Online News Photo Sources: Illustrating Your Web Site

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Illustrating Your Web Site

As photos become increasingly important for media Web site operators, a growing number of traditional news-photo agencies are making their archives directly accessible from the Internet. The trend is a good one for the agencies because it provides a new market for their wares. It's also good for Web site managers who now have the ability to quickly search out and down-load appropriate images for their breaking news stories or illustrated backgrounders.

The Associated Press as well as other conventional sources for news photos, such as Presslink, NewsCom, Archive Photos, the Wieck Photo Database and Scripps Howard, are all on the Internet. And the photos from other news services, like Reuters, AFP, The New York Times and The Washington Post-Los Angeles Times are available at many of these same sites.

Also available on the Internet are photos from such new entities as Corbis, Picture Network International, Muse and Liaison International.

The Associated Press has established a Web archive for its members (mostly newspapers, some broadcasters and a few magazines). AP/Wide World Photos, which provides photos for editorial use to magazine and book publishers, will be able to provide access to part of the AP Archive for these clients.

New Market: Web Publishers

While these sites were established to serve print or broadcast clients, only now are the needs of Web publishers being addressed. Nevertheless, the availability of photos in digital form is awesome. Corbis, owned by Microsoft's Bill Gates, alone offers one million images online, including the Bettman Archive of historical photos.

The two principal problems in the purchase of images by Web publishers are the size of the image files and provision for payment. Most of these sites are geared to dealing with subscribers who want high-resolution files.

Individual sales of low resolution files to small Web publishers have not been ruled out by any of the photo services as long as legitimacy as a publisher can be established. In some cases, however, the image may have to be delivered as a high-resolution file and reduced to lower resolution by' the user.

Though the preview files already available to customers may be the 72 dots per inch (dpi) required for Web images, the tendency is to watermark them to make any unauthorized use obvious.

Free Corporate Images

The easiest images to acquire are those provided by corporations for publicity purposes. These are free on any member of sites, with no questions asked. Next in availability are photos from stock photo houses, which serve a broad range of customers.

One stock house, West Stock, has established its own online service, Muse, and others are represented on Publishers Depot, rim by Picture Network International. Both allow selection, purchase and delivery of photos directly from the Web.

Muse appears to be the most economical, offering images for personal use for $10 and to Web publishers at $30, but its previews are watermarked and the smallest file it sells is 1.1 megabytes, or 150 dpi. Muse's online service has over 16,000 photos drawn from an archive of over one million images, according to its home page.

49 Stock Photo Agencies

Publisher's Depot, which claims 400,000 digital files, is more attuned to webmasters, offering 300 kilabyte (K) files for 72 dpi display available for as little as $50. This would be for three months editorial use on a secondary page. Home page rise would bring the fee to $100. Photos for commercial use and 12-month licenses are also available. These pictures are drawn from 49 stock photo agencies, including Magnum, Allsport, Black Star, Contact Press and AllStock.

And then there is Corbis. It allows you to look at images, but then you must phone or fax for a free membership with a credit card number. then wait a day for approval before purchase. …