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How to Chose Stock Photography for your Web Site

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So you've decided to take the plunge. You know that stock photography is an effective tool for your web business, but where do you start and how do you choose the stock photo that's right for you. Here are some tips to get you started so that you are happy with your choice.

1. Decide where you want to purchase your stock photography. There are large agencies and small independent photographers. While the agencies will have more to chose from and sometimes lower prices an independent photographer will offer more personalized service and opportunities for you to have custom work done, if that is what you need.

2. Don't go in expecting to find an exact image that is in your head, a large agency or an independent photographer will not have the man in a blue suit, holding a cell phone, next to the white blinds nor will they have the beach landscape with the green and white striped chair. You need to have a clear idea in your head of the message that you want to convey and search for an image that creates the message that you want. (If you want something specific you'll have to pay for a photographer to shoot to your specification.)

3. Make use of a free comp image to try out the image and make sure that it fits with your project or web design. Most stock agencies offer some sort of free comp image for position only so that you can make sure that you like what you're going to buy. Please use this option, if available, and make sure that the image is going to convey the message that you want it to.

4. Pay for what you need. Don't pay for a 300 dpi image for a web design, and don't buy a 72 dpi image for something you intend to print. Make sure that the agency or independent photographer offers at least a printable and a web version of every photo. Buy only the size image that you need for your job.

5. How much do you want to pay and for how long to you want to use the image? This comes down to royalty free or rights managed. If you don't want the chance of your competitor using the same image or you plan to use the image on or for a product you may want to look at rights managed. This will cost you more but it will lessen the chance of your competitor using the same image. Keep in mind that if you're using the image for an extended period of time you will have to pay for the use of the image every year or so. If you don't feel that your competitor using the same image is a threat or you don't have the money for rights managed photos look into royalty free photography. This product is also great if you're planning to use the images for an extended period of time.

I hope these tips help to get you started in choosing stock photography for your web site, business, or product. Remember to shop around and look for what you need. Also if an agency or photographer doesn't have what you need ask, you may be surprised how helpful they can be even for specific requests. If you have some specific question please visit my Photography Forum at: http://kellypaalphotography.com/v-web/bulletin/bb/index.php and post your question there.

About The Author

Copyright 2004 Kelly Paal

Kelly Paal is a Freelance Nature and Landscape Photographer, exhibiting nationally and internationally. Recently she started her own business Kelly Paal Photography (www.kellypaalphotography.com). She has an educational background in photography, business, and commercial art. She enjoys applying graphic design and photography principles to her web design.


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