Interview with the free stock photo database RGBStock
We interviewed Jay Simmons, the owner of the free stock photo database RGBStock about free photos, illustrations and why people should use free photos instead of buying them.
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Jay Simmons and I live and work in the Netherlands. I worked for nearly fifteen years in the IT business as a software developer and interface designer. I am also a photographer.
What is RGBStock and what’s the idea behind it?
RGBStock.com was created by a group of enthusiastic photographers and graphic artists. Our vision was to build the best free stock image site on the web. We are dedicated to making high quality images available to the public and those who cannot afford to pay for stock photos. We started planning the site about two years ago when sxc.hu, the well known free stock photo site, was bought by Getty images. Many of the photographers did not like the way the new owners changed sxc so we formed a core group and we created an entirely new and truly independent free stock photo site.
Where do all your free photos come from?
We have many, contributors from all over the world. Most of them are enthusiastic amateur photographers and designers. The only thing they ask for in return for their input is some feedback from the people who use their images. I have received many e-mails, books and leaflets myself from all over the world with my photos in them.
How can I download and use free photos from RGBStock?
The only thing we ask before downloading is a simple sign up procedure. Membership registration at rgbstock is easy and quick. You fill out a simple form and then you will receive a confirmation e-mail immediately which has a link to activate your account. You can sign up with your Facebook account too! Once your account is activated, all the images are available to you for download from all the galleries and are completely free. You can download as many as you like or need. We also have private and public lightboxes available for your convenience.
How many free photos can I download?
You can download as many as you like. At this moment we have no restrictions. We monitor the downloads closely though. We have not encountered much abuse or mass download activity so far. We trust our members use their discretion in a sensible manner as dictated by our Image License Agreement.
What is the license agreement for your free photos?
Can I use your free photos also for commercial use?
You may use the rgbstock.com photos as illustrations or decorations in books, leaflets, magazines, on websites that you are producing for commercial sale.But these images remain the property of their owners and may not be redistributed, sold, or put on items where the image is the reason for the sale, e.g. on greeting cards, calendars, t-shirts, cups, web templates, wallpapers, etc. If you are not sure, always contact the photographer or graphic artist for permission before you use the image commercially. We also request that you try to credit the artist and link back to the site whenever possible.
Why should I use photos from RGBStock instead of a commercial Stock Photo Agency?
Why not? A lot of successful photo sites on the internet are free including social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr So you can now get your images from rgbstock.com for free and we have some of the most talented artists at our site who offer high quality free stock photos and illustrations.
If there is a free photo with a person on it, do you have a model release for this image?
It is not always needed to have a model release for a photo with people on it. In most countries you are free to photographer people in public places like streets and parks without asking permission.
Who are the people that use RGBstock free photos?
We have visitors and members from all over the world.
Many downloaders are professionals from small and mid-range design and marketing agencies. We also have many bloggers, website owners, students, scholars, and church organizations who use the images for their projects. The images make wonderful wallpapers for your personal computers because of the high resolution standard we maintain. They also look great in print and you can use them to decorate your personal room or office.
How do you run the site without getting money for your photos?
No team member receives payment for the work they do and we do everything ourselves. Our source of income is from ads, and this small amount will be used for future hardware maintenance and upgrades.
Why should the people use free photos instead of buying it?
If you are on a tight budget the choice is easy. If the quality is right, why not use free stock photos?
What are the plans for RGBstock’s future?
At the moment we in the top 100.000 of the Alexa.com global site ranking. One of my personal goals is to grow ten times as big as we are now. We want to be the world leading free stock photo site. That is a pretty ambitious plan but I think we can do it.
Is there a way for photographers to earn money from free photos?
Most of our photographers do not need to earn money from their photos. Most of them are amateur photographers and they are happy with the possibility of seeing their work published in print as illustrations and used for credible purposes on the internet.
Some of the contributing members of rgbstock have their own websites and have galleries on paid sites where they can earn some income. No payments are available directly through rgbstock to the photographers.
RGBstock is a great place to learn the skills you need to do quality stock photography and also to get some exposure to the public of your work. The response you get from the number of times your image is downloaded and the comments you receive are good indicators of your level of success creating an image people want.
What do you do if you do not offer free photos to anyone?
I really don’t know. At the moment I am way too busy making rgbstock.com successful that I don’t involve myself with other projects outside my work. If I had more time I would like to make some contribution for a free and independent Internet.
To which stock agency should the people go if they want to buy photos?
I like www.stockfresh.com. It is a new and a very good agency which was founded by the former owner of sxc.hu and stockexpert.com
Tell me, what do you think about the future of stock photography, what will change?
There will be many changes in the near future. Since many good things on the Internet are totally free, more people will begin using free stock photo sites for their image needs.
Since the success of the Internet some people say we live in the era of the amateur. The free and amateur Wikipedia is as good as the expensive Encyclopedia Britannica. Many newspapers use amateur photos for news reports like accidents. Many web designers have no classical IT education but many people will choose eventually to use open source software which is as good as proprietary software, or even better and totally build by volunteers.
The world is full of surprisingly skillful people and our goal is to bring them together at rgbstock.com.
Thank you for this interview Jay, we wish RGBStock all the best and a lot of new photos and downloads.
If you want to get interviewed here at StockPhotoSecrets – please get in touch with us!