With billions of cameras and mobile phones in use, more and more people realize the power of visual content. We gladly take photos when we travel, celebrate, chill – mostly for fun and rarely with any commercial thought in mind, but a sense of belonging to the world of visual transforms our reality and tunes our minds into perceiving the visual information much faster and much better than the textual information.
Partially gained and partially inherited, our responsiveness to images is skillfully used by marketers. Here are a few scientific facts:
- The global library of photographs is growing by a whopping ten percent per year.
- Content with high-quality images gets by two times more views.
- Half the customers cancel the purchase if the image of the item is missing in local search results.
And these three are only a drop in the sea of facts in favor of including images to anything you create, let alone if you are going to monetize your content. The visual trend is gaining momentum and only God knows where it will lead us. On the other hand, the competition is growing and it’s becoming tougher and tougher to stand out with your visuals – not just like that stock photo websites like Depositphotos or Focused Collection are flourishing and gaining global trust as solid platforms to source high-quality imagery.
Let’s face it: the popularity of stock photo websites means that most of us – marketers, owners of small businesses, etc. – cannot afford professional photographers. For sure we still can take shots with our smartphone cameras, but we have no chance to shoot anything but photos for sweet memories unless we have a proper camera, lighting, composition, and other necessary attributes.
For better or worse, the high price for professional photography services forces us to use stock photo websites, which are, by the way, a wonderful alternative that usually provides the same value but cheaper or even for free if you are lucky enough to succeed with your Google Images search or free stock photo repository.
But still, contrary to popular opinion, you can’t be effective in search of stock photos without any preliminary work done and knowledge gained. At least you should know what, where, and how to search, as well as you should be aware of possible pitfalls. Sounds too complex? Then let’s shed some light on these aspects!
How To Understand Whether Your Images Work For You?
Before you proceed to search for images, it might be useful to see the bigger picture: regardless of whether you are a marketer, a website owner, or a blogger, you must be interested in the impact of your images, or at least you should have a starting point. To check how many users are coming to your resource via Google Image search, open Google Analytics and navigate to Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Source/Medium -> Google images/organic.
Though there’s been no official comment from Google, it is believed that healthy Google Image traffic should account for ten to thirty percent of the overall website traffic depending on the niche, location, and target audience.
Google Images Search vs. Stock Photo Websites
Probably the first thought that popped up in your mind was like, “Why wouldn’t I just use Google Image search to get the photo I need?” Well, the trick is that though you are free to download images from Google, you can’t use them until you get permission from the owner, and this applies to all images, including ‘labeled for reuse with modification.’ Unfortunately, Google isn’t a certified image library and therefore does not establish a legal field for images it provides.
On the other hand, if you are willing to stay on the legal side of the fence, want to save time or both, you can search for images on stock websites – certified photo banks providing royalty-free images at an affordable price or even for free. Once you pay for the photo, you generally get all the right to modify, distribute, and use it for commercial purposes unless else is stated in the license agreement (make sure to peruse it beforehand). Here are the top-3 websites to start with when searching for high-quality images:
- Shutterstock. An ever-growing photobank abundant with collections of curated images and high-end photos taken by professional photographers, Shutterstock categorizes everything it employs, so you can jump to your favorite topic or collection and find the desired photo in no time. By the way, a free monthly trial offered by Shutterstock is a great way to get the hang of the repository without spending a dime. And if you love what you get, just continue with a monthly subscription starting at $49 for ten images.
- Depositphotos. The ever-growing library of 150 million items including 109 million photos and 34 million high-quality vector images is just impossible to bypass. It’s huge and affordable: ten hi-res photos are available for $9.99 only within a monthly subscription plan; 75 images would cost you $69; 750 photos or vectors of any size – $199. And if you buy an annual subscription, you pay only for ten months.
- Pixabay. Probably the best free photo stock website, Pixabay unites 1.6 million images that you can use for commercial purposes. Though the repository is not as big as Shutterstock or Depositphotos, there’s a fair chance to find decent images here unless your request is too specific. The good news is that neither permission nor credit to the author are required – just download as many shots as you need and use them to your advantage. And if you want some extra perks, visit the blog for contests and freebies such as plugins for WordPress, Photoshop, etc.
Important: Never give up. If you fail to find the wanted image, though it’s quite unlikely with those three all-star repositories, continue searching on Fotolia, Getty Images, Dreamstime, Stocksy, iStock, BigStock, 123RF, and other less known photo banks that you can discover with Google. Millions of brilliant photos are waiting for you to discover them – you just have to dig in the right place. As they say, where there’s a will there’s a way. Good luck finding your photography gems!
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