Tips on choosing stock photos for your website or blog.

How to find great stock photos

We often get compliments on the selection of stock photos and artwork we choose for our web design projects. Many of the images we select do not look generic. There is a very good reason for that. Often, we spend hours looking through an endless assortment of stock photos and graphics to find what we think is ideal for a client's website. We are determined to find the perfect image!

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Our Stock Photo Selection Process

The images used on the home page of a website are especially important. They will promote your brand, and set the emotional tone for your website. We generally look for images that, above all, have the human touch. After all, the first response viewers will have to your website is emotional. We want to be sure that the images selected are warm and inviting, encouraging the viewer to enter the website. They must convey the right emotional message. Also, the images must be truly interesting in their own right. Most stock photography is predictable and dull, with a generic look that does not grab attention or 'tug at the heart strings.'

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Since websites are a technical communication tool, we try to make our web design feel as warm, human and tactile as possible. We do not use other websites as the standard for our design. We feel that well-designed magazines set the standard for visual presentations that encourage readers to flip through the pages. We strive for the same effect in our web design. Clear, compelling, thoughtful visuals are used throughout our websites to encourage curiosity and browsing.

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All of this requires time and effort. Finding the right photos for each web design project is a time-consuming process. Many times, our budget does not allow us to use expensive images. So we often have to search at length to find the visual 'needle in the haystack.'I will often research a variety of stock photo sources, including free sources such as which makes some images available for commercial use under the Creative Commons license. One of my favorite sources at present for images, fonts, and graphic elements is

There is no telling where the perfect image will turn up. It is not the cost of an image that makes it worthy. Many times, our best photos have come from amateurs and inexpensive stock photo sources. The key is doing the research needed to uncover the right image. That is time well spent! -Don Peterson

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How To Find Great Stock Photos