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!

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2 Responses to “On iStock”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. On flickr « Natalie - November 4, 2010

    […] Nov As a continuation of my previous post, here is a brief guide to Flickr, a Yahoo-owned photo […]

  2. Natalie - November 4, 2010

    […] but definitely not least, in my exploration of stock image sites (I’ve covered flickr and iStock) is […]

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