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Where to Get Graphics and Photographs for Your eBook

One important thing you need to decide when creating a digital information product is weather to use any graphics or photographs. Certain publications, like romance novels, don't need graphics or photographs. In this type of material the images are created in your readers mind through your written descriptions. However in any kind of nonfiction material illustrations and photographs add to the quality and usability of the product.

In most how-to information products, illustrations are absolutely necessary. I can't tell you how many books I've decided to NOT buy because they contained no illustrations. Sometimes I call this type of book a "typity-type" because the author thinks they can get away with just sitting in front of their computer typity-typing without making the slightest effort to do anything more - like provide a few illustrations.

But how do you create, or acquire, graphics or photographs for your publication? Actually there are many sources for images. Which source you use depends upon the cost and the legal right you have to use and profit from the use of the image. The most expensive option is to hire an artist or photographer, the cheapest and easiest option is to use public domain material, and the best option is create your own illustrations.

Hire an Artist or Photographer

One of the most important things when hiring an artist or photographer is to know exactly what you want and when you want it. How many illustrations do you want? Will illustrations be in color or black and white? Will they be ink or watercolor? What resolution will you need for the digitized illustrations?

If you want photographs, what effort will be required to take the photograph. Will the photographer be required to travel? Will the photographer be required to make special arrangements? For example, if you want a photograph of firemen putting out a fire, the photographer will need to make special arrangements to capture a photograph of such an event.

Request to view the artist's or photographer's portfolio. Have they done work in the past that is similar to what you are requesting? In your opinion do they have the required skill level to create the work you need? Is their style in tune with your thinking?

Decide what rights you need. By default all rights belong to the artist or photographer who created the work. There's a whole range of licensing that you can purchase, from full rights, to one-time use, non-exclusive rights. Full rights means the illustration becomes your property and the artist or photographer can not sell or use it again. One-time use, non-exclusive rights means you are permitted to use the illustration for only one product and the artist or photographer can sell non-exclusive rights to the image over and over.

Make sure you have a detailed contract. What is the up-front payment that the artist or photographer will require? The up-front fee allows the artist or photographer to reserve a specific block of time for your project, and not accept other work that would interfere with your project. It also allows them to purchase materials or other things required for your project.

What is the kill fee? The kill fee is what you'll pay if you decide to cancel the project. This compensates the artist or photographer for time and work that they've already put into your project when you decide to cancel. The artist or photographer probably has a boilerplate contract that they would like you to sign. Make sure the contract gives you rights if the work does not meet the agreed upon requirements or does not meet the schedule, and is not all one-sided in the artist's or photographer's favor.

Where to find contract artists and photographers:

Elance is the largest and most popular freelance platform for hiring freelancers. Elance can provide talented freelancers in every category from software developers to business consultants.

Freelancer.com is another large website where you can post an illustration or photography project and several of their 8.2 million Freelancers will bid on it.

Guru.com is another large freelancer website where you can hire illustrators, graphic artists, and photographers. This site features use of an escrow account where payment is held. Once the project is done, payment is released to the freelancer. This protects the interests of both employers and freelancers.

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