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Monday, February 4, 2008

Don't let Poor Website Images scare away your Visitors

Before a visitor has a chance to read the first line of copy that you perfected over the last few months, chances are good that they will see an image (or ten) and judge your website accordingly. Subconsciously we favor good composition, color balance, and proper lighting in pictures-- even if you aren't a creative person. Ever wonder why your pictures from your camera never look as good as someone else's? Its usually not the camera...

In my humble opinion -- please,
never try and use your own pictures on your website unless you have some photography experience and can work your way around in Photoshop. In an effort to save money, some people will have friends or their nephew with a snazzy digital camera take some wonderful pictures for their website (SEE LEFT). Most digital camera pictures require a good amount of editing and correcting before they're worthy of a professional website.

With the price of stock photography (
Really good stock photography) as low as it is today, anyone can afford professional quality images at 20% of what it cost just five years ago. My choice website for stock photograhy is, they are one of the most well know sites out there. (SEE RIGHT) For between $3-$15 you can have an amazing royalty-free image. I have also heard good things about These low cost stock sites, often called "microstock photography," are a great place to find pictures. If you have a higher budget and are looking for hard to find or unique, check out or Adobe's Stock images. They have a diverse collection of images from professionals all over the world. Most of these images are designated as "right's managed." Both of these are excellent ways to give your website a professional look on a true small business budget.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Royalty-free Images vs Right's Managed vs Exclusive Rights

When buying stock photos, contracting a photographer, or purchasing images from events these three terms will usually come into play. Here is a brief overview of how you can purchase the right to use an image.

Royalty-free images: This simply means you can use the image over and over again, as many times as you would like, without paying any addition money (royalties) to the creator. This does not mean the image is free to use if you have not bought it. Be sure to read over the terms when buying images, as sometimes even royalty-free images can have limitations to how they can be used. These images also can be sold by the image creator to other individuals or companies for their use, so their is a chance you might run into the same image somewhere else. That is just a fair warning, I buy all three of these license types of images and I have never had a problem with royalty-free ones. Even if someone did see the image elsewhere, I would rather that happen than having a visitor leave your site due to poor quality images.

Right's Managed images: These images are ones that you purchase the right to use a certain number of uses or for a set amount of time. Many times, this allows the photography to retain some control over their image or sell the exclusive rights to it after you are done using it. This allows you to purchase higher end images at cheaper prices that buying it outright from the photographer (exclusive rights or use).

Exclusive Rights to images: This is when you are, in effect, purchasing all the copyrights to an images from its creator. This is usually very expensive and requires some kind of legal knowledge / contracts. Once you own exclusive rights to an image, no one else can use that image -- not even the original creator. You could sue the creator for using it just as if it was your original work. Buying exclusive rights to images is often times not needed, most web and basic business uses being that way. At times, when you contract photographers to photograph an event you can pay to have exclusive rights of all the images -- for a very high price.