Using stock images, without breaking the bank

Although we try to use as much bespoke imagery as possible, there are times when you have to reach for stock images to get the end result you want. There’s no shame in it, we can’t be all things to everyone and we’re certainly not a photographic studio.

stock image of apples

Designing for print means getting hi-res images, and although sites such as Fotolia, Shutterstock and iStock offer a huge range of resolution choices it’s a given that the larger the res, the higher the price.  Large creative organisations probably don’t need to worry about the expense of stock images, they may even have the capability in-house to create what they need from scratch. That is not true of the vast amount of small studios and freelance designers.  Which is where Pixabay seems to serve a decent purpose. 

I recently discovered Pixabay while I was searching for a particular image I wanted. Pixabay is a source of royalty-free Creative Commons licensed images. Mostly photos, but also some illustrative / vector works. In my travels through the site, so far all of them seem to be released under the most open license: CC0 – “No Rights Reserved”, also known as Public Domain. So what’s the catch? Well, I’m not sure there is one.

The website does have ads, and search results return with a “Sponsored Images” bar along the top showing similar images from Shutterstock, so one would assume that Shutterstock have no issues with Pixabay. Let’s face it, a free site is never going to be serious competition for one of the largest stock image sites on the web.

It’s free, ergo it’s crap. Right?

Actually, no it’s not. Of course, your mileage may vary. There are many great photos and vectors on pay-per-download / subscription sites, but there are some not so good on those too. Even photography can be subjective. Pixabay seems to have a similar balance. As the methods of tagging and searching are more or less the same, it’s not hard to find the content you need. A lot will depend on how much there is of the specific thing you need. 

Stock images - whippet puppy

I even found a nice whippet puppy!

Share alike – the Spirit of Creative Commons

As we’ve been using this a bit of late, I decided it’s only right that I should give something back. We won’t be sharing anything that has been created as ‘work for hire’ as that would be a breach of trust with clients. Slowly but surely though, I intend to create content that can be downloaded, re-used and remixed under the CC0 license. There are some images that can be downloaded already, and you can find them on my profile page.

The content I upload will be limited, as there’s not much point in putting too much of the same stuff up. However, we intend to make similar images available to buy through this site in the future. Or if you see something you really like, but need it in a different way, or with transparency etc; then get in touch and let’s talk about what you need. 

stock images - painbrushes by Ninja Beaver

Need bespoke images you won’t find on stock image websites?

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Illustrator, Designer, Professional Nerd, Gamer. Slaughterer of deadlines and small scaly things. Voted person most likely to wipe the MMO group, 2016.

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