Guest Author - Stephanie L. Watson
Part of great website design involves choosing graphics and photos for your website. Today, there is no reason to use clipart, which often looks unprofessional and tacky. There are very inexpensive sites where you can purchase photos to use for your websites and there are also places that allow you to use the photos free as long as you reference them. It is imperative that you read all the terms of service (TOS) guidelines from anyplace you acquire photographs. Many images that are purchased via these sites cannot be used on logos and are not able to be copyrighted by the user.
istockphoto.com -- This is one of the most popular places to download photos.. The way this site works is that you purchase credits and then you use the credits to buy the photos or graphics that you want to use. You can get the less expensive royalty free license or you can purchase an extended license. Some photos are as cheap as a dollar. You can use these photos on your website and print brochures. Read all terms before using.
dreamstime.com -- This is a smaller site where you can download images that are royalty free inexpensively. Like istockphoto.com they sell credits, and you use the credits to purchase images. You can purchase the royalty free license or you can purchase an extended use license which enables you to use them for more purposes. The site is not as intuitive as istockphoto.com, but the photos are great to use and less expensive.
Freedigitalphtos.net -- This is a site where you can get free, and low fee royalty free images. This site allows users to use their pictures for websites and do not require a sign up to use their free images. The site has a lot of advertisements for other sites on it which is distracting but you can get decent photos and images free and starting at only 3 dollars per image to use without publishing credit. Like most royalty free image sites you may not use these images on your logos.
Take them yourself -- Yes, you can take the photographs yourself. Make sure to have non-family members sign model release forms. If you plan to use them on the website or for any sort of publication signed forms are imperative. Just keep the forms on file for your protection. With today's digital cameras you can snap a picture and put it on your website five minutes later, free. Try it, it's not difficult.