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Recommended Image Libraries for Web Designers

Why you should sign up to royalty-free libraries

Do you spend hours trawling Google Images or Yahoo! Image Search to find the right photo to use on a client’s site?
I used to do that a lot.
It can be painful pulling up pages and pages of images that are too small, watermarked, poor quality or just not good enough.
And then you have the background stress of always wondering whether you’ve infringed someone else’s copyright.

If you’re a full-time web designer, I’d encourage you to get an annual subscription to something like Photos.com without delay.

Make it work for you

Once you have a subscription – use it!

Whole site designs can be built around one really great image, so get to know your resource, learn how to get the best out of the search tools, and milk it for all it’s worth!

(Personally, I started off with an annual subscription to both PhotoObjects.net, which proved a worthwhile investment, and have recently added AbleStock.com.)

My Picks

Click on the images below to check out the sites.
Try some sample searches for free.

Clipart.com

This is a great value mixed bag.
Everyone should make this pay for itself many times over.

Annual Subscription Cost: $169.95

PhotoObjects.net

A huge collection of people and things shot in studio against a white background, made available at a range of resolutions from 1 – 16MB.

Also provides PNG "clipping" masks to make it quicker & easier to cut out images.

Annual Subscription Cost: $399.95

Photos.com

A massive collection of 325,000+ very high-quality imagery.
Probably offers the ideal package for web designers.

Get this one if you can afford the $50/month outlay.
You’ll be amazed how much you use once it’s at your disposal.

Annual Subscription Cost: $599.95

Ablestock.com

Over 120,000 high-resolution photos and photo-objects (with clipping paths).

Files go up to 50MB for use in print.

Annual Subscription Cost: $699.95

About the author

Ben Hunt

Ben has over 20 years' experience in web design and marketing, and is one of the most influential figures on the subject of effective web design. He has written a bunch of books and spoken at multiple conferences internationally. In 2015, Ben created Open-Source Marketing, which promises to turn the practice of marketing upside down.. Find out more at http://opensourcemarketingproject.org