribution policies on the web. Any image you use may be altered, it may be redistributed and it may be copied all without attribution to Morgue File or to the photographer. The only thing you can’t do is sell the image on its own without changing anything.
Place #3: Take Your Own Image
Sometimes, to get the perfect picture, you’ve really got to do it yourself. Taking your own photographs allows you to get the exact angle, lighting and image that you’re looking for. If you’re intimidated by the idea of taking your own photographs, here are a few tips to help get you started.
Start with a blank background. If you’re trying to get a shot of a specific image, try to reduce the background distraction as much as possible.
Get close to the object. The closer you are, the crisper your image will be. Unless you have a reason to take a wider shot, get as close as possible.
Move away from the middle. One amateur mistake people make when taking photos is placing their target photo right in the middle of the picture. This is usually the worst place for the object to be. Try positioning the object to the side instead.
Get the lighting right. The lighting with have a major impact on the quality of the photo. Try to get the lighting to be diffused throughout the surface of the object. If you can’t do that, try to make the lighting look artistic. Avoid lighting in rooms that cause a color cast on the image.
Get to eye level. While you can certainly create some artistic effects by photographing from above or below, typically you want to be right at eye level when taking photos.
Have a good camera. For most web purposes, smartphone cameras will take decent but not spectacular shots. To get truly high quality photos, invest in getting a great camera.
Place #4: Hire People to Do It
You can also hire people to take photos for you. There are several different places you can go for this. One place is Morgue File’s partner, http://FotoKoi.com. The way it works is quite simple. Start by clicking “I need an image” anywhere on the site.
Then just let photographers know what kind of image you need.
Another place you can look is http://Fiverr.com. There are many photographers that’ll go out in the world and take photos for you for a mere $5.
You can easily get the perfect photo you need for between $5 and $30 on these sites.
Place #5: Creative Commons Images
There are three primary categories of licenses you’ll encounter online:
- All rights reserved (not stock photos)
- Some rights reserved (most free stock photos)
- No rights reserved (paid stock photos, but do read the terms at each site)
- Creative commons
We’ve covered the first three categories above. The last category, creative commons, bears some explaining.
Creative Commons licenses are an easy way for image creators to license their images. It’s common for CC licensors to only keep limited amounts of rights on their images. For example, they may let you distribute the images however you want, but you have to pay attribution.
There are six different kinds of creative commons licenses you can choose from. You can view these licenses on http://www.creativecommons.org.
One great place to find Creative Commons images is the WikiMedia Commons database. They have over 12.6 million images that you can use freely.
You can access this database at: http://commons.wikimedia.org
Finding the right photos you need online isn’t difficult. You now know five different ways you can do it. Whether you want to grab them for free, do them yourself, hire someone, pay for them or get Creative Commons images, you now have all the tools you need to get the perfect pictures.