Finding appropriate Images

In my experience, this is probably one of the most energy sapping experiences i have when designing & building courses. Identifying the correct search criteria , searching through umpteen sites...the amount of time i waste endlessly searching for images to support content is mind numbing. Then..whenen you think you've found one, the cost is extortionate. (I found one earlier this week and they wanted £600 for it!)

I'm signed up for all sorts of image sites. iStock, Graphic Stock, Shutterstock, 123RF, eLearning Art, eLearning Brothers, Fotolia to name but a few but it still wastes so much of my time.

Does anyone have any tips that can help make this experience more bearable?

11 Replies
john faulkes

Howie, I guess you have tried this already but I too am registered with various image sites; I set up lightboxes on each named to reflect various projects or various categories of project. As I search through these sites I fill the lightboxes with relevant images as I encounter them.

Another thing I've done is to open browser tabs for several sites at the same time, 'remembered' the passwords and made the set of tabs my home page. Certainly Firefox allows you to do this. That way one doesn't have to log in to several of them every time.

Another thing - especially if I am drafting demos when the budget hasn't been fully agreed, I will download comp (watermarked free sample) images, to place into the project (making sure I have lightboxed them so i can get back to them again), and I can then buy them once everything is clear to proceed. I keep just one folder of all my stock photos, purchased ones and comps, so i can scan it quickly for unused ones, for any other project in concept.

I have to say that one of the unfortunate realisations is that photographers and image agencies are not stupid! They know which are the really useful images and charge appropriately.

Lastly though I would agree with you about what a pain in the neck it is, and I very much am looking forward to others' opinions on this. My own bugbear is trying to find casually dressed, ordinary looking business people working together - meetings, office huddles, interviews. eLearning Art for example has masses of great characters, but all solo.

howard pearson

Thanks John. I pretty much do all of that. I think the problem get's worse when you build a course that's on a subject that's a bit different,

Recently i've had to build one which needed an image of the aftermath of a burgled house. Couldn't find anything on that at all until someone on here said try searching using the word 'ransacked'. I found one on flickr.

Bruce Graham

Howie Pearson said:

Thanks John. I pretty much do all of that. I think the problem get's worse when you build a course that's on a subject that's a bit different,

Recently i've had to build one which needed an image of the aftermath of a burgled house. Couldn't find anything on that at all until someone on here said try searching using the word 'ransacked'. I found one on flickr.


So search on other things - concepts like "desolate", "despair", "empty".

Look for things associated with a subject is a lot easier than looking for the subject itself, and is a lot more likely to get images that are acceptable over a wider audience.

For burglary, try calling your local/national crime prevention agency, and see where THEY get their images from?

Daniel Brigham

Howie: There's always taking your own pictures. Might be a good option if you work for a large organization. Yes, it takes some time to become adept at the camera, but could save time in the end. I commiserate with you regarding the amount of time it takes to get good pictures. So many of the stock photos are bad.

howard pearson

Bruce Graham said:

Howie Pearson said:

Thanks John. I pretty much do all of that. I think the problem get's worse when you build a course that's on a subject that's a bit different,

Recently i've had to build one which needed an image of the aftermath of a burgled house. Couldn't find anything on that at all until someone on here said try searching using the word 'ransacked'. I found one on flickr.


So search on other things - concepts like "desolate", "despair", "empty".

Look for things associated with a subject is a lot easier than looking for the subject itself, and is a lot more likely to get images that are acceptable over a wider audience.

For burglary, try calling your local/national crime prevention agency, and see where THEY get their images from?


That's a good idea Bruce. I'll do that

howard pearson

Daniel Brigham said:

Howie: There's always taking your own pictures. Might be a good option if you work for a large organization. Yes, it takes some time to become adept at the camera, but could save time in the end. I commiserate with you regarding the amount of time it takes to get good pictures. So many of the stock photos are bad.


I've done that a few times Daniel.

My latest task is coming up with images to support the description of the value chain i.e. commodities, goods, services, experiences.

I'm after an image of cake making in the 70's, using cake mix in the 80's, buying cakes in the 90's and birthday party experiences in the noughties. Very challenging

Bruce Graham

Howie Pearson said:

Daniel Brigham said:

Howie: There's always taking your own pictures. Might be a good option if you work for a large organization. Yes, it takes some time to become adept at the camera, but could save time in the end. I commiserate with you regarding the amount of time it takes to get good pictures. So many of the stock photos are bad.


I've done that a few times Daniel.

My latest task is coming up with images to support the description of the value chain i.e. commodities, goods, services, experiences.

I'm after an image of cake making in the 70's, using cake mix in the 80's, buying cakes in the 90's and birthday party experiences in the noughties. Very challenging


So try searching on cooks first...

70s - fanny craddock

Googling on "Cooking cakes in the 80s" - gives a GREAT selection

You may need to start from there and figure out the copyright issues, but really simple way to start.

Rachel Barnum

My latest task is coming up with images to support the description of the value chain i.e. commodities, goods, services, experiences.

I'm after an image of cake making in the 70's, using cake mix in the 80's, buying cakes in the 90's and birthday party experiences in the noughties. Very challenging

That is incredibly specific. Why not come up with a few different ideas, take about 10-15 minutes searching each one maximum, then you come away with the one you were able to find?

Also, it's beneficial to learn some graphic design. A lot of images that seem "almost there" can be manipulated to be what you need.

Cathy Moore

I've had good luck with Bruce's technique of using emotionally-loaded words as search terms. I've also been reduced to taking photos of my own possessions and friends. And when my dog had a dramatically bloody wound and panicked and jumped all over my bed, I took a photo of the gory aftermath in case I needed a crime scene photo.

I'm considering creating people photos that could fill some voids in the market. If you'd like to tell me what you need for photos of people, please take a minute to answer this 7-question survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9Z3WKRR

Joshua Roberts

Cathy Moore said:

I've had good luck with Bruce's technique of using emotionally-loaded words as search terms. I've also been reduced to taking photos of my own possessions and friends. And when my dog had a dramatically bloody wound and panicked and jumped all over my bed, I took a photo of the gory aftermath in case I needed a crime scene photo.

I'm considering creating people photos that could fill some voids in the market. If you'd like to tell me what you need for photos of people, please take a minute to answer this 7-question survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9Z3WKRR


I really didn't know how to word a response to this - but what fantastic creativity in the face of panic! Inspiration really can come from anywhere and everywhere!

Bryan Jones

Howie,

I feel your pain. Image search time is an overlooked "cost" of eLearning development. And thanks for the mention in your original post.

Here are some ideas for when you're looking at very specific background like the burgled house. That's certainly not an image that we have. But in your wider search, sometimes you'll have better luck with looking for elements of the house vs the single "perfect picture" For example, you could probably find photos of a broken window (or other entry point). Or find a picture of a wall with a TV on it, then use Photoshop to remove the tv an show a blank wall for a before/after effect. Or, like Daniel mentioned, you could take your own photos, such as of a full jewelry box and an empty one and apply the same before/after effect. Basically, use these individual photos to tell a visual story.

Cheers!

Bryan

eLearningArt