There’s nothing wrong with building your own website, in fact if you choose your tools carefully it is possible to create a professional looking website without spending a fortune on web designers. Services like WordPress are perfect for things like that as there’s so many great looking templates to choose from. But no matter how professional the template you choose it’s important that your website incorporates the right images to break up text and give a professional appearance.
Images for your website are important
When building your website you might be tempted to simply snap up images from Google’s image search. But just because an image has already been posted on the web doesn’t mean you are just free to use it as you wish. Somebody else took that photo, so there they still own the copyright to it, so if you did use a photo without their permission, you’d be breaking the law. It’s a mistake that many webmasters have made, including some of the national newspapers.
So, how do you find awesome imagery for your website, without having to spend an arm and a leg? Here are five things to try:
1. Search for Creative Commons images
The Creative Commons is a licensing system which lets people make their photos available for use by other individuals. There’s a wide range of images to choose from and they’re completely free. You just have to ensure you give the owner credit – make sure you check the terms for with each image you find as there are different types of licensing, some allow commercial use, some don’t. To start searching, try the search.creativecommons.org website.
2. Buy stock photography
Sometimes you do get what you pay for, and whilst there’s plenty of free photos around, finding them can be tricky so it’s often easier to spend a small amount of cash on some high quality photos than to spend hours finding the perfect free image. Websites like Shutterstock and iStockphoto are perfect for this. These sites have literally hundreds of thousands of images, most of which you can buy for just a few pounds. Expect to pay from £1 upwards for each image.
3. Use Rights-free photography
If you can’t find what you need via flickr or the creative commons search, or perhaps the licensing options confuse you then there are lots of other free photos available online. It’s always best to search on the reputable sites like stock.xchng or MorgueFile. Again it’s important to always check the usage rights of each individual image carefully. You may be required to credit the photographer, or in some instances its use maybe forbidden.
4. Seek Permission
If you’re looking for images to accompany blog posts, which are often about timely events then it’s a good idea to ask the permsission of amateur photographers, they are often willing to let their photos be used at no charge – if you ask nicely. A great way to find images is through Flickr. Once you’ve found a photo you want to use, just use Flickr’s contact option to send the photographer a message asking their permission.
5. Take your own photos
With camera technology constantly evolving, you don’t need to be a professional to capture photos that are good enough for your website. Assuming you already own a camera, this approach is pretty much free so you have nothing to lose! It holds other benefits over stock photos too, for example, do you think website visitors would prefer to see a generic image of someone answering the phone at their desk, or an actual member of your sales team at work in your office?
How do you find photos for your website? Leave a comment to let us know.