February 15, 2005

I don’t usually post links on here anymore since I’ve started using, but sometimes I come across a link that’s just too good to go unnoticed.

As a photography enthusiast, I’m always looking for other people’s work. I also sometimes have a need for a certain type of photo; while I was drafting prototypes for Semsym, for example, I wanted a picture of a handshake. I’m definitely not alone in my need for these sorts of pictures; the world of stock photography is devoted to that very area. Many of the major competitors like Corbis and offer royalty-free shots but require you to pay for the photos. While this is probably not that big of a deal for a large company, I was looking for something to just put on one of my small sites. The Creative Commons movement is great, too, but the searching functionality leaves a bunch to be desired. Flickr is promising due to the volume of CC-licensed images on there, but there’s a large majority of simple everyday tourist-like shots and snapshots on there.

About a year ago I had the idea for FreeShots, a public domain stock image gallery that would, quite simply, be free. Why would people put images on there? The same reason why people contribute to Wikipedia and other sites: you give and you use. People share their photography to get noticed and to allow other people to use their work; for very simple, everyday shots especially, it’s not about compensation. Compensation, in fact, may be a simple thanks or mention of the original author in the derivative work.

Enter stock.xchng, a Hungarian site that beat me by about 3 years. The site has over 117,000 stock photos available for no cost, many of which have no usage limitations (ie, are in the public domain). The site is moderated, so all new submissions must be approved before they are displayed to the public (done to maintain the quality of the images put on the site). I’ve submitted a few photos, and they’re currently pending approval. The site literally has just about anything you could ever want, and it’s used by people worldwide. It’s a wonderful resource. You might want browse my profile there to see the shots I’ve listed (if they’re approved). I intend to contribute a lot.