Proper Use of Stock Images

It’s a scenario that happens all too often for a new business that is about to launch a website; you finished all the copy for your website but there is just one problem… you have no images to add.

Creating a website with no images is not necessarily bad but they do add a sense of balance to the site and help to draw user’s attention. Viewers want a full experience when they view a website, not just read lines of text, and the right images can create the perfect landscape to promote your brand.

Stock photography websites can provide a great resource for adding images to your website but if the wrong image is picked it can be detrimental. We live in a social world, the average person viewing your website is connected, educated and is used to interacting with others on the web. They can spot a stock image right away. Take for example business services websites. Images such as a person with a headset in a large call center or two people in business suits shaking hands are classic stock images used on multiple business websites. If the photos look to obvious, think out side the box. Positive images bring out positive emotions and using images on your website to leverage this can become a powerful tool. A perfect example is the creation of this website. When designing the latest version of our site I wanted as clean a look as possible but as the design went into the final stages I felt the layout needed additional color and images. Instead of using stock images of computers, software, etc. I added images I have photographed throughout the years of various landscapes. The images displayed creativity without saying “Hey, we use computers and design websites!”. You can be creative in your image choices to add a nice balance to your website without being generic.

If you plan on using stock photos, you need to be aware of the issues and restrictions that may be involved. There are generally 3 types of licenses for stock images- royalty free, rights managed, and extended licenses. Royalty free is the most common and affordable, rights managed offers exclusivity, and extended provides extra permissible uses. Royalty free is the most common stock image license used for web design. It means you are not required to pay a royalty each time you use an image. They are generally available under a non-transferable, non-exclusive, worldwide, multiple-use sub-license. The license is valid for the purchaser only. Additional restrictions may apply so always read the copyright carefully to understand your limitations with using the image.

Photo sharing agencies have come a long way in the past few years and new ones are coming on board everyday. Here are a few reputable sites to explore for stock images: