Stock Photography

There are several stock photography websites out there, all of which serve one purpose: to make life easier!  It would be awesome if we all had the time and ability to author our own imagery, buttons, etc. on our webpages, but the fact of the matter is that it’s impossible.  A successful website requires a team of people, each with different skill sets, working together to accomplish a single project.

A solid web development team has two main categories, the developers (programmers) and the designers (artists). The artist creates the layout and provides any visuals necessary to make the site look good.  The developer programs the site and integrates all of the visuals, as provided by the artist/designer, into the template.  Unfortunately, we all don’t have the luxury of being able to hire an artist, so this is where stock photography steps in.

I have been using stock photography for several years, my favorite site being iStockPhoto.  While having a seemingly unlimited assortment of images, it has taken some of the weight of being an artist off of my shoulders.  I still do all of the design work on my own, but when it comes to simple things I prefer purchasing stock photography instead of creating it from scratch.  For example, I recently did a fundraiser checkout form.  I wanted to give the website a “fall” theme, so I added some vector images of fall leaves throughout the site.  These high quality vector images would have taken me quite a bit of time to draw up in Illustrator, but for a few dollars off my final profit I could have them in just a few seconds.  This allowed me to continue focusing on the development aspect of the project, and not have to worry about the visual aspect.

Stock photography has the ability to make you feel like you have hired your own artist – and in a way you really have.  It also feels good to know that you are supporting talented people who need to get paid for their graphic design abilities.  I will list several stock photography sites at the bottom of this post, but if you know of more or have alternatives to stock photography, please leave a comment and let me know about it!

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