Monday, February 20, 2012

Royalty Free Stock Photos from fotolia

Just because photos and images are on the Internet, does not mean they are free to use for whatever you want them for.  Some people get quite upset if/when you use their images without permission - even if you give them linkage and credit - so it's always a good idea to check the licensing before using.

The people at fotolia gave me a free 30-day trial subscription (5 images per day) to their site so I could try it out.  The site offers thousands, no millions of royalty free images.  The royalty-free license allows you to use images in your projects without limitations on time, the number of copies printed, or geographical location of use.

They offer two types of plans - Pay-As-You-Go and Subscription.  Anyone can sign up for a free account and begin searching for images.  They have a really great search function, and you can search for images by keyword, concept and category, color, and more - to find just the right image.  Fotolia will also suggest similar images or items in the same series, which would be especially helpful if you're doing a project and want the images to coordinate.  Save any images you like to your 'Lightbox' and organize them any way you like - perfect for finding the images you like again!

Once you're ready to buy images, decide what kind of plan you want.  The per-image cost is higher with the Pay-As-You-Go plan, but I think it's better, unless you need a lot of images.  The subscription I had was for 5 images a day, and that meant I had to go back every single day and download those 5 images, and then I had to wait until my time re-set to the next day - and go back again to download another 5 images.  I found that I did not really need that many images, and some days - even though I meant to go and download my 5 images - I just didn't get there.  They have a new monthly subscription plan that might solve that problem since they give you the whole month to download the files you want (you choose the number), and if you don't download them, they roll over to the next month. 

I did download several images during my month's subscription.  I just haven't used many of them.  I am going to keep adding images to my lightbox - because there are some great images there - and if/when I have a real need for a great royalty free image, I'll just buy some credits and do the Pay-As-You-Go thing.

If you're looking for images, be sure to check out fotolia.  If you'd like to sell some images, you can do that too.
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