Archive | November, 2010

On Veer

4 Nov

Last, but definitely not least, in my exploration of stock image sites (I’ve covered flickr and iStock) is Veer.

Veer seems to be the best choice of the three, if you’re willing to pay up for top-notch images. It caters a lot more to creative types; along with images, they sell fonts, merchandise and even ideas.

In my opinion, the best part about this site is that they calculate the cost for you. Maybe it’s just me, but I find usage costs really confusing and time-consuming to calculate, especially if you have to it for image after image after image.

Here’s a couple more nice little features at Veer:

Right there in the sidebar, you can choose all of your advanced search options. You can choose so easily that you need a low-priced, extra-large image. It’s magnificent.

They even have almost creepily specific options for photos of people, which is great for those who need politically correct imagery (this happens often).

Just beautiful. I think I may have to start using Veer.com more often.

On flickr

4 Nov

As a continuation of my previous post, here is a brief guide to Flickr, a Yahoo-owned photo community.

So you’ve decided you don’t like spending money. The stock photos are lovely, but usage rights are both pricey and convoluted. You still need that cat picture, though. Woman’s Health magazine will not stand for anything less than a 2:1 image to text ratio.

So you check out Flickr. Maybe you’re a time-traveller from five years ago, and you still use a Yahoo account. In this case, signing up for Flickr will be easy peasy. Fortunately, though, Flickr also offers the option to let Yahoo pick through your Gmail account and speed up the sign-up process.

But to get your cat picture, a Flickr account isn’t really necessary. To get started on that, search for “cat” and get into the Advanced Search section, just like you did at iStock.

You don’t like tabby cats, so you insert “tabby” into “None of these words”. You can use photos and illustrations, so you check those off under “Search by content type”. You don’t want videos, so you select “Only photos” under “Search by media type”. Most importantly, you want free photos, so you check off “ “, “” and “Find content to modify, adapt, or build upon”.

Now you’re on your way.

(something else to consider — you can see in your search bar that it now says “cat -tabby”. Next time, if all you need to do is exclude a word or two from your search, just write “-[word]” in your search bar)

Flickr works similarly to iStock in that you can get a preview of the images before you click them, but in this case you need to click the little “i” that appears in the corner of the image — “i” is for info.

A preview will pop up along with pertinent information. Flickr offers a little bit more in that area — the previews include the author, the rights, the tags, the date taken, and the number of views, notes, comments and “faves”.

Now you’ve clicked on a photo you like, and you want the biggest version of it. In the toolbar over the photo, unfold the “Actions” dropdown menu and choose “View all sizes”.

You’ve discovered that the biggest version of this photo is only 640×480 pixels. You’re crushed. But don’t give up hope. Flickr unfortunately doesn’t offer any way for you to only see large images, but with time you will find what you need. And hey, it’s free.

On iStock

4 Nov

Like it or not, stock photos are a necessity to graphic design. Sometimes there’s just no other way of getting the photo you need. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there to help you find what you need. My first example is iStock.com. Used correctly, this site can be a great aide. Here is a brief guide to this site and some of it’s better features:

Let’s say you’re laying out an article about cats, and you need a picture to balance out the composition.

1. Go to http://www.istockphoto.com/ (of course)

2. Type “cat” into the searchbar. Unfold the dropdown menu next to the search button and click off “Photos” and “Illustrations”, because you don’t want any Audio, Video or Flash results, and you can use illustrations for the article as well. Click the search button.

3.Check out your results. Maybe you’re not satisfied with what you got, or you just want a way to narrow things down from thirty-eight thousand results. (the internet does love its cats) So you click “Advanced search” in the sidebar.

4.This menu will appear over your webpage. As you can see, there are a lot of options. For example, search by colour. Maybe you think a predominantly pink photo would suit your layout best. However, iStock doesn’t offer the shade of pink you need.

5. In this case, your best bet is to open up Photoshop and obtain the shade you need. In your case, there’s already another photo in your layout. Open up the file and use the colour picker to get the shade of pink you need; then, copy the hex number (highlighted below).

6. Paste the hex number into the advanced search.

7. You also need the image to be wider than tall. You can specify this under “Shape”.

8. While you’re at it, you think it’d be nice to have an empty space in the photo for a pullquote. Based on your design, the pullquote would work best in the lefthand side of the photo. This is where CopySpace (TM) comes in.

9. Click once on the boxes on the left to turn them green; this means that there will be empty space in that area. Click twice on the boxes on the right to turn them pink; this means that the subject of the photo will occupy the right side of the photo.

10. Click “Search Within” at the bottom of your Advanced Search menu.

Unfortunately, it appears there are no pictures the meet all of your criteria. Go back into the advanced search and clear one of the settings; in this case, CopySpace is the least necessary.

11. Now you’re getting all kinds of results.

12. If you hover your mouse over a photo, a larger version will appear as a preview, along with some basic information about the photo.

13. All of the images have little icons associated to them, to help you better identify the image type.

The first example uses a pen tool icon, and a yellow crown. This means that it is a vector image and it is “exclusive”. According to iStock, “exclusive” images are “photos and illustrations by contributors whose royalty-free stock is only available from iStockphoto and the Getty Images family of companies.”

The second example features a brown camera, which means it is part of iStock’s “Vetta Collection”. They describe this collection as “creative, hand-picked images with exceptional art direction, execution and rarity.”

14. Finally you decide that you want to go with the image of the small kitten. So you click on the thumbnail, and you are presented with pricing options for the image. Until you get it paid for, there is a placeholder image emblazoned with the iStock watermark that you can use. So now you choose the size you need, as well as how many times you need to use the image, and iStock will calculate the credit cost.

15. To purchase this image, you will need to sign up for iStock. But how do credits work? iStock offers several different payment plans; cost per credit ranges from a quarter to a dollar (USD). Choose the plan that will work for you, and you’re good to go.

Happy hunting!