A question that gets asked alot is, "Where can I get free images to use on my site?".
It's important to consider a few things before deciding what direction you want to go for obtaining images for use.
Each option below will have various associated costs and/or availability differences in your area.
Each option will also have a variable level of overall quality you can expect in the images themselves. The main options are as follows:
- Source images online for free using the "Creative Commons" repositories.
- Source images through an online retailer / repository
- Hire / Commission a professional local photographer
- Speak with A friend / family member who loves photography
- Hire your brokerage's marketing coordinator
Option 1: Using Free Images
The most popular of options for obtaining images online for featured areas, blog posts and interior pages. Free databases are available through google search, flickr creative commons database, and a number of other online sources.
Keep in mind that an image which is completely free to utilize on your site without attribution is in general going to be an image quality which is not consistent with charging for use of the image.
In short, it means free images tend to be of a lesser quality than images which have usage rights and costs associated with them.
Recommended methods include:
A. Using the Built in Flickr-Pic-A-Pic option in your Agentfire site. Instructions available here:
B. Using an advanced search with Google:
When using this method, be sure to set the license type restrictions to images that are available for use without attribution for free on your website.
Option 2: Source Images through A Repository
Sourcing images through a repository offers some distinct advantages over creative commons database imagery. They will usually be available in larger sizes, and will nearly always be of a higher quality.
Some of the most popular image repositories online are:
Option 3: Hiring A Local Photographer
This option overall carries both the potential for best quality results, as well as the most fear involved in ordering. In any given area, there are both ameteur enthusiasts, professional artists, and actual photography companies all of which can produce high quality images of your local area, and in many cases do so at a similar cost to an image repository.
The key to making this method successful is to dedicate a minimum of about 2 hours to locating all of the available photographers that provide on demand services.
Online companies like http://www.photographercentral.com/ can help making the process of connecting with the right person a breeze.
The advantage here is you get the exact shots of the areas you want, with granular control over the results produced.
Option 4: Speak with A friend
You might be surprised to find this option outlined on our list, but we believe often there are creative solutions for nearly every goal, and the fact is that your teenage son or daughter may have a friend who loves to take photography and has the kind of spare time / interest in making a few bucks that could end up being a much better deal than option 3. Never discount creative solutions that keep your time/money invested in a goal to a minimum.
We recommend spending around 5 minutes thinking up any friends or family members who might be easily swayed by a couple of movie tickets or a basket of cookies.
Option 5: Leverage your companies Marketing Coordinator
This option of course, is only available if your brokerage is large enough to have a dedicated marketing coordinator...however - this is often one of the best ways to capture images cheaply that are of the places you do the most business in.
You could even have them take a few snapshots of an area near your listings as they are listed in each of your primary service areas. This way you don't waste any time or money in getting these images obtained easily over time.
Alternatively, you could bring your coordinator a nice lunch and see if they will just spend the afternoon for you taking some shots of the areas in question.