Photo Sources and Cautions You Need to Know About

26 Oct 2016

Excellent quality yet inexpensive photo sources for finding images you can use on your website and in your blog can be a challenge.  Wix provides a really good image library of free photos that has expanded quite a lot in the last year. And conveniently located in the Wix image library is a tab for browsing through images from a source called BigStock, where you can get photos for usually less than $5.


When I design a website or even write my own blogs, the Wix library is the source I look to first. But it doesn't have many pictures that work well for psychotherapy, natural healing, or intuitive topics.


Before you turn to other photo source, there is an important caution to keep in mind -- many stock photos come with restricted use terms.



Sensitive Subjects Restrictions


Almost all photo sources will have fine print that says, in essence, that their images are not permitted to be used to depict people with mental or physical ailments, suggesting substance or sexual abuse or addiction, or in a context that could be construed as defamatory. Some photo sources are more serious about enforcing this restriction than others, but it's best to be very cautious about breaking this rule.


This poses a problem for psychotherapists. I have found no definitive statement on whether showing unhappy people is more risky than showing people at the end of treatment who are happy with their outcome, although I have also never heard of any therapist having a problem with using the latter types of images.


The safest thing to do is to take your own photos and get signed released from your "models" that you can use their images on your website and blog. But this is impractical for many reasons, not the least of which are that few therapists are professional photographers, and to accomplish the subtle marketing job that photos are intended to do for you, they need to be well composed and lighted.


So that leaves us with careful use of photography on professional practice websites.



How Most Sources Price Images


It seems the lucrative thing to do for photo sources to sell download packages where a photo is rated so many credits depending on the size you need and the type of use license you have to have. You buy a package of credits, and when you download an image, your package balance is adjusted.


Some sources sell by subscription.  Images are typically sold for either a period of time -- such as 5 downloads a week / 20 downloads a month. 





This source remains my most often recommended, even though they recently changed their pricing policy to a number of downloads per a set time period strategy. If you only need one photo, contact them about a single purchase. Or ask me if I have credits left on my account with them to purchase for you. (This service is available only to clients for whom I am currently creating a Wix website, or whose Wix blog I have set up).





Another popular source is Dreamstime. They sometimes run promotional pricing or trial periods, but generally cost more than BigStock and DepositPhotos for their lovely images. 





This is a source I avoid. Not only are their photos really expensive, but they are connected to and/or offer many Getty Images, which often sues for photos used in ways they don't like. Their photos are arguably some of the best, but personally, I think they are not worth the cost and potential hassle.





One source for free photos that many website designers and bloggers use is The photo for this blog is one I got there, in fact. They are very limited in good photos of people who could represent therapy clients, though, so I wouldn't recommend them if that is what you are seeking.





I know it is tempting to swipe photos out of a Google search. This is really dangerous. Even when they aren't marked as copyrighted, they probably are. Even when they aren't labeled as coming from a photo sales point like one of those noted above, they well could be. Just because someone else has bought the image and it shows up on a Google search, doesn't mean it's free for you to take.


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Why I've Retired

It's possible this will come as a surprise to you -- it certainly has snuck on me that I'm well past retirement age. Over the last year or so, my heart has been pulled in other directions, and while I still love the creative aspects of website design, I want to use my time making a life rather than devoting my energies to making a living. So I plan to travel, attend writers' retreats, work on learning to take good iPhone photos, and just be open to where my spirit guides take me. I have also stepped back from my esoteric work for 2020, and who knows what the future holds for that.

Please see the blog post for my two Wix designers who have earned my highest recommendations for serving my client niche.

All the Best to You!