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September 20, 2015

How to Find Photos For Digital Projects

If you’re like most of our clients, you’ll be finding photos for your elearning project or website at some point. When you need photos like:

  • Generic People Shots
  • Landscapes
  • Abstract Patterns
  • Nature Photography

Stock photo sites can be a better option than shooting these photos yourself. You’ll want to make sure the quality is high, but you might not want to incur the expense of hiring a photographer.

Free Sites

To get you started, here are a few free sites:

stock.xchng

Free Images

Free Digital Photos

You might also try searching Flickr for Creative Commons licensed content, where you can use the image, provided that you use the ‘Share’ function on Flickr so that a link goes back to the photographer. That way, he knows who has used his work and gets credit fr it.. Go to Flickr and select Advanced Search, then choose “. If you are using the image commercially, also check ““, and if you want to modify the image, check “Find content to modify, adapt, or build upon.” When you find an image you like, click the ‘Share’ button above it and use the HTML code to embed the photo on your site.

Of course, the quality of these photos isn’t always the best, and there’s no guarantee that you will find an image you like, so another option might be to look at paid stock sites. There tends to be higher quality images here, but there are costs involved. Most stock sites work on a credit system, where you purchase a package of credits and each photo is assigned a credit value. You’ll often find that multiple versions of the same photo are available, from a small photo with a low resolution, which would be suited for placement in a brochure or as a supplementary image on a website, to a large photo with a high resolution, which is what you will need if you plan to print a wall-size poster, for example.

Be aware that the price of an image is often directly related to the perceived quality of it. Well-lit images with generic imagery that would suit a variety of uses will command a higher coin.  If you look at the image and think that it would make a nice wall print, chances are it has a high price tag!

Paid Sites

Here are some paid stock sites to get you started

Fotolia

iStockPhoto

FotoSearch

Corbis Images

Getty Images

Taking Your Own Photo

Your third option is to take the photos yourself. While this might not be ideal in all cases, if you know what you want, and you can recreate the scene you’re looking for, it might work for you. When taking your own photos, using a high-resolution DSLR camera with a quality lens will produce photos that give you the most flexibility. Set up using a tripod (low-cost and highly flexible ones like GorillaPod are a handy option). Consider the light when you take a photo – be aware of where shadows are falling, and don’t shoot against a bright background if you can avoid it, as your subject will be very dark. Some of this can be corrected in software like Photoshop, but don’t rely on this – make sure you get the best photo you can the first time. If you are taking photos with people in them, and the person(s) in your photo could be identified, please be sure to ask their permission to use the photo.

Ownership

The resources we’ve provided here are all going to give you images that you are legally allowed to use in your marketing material. But, time, and time again, we’ve come across people who have used Google Images or grabbed a photo that they like off another website. These people are stealing someone else’s work. Please don’t be like them! Just because a photo is online somewhere, doesn’t give you (or anyone else) the right to use it. Unless you can be 100% sure who the photo belongs to, and have asked them directly for permission, please don’t take photos from Google Images or other websites to use in your own material. It’s immoral, and it can land you in legal hot water.

We hope some of these resources will help you find what you need for your next project. How do you find photography for your elearning projects? Let us know in the comments.