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Finding Web Photos and Graphics

Finding the perfect images for a website can be a huge source of inspiration to get your project on the path to completion. I've included some links for clip art resources online, but mainly I prefer to focus on searching for photos. There are literally hundreds of stock photography sites - but which ones offer the best value, especially for designers on a budget (and, let's be serious, who's not?)

Almost all of the links that follow contain royalty-free photography - there is so much selection now in royalty-free collections you are 99.9% assured of finding a shot that will work for your project. And if you search through Google you'll discover, with the new prevalence of digital cameras, there are more images online than you could possibly hope to download in a lifetime.

And I nkow, you want to know my favorite site, hmm? If you click here, you'll see what it is ...

Scenic Image Subscriptions for Stock Photography

Single Use Stock Photography

"Free" Photography Resources (make sure you read the fine print)

Clip Art

Subscription Photography (the benefit: volume & value for your money)

1.) Photos.com
I used to use Photos.com more than any other stock service. (These days I primarily use iStockPhoto {review below} but Photos.com still offers an excellent value and they just keep growing year after year.) Why is Photos.com valuable? I can download up to 250 photos per day, out of over 325,000 images and each photo is available in several sizes, from suitable web sizes up to 6" x 8" at 300 dpi. This means you can login and find an image for print work when the occasional graphic design project comes your way.

2.) ShutterStock
Where stock photography (again) meets the subscription model! Just sign up for a plan, pay one fee, and download as many images as you need. All of the photos are royalty-free and subject to a single licensing agreement. You can also submit your photography here and make $0.20 per download. Very Cool!Contains over 2,000,000 royalty-free stock photos and over 69,000 photographers contributing to the site

3.) PhotoSpin
PhotoSpin offers a nice selection of royalty-free photography. There are over 100,000 photos online, and this grows weekly. You'll find lots of photo objects here - images that are already isolated from their backgrounds and can be plopped into any file you're working on. A wonderful time-saver. You get alot of file sizes to choose from, including a super-huge one for print work, which is helpful for using the same imagery on multiple projects.

Single Use (the benefit: you pay only for the photo you want)

1.) iStockPhoto
This truly is a designer's secret so *shhhh* don't spoil it by telling your clients you just downloaded the image for their website for a dollar or two. Over two and a half million user-uploaded royalty-free images, vector-artwork and animations and growing all the time. This site has become my go-to site over last two years because I love the concept of just paying for what I need when I need it. I guarantee you'll love it here and may even find some uses for the 600 digital pics you took on your last vacation - you can upload your best shots and make a bit of cash too...

2.) Corbis
With over 2 million images online, Corbis is one of the largest stock photography services and offers a huge range of choice to the graphics, business and web industry. The link I'm sending you to above is to their BizPresenter site - you buy a value pack and save 40% or more off the cost of a single-image or template purchases. Great for web designers - after all, saving $$$ is good!

3.) FotoSearch
You can search about 100 stock agencies simultaneously at this site, including ComStock and Corbis. If you're like me, when the time pressure is on, it can be a benefit to be able to search in one spot rather than jump around to several agency sites. Prices vary based on what you buy (of course) but make sure you check out the "Freebies" section - you can often add some more stock to your collection for free with your order.

Free (or so close to free, it's not worth worrying about)

1.) StockXchng
An online community where users post photos that can be downloaded for free. Over 325,000 images online. This is a very busy site, and wait times can be long during peak hours. Just get up and stretch while your download gets started, it's good for your health - you'll have your photo before you know it!

2.) FreeImages.co.uk
About 2500 photos you'll find here that are truly free for any use, personal or commercial, searchable only by category but hey, the price is totally right. Some good links to other freebie sites on their "Links" page so be sure to check them out.

Designer's Tip: Remember, when you're on a site advertising free images, check the fine print - some are only free for non-commercial use. Be sure to understand the use restrictions on any photo you download for free or purchase.


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