When I landed my first internship I was ecstatic. My mind was filled with ideas of all the exciting and challenging projects I would work on, the designs I would make, and what I would learn.
My first exciting task was to search for perfect stock images. Woohoo. I remember spending hours poring through the stock image website trying to find various images that captured a certain spirit or feeling for a client’s website. My entire first week was pulling as many stock images as I could that fit the requirements, and it was about exciting as it sounds. However, bored as I was, I did learn a few tricks of the trade for finding just the right image for a project.
1. Take Your Time
- Now, this isn’t an excuse to spend a whole day browsing your favorite stock photography site, but it does mean you should spend more than a few minutes searching for the right image. Depending on which site you’re using, you should be able to shorten your search through a variety of filters including:
- Size-There’s nothing like finding the right image for your print ad only to see it’s only for web.
- Format-landscape, portrait, vector, photo, icons, the list goes on and on
- Image content-Maybe you’re looking for a photo with people, but only families. Wait, only families with two children, but they both have to be under 12. Oh, and they should have a dog. Starting to get the picture? Don’t get too specific or you’ll end up with no images at all.
2. Avoid Clichés
- You’re searching for that perfect image that symbolizes agreement, commitment, and dedication. Suddenly you see it: two hands shaking in agreement of a job well done. Perfect, right? Before you click download, ask yourself this:
- Does this photo look familiar?
- Have I seen it a million times before?
- Is my ad/blog/website going to look as bland as the multitude of others using the same clichéd image?
- If you answered ‘yes’, then you should find a better image.
- With such a variety of images available from a multitude of sites, there’s no reason to use the same old images that your consumers are already used to. This goes back to the first step: take some time to find an image that sets you apart.
3. Keep It Legal
- It’s easy to search Google images and pull the best picture you find, but it’s also not necessarily legal. Sure, some photographers and artists put their work online for free usage or free usage with proper accreditation, but they are not the majority. Before you start pulling all those great photos, check to see whom they belong to, what the license agreement is and if you’re allowed to use them. If not, you could end up with a cease-and-desist letter or a lawsuit.
Finding the perfect image for your project can be difficult, but with these simple steps you’ll find the right one in no time. Here are some great websites for pulling ‘legal’ stock images for you or your clients: