Recently we’ve been receiving requests from authors to have input into what images will illustrate their stories. Some have asked us for a specific photo or sent us examples of what they'd prefer for their story. While this is great, we are limited in what we can publish. We must own distribution rights for any image that goes on MarriageHeat.
Our chosen source for these right is a subscription service through Shutterstock.com. We pay a monthly fee which provides a certain number of downloads and covers us legally as far as publication rights go.
We want to try an experiment. If you would like to suggest a photo for your story, you can go to Shutterstock.com and search for an image that meets your preferences. There is no need to create an account there to search. For more risque offerings, you might consider turning off Safe Search in the lefthand menu. When you find one you like, click it to go to the download page for that image. Then paste the URL from that page at the top of your submission. (If your story is already in the queue for publication, you can paste it into a message to us at firstname.lastname@example.org ) Feel free to give us more than one option; in fact, it would be helpful! We can then open the link from our account and get the rights to publish.
Want the step-by-step?
- Go to www.shutterstock.com
- Place your search term in the search bar.
- You may want to open the filters on the left side of the screen and use them to narrow your search. The “people” filter is good, as this limits the images to show only those with people in them. Also, note at the very bottom is an option to turn off Safe Search. But be forewarned that there are a lot of images that you may not want to see!
- As you are making your selection, keep in mind that we have to use a square picture (750 x 750) for our feature image. The image you like may look great as a tall rectangle, but that won’t work on our site. Just think about formatting when you suggest an image.
- You might find that you like more than a few images as you are searching. A trick is to right-click on an image and open in a new tab so you can easily get the URL later. You may have a lot of tabs open, but at least you don’t have to remember where the image was and under what search term.
- If you find an image that is almost right, click on it and scroll down to find links to related photos. “Similar images” sometimes only matches by color or background rather than subject matter, but “Same Model” results can show different poses from the same shoot.
- The last step is to select a few images to suggest and copy/paste the URLs for their download pages at the very top of your story.
We hope some of you will try this so that we can test the procedure. But if you prefer not to, we will continue to pick the best image we can to represent your story!
P.S. We know some of you would like to be able to submit your own images, but the logistics and legal requirements for such an arrangement are beyond our capabilities at this time. However, if you wanted to submit your photos TO Shutterstock as a seller, they could then be used by us with complete anonymity (but also by anyone else willing to pay for them). Just an idea.