Monday, May 23, 2011

Fotolia Review

Recently, I was given the opportunity to test out Fotolia, a Royalty-free, online stock image library. I set up an account, searched their database and began downloading images.

I was pleasantly surprised with Fotolia’s options. Fotolia has more than 12 million photographs, illustrations, vector images, and HD videos. Keywords made it easy to find relevant images. For example, I found over 5,000 photos of business meetings for a website I designed. I found more than 4,000 healthcare icons that were editable with illustration software (e.g., Adobe Illustrator). I was able to narrow these search results by using more specific keywords (meeting room, doctors, women only). When I searched for more generic terms like “business group,” I received over 50,000 choices. The photographs show diversity as well as a variety of natural and posed images, groups and individuals, and professional activities.

I love the variety, broad applications, and uniqueness of the graphics I found. Below are a few of the raster images I downloaded to use in marketing pieces.

The following are examples of some vector imagery I downloaded for a project.

Like other stock image companies, you purchase either credits or a subscription to use towards your downloads. The higher the resolution (or the more complex the vector graphic), the more credits needed to download the image. However, credits start from $0.75 each, so even high-resolution images are well priced. I downloaded several photographs for $6-8 each—an excellent value for the image quality. On a few fronts, Fotolia differentiates themselves from their competitors:
  1. Downloaded comps don’t have logos superimposed over the image. Their comps were very useful when I created my sample web layout before I bought, because there were no logos obscuring the images.
  2. Unique images. Many styles of images on this site, I have seen nowhere else.
  3. Over 100,000 video clips for web presentations.
  4. Highly competitive pricing. (Bottom line: you'll pay less here.)
  5. PowerPoint and Word plug-in to instantly add photos and videos without leaving the software. This is great way to save time while working in these packages, particularly in PowerPoint, so you can test out photographs with one click before you buy. Check it out:

I added Fotolia to my short list of online resources. I recommend you do the same. You won’t be disappointed.

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