Images help tell your story in vivid ways. Blog posts come to life, presentation are more interesting, printed materials look richer, and web pages are more appealing. Most people get that but finding the right images and turning them into something useful can be a bit of a costly pain. Help is on the way in terms of low-cost, high quality images and image editing software that is easy to use and low or no cost.

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Here are some tips for adding and editing images to make your marketing more visually appealing.

iStockphoto – low cost library of royalty free images that cost from $1-5 depending upon the size and resolution needed. You can search by keyword, subject, color, and white space. This is every small business marketer’s dream.

Picasa – Google’s free PC editing software allows you to organize and edit photos easily. You can also store them online using the Picasa service.

Adobe Photoshop Elements – Adobe’s lightweight version of Photoshop comes in at about $99 and does more than most small business owners would need. (The tools to optimize photos for the web is worth the price.)

    Check out some of the online photo editing tools as well. They all offer different features and have free versions.

  • Picture2Life – edit, collage and animate
  • Pixenate – very simple and create your own photo editing
  • Graphita – let’s you play with photos

If you really want to take advantage of the power of images you can start your own photo editing site or add photo editing to your classified or auction site by purchasing Pixinate’s server version

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Have you guys tried at all? They’ve got over 350,000 images from over 35,000 photographers, all available for free use. Some really excellent images available here.

  • And not to forget:

    flickr – Organize and edit online.
    Adobe Photoshop Express – Edit online.

  • I have found Picnik to be a very worthy free on-line tool, even better (IMO) than Pixenate.

  • John,

    You forgot about Adobe Photoshop Express for photo editing. It’s a great free tool. 🙂

  • John Jantsch

    Hock – I am familiar with it but I couldn’t get it to work very well so I left it off the list.

  • Don’t forget about illustration and/or cartoons!

  • John,

    Nice post and some good comments here. I thought I’d take the opportunity of your post to mention my related topic Photoshop oriented web site Currently in beta, the site will ultimately provide tutorials for beginner to intermediate Photoshop users on how to create special effects and edit images in Adobe Photoshop.

    I’m giving away the tips for free. Value added tutorials will also be available very soon for a small charge. Related Photoshop freebies, such as brushes and actions will also be available for those signing up for the CampPhotoshop newsletter. If any of your readers are interested I’d appreciate any helpful comments about the site as well as suggestions for tutorials they would like to see.

  • Ive used istock before for website pictures and for direct mailing. It’s great to have access to soo many pictures for a beyond reasonable cost.

  • I love iStock – so easy to use. Love the search capabilities there – you can type in almost anything! I’ve used Flickr some as well, but didn’t find it as easy to navigate. I look forward to looking into some of the other suggestions people have made.

  • I tried using Photoshop for quite a while and really struggled through. I’ve been using Photoshop Elements for a couple of months now and it’s so much easier (and cheaper) for the simple tasks I need.

    I love Istockphotos, but have also started using Flickr for photos recently and found this post really useful for understanding what you can and what you can’t use.

  • Hi John

    I am not a designer myself but I buy the credits. We use istockphoto and photoexpert. Its amazing how the Internet has helped bring the cost down of pictures. I remember the days when we used to pay a few dollars dollars for the same types of picture.

    The right picture can definitely turn a website from a mind process to a heart process.

  • Like my other marketing twin said, we love iStock… great for what we need. However, I’m intriqued by Flickr and some of the comments made about that so I’ll be giving that a try.

  • I use a lot. the biggest problem is that you start to see the same images on print and websites as you look around. Be sure that you do not always use the most popular images from a service like theirs.

  • Troy that’s a good point about popular images. Another options is to manipulate your images to make them unique. If you use Photoshop there are all sorts of options. You can see some suggestions on my web site