June 21, 2011

Fotolia - Looking Good!

I've been playing in Fotolia.com for about a week now. And I'm loving it!

Fotolia has approximately 13 million royalty free images, illustrations and videos available for download. You can use the downloaded images in all print, electronic, online materials and webpages and there are no royalty fees to pay.

Most images can be bought for about $1.20 to $4.00 per image, or less if you buy in bulk. Pricing varies as it depends on how many credits you buy. The more credits you purchase, the less cost to you per image. Fotolia states that you can purchase photos for as little as 14 cents and I assume this is when you purchase credits in bulk.  One credit costs $1.20 (U.S.) and the minimum purchase is 10 credits ($12.00). The Fotolia FAQ page explains all of this quite well.

I used their basic search box to search for keywords, such as genealogy and history. What impressed me was the professional quality of the images that came up in the results pages. The specific keyword genealogy brought up just over 200 "hits" but by changing the keyword slightly (family tree, ancestry and others) I was able to generate many choices.

It didn't take me long to realize I could generate even more results by being creative in my searches and I began using such terms as Grandmother, children, grandmother books child....

There is also an advanced search feature which I really like. Here you choose from a broad topic, then you are given a drop down list of sub-categories within that topic. This drilling down goes on for some time and anywhere along the way you can stop and enter a keyword if you wish, then search.

As an example I used the representative category "People" Then I chose the sub-category of "on location" At the next drop-down list I chose "house" then in the keyword box I typed "grandmother and child" That gave me very specific images that I downloaded for an article I am working on.

I also tried a conceptual category such as Emotions &Feelings, then Happiness and then Pleasure and then used the same keywords. That gave me different images which also fit what I'm trying to portray in my article.

I could also have searched by clicking on a tag (keyword) and browsing. 

There are so many ways Fotolia could be beneficial to bloggers and genealogists in particular. Find and download stock images for blog posts - readers love photos and sometimes it's difficult to take one yourself. 

For those  who are writers and work on family history books or genealogy books in general, Fotolia provides a way to acquire professional royalty-free images to illustrate your work.

Downloading an image is quick and easy. You can either put it in your Lightbox to save it for later. Lightbox has unlimited storage. You can add it to your shopping cart until you have several chosen. Or you can check out one image at a time. You choose your licence, either credit or subscription and whatever licence fits your needs, then you accept the terms and download to your computer. It's much faster to do than for me to explain it.

I found something I think is really cool and that's the ability to see what images you have already purchased! I found after a few days I forgot what I had already downloaded. But clicking on "My Files" brought up a list of all my images. It also showed me which ones had expired and which ones were still available if I needed to download them again. You have a 72 hour period in which you can download purchased images. 

Fotolia also offers free images and if you like them on Facebook it's fast and easy to find those images. You also get a few extra by becoming a fan of their Facebook page.

An aspiring photographer can also sell images on Fotolia and if you are interested in that aspect you will want to read their explanatory page on selling your photographs

There is more to be discovered at Fotolia but this is what I've found so far. I'm impressed and I plan to keep on looking around and downloading! I also have some exciting news about an opportunity for one lucky reader of my Olive Tree Genealogy Blog to win a two week subscription to Fotolia.... so be sure to watch for the blog post about this in a few days.

Disclaimer: Fotolia approached me and asked if I would review their site. They have not paid me to write this review but they did provide me with a one month subscription so that I could explore the site and its options thoroughly.

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