Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Word Witch Wednesday - tips for image shopping


What do you think of the new name for my Wednesday feature? I decided to change it, because there are a lot of "Wicked Wednesdays" out there. Originally I intended to talk about paranormal romance on Wednesdays, but it has grown past that. I talk about all aspects of being a writer, or rather, a word witch!

Last month I was gifted a subscription to BigStock. (Thanks, Mom!) I checked around, and they have one of the best deals for images.

Shopping for images is glorious and grueling. I spent hours upon hours looking at pictures. In the end, I was happy with what I found, and I learned a lot along the way.

Whether you're shopping images for book covers, ads, or blogs, here are five tips that can help make your job easier.

1) Know exactly what you want. Don't even go in with a vague idea, because it's easy to get click happy and buy several pretty pictures that you won't use. Use specific words and filter your image search.

2) For that image search, be aware that one word might not bring up what you want. Typing in "blonde" will get you many things along with a blonde woman. Be descriptive. "Serious blonde woman standing." You'll still get brunettes and smiling models, but the number of images will be much smaller.

Bonus tip: if you want a great moody image of a person that isn't smiling, try typing in "vogue shot" with your description.

3) Turn the safe search off. What? How naughty of me? So many images get pegged as unsafe for one reason or another, and it doesn't mean they're risque pictures. (Though, yes, some are!) You can double your search results by not having the safe search on.

4) If the site allows it, click on specific photographers and models. You might find the perfect model for your cover, but the poses that come up in the original search aren't what you want. Click on the photographer or model, and you'll usually discover many more images to choose from.

Bonus tip: I found that I was drawn to a few photographers. Take the time to check out the portfolios of ones you like. It's like finding buried treasure!

5) When you type in your search, the most popular images come up first. I have seen so many overused and familiar images. (At one point, I was certain almost every author and publisher got their images from BigStock!) Dig deep into the site. Click past those super popular images and find something you've never seen before.

Have you ever bought pictures from a stock image site? Do you have any tips to share?

30 comments:

  1. Hi Christine - interesting post and thanks for the tips ... your mother has been super kind! Enjoy the prezzie ... cheers Hilary

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  2. "Word Witch Wednesday" is such a fun name change! :)

    And how sweet of your mom to get you a BigStock subscription! Loving all these tips about shopping for images, especially the one about digging past the popular ones for something less known. (I've lost count of all the times I've come across book covers that use the same exact image!)

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  3. You certainly don't want to use an image that everyone else has used.

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  4. Love the name and really love the graphic! Great tips, especially the one about vogue shots. I would have never tried that. Thanks!

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  5. grueling is right

    My last title was the worst...how do you represent a sympathetic assassin?

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  6. Bigstock is my go to for promo pics. But I do waste plenty of time searching.

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  7. Thanks so much for this post, Christine! I'm definitely going to check out the site and keep in mind your search tips. :)

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  8. Hilary, my mom knows what her daughter really wants! ;)

    Heather, thanks! Me too about the same images. More than I ever realized!

    Alex, definitely.

    SA, thank you!

    Mac, ooh, that is a tough one.

    Cathrina, I wasted so many hours! But it's fun.

    Madeline, you're welcome. :)

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  9. I've definitely done searches to help create ideas for my cover designer, but no, I haven't purchased images personally. Great search tips!

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  10. I get my photos from footila and I hate searching through them. When I was looking for Path of Angel covers, I had to find a blond guy. All were brooding. When I had to find a black dude. All were smiling. I needed brooding for that cover too, dammit!

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  11. Good tips! I got curious and, even though my publisher will be taking care of the cover for Changers, I went poking around to see if I could find anything that fit my mental picture of my characters. Wow. So much stuff!

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  12. Some great tips that I'll definitely be borrowing :) Thank you for sharing, Christine. I love your new Wednesday title and image. Great stuff! Have a lovely week.

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  13. Awesome tips! I don't know how many hours I've managed to while away, searching for the *perfect* shot. Sometimes I've found that having the exact image I wanted in my head made me want to take up photography as I'd never find the "right" one :)

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  14. Crystal, your covers are gorgeous too! :)

    Patricia, oh, I know! It was near impossible to find one I wanted for Sedge. And then trying to find a blonde woman with glasses I liked? Nope. So poor Kinley does not get to wear glasses on her cover.

    M, hopefully you'll get some say in the cover.

    Nicola, thank you!

    Meradeth, me too! I actually picked out extra images that I loved for future books, and I'll write stories inspired by those images so I don't have to go searching for the perfect one!

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  15. Great tips! I haven't bought any stock photography yet. But most of the time, I break the rule of not knowing what I want before going in. :) At least I managed not to buy anything I won't use!

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  16. This is when being a professional photographer comes in handy. If I don't already have the image, I go take it. I even have some for sale on my personal site, although I really need to add to them.

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  17. I haven't bought any images yet, although I'm sure I will someday. Right now it's hard enough to force myself to look for free pictures for my blog posts.

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  18. I've purchased some stock photography, with plans to search for some more in the near future. And just based on what little I've done so far, I know how useful your tips are.

    It's so easy to fall down the rabbit hole of stock photo sites. Speaking of which, I haven't been on BigStock before. Can't wait to check it out.

    And I love that your mom bought you a subscription for it. Awesome!

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  19. I like the new name for your Wednesday posts. Searching for pictures is so time-consuming, but your tips will definitely help. :)

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  20. I've bought a few, and I found a few at Wikimedia commons with licenses that allowed me to tweak the images to my liking as long as I mentioned the original artist's name.

    Great tips!

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  21. Making notes! Sometimes I'm required to provide images for my freelance work and searching for free images can be grueling.

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  22. Great tips, the last one is especially good to keep in mind.

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  23. Those are great tips. I haven't shopped for images as my publisher does all my covers but so many indie authors have great cover art.

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  24. Keep in mind projects that might come up soon as well as images for holidays, specials, etc...

    I love those ads you did. Did you get the images from Bigstock?

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  25. I use Adobe stock. The nice bonus is that if I use a sample pic in photoshop and adapt the image, it'll replace the sample with the purchased pic, complete with adaptions. (Although the perfectionist in me does sometimes go back to re-do some of them to make the cover better than the mock-up.)

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  26. Word Witch Wednesday is a good name! I like it. I've never bought stock pictures, but you've offered some good tips on how to find them.

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  27. I try to generate images myself as much as possible, but there are plenty of free ones out there too. Funny what search result can come up though:)

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  28. Oh man, you are so right about all this! I've paid for my own subscription before (I think I did Adobe when they were running a sale) and bought some things to use in promo stuff. But I also search for the model I want my cover artist to use; he's cool and suggested this the first time we worked together and gave me the sites he uses, so I pick it and he buys it since he has more of an annual subscription. It's always hilarious looking through them... some are SO bad and lots of just WTF ones! Great tips.

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  29. Like the new name catchy. I like Bigstock but buy credits rather than subscription. Also, like photopn.com and morguefile.com
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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