Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fotolia Review and Giveaway – your source for great images

Including images in blog posts is good for capturing your readers’ attention and curiosity. A great image gives your article a boost, creates an overall atmosphere for your post and compels your visitors to read your well-written article. Images are also good breakers for lengthy posts which entertain readers as they dig deeper in your posts. In fashion writing, images are even more important because fashionistas are interested with the visuals and graphics more than the texts, so to speak.

For instance, if you say “a red roomy leather bag with accents of pearls”, your readers would want to know through an image how exactly those pearls look against the leather.

But the question is, “where do you get great images for your posts?”

Fotolia_28515140_Subscription_XXL
Where do you get images for your blog?
Most bloggers get their photos from google. It’s been a habit of a lot of bloggers to simply include a “photo credit: google” in the photo captions or below their posts. While most bloggers get away with this, this is not entirely safe. It’s difficult to trace the source of the image and the copyright and you are at risk of getting sued. I get some of my free images from Flikr under the license of Creative Commons but at times, I get frustrated because some great images that would go perfect for my posts are labeled “All rights reserved.”

As I prepare to upgrade Creative Fashion into a professional blog with its own domain, I become more adept with the quality and the legalities of images that I’d use in my posts.

It’s a great opportunity, and perfectly in time, to be able to review Fotolia, a site for affordable royalty-free stock photos. I've been lurking around this site for a while, checking their photos and calculating my budget if how many photos I can afford. These were especially during the times when I get frustrated spending a lot of my quality time hunting for “great, free photos”. I’ve been given a one-month free subscription at Fotolia so I can write a review about my experience with the site and to host a giveaway to 25 lucky winners. Yes, a giveaway, so read on!

6 things that I love about Fotolia.com

1. You’re free of trouble

Using stock photos from Fotolia makes you sleep well at night. You need not worry about copyright infringement and possible law suits. Sleep well, darlings.

2. Every keyword that you search returns lots of great, quality photos

"skinny jeans" returned 1028 photo results
Having more than 12.7 millions of royalty free images for sale, Fotolia has photos available for almost any keyword or theme that you are looking for. I searched for “skinny jeans” for example; it gave me 1028 files to choose from.

3. You can purchase an image at Fotolia for as low as $0.27

Fotolia offers you two buying options; single purchase or subscription purchase. Single purchase of images is based on credits. One credit price varies from $1.20 down to $0.75 depending on the credit package size and image size (XS, S, M, L, XL have different prices). The minimum account refill required to make single purchases amounts to $12, which is transferred to your balance as 10 credits. You are free to spend those on any purchases within one year.

Through their cheapest subscription plan, only $199, you get 750 photos each priced at $0.27. The key here is the more you pay for your subscription plan, the cheaper the items on Fotolia will be. This is especially good if you are determined to level up your professional website for the years to come.

4. The site is easy to navigate

Fotolia is easy to navigate
After you’ve searched for your keyword, the photo results are delivered as thumbnails. If you hover your mouse over a photo, a bigger preview pops up. If its something that you’d like, you click either “add to shopping cart” or “add to your lighthouse” an organize gallery. After you’re done browsing, you can quickly navigate to your Shopping cart and choose the photos and sizes that you’d like to download.

5. You are given two options for downloading

After you’ve done chosen the images to purchase, you are given two options to download, either you directly download every single file and save them to your pc or you download all photos at once through a zip file. It takes only few minutes, at most 5, for Fotolia to convert the photos into zip file, they’ll give you a notice to check your mail for the link where you can quickly download and save the zipped files. After purchasing, you have 48 hours to download and re-download your photos or copy and paste the photos’ html before your access goes.

6. High resolution quality photos

All photos are of great quality. The highest resolution I’ve download is 4256 x 2832 and the quality is amazing, very bright and vibrant. Even the smaller resolution photos are still great. 

Fotolia's Drawbacks

1. Cost money

Unless your website is already making money, or unless you’re certain that your niche’s market is big and your affiliate programs and other income streams will start rolling soon, parting from a good $12 – the minimum credit refill – is just difficult. You might rather keep your money and wait longer until you’re capable of stock photo purchases.

2. Images can be bland and formulaic

Another draw back that I’ve found while making the best of my experience at Fotolia is that, because the photos are stock photos, they can be bland and formulaic. They’re so well-matched to business-friendly keywords like ‘skinny jeans’ or ‘fashion’ that most seem too artificial or too forced. I long for more spontaneous, free flowing photos than a stiff model showing how her rear bulges beneath skinny jeans.

Recommendations

If you’re a fashion blogger who’s serious of raising the bar for your blog, making it more professional and establishing your credibility, you must consider using some images from Fotolia if your budget allows. You better allot specific budget for stock photos that’s reasonable. You can’t always rely on Flikr or Google for free images nor can you use press release photos without advertising the product/brand for free.

If you’re writing a “How to” fashion post, e.g. “How to wear stilettos” or other themed random posts, it’s okay to use formulaic stock photos. The only time it won’t work is when you write an article like “Top ten hot skinny jeans for summer” because I doubt if you'd find all the fabulous skinny jeans you’d need for your post.

Giveaway!

The first 25 lucky bloggers to leave a comment on this post will win a promotional code which allows free download for 3 (three) quality photos of your choice at Fotolia.

To win, follow @creativefashion in twitter or become a fan in facebook and leave a comment below this post [mentioning your username] and what photos you plan to download if you win.

Good luck!

3 comments:

  1. Wow! I would like to avail some photos. I have a hard time scouting for free images that perfectly go with some of my posts. I'd love to try folotia.

    Ruth
    idebate13 at yahoo dot come

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, great find! I have been having deliberation with using photos from other site and I want my photos to be unique as much as possible. This would be an awesome give-away! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yey, great find. I have been deliberating with using images from other sites and of course it would be awesome if I get a photo that is not copyrighted.
    Thanks for the awesome giveaway.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your time and for your sweet comments. I assure to visit you back shortly. Hugs :)