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162 The Principles of

162 The Principles of Beautiful Web Design looking for. If you can find it quickly, and at a great price, you’ll have more time to spend on the design. Three tiers of stock photography are available: free, royalty-free, and rights-managed. Let’s look at each of these now. Free Images I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”. That idiom could be applied to just about everything, and it definitely applies to the world of stock photography. Even though there are some excellent free stock images available, somebody is still paying for the equipment and the time it takes to create those images. Why would photographers do all this for free? For the same reason a talented musician might publish free MP3s, or a team of programmers might spend time on an open source project. It’s what they love to do, it allows many more people to enjoy their work, and it’s an opportunity for their work to be noticed. Of all the free stock photography sources out there, the one with the largest collection of free images, and the one that I use most often, is Free Images, 7 pictured in Figure 5.8. Figure 5.8. Free Images, a great source of imagery Free Images has over 400,000 high-quality, user-submitted images. To ensure the quality and relevance of the gallery’s database, site moderators check each submission before it becomes available. When you’re downloading images from Free Images, be sure to check the restriction status of the image. Most images in the database are restriction-free, which means that you can use them for most personal or commercial uses. 7

Imagery 163 The size of a stock photography collection plays a big role in how useful it can be. The more photos there are for a given search term, the more likely you are to find one that’s useful. Although there are many free stock photo resources online, most of them have significantly fewer images, or the images they do have cover very specific, narrow topics. One such niche site for images is Old Book Illustrations. 8 The site has a large collection of scanned artwork and illustrations, like the image in Figure 5.9, that are all old enough to be in the public domain. You can find a list of other sources for public domain images at Wikipedia’s listing for public domain image resources. 9 If you’ve spent any time looking for the right stock image, you’ll know that finding what you need can be a frustrating experience. Figure 5.9. Image from Old Book Illustrations Sometimes you’ll spend more time searching than designing, and when it’s a client project you’re working on, you simply can’t afford to waste time. When you’re willing to pay a little for the right image, the task of finding that image becomes much easier. That’s when paid stock images, which generally come in two flavors—royalty-free and rights managed—come to the fore. Royalty-free Images Contrary to what you might think, a royalty-free image is not available for use free of charge. The term refers to the details of the image’s licensing agreement. A royalty-free image license is one that allows you to pay a single, up-front fee for an image. The payment buys you the right to use that image for other clients and projects without paying further licensing fees, known as royalties. As you can imagine, this is a popular option with designers who may need the same types of images again and again, and want to avoid the hassle of negotiating usage rights. One of the most popular places to purchase royalty-free stock photography is iStockphoto, 10 shown in Figure 5.10. While many of the larger stock photo sites only source content from professional photographers, iStockphoto makes it easy for anyone to put their photos, illustrations, even audio or video up for sale. To maintain the quality and diversity of the iStockphoto collection, the site administrators accept only high-quality images and often reject subjects on which they already have an abundance of imagery. 8 9 10

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