Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Can't afford stock photos? Free image resources to your rescue!

Photo by Vijay Kodandaraman Bysani (CC license)

So let's say I'm writing an article for my blog or website about African Zebras. I'd really like to show people what an African Zebra looks like but a) I can't afford to go to Africa to photograph one; and b) I can't really afford to pay some fancy stock photography company several hundred dollars to use one of their images. So what should I do?

Remember when you were a kid and you learned all about "sharing"? Well, some people still believe that sharing is a great thing to do - especially when it comes to our media creations. That's right, millions of photographers, artists, musicians, filmmakers and writers all over the world are willing to share their work (with citation and attribution) for your non-commercial media publishing projects. And it goes both ways: you might need a photo of a Zebra and they might need some interesting text about Zebras. Together you create your own media resource! Newly launched "Now Public" was created to help citizen journalists find photographers to put stories together.

So are you ready to resource?

Communications expert Robin Good explains where to find the best free image resources on the web:

"Finding quality images and photos for complementing an important article, essay or news report is already quite a challenge for many. Imagine when the goal is not just too find good images, but find some that you could openly and freely use without needing to pay royalties or one-time publishing rights to someone."

Good reviews several resources including:

morgueFile http://www.morguefile.com/

PDPhoto http://pdphoto.org/

StockVaul thttp://www.stockvault.net/

OpenPhoto http://www.openphoto.net/

Flickr http://ww.flickr.com/

Ourmedia.org http://www.ourmedia.org/

And many others ...

I was surprised that Good left out Creative Commons / Common Content so I'll add it here:

Common Content features: images, movies, text and audio that feature the Creative Commons license. Learn more about Commons licenses.