Starting the Year with Shutterstock Free Images

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It is the start of the year and Shutterstock offers a fresh collection of free images – one every week. Depending on your creative needs, you may find these images useful. Nevertheless, it is still a great idea to download them. After all, they are up for grabs, free of charge. Now, these amazing freebies each week are only available for existing members of the stock photo site. If you are not yet a member, do not let the opportunity pass and set up an account now.

  • Something fresh. The first Shutterstock free photo of the week provides a fresh feeling to start the year. It depicts a geometric image that is light to the eyes. Using pastel colors, they are eye-candy to viewers, making it a great addition to any blog or website. It will surely capture the attention of readers. It makes a wonderful header and background, giving adequate emphasis to your design.
  • Fairy tale. The free photo of the second week depicts what every girl has been dreaming of – a castle. Well, the photo is of a castle at the beach, which makes it even better. While the image may only exist in books or every little girl’s imagination, this Shutterstock photo definitely looks natural and real.
  • Away from the city.  The Shutterstock free photo for the third week presents a sweet escape from the hustle and hurry world of city life. A rural community in the middle of mountains and plains, it is the perfect addition to a website, blog or design about the beauty of living out of the city. It is the right photo to depict the perfect getaway with your friends and families.
  • I’m here! You guessed it right. The last and final free photo of the week for the month of January is a photo of a person. The image depicts a man holding his phone and looking at a far. It seems like he is talking to someone, asking where he or she is, and telling him or her that he is already at the place they are supposed to meet. You may interpret the photo in other ways. As long as it incorporates your message and not just decorate your website, blog or design, it will surely serve its purpose.

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The Shutterstock free photos of January can make the difference between an effective and nominal web design, blog or website. The images possess the necessary license to be used legally in any project for as long as you like. They are also available in various sizes – all at high resolution. You also do not have to worry about the model release of the fourth image as it is already settle. Just download them and use it wisely for your next creative project.

3 Stock Photo Websites That Changed The Game in 2015

The idea behind the stock photo industry isn’t a particularly new one: for as long as there have been photographs, businesses have wanted to use them for advertising and marketing, and photographers and other business people have found unique ways to keep entrepreneurs supplied with the imagery they need.  But the industry dynamics surrounding modern stock photo agencies are fairly new, as the development of Microstock photography as a business model has only really blossomed in this century.  Stock photography isn’t new, but the way that modern stock photo websites operate, deal with customers, and license their products is very much so a young industry.  And it’s constantly evolving.

Over the past year, the best stock photo sites have tried to push boundaries and change the way that the game is played.  Stock photo sites that cling to old ideas and don’t try to bring new products and solutions to the table likely won’t be along for too long, as the industry continues to evolve quickly and the best stock photo sites continue to innovate.  And while that will remain true in years to come, this past year has certainly seen some big and interesting innovations.  Here’s a look at some of the biggest changes in the stock photography game this year, as well as a bit about the stock photo agency most responsible for the changes.

Creative Application Integration and Adobe Stock

adobe-stock-homepageWhen Adobe launched a stock photography service this year, they had the funding and brand name reputation to deliver one of the best stock photo sites around straight out of the gate.  And when they made the choice to purchase Fotolia’s existing library in order to jump start their own stock pho offerings, they let anyone paying attention know that they would be taking the industry seriously and investing in high quality royalty free stock photos to compete.  Since their launch earlier this year, they have already carved out a niche of the industry and demonstrated that they intend to sit atop the heap of other recently founded stock photo agencies due to their knack for innovation.

Since it’s launch, Adobe Stock  has put a lot of effort into developing and marketing one very innovative feature that certainly changed the game last year: full creative application integration.  Adobe’s name is already synonymous with creativity and technology, thanks to their dominance of the professional creative software game with programs like Photoshop and Indesign.  When they launched their stock photo agency, Adobe saw an opportunity to use this existing market to sell stock photos.  And the way they have done so through app integration was definitely one of the biggest things to happen in the industry last year.

Now, any user of Adobe’s creative suite software like Photoshop and Indesign can access Adobe’s new stock photo library directly from within these popular apps.  You can edit images and complete entire projects before downloading the images used, and then pay to remove watermarks once you have a final draft that you like.  For creative designers, graphics professionals, and web developers alike, this innovation has made it easier to purchase and use stock photography directly within the apps that creative professionals already know, love, and rely on.

It will be interesting to see just how this ends up changing the game overall.  On the one hand, no other photo stock agencies have a stable of creative programs like Adobe does, and it’s not likely that say Shutterstock or iStockphoto will try to develop a software package to compete with Photoshop.  But the big emphasis that Adobe has put on marketing their images to creative professionals, instead of the traditional markets of web designers and online marketers, will definitely change the way that other agencies interact with customers going forward.  Big changes will come out of Adobe’s entry into the stock photo market, and many of them will likely stem from their innovative app integration features.

New Licensing Parameters and Shutterstock

shutterstock-licensingShutterstock is one of the biggest stock photo sites around for a reason: they have great high-quality imagery, an easy to use interface, and a lot of experience in the industry.  Beyond that, they also aren’t afraid to innovate and push the limits, and use their size as leverage to try new things and set new expectations instead of get lazy or trust in the old ways.  And this year they made a huge move that will definitely pan out to change things in a major way by changing their whole approach to licensing royalty free stock photos.

Traditionally, whenever you have purchased a photo from a stock photo agency like Shutterstock, or even downloaded free stock photos through a promotion, the terms of service of the stock photo agency you are downloading from has protected you from legal action.  But Shutterstock has done two important things that drastically improve these protections built into their royalty free stock photos licensing.

First, they have raised indemnification protections to $10,000 for standard licenses and $250,000 for extended licenses for all of their imagery.  That means that you have legal protection up to those thresholds if anything goes wrong with an image you have downloaded.  Second, they have instituted these protections on a per image rather than per user basis.  In the past, even the best stock photo agencies usually didn’t offer such high levels of protection on every single image they offered.  But now, even if you have a huge project with hundreds of images downloaded from Shutterstock, you can rest easy knowing that each and every image has unique legal protections.

Shutterstock had a lot of other big updates this year, too.  They have lifted daily download caps for their subscriptions, finally realizing that people use different amounts of images every day, and it’s impossible to plan out usage on a daily level.  They’ve made it easier to legally use images in eBooks and emails, by removing a recipient and download cap on all of their imagery.  But all of these smaller feature changes probably won’t prove to be as innovative as their new terms of service licensing agreement, and the protections it affords.

Overall, we can expect more stock photo agencies to change their terms of use and licensing metrics in favor of users in the coming months and years.  Shutterstock made huge moves to give their users more value for their dollar, with more flexible downloads and fewer limitations on how images can be used and distributed.  And their new and more generous licensing terms, especially their greatly enhanced legal protections, will definitely have a ripple effect in the stock photo industry moving forward.

Small Business Solutions and Stock Photo Secrets

small-business-solutionsWhile we may not have the international brand recognition or multi-billion dollar budgets of companies as huge as Shutterstock or Adobe, we like to think that here at StockPhotoSecrets we stay on the cutting edge of the stock photo industry.  And this year we pushed a few innovations through that had a big impact on the way that small business owners can use and relate to stock photos.

First, we have been offering a ton of great discount deals to other agencies lately to help small business owners on a budget find stock photos free or at big discounts.  Just search for “promo code” in our search box at the top of this page, and you’ll find links to lots of stock photos for free.  Even if you can only get a few free stock photos per deal, these coupons make it more affordable for small business owners to start exploring some of the bigger agencies out there.

Beside just offering great deals for other agencies, we have also been developing our own internal small business solutions, offering some great image packages through our shop.  With the $99 Club, we have made it incredibly affordable for small business owners to get access to stock photos, as anyone can get 200 downloads a year for just $99.  We have also pioneered other low volume options like this, all in the name of giving small businesses access to stock photography for prices and in quantities that make sense.

We may not be as huge of a player as Adobe or Shutterstock, but you can bet that this small business focus is getting adopted by other stock photo agencies as well.  As evidenced by the great new licensing terms that Shutterstock has offered this year, users want more flexibility, and we are proud to continue innovating flexible solutions for small business owners.

What’s Next for Stock Photography?

It’s impossible to know exactly what the future holds for the stock photo industry.  But if the big game-changing innovations this year show us anything, it’s that this a young industry open to change and innovation.  In coming years, it’s likely that free stock photos to entice smaller users, better licensing terms that provide value to customers, and more creative ways to market stock photos like Adobe’s app integration.  It will be exciting to see what the future holds, but 2015 was certainly a great year full of game-changing moves in the stock photo world.