In Web Design, It is important for designers to have the potential to maximise their creativity in a cost effective way, which means having maximum exposure to the FREE photo and graphic stock libraries available right now on the web. It’s just knowing where to find them that’s the quandary.
It’s too often that we find ourselves digging through the generic stock photography sites when all we really need is a bit of inspiration combined with a FREE photos from a no-strings-attached library to help guide that magic touch we look for in creating a website’s persona, theming banners, funky menus, finding the right smile portraying that happy customer for a testimonials page, merging photos when one shot doesn’t quite say it all. Again at the right price, FREE, and without a reference statement. Mmmmm.
If you know how to use photoshop, even basically, then you are going to have a dream run when visiting the following websites. sxc.hu is one of those FREE stock websites that provides free images that are basically a guided blank canvas, and combined decent resolutions, you should have no trouble knocking out something unique that hasn’t been downloaded <100 times and slapped on to the next steely website.
The next website i want to boast about is one that is almost a meta search, that trawls through some of your favourite image galleries, but with the predefined search setting “show me the photos that are free to use and alter!!”, I’m talking of course about Creative Commons and Free-use stock images. search.creativecommons.org searches your favourites like Google images and flickr and delivers stock photos with a good-to-go licence. Just a note that some creative commons licences specify you to actually reference the author, but with that said, a lot of the time, this isn’t the case, but do respect the authors wishes if so.
The final thing I want to mention as I did on a post on ExistsOnline.com, is the idea that was put forward to me by a reputable man at a web seminar. Developers and designers need to exercise their thumbs and help contribute to these libraries by taking snapshots of items and situations in everyday life and then putting them up on flickr under the creative commons licence. This would be a great thing for the Web Design community if we all took part. Whether you’ve got an iPhone, Android or something in-between, you’ve no doubt an excellent camera, and an app for easy uploads to flickr. Let’s build these libraries, it’s not hard, and I find taking photo’s to be a fun, perspective skewing, mind expanding and creative experience.