Like all marketing departments, at SalesSeek we use a lot of stock photography. We’re a lean startup, which means we check and double check every dollar we spend.
Recently, trying to find some suitable images for a new project, I was pleased/disappointed that we already seemed to be using the best images available for free. There isn’t enough stock photography out there for free. We also realised that there can never be enough. So with that in mind we’ve decided to launch StockSeek as an additional free resource for marketers.
Traditional stock photography has a number of shortcomings:
1. Freedom to crop
Two things drive crop flexibility. First, the subject needs to be centered, so that by cropping, the subject can be placed top, bottom, left, right, and in addition the aspect ratio could be horizontal or vertical; panoramic, rectangular or square. Secondly, the photo needs to be of sufficient resolution to support these crops and still remain sharp. Practically speaking this means at least 1500 x 1500 pixels and preferably higher. Too many stock photos today are effectively clip art, with no further cropping aesthetically possible. This is too restrictive when used as input to the creative process.
Licenses are difficult things to manage, and whilst $50 does not sound much for a photo, if you need 6, every week for your newsletter, it soon adds up. Startups and small businesses can’t afford to spend the equivalent of a junior employee’s salary on stock photography. But neither can they afford to deal with a legal letter from a picture agency for unlicensed use.
3. Freedom to choose
Every requirement is different – sometimes subtly so, but every newsletter, every web page, every advert, has one perfect photo, just waiting to be discovered. There is no such thing as too much stock photography. And the last thing you want is to discover is that your uber-cool website shares a headline image with the local insurance broker.
To address this, we’ve launched an initiative called StockSeek. We’ve addressed all of the above points with a daily stock image shared directly on our Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest feeds. You can follow us on any of those platforms to receive updates.
1. Freedom to Crop
All of our images are at least 1500 x 1500 pixels and most are larger. Because we commission all of our photography directly we can always ensure subject in the centre to maximise your cropping options.
2. Free as in beer, free as in speech
All of our images are devoid of any license. You can use them any which way you want. For amusement, for profit. You don’t need to attribute them to us. You can claim them as your own even (but obviously that might come unstuck when people discover they are not…). Print them out on paper and burn them. Whatever. And free of any payment. They cost you nothing.
3. Freedom to choose
We are trying to put together the biggest and broadest collection of stock photos. Our focus is more on variety and volume more than quality – since that is invariably subjective and context dependent. The whole point of stock photography is that you don’t know the context.
Discoverability is a key element, and so to that end we’ve indexed the hell out of each and every photo to enable you to search via Google as you would anything else.
If you like StockSeek, then don’t thank us. Pay it forward – create some of your own stock photography and give it away free. Pixels were never meant to be chained.