At first glance, you might think that Adobe is trying to corner the market on stock photography. Actually, it is much smarter than that. It knows that the best sites out there for stock photos are just aching to be pulled together into one enormous yet accessible library. The Adobe Stock Photos area of Bridge acts as an interface and shopping cart for several popular commercial stock photography sites. With Adobe Stock Photos, you browse all of them from one place.
Adobe Stock Photos is accessed from within Adobe Bridge. Find the link to open Adobe Stock Photos inside the Favorites pane within Bridge. Adobe Stock Photos opens in the main viewing window of bridge to its splash page.
Designers often don't have the time, equipment, or skill to capture that perfect image to be included in their work. Often it's not even geographically possible to snap your own pictures to place into your design. With the cost and skill required to get that perfect image, you'll wonder sometimes how you ever got by without using Adobe Stock Photos. I'm exaggerating a little here because a lot of the fun in designing is snapping the pictures yourself. You find after so many projects though that you wish you could just buy a picture that someone has already taken.
You can also access Adobe Stock Photos from the Look In menu in Bridge and find it by choosing Edit, Search Adobe Stock Photos.
With Adobe Stock Photos, you certainly can. There are well over 200,000 photos to pick from accessed through Adobe Stock Photos. You need only to type in a search.
Finding the Perfect Photo
Locate the search field at the top of the Adobe Stock Photos window. Type in a search keyword for a photo you might like to find. I think you'll be surprised how much ground has been covered with a camera after a few searches. I was impressed my first go-around with keywords. I didn't think I'd find more than 10 photos of licorice. Need some kind of baseball photo? You have about 500 to pick from there. Your search results display the photos in thumbnails in the main window. As the search finds more pictures, more thumbnails will accumulate. Hmmm, 26 pictures of tofu. Interesting!
You can also browse photos by category from the main Adobe Stock Photos page. Click on the Browse Link under Get Started in the main window. Navigate among hundreds of categories of images. Or use your knowledge of these categories to come up with more effective keyword searches.
Just like file browsing with Bridge, you can use the slider below the results window to change the size of the thumbnails to display a larger view of the stock photo. Having more visual information in a larger view helps you make a decision to use that picture. When you find a picture you like, what should you do with it? Are you charged right away? Absolutely not. In fact you can use low-resolution versions of the images known as comps. When you find a picture you like, double-click the thumbnail or film strip preview to open a comp version in Photoshop with which you can work.
Select an image from the search results and click the Download Comp button above the image thumbnails to download the low-res copy to your hard drive (see Figure 1.19). When you work on projects, you can use comps as placeholders for actual graphics. Just don't use them in your final design unless you purchase them.
Figure 1.19. Download comps to your hard drive with the Download Comp button, or double-click a thumbnail to open the comp image in Photoshop.
If you have found that perfect photo for use in your final design, you can purchase it through Adobe Stock Photos by creating an account. This account handles the photos purchased from all the different stock photo vendors used in the program. Highlight the photo you want and click the Add to Cart button. When you are ready to check out, click the Shopping Cart button near the top right of the Adobe Stock Photos window. Your shopping cart page appears with size options available for your selected photo (see Figure 1.20). Make sure to pick the right size for your output, whether screen or print because they come with vastly different price tags. Expect to pay between $40 and $300 for stock images. When you're designing for a large project, the price of the perfect picture may be a drop in the bucket.
Figure 1.20. Choose the appropriate size for your image and click the Check Out button to create an account, or use your existing account to purchase one or multiple images.
Click the Check Out button to proceed. You are asked to sign in or to set up a new account. If you opt to create a new account, you are taken to a page where you create a login ID and provide your personal and credit card information. After the transaction goes through, your image is downloaded and available under the Purchased Images category in the Favorites pane in Bridge.
After a lot of searches and comp downloads you may start to see your hard drive space declining. A lot of image data is cached in your hard drive to enable Adobe Stock Photos to operate smoothly. It's good to give it a cleansing every few weeks, or even more frequently depending on how much you use it. You can clean out these cache and comp folders right from inside Bridge:
You can perform these cleanups manually by finding the AdobeStockPhotos folder in your Documents folder (on the Mac) or in the My Documents folder (in Windows). Open the folders for Previous Searches and Downloaded Comps and throw away the contents. If you accidentally throw away the Previous Searches folder, don't worry. It will be re-created when you next search in Adobe Stock Photos.