On Wednesday 17 March, it’ll be St. Patrick’s Day again. This often conjures up cliché images of shamrocks, over-sized Guinness promotional hats, red beards and leprechaun outfits. The original annual saint’s feast may have been overtaken by lively parties in many cities across the world, but this week and next many a blog and marketing ad will include the types of imagery you’d expect from St. Patrick’s Day. Whether you’re after a sensible image or something tongue-in-cheek for your St. Patrick’s Day marketing, this is where microstock photos come in handy.
Look and feel is everything when it comes to organising a party, and Polylooks allows you to surf for stock photos using the ‘emotion’ option. You can search for royalty free images conveying ‘happiness, luck’, ‘humour’ and ‘friendly’ to help narrow down your search to something of a party feel.
And, being St. Patrick’s Day, you won’t be forgetting the all important colour – green. On Polylooks you can also search by colour scheme, which includes both dark and light green, to give you the exact feel that you want.
Keywords are essential in narrowing down your search. In Polylooks’ online store of more than 500,000 stock photos and illustrations you can find 508 pictures of ‘Ireland’, 70 shamrocks, 295 references to ‘Irish’ and even eight leprechauns!
Whatever you’re doing for St. Patrick’s Day, Beannacht Lá Fhéile Pádraig from us and we hope you have a great time.
Polylooks has teamed up with online photo syndication platform iSyndica, meaning that microstock photographers can further expand the reach of their images to include Polylooks’ growing customer base. If you’re a microstock contributor and are unfamiliar to Polylooks, then that’s understandable, as the company only launched in the UK market in late autumn 2009. Our German site Polylooks.de has been live since June 2009 and has become one of the prominent sites for stock photos in the German speaking countries.
As a European stock image provider with predominantly European photo and illustration contributors, we believe we bring a much-needed European look-and-feel to the microstock market which has traditionally been dominated by North American image sites. This offers European stock photo and illustration buyers far more choice and relevance when searching for microstock imagery and we’ve now got more than half a million images on our database.
The market potential for microstock grows daily as thousands of new Web pages are created in addition to offline marketing, publishing and other materials which require images. Yet we’ve found, in the UK at least, that confusion abounds when it comes to the rights and wrongs of using images from the Internet.
In December 2009 we surveyed 200 UK marketing and PR professionals and found that more than a third (37 per cent) admitted to using images illegally from the Internet. Not only do many not pay for the rights, but there is also widespread confusion over common microstock terms such as “royalty free” and “rights managed”. Nearly half (44 per cent) believed that “royalty free” meant they could use the image without paying for it!
At Polylooks we’re trying to educate those that want to use images from the Web about what they should and should not do when it comes to image copyright.
Polylooks is backed by Deutsche Telekom, one of the world’s leading service providers in the telecommunications industry, which often prompts the question; “why would a telecommunications provider want to get into the microstock market?”
We see microstock becoming more and more central to publishing going forward. Our survey found that in the UK marketing sector alone, 44 per cent of professionals legally download between one and five pictures each month, while seven per cent buy more than 11 stock images each month. In fact, while nearly half (48 per cent) do not have a microstock image budget, five per cent spend in excess of £100 each month on images, so there is huge demand out there.
For iSyndica’s contributors, it is reassuring to know that Polylooks is supported by a large parent company. It gives us reach and stability at a time of upheaval in the microstock industry.
Partnering for success
Currently, Polylooks operates in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the United Kingdom and the platform is available in German and
English, but the partnership with iSyndica will enable Polylooks to draw on an extended pool of creative talent by reaching contributors in new territories.
Norbert Weber, Head of Polylooks
Images of travel dominated the public’s online search for photos and illustrations during 2009 on the Polylooks.co.uk site, our research has found. Visitors to Polylooks were most likely to use “holiday”, “Europe”, “travel” and “vacation” as search words when looking to buy photos and illustrations on the site. Together, the number of word searches for “holiday” and “vacation” – more or less the same thing – amounted to more than four times the number of searches for “mountain”, the sixth most searched-for image on Polylooks.
Polylooks’ users in the main come from the creative industries – marketers, advertisers and publishers – hinting that “feel good” images were in demand during 2009, an otherwise bleak year for the UK economy, according to Polylooks’ Product Manager, Norbert Weber.
“The request for travel-related images is always high and customers want ‘fresh’ images. This could also be an indicator that confidence was returning to the travel industry during the year,” Weber said.
Other travel-related words featuring among the hundred most popular word searches entered by users on Polylooks during 2009 included “coast” (11th), “waves” (16th), “harbour” (26th) and “palm trees” (83rd). According to Google’s Insight tool, the four most popular destinations for online image searches in the UK over Google during 2009 were London, New York, Dubai and Blackpool.
Polylooks has close to half a million photos and illustrations in its library so the platform offers plenty of choice for image buyers to select from and you can also use our special filters to pick the right mood and colour scheme for your images.
We recently ran a competition via our blog and Twitter offering the chance to win two return tickets to Paris on the Eurostar to people in the creative industries who filled in our digital image rights survey. We received more than 200 responses which produced excellent data. But there can only be one lucky winner and we’re delighted to announce that it’s Andrew Ashworth, marketing director of Cambridge-based design and marketing agency, Adrenaline Creative!
Andrew said: “Paris is one of my favourite cities so any excuse to go has to be snapped up. I am really excited that I have won the trip and intend to do the self-indulgent stuff that I wouldn’t do with my young children in tow – i.e. spend lots of time in art galleries and bars, and stay out late! Thanks to all at Polylooks.”
Polylooks would like to thank everyone that took part in the survey. We’ve got some really interesting insight which we’ll be unveiling soon on the very important matter of how UK creatives use – and abuse – images from the Internet, so watch this space!
Bonne vacance, Andrew!
Polylooks is offering you an early present to get you in the Christmas mood. Stock image users have the opportunity to pick up Apple iPods this Christmas with our special microstock purchase offer. If you’re looking to buy photos online this month, go to www.polylooks.co.uk. We’ve got around a quarter of a million stock photos and illustrations available for download and, if you’re buying in bulk, customers who buy a 200-credit package will receive a FREE 2GB iPod Shuffle with their purchase. And those who buy a 500-credit package will receive a FREE 16GB iPod Nano!
The process couldn’t be easier. Simply log on to Polylooks.co.uk, register (if you’re a new user) and make your image credit purchase. Then, email us with your username and postal delivery address at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “My iPod delivery”. We will verify your claim and reply with a confirmation email. Your iPod will then be posted to you straight away!
Not only will you have plenty of microstock credits to use for your publication, website or promotional materials, but you’ll also have a timely gift delivery, for yourself or a loved one.
So, if you’re surfing for bargains online this Christmas, add Polylooks image credits to your list, log onto Polylooks.co.uk and get shopping!
How would you like to win two return tickets on the Eurostar* between London and Paris? Well, if you work in the creative industries in the United Kingdom then Polylooks is offering that chance.
If you work in public relations, advertising, design, or online and offline publishing, you will most likely have used a stock image service to buy royalty free and rights managed photography or illustrations. But are you aware of how freely you can use those stock images once you have paid for them? We’d love to know your views, so please fill in our microstock survey, which shouldn’t take more than a minute, and leave your email to enter our prize draw for the chance to win two return Eurostar tickets to Paris.
While stock images are great to use, they do come with restrictions. Using Paris as an example, did you know that there are no restrictions on using photos of the Eiffel Tower by day but by night, when illuminated, the structure is subject to copyright laws? This is not uncommon among public buildings. Sites such as Polylooks have to check that their stock image contributors have the right to use images before they host them for sale online. This ensures that when you buy photos online you have every right to use them.
In fact, Polylooks has 810 stock photos of Paris available for sale, but if you win the competition you’ll be able to take plenty of your own! Good luck!
A final quick point: we’d love you to join our Facebook page and interact with you.
*dates and time of travel subject to availability
At this time of year the demand for stock images relating to Christmas and other winter scenes shoots up. With such a wide range of royalty free images available, how can publishers, bloggers and private stock image users make sure that they find the right stock photos?
Polylooks.co.uk alone has nearly 10,000 stock images tagged with the word ‘Christmas’ and almost 12,000 labelled
‘winter’. Filtering out the right royalty free images for you is made simple, however, by colour scheme options and emotion.
Think of the three most prominent colours we associate with Christmas; red, white and green. These tend to be the most popular choices for those who buy photos from Polylooks, but you may be after something more sentimental – like black and white images. In which case, use the colour code in conjunction with the ‘emotion’ drop-down menu to find the right look-and-feel for you.
Tags are incredibly important in the selection of royalty free stock images. These help narrow down the search, so you could be looking for a Christmas tree, but do you want it covered in decorations? Inside or outside? Star on top? Lights? Entering keywords helps refine the search.
Do you want to use a stock photo or royalty free illustrations? A lot of Polylooks’ customers tend to buy royalty free illustrations for winter use as opposed to buying photos online. Artwork often makes for a more fun image in step with the festive period than stock photos.
Whatever your Christmas stock image needs, you’ll find it at Polylooks.co.uk. We’ve got a multitude of mince pies, Christmas trees, presents, Nativity scenes, Santas and even 206 snowmen to boot! Most of Polylooks’ stock image contributors are from Europe, so our images have a distinctly European feel.
For more on selecting royalty free images read our recent post on stock image selection best practice.
We’d love you to join our Polylooks Facebook page and interact with you.