Image research

The type of photographs needed for a publication may be limited to the content or techniques being discussed. However, where there is scope for more subjective imagery, select photographs that are consistent with the nature of the publication and its intended purpose. Choose photographs that are similar in style, viewpoint, colour palette, aesthetics and attitude – this will help the publication feel cohesive.

Image libraries

A huge number of image libraries exist online, including those that might have a particular focus (eg government departments, museums), commercial stock image libraries (containing more generic images of people, places and ordinary life), and online galleries of independent photographers.

Tip. Search for an online library using keywords such as the imaging technique, subject and country, and the words ‘image library’ or ‘gallery’.

Ensure that the images will be high enough resolution for your publication. If you are unsure what you need, check with your publication designer or obtain the largest file size available.

Caution! Some images will be free to use, but others must be purchased. Make sure you understand the copyright or licensing conditions of any images you acquire online: many commercial stock images allow unlimited use of the purchased image, but others have very specific limitations.

Technical images such as X-rays, electron micrographs, CT (computed tomography) scans, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans or satellite imagery can only be created by specialised technicians, but online image libraries for some of these are available, including:

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