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9 Timesaving Tips For Finding Photos That Will Make Your Projects Stand Out
By Mikelle Leow, 07 Nov 2017
The internet is essentially a whammy of information overload—it’s abundant with resources of all kinds that could leave you feeling jaded within mere minutes.
The shareability of the web also poses a risk that you could unwittingly get yourself in hot soup for downloading images that claim to be free for use.
Sourcing for images the “right” way may seem cumbersome in a world that embraces all things instant, but thanks to royalty-free image libraries like Shutterstock, you’ll be able to have quick access to numerous photos that will brighten your projects and not get you in trouble.
With these nine shortcuts, you’ll be able to make the most of your search for compelling photos. Here’s to never feeling overwhelmed via endless scrolling again.
1. Filter images by category
If you’ve only been looking up images using keywords, it’s time to give Shutterstock’s hidden new feature a try. The category tool lets you source for images via specific classifications like ‘The Arts’, ‘Food and Drink’, and ‘Celebrities’, and should hardly be underestimated—it becomes especially handy when you use words that carry more than one meaning. Think words like “test,” which could refer to a lab test, a questionnaire, or even a pregnancy test.
Say you’re extremely pressed for time and your client wants you to create an online banner for a dating event. You look up “date” on Shutterstock, but receive countless results of bowls filled with Medjool dates instead.
You then decide to click on ‘More’ in the search results page and select ‘People’ under the category tool’s dropdown menu, which eliminates images of Medjool dates and other pictures irrelevant to dating events. It’s a neat trick for when time is of essence and you have a specific “date” circled on your calendar that’s closing in.
2. ‘Tis the season to look for holiday resources smartly
It’s the festive season, and you’re keen to find more holiday-specific resources. Here’s where the category feature will come in useful again.
Using the same tool, you can refine your search to include only images tagged to the ‘Holiday’ category.
Here’s a screenshot of some search results returned from the keyword “hot cocoa” after the ‘Holiday’ category has been selected. The overall aesthetic of it is a tad more Christmassy than the example above.
3. Time not on your side? Get relevant search results, pronto
When hunger pangs kick in, you’ll likely reach for a cup of instant ramen that’s saved for a rainy day, as opposed to going to the store with a list of ingredients that could potentially lead to a kitchen nightmare.
The ‘Instant’ search feature is similar to those just-add-water noodles, except that it fixes your hunger for relevant images and is actually good for you. Shutterstock Labs has reimagined the traditional search experience to create a quicker and easier method that returns results for all of its 160 million images… with every keystroke.
With ‘Instant’, the platform gets to work each time you type a letter. There’s no need to hit ‘enter’ or wait for a new page to load. The feature also generates suggestions for keywords and images at the side, streamlining your search process entirely.
4. Explore myriads of options through color
Literally add color to your mundane work process with Shutterstock’s ‘Palette’, an exploration tool that lets you find photos, vectors, and illustrations, according to custom color schemes.
Color theory can be a little tricky and isn’t always black and white. ‘Palette’ allows you to run searches using color schemes of up to five colors—but if you’re feeling unsure, you can always use the tool’s numerous ready-to-use color palettes.
Above all, ‘Palette’ is a huge timesaver. Apart from letting you discover images based on color, you can simplify your research process by including keywords.
5. Discover the pics that make people tick
To create attention-grabbing projects, you’ll first have to know which kinds of visuals keep heads turning these days. A general way to gauge audience response is by reading up on the latest photography or graphic design trends.
According to Shutterstock’s data-backed 2017 Creative Trends, the world seems to be most captivated by “White Texture” images. People also appear to be extra choked up with nostalgia these days—vintage imagery and retro patterns are drawing more attention, too.
Don’t be too caught up with what’s in and what’s not, however. The most important thing is that your images should complement your project.
6. Let AI read your mind (sort of)
Shutterstock has recently introduced ‘Composition Aware Search’, a visual discovery tool that lets you convey the image you have in mind onto a little map and then have AI find similar pictures for you.
With ‘Composition Aware’, you can plot keywords on a canvas and shift them around where you want your subject matter to be. Want an image of a cat? Sure. Can it put on a hat? Why not?
7. Get inspired by the best of the best
At the bottom of the Shutterstock homepage, you’ll find a row of curated collections that will help ignite that creative spark. Handpicked images draw you right to the cream of the crop, so these collections will be especially useful when time might be an issue.
Shutterstock also offers invaluable bits of inspiration on its blog that span from mood board tips to social media branding advice. Here’s its post about artists and illustrators to follow—you can bookmark their pages so that you’ll have access to amazing resources all the time.
8. Edit photos in-browser and see if they “click” with your ideals
‘Shutterstock Editor’ is a powerful web-based graphic editor that helps you determine if an image works for you before you download it.
Don’t just expect the most basic features here—‘Shutterstock Editor’ offers a number of tweaking options like hue adjustments, tints, and blur effects. Presets, text options, and stickers can also help to raise the overall aesthetic of your images.
Want to know if the photo you’ve chosen will look good on social media? The tool includes a handful of presets for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more, so that you can ensure your image looks uniform across platforms.
9. Keep adding resources to your arsenal for free
Who doesn’t like freebies? Each week, Shutterstock gives away a free photo and vector. Who doesn’t like freebies? You can add these to your personal collection and use them when the situation calls for it.
The best part is that these resources are guaranteed safe to use. They come from a trusted, royalty-free image platform, and not from websites that could mistakenly tag copyrighted photos as free for personal or commercial use.
Being the largest creative marketplace, Shutterstock knows scrolling through thousands of search results isn’t the most efficient way to look for the perfect photo. With these lesser-known features that will undoubtedly make life more convenient for you, it’s now easier than ever to source picture-perfect images affordably and ethically.
This is a sponsored feature.
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