If you create commercial presentations, video, pamphlets, brochures, business cards, or just about anything else that requires graphics, you will eventually need to find stock images. A lot of content producers are tempted to just go out on the web and grab a picture and pop it into a post or presentation. After all, if it is on the internet, it’s free! Right?
Photos and drawings and in some cases even clip art are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without the permission of (and payment to) the creator. No one is going to chase down a one time personal use copyright violation (for instance, grabbing a Dr Seuss illustration and dropping it into a custom birthday card for your 3 year old). But when you start publishing your work – and publishing includes posting it online – or using it in your business, it is time to follow the rules.
Small businesses simply cannot afford to pay royalties every time a photo is reproduced. In fact, most small businesses can’t track how often a photo is reproduced! And yet, that is what is required by law. So how can you use the images you need and not go bankrupt?
Stock photography has been around almost as long as photography itself. When you purchase a stock photo, you are purchasing a special license (terms vary) that allows you to use that photo without paying for every impression. The cost is usually quite reasonable and the quality can be very high.
The internet has made it easier than ever to find stock photos – as well as royalty free music, art, and video clips. iStockphoto is a great place to start your search. Their prices begin around $1.00 for lower resolution, web-ready photos and increase depending on intended use, required resolution, etc.
In future posts, I’ll show you how to find photos distributed under Creative Commons Share Alike licenses that are not only royalty free but absolutely free. And I’ll show you a treasure trove of historical photos, songs, and interviews that can be used by anyone.