Free Stock Photography Tips

Read these 9 Free Stock Photography Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Stock Photography tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How can I make my newsletters and other reports more interesting?

Find Free Images For Your Desktop Publishing

What kind of stock images are out there? In a word, anything. Birthday graphics, funny animals, wedding-related images and cool fonts are just a very few of the endless sea of web sites offers their visitors. So, the next time you want to get more creative with your family photo album or yard sign, just search under: free images, royalty free graphics or free stock images and you'll discover sites like, which specializes in offering these types of images to non-professional designers.

Producing newsletters and other reports used to be handled only by professionals. But, with so many desktop publishing computer programs out there, people who need to write newsletters for their neighborhood association, design an invitation for their rotary club dinner or produce an annoucement for an upcoming party can now do so right at home and for very little cost.

What's even more exciting is, those who do not have professional design experience can now download free images off the web to make their college newsletter or family invitation more interesting and memorable.

how to I choose the right free photo?

Picking the Right Free Photo

Before you begin downloading free photos from your favorite stock photography site, you should consider just how powerful a photo can be. Photos convey not just a definable object such as a tree, house, car or telephone. They also convey feelings, concepts and abstract information to the veiwer.

If you are attracted to a particular photo, it means that camera shot caused you to feel some emotion --happy, sad, surprised, perplexed. So, you should consider what type of feeling you want to convey in your published material before you choose a photo. Then, start looking more closely at particular photos that convey that feeling or concept.

Additionally, you should pay attention to any objects in the background which may convey a different idea or feeling that you want. Once a person is drawn into a photo, they absentmindedly also take in the background. Generally speaking, the less background objects in a photo, the better.

Also, before you download a shot, think about how its impact could change if you need to enlarge, reduce or crop it. These simple edits to free photos can drastically change their overall quality and impact.

Do photos of famous people and places violate copyright rules?

Be Careful With Certain Free Photos

While it is true that stock photography sites now offer some of their photo collections for free, you should still be careful how you use certain types of images. The following are times you should use extra caution and, if you're not sure about something related to your free photo, ask questions upfront to avoid trouble later on.

*Embarrassing photos of celebrities. Famous people do give up some right to privacy by the nature of their lifestlyes, but they are often willing and financially able to sue someone who uses a shot of them that may damage their reputation. The best thing to do is avoid using this type of photo altogether.

*Photos that include a company's logo, products or trademarks. This is another type of photo you should avoid. Or, you can Photoshop the material out and still have a perfectly usable print.

*Shots of places or properties. Generally speaking, if you use a photo taken of a well-known property or place, you might be asking for trouble. Exceptions are usually the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and the like.

Reputable stock photo agencies and websites are keenly aware of these issues, so if you are a careful consumer and follow their advice, you are not likely to be faced with an unexpected lawsuit over a free photo.

How do I know which free photo to choose?

Use Free Advice From Stock Photo Sites

In addition to free graphic images and photos, many stock photo websites are filled with advice on using their photos, as well as hints on what makes a photo have a dramatic impact. It's now so easy to use free stock photos that you might be tempted to just start downloading away.

But, spend a few minutes searching through the written articles on the site. Just like photos, you can often search by subject category. Then, you'll get free advice on stock photos from professional designers, marketing experts and the photographers themselves.

If you take some of this advice into consideration, you'll choose better photos for your particular use and you may even pick up some tips for how to take better photos yourself.

How does public domain apply to free stock photos?

Photos in the Public Domain

A photo or other creative work that is considered in the public domain is one that has no copyright. That makes it free of copyright violation. Sometimes the copyright owner places the photo or artwork into the public domain; other times the copyright expires.

You may find many free photos online that are in the public domain. That means the field of use is wide open, whereas other free photos are still only available for a certain range of use. You should always know before you download a photo if it is in the public domain or not.

Also, keep in mind that images in the public domain may be used by lots of people. So that great shot you found for your blog or rotary newsletter may show up elsewhere and therefore not seem so special anymore. This is the chance you take when using a creation that has slipped into the public domain.

Why does my free stock photo look blurry?

Study Image Resolution Before You Download

It's happened many times to photo buffs downloading free images from online stock sites: They find the right image, they follow the instructions, they download it successfully and ... it looks awful. If you download a free photo and it appears grainy or blurry when you go to use it, the image resolution is the likely culprit. Image resolution refers to the number of pixels the photo has in a given area. Because of how resolution works, a photo can look good in one location, but then change once it's transferred for use elsewhere.

Are the stock shots offered online for free just a lower quality?

Free Stock Photos Are High-Quality Images

We all know the old saying: if it's free, it's likely not worth anything. The advent of free stock photography may just be the one exception to the rule. While you might think that the free stock photos are of a lesser quality than the ones people have to buy online, if a site is reputable that is simply not true.

Photographers may take as many as 50 shots of the same thing while on a client assignment. The client may only need one. That leaves a huge collection of images that have been not only professionally taken, but shot with high-quality cameras. Sometimes photographers offer some of their photos online for free because it gives them exposure. If a stock photography client buys an image for free and discovers it had a great impact, he or she might be willing to pay the photographer next time for a more exclusive use of another photo.

Once you go online and browse the countless photos offered for free on stock sites, you'll quickly discover that they are of a professional quality and composition. They are not just snapshots.

How do I search for free photos?

Searching For Free Photos

Because high-quality camera equipment is now so easy to use and affordable to own, there has been a virtual explosion of free stock photos available right on your home computer. Just search under free stock photography and you'll be amazed at how many options you have.

However, knowing a few simple ideas about searching the web for free photos will help you save lots of time, and likely, lots of frustration.

For example, let's say you like pictures of equipment. If you search under just that one word, you might get 500 photos to look at! Instead, narrow the search to "farm equipment" or "construction equipment" and you won't be as overwhelmed by too many choices.

Or, you could narrow your search even further by using these key words: "farm equipment NOT tractors." This will yield a search of all types of farm equipment, except tractors.

If you want to see photos of a snowfall at sunset, use these words: "sunset AND snowfall." Otherwise you'll have to search through all the sunsets and all the snowfall pictures to get the one you need.

If it doesn't matter when you get a water picture of a river or an ocean, use this search strategy: "river OR ocean."

By following these simple tips, you will lessen the time you spend finding photos and increase the time you spend using them. Additionally, always locate the individual search tips on a given site before you begin.

How do I find free stock photos?

Free Stock Photos Are Easy to Find

More than likely you have heard of stock photography before. Stock photos have been around for a long time and consist of large collections of professional camera shots in seemingly endless categories --people, places, landscapes, animals, celebrities, sports and business photos.

However, in the past several years a new trend has emerged in the field of stock photography. Stock photography websites now offer many of the shots they have catalogued free of charge. Usually, all you have to do is log on, register, read up on the subject, select your photo and then follow the download instructions.

While many professional designers and marketing experts choose to pay royalty fees for stock shots, people who need good photography for all types of print productions can choose to download a photo for free. However, when you do so, you are still required to read any and all legal rules that are associated with that photo.

To find free stock photos, just do a simple online search: use the keywords "free stock photo" and you'll be deluged with sites you can access. However, remember not all website companies are legitimate so exercise caution before you start downloading.

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Guru Spotlight
Linda Handiak