Give It Away


posted on 28th of january, 2009

The idea of free images makes the budget minded sing and some artists cringe. How can it be a good idea to give away what you are trying to sell? On the one hand is the sanctity of the copyright. On the other is the spirit of the Internet and an age-old marketing ploy: the free sample




Way back when in the dark ages of flight when planes were choked with cigarette smoke, everything was free…food, drinks and on every meal tray, a slim package of cigarettes provided for after meal enjoyment in case the passengers had sped through the terminal (good luck with that these days) without stopping to pick up a pack. Since research has shown that it only takes less than smoking a single pack of cigarettes to get hooked, the free pack accomplished several things. The brand was visible and the hapless non-smokers who lit up out of boredom were hooked by the end of a long flight.


© Nivi (Help)
© Orson (Help)




Book publishers now offer free sample chapters on book selling sites. Women can hardly escape through the first floor cosmetic departments of large stores without being sprayed with a free sample of something. The old saying, “There is no such thing as a free lunch” is true because the hope is that just like free lunches used to boost the alcohol purchases in bars, free images can bring users to your portfolio. Dreamstime showcases other not-for-free images on the same subject by the same artist along with the free one on the free image’s information page. Sometimes the user will click through to your entire portfolio and get hooked on other images for new projects or find something else that they can download. I often go to a portfolio once I find ann image to see what else a photographer or illustrator has to offer.





We decided this year to show you the most downloaded free images to add to the previous column on the top free images of 2008.

No surprise that one of the shots was of a lovely young lady. Flowers are universal and although it’s an overdone subject, simple (and free) photos of flowers find usefulness where ‘fresh’ and ‘spring’ are concepts. Sending a photo of a flower as a greeting card may not smell as nice as the real thing but the gesture is the same!





Speaking of nice smells: the coffee bean image is a great background that nearly gives off the smell of fresh coffee and the same goes for the delicious looking strawberries. These two images are perfect for menus or decor in small restaurants.

The illustrations are very colorful and optimistic, great for announcements or graphic elements in any number of placements.

The sun rising over the earth’s image shows the dawning of new day creating a feeling of optimism that is a concept that we will be seeing used a great deal this spring.




An article about using free samples as marketing tools here and here
Prolific blogger Chase Jarvis writes about doing assignments for free here

Comments (33)

Posted by Ellenboughn on January 28, 2009
Maigi: You ARE seeing the most downloaded images in the blog. Sorry I didn't make that clear.
Posted by Maigi on January 28, 2009
Thank you for the great article! It's so true that to offer free images is useful and it's good for soul too. :)) Anyway, where is that place where we can see most downloaded free images? I didn't understood that. Thanks!
Posted by Creativei on January 28, 2009
Yeah, I agree, when you offer free people will tend to come to the portfolio. Yeah a way of marketing, anyways the images are not selling so why not use it as a crowd puller. I have seen my image which didn't sell for a year and hardly had few views, now the day it went into free section its been downloaded more than 100 times in a day. And at the same time I reached my milestone of 500 USD, may be those images helped to promote my portfolio.

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Comments (33)

This article has been read 3594 times. 1 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Circotasu, Dmitry Maslov, Dan Ionut Popescu, Ron Chapple, Levent Kugu, Veronika Druk, Petr Vaclavek, Serghei Starus.

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