1. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Best Way to Search Image Banks for Cover Art

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by Catrin Lewis, Jan 23, 2017.

    Before you tell me "Google is your friend," let me say I've tried Google, and it hasn't helped.

    I need tips and tricks for doing efficient searches of Shutterstock and other online image banks to find the (royalty free) photo(s) I need to assemble my book cover.

    Primarily, I'm looking for a full-face view of a young woman, white, with brown eyes, late twenties, nice-looking but not glamourous, with natural makeup. I want her eyes to be open, intelligent, and alert; maybe a little wary, but not to the point of alarm or fear. The lips can be parted or closed, but I don't want a smile.

    I keep trying search terms in various orders, but I keep coming up with irrelevant results. In fact, the moment I put in "alert" I get nearly all animals (dogs, especially), and the humans I get aren't alert at all.

    What am I doing wrong? How can I do it right?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    I'd just start with broader terms, like woman, twenties, brunette (if that's the case), brown eyes, or what have you. You get a lot of results, but they tend to be more likely, in my experience, to eventually show you what you're looking for than narrowing with words like "alert," because the search depends on how the people uploading images tagged them, and they tend to tag in broad terms.

    Also, you'll want to be careful about sites online that purport to provide royalty-free stock photos. Sometimes, they really are public domain images, sometimes they're CC-licensed (which can limit what you do), and sometimes they're just flat wrong and someone has uploaded an image that isn't royalty-free at all. The fact that you got it from a site saying it is royalty-free is not a defense to copyright infringement if the site is wrong.
     
  3. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

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    That's more just to do with the search functions on sites like these not being very good, unfortunately. They tend to work through tags that have been placed on the images, and 'alert' isn't the kind of thing people tend to tag a person with. They'll use 'woman' or 'beautiful' or 'blonde', and so on. You'll probably just need to keep using general terms and hope you find one you like.

    While it's not really answering your original question, you might find these useful:

    https://pixabay.com/
    https://unsplash.com/

    They're image sites like Shutterstock, but everything on there is public domain so you won't need to pay. And unlike a lot of public domain sites, they're pretty high-quality.
     
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  4. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I would advise against using a copyright-free photo sourced in this way, in a business venture that you care about. You would be trusting that:

    - The photo was really owned by the person releasing copyright.
    - That person dealt correctly with any model release issues.

    I use photos from Wikimedia Commons on my blog all the time, but that's a no-profit blog, and if anyone complained, I would just take the photo down. And that's still not quite as safe as I'd like it. (For example, "no-profit" doesn't make me safe, I assume, just less interesting as a lawsuit target.) If you get some traction with this book, you don't want to have that sabotaged by a copyright/privacy issue.

    What to do instead? I'm not sure. You could check the prices on the pay-for stock photo sites, to make sure that they're more than you want to pay. You could research taking your own photo, recruiting a friend as a model, though then there's still a model release issue. You could dig around in books old enough to be out of copyright, seeking a line drawing. You could investigate Dover (I just discovered that there's a site called DoverPictura; I'm going to read up on their terms, because I've been wanting some specific types of copyright- royalty-free line drawings.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
  5. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    The first site, at least, specifically warns that they don't do any looking into releases by models, trademark issues, or anything else. They just say the photos are released through them under the CC0 license, but that the user has to deal with any of those other issues themselves (which may be difficult to do in many cases).
     
  6. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    So you're telling me I need to get out my watercolors? Or better still, my oil paints? I don't know; it might be faster than finding the right photo and checking out the permissions . . .
     
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    If the photo doesn't have a person in it, then there's no issue as far as those particular permissions go.

    Might be best to go to a site where you can buy a license. Those tend to have done their homework and you can get some nice ones pretty cheap. Shutterstock, I believe, warrants and represents in their license to you that they've cleared all the rights and have the ability to give you the license they say they're giving you.
     
  8. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

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    I think you're worrying over nothing with the public domain images, for the most part. Is it possible that someone's uploaded an image that's not really CC0? Sure. Is it likely? Not particularly. Pixabay's used by millions of people - if their images tended to have issues, it'd be known.

    If you want to be 100% sure you have rights to use an image, make your own. If you're happy with being 99.99999% sure, they'll do you fine.
     
  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    If just anybody can contribute an image, then I think that it is indeed extremely likely that there are some images there that are not copyright-free. One out of a hundred? One out of a thousand? One out of ten thousand? How to know?

    And from a very, very quick Googling it appears that the paid picture sites stand behind their pictures, so that you have recourse if there's a mistake. Pixabay doesn't do that.
     
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  10. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Yeah, pixabay explicitly disclaims this. They're relying on the users who upload photos to be 1) honest; and 2) right about what they think about the permissions.
     
  11. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    You may have better luck on Pinterest... type in the search field... 'vintage photos of women'.

    Btw, if you find something that catches your eye, and you want the photo turned into a vintage aquatint etching, let me know. I've spent the last six weeks off and on creating a Photoshop Action that turns my paintings into authentic etchings. It's a very dramatic look. Of course the story I'm working on is set in 1790 Paris... so the style is appropriate for the time period.:)
    Also, don't screw up on the font choice, get something special. This is where I usually go to get specialty fonts... https://creativemarket.com/fonts/display
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
  12. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Except Pinterest is not public domain images. Maybe you're talking about how to find links to sites that might have public domain images, but I wanted to mention it.
     
  13. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

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    No, they don't. But the images are checked, they're not uploaded blindly. Pixabay's a business just like Shutterstock, it's in their interest to not be claiming copyrighted images are public domain.

    As I said above, sure, there's a risk. I believe it to be so minuscule it's not really worth considering. I've lost track of the number of their images I've used, both for business and personal projects, and so far the number of legal issues I've both had and are expecting is 0. The payment for a royalty-free image in this context is insurance that's not worth it, IMO. Your mileage may, of course, vary.
     
  14. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    Knowing some Google tricks helps a lot.

    For instance, using your search terms, I typed:

    woman young blue eyes site:shutterstock.com

    The italicized bit is the most important. It allows you to narrow the search to a specific site. And Google can (most of the time) make up for deficiencies in a website's built-in search engine.

    Using the above, I got what look like (to me) some relevant results and the first hit took me here.

    Or did I miss the point you were making?
     
  15. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    As mentioned by NigeTheHat, the risk of any legal issues coming back to haunt you are just about nil. I've used photographs as reference, and incorporated them in artwork with reckless abandon for 20 years and never had a problem. I also use various image libraries and sometimes pay for stock photos... but not often and usually only when I need something at a very high resolution. It's also why I mention searching thru "vintage photographs of women", as most of those people are long since dead and beyond caring if their image is used as a book cover. Heck, they'd probably be flattered!
     
  16. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    You could try looking at :

    http://flickr.com/
    Browsing Stock Images on DeviantArt

    Where you can find pictures for free in addition to pixabay.
    At deviant art each artist asks that you leave a comment telling them that you are using their artwork/photos, as well as crediting them for the photo/art in your book. And if you search the open side of deviant art and find an artist/photographer you like, you could ask for a custom piece for a small fee.

    For flickr, I am pretty sure if you ask politely people will allow you to use their art/photos for you cover.
    Both will also allow you to narrow your search more to what you are looking for, over other stock image sites.

    Good luck, @Catrin Lewis. Hope this helps a bit. :supersmile:
     
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  17. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Nigel is talking about using a site that makes a substantial effort to ensure that the images are public domain. I disagree about the level of risk--I think it's small, he thinks it's vanishingly small--but the site is intended for the use in question.

    Pinterest is absolutely NOT assured to be copyright free, not the least little bit. Taking an image from Pinterest is asking for trouble. I've more than once seen complaints from artists about his hard it was to get Pinterest to remove their images when they were stolen.

    And we're not talking about a blog post where you can promptly remove the image. We're talking about the cover of a book, the visual at the core of marketing efforts for that book.
     

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