Icons, Stock Images, and Photo Editors, Oh My
In the world of Facebook contests, content can be a huge barrier for small businesses. Unique photos and customized buttons are a great way to differentiate your page from the other guy’s, but how do you get that content? You could hire a graphic designer and photographer focused on content generation, but say you need content right now. To make things simple, we’ve created a list of some icon, stock image, and photo editing sites that are super easy to use and will help you create gorgeous visual content.
At Heyo, many of our widgets allow you the opportunity to customize the button image. Unless you have a ready made stock of icons, however, customization can be difficult. The following sites have free and paid access to icons made by graphic artists around the world.
Iconmonstr is a one-man graphic design team out of Germany. The site currently has 2300 icons, searchable by keyword, ready to download and use on your site. All images are black and white, simple, and free to use. All icons on this site are licensed under a creative commons license; the specifics of the licensing agreement are under the license tab at the bottom of the web page.
Iconfinder is a search engine and icon aggregate with an extensive icon library. They offer high quality icons of both the free and paid variety, as well as free and paid sets of icons (so that you don’t need to create a set icon by icon.)
For each icon make sure you read the license provided. The license will tell you exactly what rights you have to the icon once downloaded or purchased, and what things you may have to do. (E.g. If the icon is licensed as Creative Commons Share-Alike, you may have to credit the artist and use the icon under a similar license.)
Pro Tip: When using icons or images in the Heyo editor, it is best to download the images to your computer or server and then upload them into the campaign editor. Linking directly to the image can cause problems as browsers block “mixed content” by default. This means that, if your image is located at a url that starts with HTTP, it will not display on Facebook (because they use HTTPS). Uploading the images from your computer is the best way to avoid this issue.
Do you need a picture of generic businessmen? What about a picture that you can turn into a simple banner image? Stock images are the best way to gather images short of taking the photos yourself. Below are some of the best sites to get royalty free stock images for your site.
iStock is a site run by Getty Images that provides royalty-free stock images on a credit-based purchasing system. You purchase credits in groups, and use those credits to purchase images. Images can be searched by credit price. iStock’s library is fairly large, so weather you are looking for a simple graphic or a picture for your campaign, you can find it here.
Dreamstime has both a free and paid, royalty-free stock image library. Free images can be found using the “Free Image” search filter; be sure to read the licensing on free images. Otherwise, dreamstime uses a credit system for image downloads, or you can get a time-based subscription to the site. Time-based subscriptions run from one week to 12 months.
Shutterstock is a royalty-free stock image aggregate that provides stock images for 6 different pricing packages. You are free to browse for images – in order to download images, you need both an account and a paid package. You can purchase images based on the number you require (2 images to 25 images), or purchase a monthly or yearly packages.
Do you want to add text or other graphics to a picture? What about cropping or color correcting a photo? Below are some of our favorite photo editors – most of which are free to use in browser, with a paid upgrade option if the free features aren’t exactly what you are looking for.
Pixlr is a free online photo editor run by AutoDesk. They offer three photo editing tools with varying learning curves; Pixlr Editor operates most like photoshop, for instance, while Pixlr Express offers less flexibility in favor of speed. Depending on your needs, you’ll need to select a different editor. Pixlr also allows you to save images directly to your computer once you are done editing.
With simple, easy to use express tools and more complex, photoshop-like options, Pixlr is a one stop shop for photo editing.
PicMonkey is a free, browser based photo editor that offers a “Royale” upgrade with access to a larger array of options, as well as ‘ads free’ access to the site. It uses a simple, click-to-add effect list, which is easy to pick up and use the first time you log in. Any “Royale” effects are usable from the basic editor, but only as a preview; they are marked with a crown, and will be removed when you save the image.
PicMonkey is easy to use, though much improved with a Royale subscription, as most of the ‘advanced’ tools and filters are unavailable to basic users.
Sumopaint comes in both free and paid varieties, and can be used in-browser. The app itself is modeled after Photoshop, and has a similar learning curve. The free version of Sumopaint offers basic photo editing tools; if you need more advanced tools, you will need to pay for Pro use. Sumopaint also offers an app version, included in one of its Pro packages.
Now that you have some ideas on how to generate visual content in a flash, check out some of our other posts in the Content Marketing category to get your campaign, or your site, off the ground.