header templates

 Free Photo Resources

by Peter Libby

The header on your web page is usually the very first thing a visitor will see. Therefore, it is your first opportunity to impress your visitor, and to set the kind of tone that makes that visitor want to check out your entire site and purchase from you.

To accomplish this, your header has to look impressive. A well-chosen photograph can add a great deal of visual value to your header. Unless you have your own vast collection of quality photographs to select from, you will want to check out the many stock photo sites that now exist.

Below, you will find a list that I have compiled of sites that offer stock photos. Generally, the vast majority of these sites have medium to large size collections, covering a wide variety of subject matter, and most have indexes or search functions.

I have broken up my list into two categories: free image sites and fee-based image sites. While I have added a thought or two about each site to give you a little better idea what you will find there, it is up to you to explore each one. It can be a lot of fun, but the bottom line is that you alone know what kind of image you are looking for. Keep in mind that some of the sites may require that you sign up for a free membership.

Finally, it is important that you carefully read the "Terms of Use" for each site that you visit. Some sites may only allow use of their images for personal use, while others also allow commercial/corporate use (which is what you will want as your header will be on a commercial web site). Still other sites let each contributor of the images determine what kinds of usage will be allowed. When paying a fee for an image, the fee usually grants you permission to use the image freely in any way that you wish. Bottom line is: Read the Terms of Use!


FREE Photos

1. Stock Xchng - http://www.sxc.hu - A great site! They have a LOT of images and a good search engine. Their images range widely in both size and quality. Here, the contributor of the image determines the usage allowed. This site is well worth checking out.

2. Morgue File - http://www.morguefile.com - They have quite a few photos here. They are broken down into categories, but there is no search engine. The photos are generally of good quality (large size and fairly high resolution), but the range of subject matter is rather limited. Worth at least checking the list of categories to see if they might have something in the range you are looking for.

3. VisiPix - http://www.visipix.com/index.htm - They have a moderate size collection of photos. While they are not divided into categories, they do have a search engine.

4. FreeImages - http://www.freeimages/photos - A relatively small collection of photos, in a fairly small range of categories. No Search engine, just a list of categories and some with one or two sub-categories.

5. Gallery Photos - http://gal.mvc.ru - They claim to have 19,200 "high-quality" photos separated into 10 broad categories.

8. Pics 4 Learning - http://www.pics4learning.com - A very small collection (maybe 200) of photos, separated into categories.

9. Open Photo - http://openphoto.net - A pretty good collection of photos, broken down into a good selection of categories and sub-categories.

10. Image After - http://www.imageafter.com/terms.php - This site boasts over 19,000 images, from photos to textures, etc. We have not tried their search engine, but they do have one.

11. Free Foto.com - http://www.freefoto.com/index.jsp - A pretty narrow range of categories, but a good collection of photos nonetheless. They do have a search engine.

12. Gimp Savvy - Photo Archive - http://gimp-savvy.com/PHOTO-ARCHIVE - These are photos provided by NASA and the NOAA, among others. These are mainly photos taken from outer space, or weather related. Make sure you read the Terms of Use.

13. Arty art - http://www.arty.dk/photo.html - A very tiny collection of photos, but what the heck, you never know - you may just find the perfect image here.


14. iStock Photo - http://www.istockphoto.com - A great site with a large collection and a good search engine. They require you sign up for a free membership. They have online and e-mail support available. Hereís the best part, for a fee-based site, they are really inexpensive. The photos all run from $1 to $3. Thatís it; no more and no less.

15. Photos.Com - http://www.photos.com/en/index - This is a subscription site. It is well-known and has a good collection of quality images. You purchase a subscription for one month or 3, 6 or 12 months. During the term of your subscription, you can download an unlimited number of images.Has a good search engine, and support is available.

16. Hemera Images - http://hemera.com/index.jsp - This site offers a variety of ways to secure images - on CD/DVD, individual download, or by subscription. They also have a wide variety of image types - from photos to clip art, to illustrations, to their famous photo-objects, etc. Well worth checking out if you have the budget. These images can get rather pricey, but you are guaranteed they will be high-quality images.

17. FoodPix - http://www.picturearts.com/collections/foodpix.aspx - Guess what they specialize in? Thatís right, photos of food. These are stock photos and you pay for each one.

18. PictureQuest - http://www.picturequest.com - This site, and the next 3 after this one, are all high-end stock photo houses. This site actually serves as a clearing house for several stock agencies, which can save you some searching. The photos you get here will run you top dollar consistently (minimum several hundred dollars). High quality + high price.

19. Creatas - http://www.creatas.com/Default.aspx? - Stock photo agency. High quality + high price. One nice thing is that, like all high-end agencies, they have a staff of people who will do a photo search for you, for free.

20. Veer - http://www.veer.com - High-end stock agency.

21. Corbis - http://pro.corbis.com/sectionfront/RoyaltyFree.aspx - This is the grandfather of all the stock photo agencies. Vast collection and high prices.

Without a doubt, there are many more sites out there where you can get photos and other images you can use. The above are only the ones we are aware of and have used ourselves. Just be sure to check the terms for using any image, from any site. Make sure it is okay to use in a commercial situation, and check to see if you have to pay for that use, or if there are other requirements like giving the author/photographer credit for the image in your printed work where you have used the picture.

Good luck in your search for the right images. Finding the right picture will make all your efforts worthwhile.

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