One place to look for free images for AC or other articles, and my favorite place, is 123RF.com found on-line at www.123rf.com, the RF stands for Royalty Free. But besides being royalty free, 123RF.com offers a group of about 1,000 top-quality professional images that are free images to download. And these are really beautiful. I haven’t seen one yet that I really turn my nose up at, and I’m very picky.
How do you access these free image downloads from123RF.com? It is quite simple. All you need to do is register, for free, then click on the “Browse all free images” link on the bottom right of 123RF.com’s Home page. There you go. Now look through the 1,000 or so images and choose what you will. You may ask why photographers choose to donate images for free royalty free downloads. The reason is simply that the exposure, say, through AC articles, increases their sales of purchasable images and their reputations.
The variety and number of free images at 123RF.com changes daily because each image has a legitimate time limit on it. Photographer contributors donate free images under the agreement that these images will be available for 24 hours or until 10,000 downloads of each free image has been made. That’s pretty liberal. The free images that are running out of time and have, say, 10 minutes or 6 minutes remaining are in the first lines of free images on page 1. The images with 24 and 23 hours on their time limits are on the last page. In between are all the rest at varying limits proceeding consecutively from the least to the greatest.
And the expiring time limits on the free images at 123RF.com are not a trick to get you to make a purchase. If they are listed as free, then they are free until those last few minutes expire. I recently downloaded an image with 3 minutes remaining. Caution: Click and copy the photographer’s name BEFORE you download because you’ll need that to add to your image file name before you Save the image to your computer. Remember, AC won’t permit images that are not properly credited. Having the owner/photographer name in your file name can be a very convenient safeguard.
“Yes,” you say, “but will these free images suit my article?” Yes, I believe these free images from 123RF.com will suit virtually anything you could want to write about. Reason one is that there are around 1,000 free images daily. Reason two is that even though you may not find the exact thing you are writing about you can find images that are representative of what you are writing about. Reason three is that these images are donated by excellent photographers who hail from all over the world, including places like Lithuania, the US, Moldavia and Poland. So, your options for possibilities are wide open.
What happens if you just cannot find any suitable free images from 123RF.com and just must have an image to go with your AC article? Well, you can buy a reasonable Credit package from 123RF.com and inexpensively purchase an image. Since you have already registered, you can click one of the “Buy Credits” links and choose from one of the Credit packages.
The lowest Credit package available from 123RF.com is $10 and equals 10 Credits. Web quality images, which are quite suitable for AC articles, sell for 1 Credit each. Higher resolution and larger sized images sell for 2 and 3 Credits. It is also possible to Subscribe to a monthly package, but this Subscription option is for large quantity image users and the Subscription rates can be rather high. So, don’t confuse this option with the Credit package option, which is designed specifically for low quantity (or low budget) users. Enjoy 123RF.com; use free images or purchase others, all of which are royalty free, through Credits sold at reasonable rates.