Tips to streamlined stock photo research
Hooray, the graphic design is completed & you’re ready to replace the
holder image with the real deal. Now comes the challenge of finding the
perfect image that will fit the bill, fast. There are several tricks
that could help narrow down your stock photo image search to quickly
hone in on the ideal shot.
1. Composition: If your design is web based, you might only need to view
horizontal, panoramic or vertical shots that can be cropped
horizontally. One way to search for vertical images that can be cropped
horizontally is to use the term ‘small’. An example would be to search
by ‘Hiker and small’ to find a large landscape with a person occupying a
tiny bit of the frame. If you’re looking for an image for a brochure
cover, you might need a vertical with room for copy. Most stock sites
have ‘Copy Space’ as an option within their search function options. If
they don’t, try typing ‘Copy Space’ along with your search, such as
‘Hiker and Copy Space’, as they may have it as a keyword.
©copyright 2015 Alisa Steck.
2. Keyword search: After searching through 10 pages of images, you might
be thinking, ‘this shot must exist, where the heck is it?’. An image
might be lurking just under your radar, but you’ll need to apply the
right set of keywords to find it. Say you’re searching for a simple shot
of breakfast. Remember, breakfast foods vary by region, so you’ll end up
with thousands of image returns by just searching ‘Breakfast’. It helps
to think about exactly what you’re looking for. You can try searching
‘English Breakfast’, ‘Comfort Food’ or by specific food ingredients such
as ‘Fried Eggs’. Or, you might want to focus on farm fresh eggs and
search by ‘Hand holding eggs’.
3. Color palette: Keep your color palette in mind to help narrow down
your search. Luckily, a few stock sites have the option of searching
with a color picker. For example, if you’re looking for an image that
conveys Autumn, you can choose an orange color or even type a HEX number
that’s within your palette. Istockphoto
has a very precise color tool for this purpose.
Corbis has a tool as well, although it’s
more limited in it’s color selection. If the site you’re using does not
have a color picker tool, try using the color as a keyword.
4. Cost: By knowing your budget limitations, you will be able to narrow
down images to only the ones which will come within your price range.
Royalty Free and Microstock are licensed by size, while Rights Managed
is by usage. This comes in super handy for managing budgets where there
will be multiple images used, such as on a website. The purse strings
can be tightened on smaller sized contextual images, while you splurge
on images for the more important header pages.
5. Rights: Determine how unique an image needs to be. When selecting an
image for an important usage, such as a magazine cover or website home
page, consider going with a Rights Managed image. Rights Managed images
tend to have a higher production value and thus a higher price point,
reducing visual over saturation in the market. The images are licensed
by usage (such as web, print, etc.), size, placement and duration. If
uniqueness of the image usage is not critical, Royalty Free and
Microstock might be the way to go. They offer professional quality
imagery at an affordable price point. Both Royalty Free and Microstock
are priced by file size with a one-time fee.
Article by Alisa Steck. Originally published on Visual Connections