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ElisabethF
04-01-2011, 03:23 AM
I'm doing some research on creating ebooks, and I'm wondering if anybody here can give me a good beginner's overview of using stock images for ebook covers. I've been reading the licensing agreements on a few stock photo sites and trying to make sense of them. For instance, the terms here (http://www.dreamstime.com/terms#using). It says the images may be used for book covers...and further down, it says if the image is used for printed materials it may only be used on up to 500,000 copies. Now, I'm not saying I expect anything of mine to sell 500,000 copies right off...but we want to be prepared for any contingency, right? :) Does 'printed materials' mean a physical, hold-in-your-hand printed product, or does it apply to ebooks as well? I don't see how you could have control over how many copies you sell.

Anything else you could tell me about this whole concept would be helpful. I'm very much a beginner and I don't want to make any embarassing mistakes.

jnfr
04-01-2011, 03:41 AM
I don't know that such a clause would worry me. If you ever sell 500,000 copies, you could surely afford a new cover in there somewhere :) You might take a look at CanStock Photos (http://www.canstockphoto.com/). They have nice work and don't put any limit on usage. Or try a free site like MorgueFiles.

veinglory
04-01-2011, 04:31 AM
Indeed if you top that level of copies you can probably afford to get an extended license for the picture.

ElisabethF
04-01-2011, 07:34 PM
I've got a bad habit of asking questions on forums and then finding the answer out for myself. :) I contacted the website linked above, and they said that using an image in an ebook is considered electronic use, which doesn't have limits on the number of copies.

euclid
04-30-2011, 02:55 AM
I took a look at that site, downloaded 3 free images, but they are all tiny. Is there some way of making them bigger?

BenPanced
04-30-2011, 05:23 AM
Buying a license or a set number of downloads. Many stock photo services offer free spec downloads but they're going to be lower resolution and/or much smaller than the available products.

thothguard51
04-30-2011, 05:36 AM
I took a look at that site, downloaded 3 free images, but they are all tiny. Is there some way of making them bigger?

You get what you pay for...

abctriplets
04-30-2011, 06:26 AM
I took a look at that site, downloaded 3 free images, but they are all tiny. Is there some way of making them bigger?

Well, I'm not sure what type of images you got, or what exactly the resolution is on an e-reader - but have you tried making the image bigger via photoshop or something?

BenPanced
04-30-2011, 06:39 AM
Not really. If you make them larger, you'll lose resolution and the pictures will become blurry.

jnfr
04-30-2011, 09:02 AM
If you want larger or higher resolution images, you will have to pay at least a few dollars for them. You can buy inexpensive stock photos at lots of sites. Turning them into a decent cover is another issue.

BenPanced
04-30-2011, 09:50 AM
Some information on subscribing to three of the bigger stock photo services. (http://www.thinkstockphotos.com/subscribe)

Capital
04-30-2011, 03:07 PM
I don't quite understand the way these stock image sites work. What if 2 or more users request the same image? Would the site sell it to them both?

brainstorm77
04-30-2011, 03:22 PM
I don't quite understand the way these stock image sites work. What if 2 or more users request the same image? Would the site sell it to them both?

Yes.

Capital
04-30-2011, 11:56 PM
Yes.

Ugly. Make your own covers, people :)

efkelley
05-01-2011, 12:27 AM
The graphic artist working on my covers had me cruise through http://www.istockphoto.com/ for photos to use as a basis for the illustrations.

I ended up buying three, a male model, female model, and a sword. Total cost was about $40. There are no royalties to worry about, no fine print, nothing. Just cash for images, and done.

deana
05-02-2011, 10:40 PM
I use Gimp to resize my photos. It's a free software. Maybe it could help resize your image for you. It's pretty good with resizing and keeping the images still looking like the original. I'm not quite sure how "big" it can make for a "tiny" picture. How "tiny" is "tiny"?

I'm going to use stock photo's for my Novel Trailer, and it has to be the 800x600 size. But using an entire photo for a book cover, you will have to pay for a bigger size for most sites.

veinglory
05-02-2011, 10:43 PM
You can make very different covers based on the same stock. As a small press author I understand why my publishers do not pay $500 and up for unique images.

Come to think of it, neither do many of the major publishers.

CheG
05-03-2011, 01:55 AM
The mistake most people make is only buying ONE photo for the cover then just slapping text over it. I can spot stock art a mile away on Amazon. If you have the Photoshop chops buy multiple pieces and combine/crop/color correct.

That said, I ADORE stock art! A lot of it very nice and varied! There are a ton of possibilities. Fork over for the flourishes :) frames and borders and such.

euclid
05-03-2011, 06:04 PM
I use Gimp to resize my photos. It's a free software. Maybe it could help resize your image for you. It's pretty good with resizing and keeping the images still looking like the original. I'm not quite sure how "big" it can make for a "tiny" picture. How "tiny" is "tiny"?



Hi deana. I'm now the proud owner of Gimp 2. I've spent a couple of hours reading the user manual, but can't make heads or tails of it. It seems to have a whole language all of its own: layers, channels, dialogs, docks, tabs, etc., etc. I'm hoping my son might know someone who's used it.

shaldna
05-03-2011, 08:06 PM
the thing with stock images are that they can result in several books having pretty much identical covers:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-woJV62rwZs/Sp0CfkqoXvI/AAAAAAAAAII/2N1At7PXw8Y/s200/DeBeproeving.jpg

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRTnhC21m7xGLLS4JyVX1HtpUEZGK54X D8otVvnW6WqeEY17EhD1g

veinglory
05-03-2011, 08:11 PM
They can, and a designer would be wise not to use the stock as it is sold. As mentioned most designers know how to crop, combine and manipulate the shots enough to ensure there won't be any near duplicate covers.

s.m.s
05-03-2011, 08:44 PM
Hi deana. I'm now the proud owner of Gimp 2. I've spent a couple of hours reading the user manual, but can't make heads or tails of it. It seems to have a whole language all of its own: layers, channels, dialogs, docks, tabs, etc., etc. I'm hoping my son might know someone who's used it.

Have you tried Paint.Net instead of Gimp? I've tried both and find Paint.Net to be much more user friendly, although its possible that Gimp is the more powerful program. Still, if you're new to photo editing you might want to start with Paint.Net anyway.

jnfr
05-04-2011, 04:47 AM
I finally went with PhotoPlus after my old version of Paint Shop Pro kept crapping out in Windows 7. I loved that program and still mourn it.

Medievalist
05-04-2011, 05:18 AM
Ugly. Make your own covers, people :)

The thing is, with most stock photo licenses (check to be sure) you can use the images to create new images; you might, for instance, only actually use part of the image.

A graphic artist can do amazing things. Truly, a good one is performing magic. I've seen covers--for print products as well as digital--that I couldn't actually tell how it was done.

abctriplets
05-04-2011, 06:06 AM
the thing with stock images are that they can result in several books having pretty much identical covers:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-woJV62rwZs/Sp0CfkqoXvI/AAAAAAAAAII/2N1At7PXw8Y/s200/DeBeproeving.jpg

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRTnhC21m7xGLLS4JyVX1HtpUEZGK54X D8otVvnW6WqeEY17EhD1g

Seriously?? She made the publisher how much $ with the Twilight saga, and they couldn't fork over the money for a unique design for her next book??

Medievalist
05-04-2011, 06:15 AM
Seriously?? She made the publisher how much $ with the Twilight saga, and they couldn't fork over the money for a unique design for her next book??

It's quite possible that we have the Twilight cover, and then a copy-cat cover.

Though this DOES happen in publishing; there was an SF cover that got sold twice as original art to different publishers for different books, c. 1995 or so.

There's also the thing that sub-genres especially have a cover /visual idiom/motif language that is crucial for marketing purposes--the reader can even subconsciously identify the covers for the books they favor.

cameron_chapman
05-04-2011, 06:51 AM
The graphic artist working on my covers had me cruise through http://www.istockphoto.com/ for photos to use as a basis for the illustrations.

I ended up buying three, a male model, female model, and a sword. Total cost was about $40. There are no royalties to worry about, no fine print, nothing. Just cash for images, and done.

Actually, iStockPhoto does have restrictions on usage, much the same as every other stock photo site out there. With their standard license (which is what you likely got for $40), you can only have 499,999 printed works with their image. After that, you have to pay for an extended license (all the licensing info can be found here: http://www.istockphoto.com/license_comparison.php).

Now, for most indie authors (or even legacy published authors), that's not going to be an issue. But it's still something you need to familiarize yourself with. Make sure you always read the licensing terms for any image you buy.

Medievalist
05-04-2011, 07:01 AM
Now, for most indie authors (or even legacy published authors), that's not going to be an issue. But it's still something you need to familiarize yourself with. Make sure you always read the licensing terms for any image you buy.

That's not going to be a problem even for the average mass-market paperback with world-wide rights.

Because if you've got sales in that range, you need to start doing market-targeted covers.

Also: Call them on the phone and negotiate, politely and honestly. They're completely reasonable, and professional.

FocusOnEnergy
05-04-2011, 09:58 AM
They can, and a designer would be wise not to use the stock as it is sold. As mentioned most designers know how to crop, combine and manipulate the shots enough to ensure there won't be any near duplicate covers.

Agreed. Look at stock photos as raw material, not a final product.

I designed a shot peening ad campaign some years ago that started with two purchased stock photos: full length shots of bodybuilders, a man and a woman. I used his arm in one ad, and her torso in the other, turned the corporate logo into tattoos, and incorporated stock photos from our own libarary: pictures of a turbine in one and some other aerospace part in another.

Originally Posted by euclid http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=6102699#post6102699)
Hi deana. I'm now the proud owner of Gimp 2. I've spent a couple of hours reading the user manual, but can't make heads or tails of it. It seems to have a whole language all of its own: layers, channels, dialogs, docks, tabs, etc., etc. I'm hoping my son might know someone who's used it.


These terms are part of the language of graphic design. Instead of sitting down with the user manual (which are never written by graphic designers, but by software people) find some tutorials. The best are hands-on tutorials that you can follow along and actually do the project in the example. You will learn the terminology as you do.

However, before you invest a lot of time in this, decide on how valuable your time is, and objectively look at whether or not you have any talent in the area of layout, color, typography, and design. If you are not talented in that area, all the skill in the world isn't going to help you create great covers.

If your time is scarce and therefore valuable and/or if you don't have any talent when it comes to graphic design-hire someone to do your cover for you. And by someone, I mean a professional graphic designer/graphic artist. Pay them the going rate for their services and accept that this is the cost of doing business.

Focus

shaldna
05-04-2011, 10:30 PM
It's quite possible that we have the Twilight cover, and then a copy-cat cover.

The cover for the first twilight book was a stock image as well. the same one was used on a CS Lewis book.

deana
05-06-2011, 07:44 PM
Hi deana. I'm now the proud owner of Gimp 2. I've spent a couple of hours reading the user manual, but can't make heads or tails of it. It seems to have a whole language all of its own: layers, channels, dialogs, docks, tabs, etc., etc. I'm hoping my son might know someone who's used it.

Like s.m.s stated, Paint.NET might be easier for you. I like Gimp because of all the bells and whistles and endless possibilities. I haven't used Paint.NET too often (it just reminds me of Windows Paint but a higher version), so I'm not sure if it can export to .png or .pdf and resize the images keeping it's same detail, and crop out pictures using a 'free draw' tool instead of just a box, and I can make play around with layers and smoosh the pictures together.

Both programs, and any other program I want to get for free, can be downloaded at ninite.com. That's my one-stop shopping place for software that I need, and that includes cutepdf and adobe and OpenOffice.

However, any program will have a learning curve.

James D. Macdonald
05-11-2011, 01:39 AM
A cover using three royalty-free stock images, done by my elder son:

http://www.sff.net/people/doylemacdonald/ebook_thumb_philologos.jpg

A cover using one stock image, and some manipulation:

http://www.sff.net/people/doylemacdonald/ebook_thumb_remailer.jpg

A cover using two images, and different manipulation:

http://www.sff.net/people/doylemacdonald/ebook_thumb_twofromthemageworlds.jpg

efkelley
05-11-2011, 05:36 AM
Actually, iStockPhoto does have restrictions on usage, much the same as every other stock photo site out there. With their standard license (which is what you likely got for $40), you can only have 499,999 printed works with their image. After that, you have to pay for an extended license (all the licensing info can be found here: http://www.istockphoto.com/license_comparison.php).

Now, for most indie authors (or even legacy published authors), that's not going to be an issue. But it's still something you need to familiarize yourself with. Make sure you always read the licensing terms for any image you buy.

Fair enough. Thank you for the notification!

Heh. That half million copies problem wouldn't be a bad one to have. But that's a pie cruising at 35,000 feet. :D