What To Look Out For When Downloading Photos From a Stock Photo Site

Great photos are essential for website design. They are also attractive in blog posts. We live in a visual society. Pictures today genuinely do say a thousand words. Getting traffic onto your site and making sure people read what you have to say is possible especially when using photo gallery.

Not all bloggers and website designers are accomplished photographers. Even if they are, they don’t have access to take photographs of the scene or subject they need. This means they need to look elsewhere for good photos.

Stock photo sites are the simplest and most convenient alternatives. Using stock photos over poorly taken photographs can make or break your online success.

Using stock photography is not necessarily as simple as it sounds. Incorrect usage can get you into a pickle and ruin what you were trying to accomplish.


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Examples of the implications of using the wrong photos include

  • Getting into legal trouble because you didn’t understand and follow the regulations that govern the use of stock photos. These may vary from site to site and from photo to photo.
  • Choosing photos that don’t fit with your brand and the overall effect you want to create.
  • You might spend a lot of money on using photographs that aren’t going to do justice to your website. It’s possible you could wind up abandoning these photos and in effect losing the money you spent on them.
  • Choosing a commonly used photo will see the photo you chose popping up on a whole lot of websites and blogs. This leaves you lacking the unique look you were going for.

Tips for choosing the right stock photos

 There are ways to go about selecting the best image to suit the purpose. Stock photos are an excellent source if you follow a few basic principles:

  1. Design before choosing your stock photos and images

Selecting photographs and images before designing your website or blog is a recipe for disaster. Think of it like renovating and redecorating a room. You choose the paint and furniture first. After that, you select the artworks that will adorn your walls. Approach the website and blog design process in the same way.

Having done the design work first, you’ll have a better idea of the types of images you need. It helps you to search more specifically which makes the process of finding the best possible photos quicker. Think about the images in terms of being standalone or having graphics placed over them. These factors will help you with your search.

  1. Bear your brand in mind

Search for photos with your brand at the forefront of your mind. Any photos and images you choose must have a positive correlation with your brand. Anything that clashes with your brand will ruin the effect.

Remember that, in most cases, less is more. Bombarding your readers with too many images will make your text get lost in the chaos. It’s best to go for a small collection of photos like a photo gallery that enhance your website. Don’t confuse your readers with images and photos you like which are not related to the message you want to convey.

  1. Make the images and photos work for you

 Choosing the right photos and images is the first step in the process. Since it’s unlikely you want your readers to recognize your photos from other sites, you need to customize them.

There are different ways of customizing your photographs:

  • Manipulate the photo by adding in a picture of your product or your brand’s logo.
  • Add text related to the message you want to convey on your site to the image.
  • Crop the image. This might allow you to use it in more than one place on your site.
  • Overlay the image with a tint or color that supports your brand and logo.

The techniques described above will make the images your own without you having to take the photos yourself.

  1. Introduce SEO

Search engine optimization is an essential part of photo and image selection. If the site from where you’ve purchased the image from allows it, you can alter the caption of the photograph.

You can rename it with some SEO-friendly words and phrases that will gain you more traffic to your site. Leaving the original reference isn’t going to help you market your business. Changing it is the best way to maximize the capital you get from using the photograph or image.

  1. Introduce your images

Add a little spice and uniqueness to your site by interspersing it with some of your images in combination with stock photos. You might not be ready for a professional photo shoot for images for your website. However, it’s possible that you can take a few photos that will enhance your site and add them in.

A word of caution on the legalities of using stock photos and images

Images and photos come with usage rights. It is vital that you understand the parameters of these usage rights. Make sure these rights include usage of photos to promote your brand. Sites will also instruct you on how to credit the photographer.

Stock photo sites also prescribe how you may manipulate and customize the photos you choose. These include cropping, overlays, adding text, and using programs like Photoshop to alter them.

Purchase and download images in your name. If you’re working with a designer and they do it in their name, it’s their right to use the photos, not yours.

Keep the receipt you get till the end of a transaction to make sure you have proof of ownership. These receipts also provide a written copy of the rules and regulations.

Where to look for stock photos and images

Sites such as Getty Images and Shutterstock require payments for the use of their images. It’s important to read and understand the usage rights. They may vary from one photographer to another on the same site. That means that usage rights for one photo on Shutterstock may differ from another.

There are free sites like Unsplash, Pexels, Pixaby, and many more. Even though the photos and images are free, be sure to check the terms and conditions of use. Don’t assume that free photos can be used in any manner you like.

How to decide on the site that works best for you

It’s natural to start with stock photo libraries that are free. Bear in mind that you might not find what you’re looking for there. Don’t settle for second best if it’s not the best fit for your brand and site. Browse a large variety of sites to see what is out there.

Don’t settle for the first image that ‘sort of’ works for you. The right image is there. It’s up to you to take the time to search hard enough the right ones.

Don’t write off the paid sites. It’s there that you might find the image that you know is going to be perfect for you. The payment may make a dent in your budget. However, it’s likely that the reward will outweigh the investment risk. There is no substitute for the right photo in the proper context for the right content.


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Originally published on October 18th, 2018, updated on April 23rd, 2019
The Blog

What To Look Out For When Downloading Photos From a Stock Photo Site

by Simi time to read: 5 min