As the primary point of contact with your customers, your website is essential to your business. Adding a blog also helps further solidify your key messages, and enhances your reputation as an industry expert. However, copyright laws can make adding images, videos or multimedia to your blog intimidating.
Don’t worry, there is a way to legally add these to your blog without running into trouble: Stock photos. Stock photo sites allow you to purchase generic, professional photos and videos legally. To save you some research time, here are the most popular sites.
HIGH QUALITY PAID:
iStock Photo is arguably the most popular stock images website. Yes, you have to create an account and pay per image, but you can purchase corporate accounts to be used by multiple computers.
Most professional designers tend to use this site, due to its variety and vast stock of media.
Like iStock Photo, Fotolia requires you to create an account or subscription. After that, you purchase credits and each image is worth a certain number of credits.
Fotolia features images, vectors, videos and logos that you can use for your website or marketing materials.
With ShutterStock, you have two payment options: pay as you go or subscription. Subscription involves paying a fee for a period of time, and getting as many as 25 images every day. This is best for larger businesses, design agencies or any company with high demand for stock images. You can also browse for free, but you must first create an account.
Like other sites, ShutterStock allows for multi-user accounts and special pricing for frequent purchasers.
The process of Getty Images is very similar to other sites, but the pricing is a bit different. After you create an account, you pay per image, and the prices are based on the size of the image and what you are using it for.
When searching for images, you can search based on your potential use of the image.
MODERATELY PRICED STOCK PHOTOS:
Dreamstime, like the aforementioned sites, requires you to create an account and pay per image. Corporate accounts are also available.
This site, however, has a very detailed search feature and a free images section. This is helpful for businesses with a small budget.
Big Stock, or Big Stock Photo, runs on a similar subscription model to ShutterStock, but at a lower price and fewer images per day. You can also purchase credit packs, which reduce the amount you pay per image and have no time limit.
123RF gives you two different subscription levels: Basic and Premium. With Basic, you get 5 images per day, and with Premium you get 26 images per day. You purchase each subscription for a given period of time.
You may also purchase pay-as-you-go credits or create an account and browse for free.
With Stock.XCHNG, all you need to do is create an account and you can download images for free. Users can also upload their own images to share with other users.
This site is owned by Getty Images.
Much like Stock.XCHNG, Stock Free Images is owned by a paid service, Dreamstime. All the content is donated by contributors from Dreamstime, allowing this service to be free.
So next time you want to add images to your blog or website, don’t fear legal issues. There are many stock imagery resources available to you, these are just a few. What is your favourite stock photo site?