We’d received several product announcements from PicScout and hadn’t really understood what it was all about (we’re dense that way). It wasn’t until I chatted with PicScout VP Amy Love at the HOW Conference that I got it.
Envision that you’re doing research for a new design project: scouring Flickr for visual inspiration, doing an image search via Google to find shots to spark ideas. You come across a picture that would be ideal to use in your design … but you have no idea how to contact the photographer and secure rights to use it. (And you wouldn’t just rip off someone else’s work, now would you?)
PicScout has partnered with stock agencies like Corbis and Getty, along with individual photographers, to index their collections (PicScout says it’s indexed millions of images). Designers can use the free ImageExchange tool — a plug-in for your web browser — that shows an icon for every image PicScout has indexed; click on the icon and you’ll get instant info on who owns the image and how you can buy rights to it. Photographers can use PicScout’s ImageTracker to monitor use (legit or otherwise) of their images anywhere online.