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A standard iStock comp image

A standard iStock comp image

All graphic designers will be familiar with image libraries and there are plenty out there to choose from. By far the most popular because of its range and quality of images is iStock and it is one that we use here at Yellow Cat Design. When creating those initial proofs for customers you obviously don’t want to pay for an image in case it turns out to be not quite right so iStock provide a low resolution watermarked “comp” image (see sample image). These are usually fine because they give you a rough idea of how the image will fit within a design but often the large watermark obscures the image and when blowing them up to A4 size or larger they get very pixelated. However, there is a very easy trick that will allow you to access much higher resolution images with smaller watermarks by following the steps below. We have used Safari on a Mac for the demo but you should be able to do this in any browser with an inspect tool add on.
  1. Before you start you need to enable the Developer menu in Safari by going to Safari>Preferences>Advanced and tick “Show Develop menu in menu bar” at the bottom
  2. Next, find the image that you want and click through to the image page e.g. http://www.istockphoto.com/photo/closeup-of-sunflower-50901542
  3. Instead of clicking the “Get a Comp” link as usual zoom right into the image as far as it will go.
    iStock Zoomed in image

    Zoom right into the image to the highest magnification.

  4. Return to the page and right click anywhere on the page and select “Inspect Element” from the menu
    Inspect Element

    Right click and select “Inspect Element”

  5. In the Developer menu find and open the images folder and look for images that start with the word “zoom” .
    Developer menu Safari

    Find the largest “zoom” image within the Developer menu.

  6. Double-click the largest “zoom” image with the number 3 at the end to open it in a new window.
  7. Right click the image and select “Save Image As…” and save the higher res version wherever you like. Now you have a nice large image with much smaller watermarks to use in your mockups!
The larger zoomed in iStock image.

The larger zoomed in iStock image.

Please note that these images should only be used in design mockups for private use. If you want to use the image in commercial or public work then please purchase the image through iStock.
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