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6 Things Online Course Creators Need To Look for in a Free Stock Photo Site

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The issue with most stock photo sites…

Good Stock photos make our courses memorable.

It is relatively easy to find sites that serve up Free Stock Photos. But…

It’s damn hard to find Free stock photo sites that are specially suited for creating impactful training presentations. Let me tell you why.

First off, let me spell out the… 

Key difference between Photos you need for a Training Course and the photos you normally find in generic photo sharing sites:

#1 You need Photos with Substance

As a course creator, you can’t afford to use photos with ‘empty calories’ like the photos of executives shaking hands, two hands holding a globe etc.

They make your courses look tacky and you lose credibility.

Most free photo sites carry just the artsy, cute pictures uploaded by casual photographers for the use of hobby bloggers – you need to dig deeper to find the right site for training related photos. 

For training courses, you need photos that – convey concepts, evoke emotions, generate humor, and even portray visual metaphors in one place.

Example of visual metaphor used in training slides

#2 You need a wide variety of image formats

Most free photo sites offer photos with .jpg or .png extensions.

But as a course creator, you need far wider options to visualize your ideas.

You need photos, vectors, illustrations and even video clips – available all in one place.

Plus, you need those photos available in multiple dimensions. Many times , you may need them with transparent background.

You may even want them in .svg format, so you can edit those images in free software like Inkscape.

#3 You need images with Advanced Photo Effects

The very purpose of using stock photos instead of shooting them on your own is to save time.

So, the free photos should look like they are created by professionals rather than amateurs.

Plus, you want them available in large enough resolution, so that in case you want to touch them up later – you should be able to do so easily.

#4 You need photos on a variety of topics

There are sites that offer beautiful high quality photos – but on just a couple of subjects like Nature and Travel.

As a course creator, you need the site to provide you photos from different subjects and categories.

You may need pictures of working professionals, work environment, beauty, health, medicine etc. and at the same time, you need pictures of wild animals and space stations.

You need photos of real objects and sketches from imagination.

You need backgrounds, textures, text effects and so much more.

The more options you have to visualize your ideas – the more easily you can convey your message.

#5 You need a large & growing collection of photos

Many free photography websites carry photos clicked by just one person.

That limits the number of photos available for you to use and you get limited variety as well.

The photos site you need needs to have a massive collection of photos to choose from.

The images should have been contributed by a large number of contributors.

Plus, the collection should be updated constantly, so you get fresh new ways to visualize your points.

#6 You need photos with the right type of License

Using random photos from Google image search can lead you to unnecessary legal hassle. You need to have the relevant permission from the copyright holder of the photo – before you use a photo in your work.

It doesn’t matter whether you use the image for your personal work or commercial work – you can’t just pick and stick images at random.

However, when an image is categorized under ‘Creative Commons Public Domain’ dedication –  with a CC0 License – you are safe to use it the way you want in your presentations.

You don’t need to attribute the authors or the site to use the images.

There is no restriction in editing or modifying the photos even if you create slides for clients. You don’t need to ask permission.

I have seen so many sites that get you all mixed up when it comes to licenses.

They let you use certain photos for personal use and some for professional use. Some let you alter the photos and some don’t.

If you want to have peace of mind – you need the site to clearly spell out the licensing terms and the licensing should be public domain – CC0.

That is quite a demanding list of factors to look for. Right?

Would you even find one site that meets all the criteria?

No. I actually found 5 sites that meet all the above criteria and pass with flying colors.

I use these sites for all my online course creation requirements. Of course, I use a paid service as well. But, I will review that paid photo site on another article.

Do you want to know what the 5 sites are?

Watch out in this space for that article coming up next. 

Since I didn’t want this post to run too long – I posted that article on a separate page.

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