For SMEs working without an agency it can be hard to find good quality imagery that truly reflects the high standards you're delivering everywhere else in your business. And the images do matter, as our recent 'Beginners to OOH' article on designing your first billboard poster discussed. So where can you go if you don't have the budget for your own photo shoot?
There's no billboard design template as such, though businesses lacking the confidence might want one. We recommend examining our site specifications closely and practicing with some of the excellent tools that the web has to offer, the most well-known of which has to be Canva. As our Design Tips post shows, it really is important to get the content and proportions of your poster spot on, so running through some first drafts is crucial.
Why is copyright important?
The UK has the largest design industry in Europe and contributes £71.7bn to the UK economy, as measured by GVA, productivity, turnover and employment. As we all know, it's important to respect the rights of designers to make a living. But if that's not enough of a reason, copyright infringement is illegal and exactly the sort of thing you don't want scuppering the growth of your business. Get your images from respectable sources and you'll be protecting your brand as well as designers' ability to make a living and get their work seen.*
The best indicator to look for is Creative Commons Zero, which will allow you to use images for commercial purposes and to make modifications as well, meaning you can change them in whatever way you want to make that great poster.
Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos.
Last year Unsplash hit 1 billion photos viewed per month, which would make you think there's a catch to using their website – surely it's not free? Think again! All photos on Unsplash are submitted under Creative Commons Zero guidelines (you can check their licence here) so they're free to use, and with their community of talented photographers there's plenty on offer – we're sure you'll find something here to suit your brand. Who knows, your work might even make it to the Unsplash hall of fame!
When stock dies art thrives.
If you're trying out Death to Stock for the first time then you might want to just sign up for their free monthly newsletter at first. We're sure the quality will convince you that Premium is also worth a go. Their licence is a little more protective than Unsplash's so although you can use their photos commercially, please check the restrictions first. They've got the full list here, or a plain English version that's easier to digest here.
Launched around the same time as Facebook, and far older than photo-sharing platforms Instagram and Snapchat, Flickr is home to 3.5 million daily uploads. That's quite a substantial resource for any business. Search for any type of image on the site and filter it by licence (picking 'commercial use allowed' or 'commercial use & mods allowed') and you'll be well on your way to finding the right image for your design.
So where do you go to get your high quality photos? Tweet us here so that we can share your top tips with other SMEs and entrepreneurs (although not with your rivals, of course).
When you're at that stage in the business cycle where you can start working with an agency, it really will pay off, but until then we hope these resources will help. And if you need any more help on the world of OOH, check out our jargon-buster, and billboard design tips, or speak to our team for more bespoke advice on your next outdoor campaign.