SkitterPhoto offers commercial-use photos of high resolution and quality. If you kindly ask them, they might even give you the RAWs for free. SkitterPhoto is a project by three photographers from the Netherlands. More than 250 images are already in stock. The promise is to add at least one new picture a day. These images then "skitter" through the web, driven by the CC0 license, allowing anyone to use the images freely for any purpose.
SkitterPhoto: Public Domain at its Best
The makers of SkitterPhoto claim to have taken all the available photos with their own hands (and cameras). They offer them for completely free under the terms of CC0 or Public Domain, even. This allows the user to take the pictures and create whatever needs to be created. Backlinks and other attributions are unnecessary, with donations being happily accepted. The latter is not mandatory, however.
The images themselves are of high quality and available in very large resolutions of up to 24 megapixels. The weight is between ten and twenty megabytes per picture, which is certainly not a problem in times of high-bandwidth traffic..
The spectrum of subjects mirrors the interests and the wanderlust of the photographers. No wonder that you will not find a broad variety of topics comparable to the giant stock photo sellers. What you’ll find are originals with a heart, in quite some cases just generic enough to be suitable for general illustration purposes and in others not. .
SkitterPhoto: Still Manageable While Getting a Little Clunky Already
The website that offers all these really beautiful pictures is underwhelming, however. Sure, the galleries are clean and modern in regard to their layout. Lazy Load cares for loading the images only as soon as they enter the browser’s viewport, thus keeping things smooth and fast. On hover, you can see the image titles and on click you enter the detail page of any given image.
The detail page offers a larger preview of the chosen photo accompanied by info regarding the photographer and the image’s title. You can immediately download the pic or tweet it around your followership. Two large back and forth buttons to the left and to the right side of the browser window allow for directly navigating to the next as well as the previous image. So far, so good.
Unfortunately, the detail page offers no further information to classify the pictures. Others show their EXIF data here, at least let you know the camera and resolution they used. SkitterPhoto does not offer any of these informations. In their defense let me add that the downloaded photos did actually contain the unchanged EXIF data. Anyway, one shouldn’t have to have to download all the photos just to be able to see vital info. A good plugin would be useful here…
The creators of SkitterPhoto decided to establish nine categories into which all the imagery would have to be sorted. We have Flora, Fauna, Landscapes, People, and Transportation, and also Low Light, HDR, and Miscellaneous. Various photos belong to more than one category which made it hard for me to actually count the number of unique pictures contained. There is no further ordering system in place, not even tags.
Besides the more or less classical three-columns gallery view on Lazy Load, let me direct your attention to the section "Popular Photos". This section shows how impressive the presentation of the images could have been. Using a Masonry grid and different image sizes, this section gives you an idea of how modern SkitterPhoto could have looked throughout the whole service. It’s a real bummer…
By the way; there is no search feature whatsoever. At the time being this can be dealt with. But think of 1,000 and many more photos on the platform. From four figures on the categories won’t be of much help, either. A search function will become inevitable.
Of course, one could bring forward the old saying of the gift horse that should never be looked into the mouth and proclaim that criticizing open source is an impertinence in itself. Yet, this has never been my point of view. Free services and open source in general are not created in the spirit of "take it or leave it". Instead, they are looking for attention, take up my time. Especially my time is the single most valuable possession I have. I do expect that others treat my time with respect as much as I treat their projects with respect.
TLDR: SkitterPhoto is a new project by three ambitioned photographers from the Netherlands. Get convinced by the overall quality and high resolutions these pictures sport. As all of the photos can be used completely free of charge for personal and commercial projects alike, there is not a lot to put against it. In any case; add it to your toolbox. Noupe says: All thumbs up…
Dieter Petereit is a veteran of the web with over 25 years of experience in the world of IT. As soon as Netscape became available he started to do what already at that time was called web design and has carried on ever since. Two decades ago he started writing for several online publications, some well, some lesser known. You can meet him over on Google+.