Royalty Free Photos and Videos
I’ve demonstrated multiple times that adding a photo to a site has been proven to increase the conversion rate. In addition it draws attention and keeps visitors on your pages (yes I should use photos on this blog more often as well for the same reasons).
Where do you find photos you can use?
You can of course take your own photos. Those would be free to use.
That’s not always practical though. It can take a lot of time to get the right subject, lighting, and background. So what about using photos from others.
While some might feel otherwise, you can’t simply grab and use any photo you find. Unless specifically stated otherwise, those photos are copyrighted. You have to have permission to use them in your projects.
Please note I’m not covering non-business use as that would be another subject since the majority of my readers do run for-profit businesses.
You need royalty free photos. If you produce videos, you may also want some royalty free music and stock footage for elements of the video.
Royalty free doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a charge to use. It simply means you only pay the fee once and can use the item however you’ve been licensed to use it. For example, if you purchase a photo from http://www.istockphoto.com to put on your website, you don’t have to pay based on how many people view your site. You simply pay them one fee for use of the photo for as long as you want to use it.
You can find royalty free photos, music, and videos both for free…and for a fee (there are a lot more photos available for free than audio or video).
Here are some references to get you started.
For free photos, check out: http://www.sxc.hu
They have 350,000 stock photos you can use. On their image license agreement, they state you can use the photos on websites, multimedia presentations, video, and promotional materials. You need permission if you plan to distribute photos in any type of website templates or reproductions you plan to sell.
Here are two sites that let you search for photos:
http://www.compfight.com allows you to search through flickr for items. Checkmark to look for “commercial use” right beside the “Creative Commons” near the top of the page. Please note you need to individually check each photo that you may choose for your use rights.
http://everystockphoto.com – Click on “advanced search” to the right of the page. Then there is a dropdown menu for “license.” You can see that you’re able to search all types of licenses, some where you have to give attribution such as in the credits of a video and others are completely public domain.
What about music and video?
A good place to start looking is Wikimedia Commons at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page.
You’ll often find you’re better off spending a little money to get the licenses you want.
For example, I feel everyone should have an account at http://www.istockphoto.com. You buy credits. Then you search and find whatever you need for projects you’re working on (photo or video stock footage). You’ll see a lot of images I use on my different web sales letters came directly from iStockPhoto.
For music, check out http://www.audiomicro.com. Very similar setup to iStockphoto, but it is audio instead. Great for finding music for your video productions.
Another site popular among video creators is http://digitaljuice.com. At the time of this writing they’re having a special on their stock footage DVDs (making them a very good price). I own a couple of stock footage DVD packages and I also own some of the royalty free music from them.
Good prices on video right now – http://www.digitaljuice.com/products/product_volumes.asp?pvid=10
Audio Files – http://www.digitaljuice.com/products/product_volumes.asp?pvid=8
Then finally don’t forget about eBay for purchasing royalty free music and stock footage. I wouldn’t use them for any photos as you’re better off with the above sites, but music and videos can get pricey.
Do a search for “buyout music” or “stock footage” from eBay’s main search. Here are a couple of links from my own searches:
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